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Custom Insights with Custom Columns

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Custom Insights with Custom Columns

PPC specialists have been using custom columns for many years to make it possible to view specific aspects of the Google Ads data. Custom columns can be helpful when you want to merge columns that are important to campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. When used properly it can minimize your time spent on reporting and will show relevant insights at a glance.

Custom Columns Have Gotten a lot Better

With the latest revamp of custom columns Google added more metrics and functionalities. This means a lot of new stuff to play around with. The results are new ways to get better and custom insights into your Google Ads accounts. During his session at Hero Conf London, Koos Hoeijmakers, Head of SEA at Greenhouse, will share examples of new insights and how to start implementing them. 

Custom Insights with Custom Columns

Source: Google Support

Did you know you can add custom columns in custom columns? You can do this with the following metrics if they are available; spends, clicks, impression shares, conversions, ROAS, and so on.  The possibilities are endless! 

Key Takeaways

Some key takeaways that you can expect:

  • Understand what’s newly added to the custom columns
  • Some great examples of new insights you can create with custom columns
  • What you should and definitely should not do with custom columns
  • A how-to guide on creating those same custom columns yourself
  • How to setup reporting with your new custom columns

If you are not using custom columns right now, you will afterward.

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Performance Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Performance Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

Performance marketing is one of the most effective ways for B2B and B2C businesses to reach their target audience and generate sales or leads.

However, for many new marketers, this practice can be complicated since it involves a combination of different strategies, channels, and more to drive results. In this article, we’ll simplify everything you need to know to become a performance marketing pro.

Table of contents

What is performance marketing?

Performance marketing is a digital marketing strategy based on results in which the brands or businesses only pay the marketing agencies, advertising platforms, or affiliates when they achieve their specific campaign goals, typically in the form of sales, clicks, or leads.

What’s the difference between performance marketing vs. brand marketing?

Performance and brand marketing are two different types of strategies that can be used to reach the intended audience.

While both forms have their benefits, the main difference between them is brand marketing aims to establish a long-term company’s reputation and awareness among potential customers; in contrast, performance marketing focuses on specific strategies to drive immediate sales without necessarily building an emotional connection with customers first.

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🌱 Download our free, editable growth strategy template to walk through seven simple steps for creating the right plan to grow your business.

What are benefits of performance marketing?

Even though this marketing strategy can be challenging for some businesses, there are many benefits for those who dive in.

Here are three reasons why you should give performance marketing a try.

Low risk

Performance marketing is a low-risk method to introduce new strategies since it requires (relatively) little investment. If the campaign works, you can scale up and increase the budget; however, if it doesn’t, it’s easy to back up without a big loss.

Targeted

This marketing strategy allows you to target the right people with your message. You can focus on demographics and geographic locations or narrow your searches by interests and behavior, such as consumers who visited your site recently or who clicked on the ad in the last 24 hours.

Increased ROI

One of the biggest benefits of performance marketing is that it can result in higher ROI than other types of advertising because it’s focused on a specific goal.

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What are types of performance marketing?

Performance marketing can be done through various means. Here are some of the most common.

Social media advertising

Social media ads are one of the most popular forms of performance-based advertising. These ads can target people who have visited your website once or shown interest in similar products or services.

facebook video ad example - zapier

Search advertising

Search advertising, also known as PPC, is the practice where advertisers pay to have their ads placed above organic search results on search engine result pages (SERP) like Google and Bing.

🛑 Want to learn more about search engine marketing on Google? Get the free guide >> PPC 101: Complete Guide to Google Ads

Display advertising

Display advertising is a type of advertising where ads are shown on web pages–typically in the form of banner ads. These ads show up on popular websites, news sites, and more and drive users to your website.

display ad example from austin statesmandisplay ad example from austin statesman

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing method in which businesses reward affiliates for each customer brought by their promotional efforts.

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How do you measure performance marketing?

Performance marketing is the art of achieving your business goals through paid advertising. It’s not just about buying ads and hoping they work. It’s about getting a return on the money you spend, which means measuring performance and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

The following are some of the most important metrics you should track to ensure your campaigns are running smoothly and meeting goals.

Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per click refers to the cost of each click on an ad. The higher the CPC, the more expensive it is for your business to advertise on that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

cost per click definitioncost per click definition

Cost per impression (CPM)

The average amount paid by an advertiser for every 1000 ad impressions. This is calculated by dividing the total cost of the ad by the number of times it was viewed.

Cost per lead (CPL)

The number of prospects responded to your ad and filled out a form. CPL is a standard metric used in PPC campaigns because it gives insight into how much each lead costs.

google ads cost per lead benchmarks from wordstreamgoogle ads cost per lead benchmarks from wordstream

🚨 You can use our search advertising benchmarks to find average the CPL for your industry.

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Cost per acquisition (CPA)

The cost per acquisition refers to how much you spend acquiring new customers. When looking at CPA, you should consider both the cost of your ad and the value of each sale or conversion.

Lifetime value transaction (LVT)

LVT is a metric that can give marketers valuable insights into potential revenue from a customer over time. In other words, it estimates how much one customer will spend on your product or services during their entire relationship with your company.

5 steps to build a successful performance marketing strategy

Developing a successful performance marketing strategy takes time, dedication, and much trial and error. But the payoff can be huge if you can get it right.

Here are some steps to build a performance marketing strategy that will bring results.

1. Define your objectives

To create an effective performance marketing campaign, it is fundamental that you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish because it will help you define every other step.

Your targets should be specific, measurable, and achievable. It should also be aligned with your overall business goals.

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smart goals acronymsmart goals acronym

For example, social media advertising is a great option if you want to sell a product or service. However, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, then paid search might work better.

Once you have identified these goals, they should form the foundation of all your marketing activities. Every campaign should be designed to support them in some way.

2. Choose the right digital channels

One of the keys to being successful at performance marketing is using multiple channels. The reality is that not all channels are created equal, and some will work better than others for your particular business.

The best way to do this is by setting up a few channels, testing them with small amounts of money, and tracking the results over time so you can make better decisions in the future.

Here are some common types of digital marketing strategies you can choose from:

  • Content marketing: Content marketing is the process of creating, distributing, and promoting your company’s content to attract potential customers. It can build authority, trust, and loyalty with consumers.
  • Social media marketing: Social media is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a place where your consumers spend the most time.
  • Display ads: Display ads are typically placed on news sites, blogs, or e-commerce sites. These ads often appear in the form of pop-up banners that contain a link back to your website.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing helps you build relationships with prospects so they trust your brand and buy from you when ready.

black friday email template - example of black friday sale email to customersblack friday email template - example of black friday sale email to customers

3. Identify partners

The biggest challenge of managing a performance marketing campaign is finding the right partners to work with. The relationship you have with your partner can make or break your campaign.

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You need to find partners with a vision and goals similar to yours who will help you reach people that matter.

The best partners have access to a large following and provide high-quality leads with a strong conversion rate, meaning they’re more likely to convert into paying customers.

When looking for partners, ensure they offer transparency about their work and methods. This will help you understand what kind of return on investment (ROI) you can expect from working with them over time.

4. Launch and optimize campaigns

Now that you have a budget and a target audience, it is time to launch your campaigns. You will need to set up a landing page and website where you intend to direct the traffic from these ads.

Once you have all the elements in place, you’ll want to optimize your campaigns for performance.

Optimizing for performance means constantly tracking and improving the metrics that matter most to your business. You should be looking at how many customers are being acquired, how much they spend, and how long they stay engaged with your brand.

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Optimization is a never-ending process because it’s not about finding and sticking with the winning strategy. Instead, you must constantly test new ideas and see which works best in different situations.

You can optimize your ads by changing their keywords or budgets to improve performance.

google ads location targeting bid optimizationgoogle ads location targeting bid optimization

For example, if an ad gets clicks but not conversions (sales), you should make changes or remove the ad altogether. Or, if an ad isn’t getting any clicks, you’ll want to try a different approach, keyword, or title until you find something that works better.

5. Monitor results

Monitoring the results of your performance marketing campaigns is crucial to your success. The key is understanding what’s working, what’s not, and what can be improved.

The best way to track your performance is to use a dedicated software program to give you all the information you need in one place. This way, you’ll be able to see how each channel is performing and make adjustments as needed.

You should also pay attention to the quality of traffic that your campaigns send to your site. You can do this by looking at bounce rate, click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and other metrics over time.

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The results should be monitored daily, and you should also look at the data weekly or monthly. This will help you identify trends and evaluate the performance of your campaigns over time.

3 performance marketing examples

Here are some examples of successful performance marketing strategies.

Dove Chocolate sponsored content on BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is a famous digital media company that allows advertising on its website. These ads look like regular content but are paid for by companies or individuals who want to promote their products or services to their massive audience.

Dove Chocolate took this opportunity to share a recipe post on BuzzFeed and got over 2K re-pins and 253 shares on Facebook.

performance marketing example from dove chocolateperformance marketing example from dove chocolate

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Hostinger’s paid search ads

Paid search ads are among the most common forms of performance marketing that even huge companies like Hostinger participate in. Hostinger is known for services like domain name, WordPress hosting, cloud hosting, website builder, etc.

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Earlier this year, the company introduced a blog theme, and to promote it, it wrote a blog post about the “32 Best Free WordPress Blog Themes” and used paid search ads to list the post on the first SERP.

performance marketing example of ppc adperformance marketing example of ppc ad

CME Group’s display ad on Forbes

Display advertising is a classic form of performance marketing. It’s been around for decades and has been used by some of the biggest brands in the world to drive sales and boost their bottom line.

Display ads can be shown on any website that uses an advertising network, although they are mostly found on larger sites with many visitors, such as Forbes, HuffPost, etc.

performance marketing example of display ad on forbesperformance marketing example of display ad on forbes

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Is performance marketing right for you?

Performance marketing is simply something that many modern marketers are incorporating into their business models. This form of marketing reduces wasted costs and directs sales through quality leads guaranteed to be interested in your product or service. By practicing the techniques laid out above, you can implement a successful performance marketing strategy and maximize your efforts.

About the author

Author and the founder of Blogituplife Shama Shafiq is a marketing, blogging, and SEO expert. She shares useful and actionable tips on her blog to help beginners out.

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18 AI Tools for Your Marketing Agency to Try in 2024

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18 AI Tools for Your Marketing Agency to Try in 2024

Efficiency is the key to running a profitable marketing agency. AI tools for marketing agencies help increase efficiency while maintaining—or increasing—the quantity and quality of work your team produces.

Those are all great outcomes. But with new AI tools sprouting like weeds, where do you start?

Here, you’ll find a brief overview of what AI tools can do for your marketing agency and a list of 18 AI tools to try. We’ve grouped the list by use case, so you can start with the ones that’ll have the greatest impact.

Table of contents

❓ Want to know what 300 agencies think about pricing, services, and challenges? Download our free State of the Digital Marketing Agency report.

What are the benefits of an AI tool for your marketing agency?

Every marketing agency can use AI to its advantage. Here are a few ways it can help yours.

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Brainstorm ideas

AI writing tools and search engines can spark new ideas for your marketing content and campaigns.

Prompt an AI tool with questions like, “What are 20 B2B pain points companies face in the [input] industry?”. Or try, “Give me 50 campaign ideas to attract new customers in the [input] industry.”

While you have to verify accuracy and weigh different ideas, it’s a great starting point to get in a creative flow.

AI tools for marketing agency: Screenshot of a prompt and response from ChatGPT.

In this example, I type a question into ChatGPT, and it gives me 20 blog topic ideas to help brainstorm future articles.

Automate repetitive tasks

AI marketing agency tools help reduce predictable tasks. Whether hitting publish or transferring an inbound marketing piece to WordPress, you can save hours with efficient automation.

You can save precious hours you would have spent doing grunt work and instead use them to strengthen your marketing strategy and produce more materials.

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Reach new markets

AI platforms can identify audience segments you hadn’t thought of before. You can also reach more markets by automating your process and easily repurposing different content mediums for new platforms.

Many opportunities exist to reach new markets with impressive research and content creation tools.

Reduce avoidable human error

Using the power of machine learning and AI, marketing AI tools can identify and correct errors before your clients see them.

A tool like Grammarly, for example, can correct grammar and spelling errors and improve phrasing automatically. AI is a great option that helps the marketing team be more productive while avoiding common issues.

Save on costs

Whether you need to save on production value with videos or crank out first drafts of social media content, there are plenty of areas where you can save time, labor, and money on daily marketing tasks.

That gives you and your team more time and energy to focus on the most essential, important tasks.

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Now that we know the benefits of AI marketing agency tools, let’s review some of the best ones.

💡 Want more? Get your free guide to AI in marketing and see how you should and shouldn’t use this revolutionary technology.

Top AI tools for your marketing agency

Most AI marketing tools are built for a specific purpose, like writing new copy or automating a workflow. That’s how we’ve categorized this list, based on the primary challenge each tool tackles.

AI tools for content creation

AI copywriting tools have received the most spotlight in recent years. That’s helped fuel the creation of innovative generative AI tools with a growing list of useful features.

Since content isn’t all copy, we’ve included platforms that help you create and edit video and image assets, too.

1. ChatGPT

ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 (Open AI continues to create new versions) have led the AI writing craze by offering one of the most accessible copywriting tools.

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AI tools for marketing agency - ChatGPT homescreen. AI tools for marketing agency - ChatGPT homescreen.

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The platform is excellent for brainstorming. If you’re working on an email newsletter, social media campaign, or blog article, you can ask for ideas, outlines, lists, and many other starter materials to help you save time.

Some marketing agencies use it for content development, though there are risks in trusting its accuracy. Plus, the output often feels “AI-written.” But it’s a great trusty sidekick to get projects started and boost your marketing efforts.

Pricing: ChatGPT-3.5 is free to use, ChatGPT-4 starts at $20 per month.

2. Jasper

Jasper is another great AI writing solution built for teams and creative workflows.

AI tools for marketing agency - Jasper homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Jasper homescreen.

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You can efficiently work with the platform for quick project creation and execution. The tool offers prompts and automates the “human” part of AI writing by incorporating your brand voice.

The tool also helps you write more factually (compared to ChatGPT) and on-brand.

Pricing: Plans start at $59 a month (billed annually).

3. Copy.ai

An alternative to Jasper, Copy.ai helps marketing teams automate blog briefs, create copy (like scraping URLs for AI ad copy), and accelerate other writing tasks.

AI tools for marketing agency - Copy.ai homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Copy.ai homescreen.

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Copy.ai has many prompts and tools to help guide your writing queries for better results.

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Pricing: Copy.ai is free to use with limited words. Upgrade to unlimited words for $36 monthly (annual plan).

4. Typeframes

This clever AI tool creates videos in just a few minutes. If you want to advertise a new product or create buzz for an event, Typeframes is the platform for you.

AI tools for marketing agency - Typeframes homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Typeframes homescreen.

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Easily type a few words, and the tool automatically makes a video. You can add music, animations, images, and other effects. It’s a great way to ship new ideas and campaigns with a fraction of the time and money you’ve spent in the past.

Pricing: Typeframes starts at $24 monthly (on the annual plan).

5. Midjourney

Midjourney is designed to make image creation easy.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Midjourney homescreen.AI tools for marketing agency - Midjourney homescreen.

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Using Midjourney, marketing agencies can make stunning, cinematic-style artwork that looks detailed and eye-catching. You can generate any style image in seconds. Whether it’s a realistic photo of customers enjoying your client’s offering with emotional benefits, a painting, or cartoon-style artwork, Midjourney will spin it up with a couple of prompts.

Midjourney can help save on specific stock photo needs or even give your design team a head start on a campaign.

Pricing: The platform starts at $8 monthly (billed annually).

6. Grammarly

Grammarly is an editing tool that spots and corrects your grammar and spelling errors. And its AI additions help you create content, too.

AI tools for marketing agency - Grammarly home screen. AI tools for marketing agency - Grammarly home screen.

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Use Grammarly to find awkward phrasings and passive sentences. It’ll also help you reword copy for a better read. The addition of generative AI gives Grammarly the power to suggest new ways to write existing text or help you start writing something completely new.

The platform is a must, and it will save you lots of time (and embarrassing moments like that one time you spelled “expresso” instead of “espresso”).

Pricing: Grammarly is free to use (with upgraded plans available).

AI tools for social media management

Social media is one of the fastest-moving components of marketing. Your clients need you to publish often, engage with their followers, and listen for trends and consumer needs. It’s not an easy job, so AI tools are pivotal to helping automatize and strengthen your agency’s strategy.

These tools automate repetitive social media marketing tasks so you can achieve greater returns for your clients.

7. FeedHive

FeedHive started as a scheduling and publication tool, but has since invested in powerful AI features to make social media content creation better and easier.

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AI tools for marketing agency -FeeHive home screen. AI tools for marketing agency -FeeHive home screen.

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Now the platform helps you create new posts and get them published faster.

FeedHive’s AI collects analytics so you can get more information on your results. The platform also provides an AI chat assistant built on GPT technology. It helps with social media performance predictions and suggestions (like suggesting the best time to post).

Pricing: FeedHive offers an agency plan for multiple clients at $239 a month (billed annually).

8. Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI

Hootsuite is an early entrant in the social media management space, and it’s recently evolved to add AI capabilities.

AI tools for marketing agency - OwlyWriter AI home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - OwlyWriter AI home screen.

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For example, Hootsuite’s OwlyWriter AI is designed to quickly create captions and generate post ideas for all your accounts and segments. It’s a great way to utilize Hootsuite’s winning social media technology with a built-in writer—all in one place.

Pricing: OwlyWriter AI is free for a limited time to Hootsuite users.

9. Lately.ai

Lately.ai creates social media posts from your existing content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Lately.ai home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Lately.ai home screen.

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It’s hard to develop great social media content consistently. But what if I were to say you and your clients already have hundreds of social media posts hiding in the middle of all the other content you’ve created?

Lately.ai pulls all that dormant content from existing web pages, articles, documents, and ebooks. Then it uses AI to turn long-form assets into social media copy so you can publish more relevant and valuable posts with less effort.

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Pricing: Lately.ai offers plans based on your number of social channels, with its first package starting at $49 monthly.

AI tools for automation

One of the best use cases for AI is streamlining operational tasks. Below are a few great platforms to improve key parts of your process.

10. Wordable

Transferring content from Google Docs to a CMS like WordPress can take thousands of hours and dollars. Between formatting posts and optimizing them for SEO, publishing content is a huge time sink. Wordable does it in one click.

AI tools for marketing agency - Wordable home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Wordable home screen.

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The platform takes your Google Docs to WordPress, HubSpot, and Medium. It retains your format, headers, and HTML elements. The app saves you time, so you can focus on publishing more content.

Pricing: Wordable offers a limited plan for free. The paid plan is $50 a month.

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11. Zapier

Zapier is a no-code solution that automates almost any repetitive task.

AI tools for marketing agency - Zapier home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Zapier home screen.

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It works by connecting different platforms with APIs so they work together. If you start a new Word doc for each client project, then create an event in Asana, and generate a bill in an accounting tool, Zapier will link those platforms so it all happens as soon as you create the Word doc.

It’s a great platform for building your own AI solution as you face many predictable actions in your marketing agency.

Pricing: Zapier has a limited free plan with the option to upgrade, starting at $19.99 monthly (billed annually).

12. Taskade AI

If you need a great marketing project management tool, this might be for you. Taskade AI generates task lists and mind maps. It also helps you set up agendas and workflows—all with AI.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Taskade home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Taskade home screen.

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You can collaborate in your workplace and even utilize in-app AI assistance. It’s project management and strategy empowered by AI technology.

Pricing: The platform starts at $19 monthly (billed annually).

AI tools for chatbots

If you’re looking for a way to connect with clients on your agency website or onboard them for your app or portal, these AI solutions will help.

13. Drift

The Drift app is great for communicating with your clients and prospects 24/7. The B2B chatbot uses Drift technology called Conversational AI, which automates conversations.

AI tools for marketing agency - Drift home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Drift home screen.

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The platform is designed to improve your sales pipeline to get more clients. The one downside is that it can be costly, but if it benefits your clients directly (or your agency), the revenue it generates might be worth it.

Pricing: Drift starts at $2,500 monthly.

14. HelpHub by CommandBar

HelpHub is another AI chat solution that learns from your resources, marketing website, content, and more to answer visitor queries on your agency website.

AI tools for marketing agency - HelpHub home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - HelpHub home screen.

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You can equip your clients and prospects with 24/7 assistance powered by AI technology and trained by your documentation.

Pricing: The starter plan is $249 monthly.

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15. Perplexity

The Perplexity AI search platform is handy for content marketing research. You can get it as a browser extension and ask questions as you work on a piece.

AI tools for marketing agency - perplexity home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - perplexity home screen.

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The bot answers you with multiple citations so you can verify the information, dig deeper, and link to sources if necessary (that’s a big win for AI writing!).

The app offers unique answers and resources that help you save time and escape a jam.

Price: Perplexity is free to use. Users can also upgrade to the Pro plan at $20 a month.

AI tools for SEO research

Research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. Here are the top tools you can use for your agency.

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👋 Finding the perfect keywords is a snap with our free Keyword Tool.

16. Keyword Insights

Keyword Insights’ AI technology identifies thousands of keyword ideas, puts them into topic clusters, and helps you create content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Keyword Insights home page.AI tools for marketing agency - Keyword Insights home page.

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It’s a great automated tool for research, but it also helps you plan and outline your strategy. When you are ready to produce content, you click a button, and the information and brief go right to your content writer.

Pricing: The basic plan starts at $58 a month.

17. Clearscope

Clearscope uses AI technology to identify competing website pages and their common keywords, then analyzes your content for comparison. This can shave hours off the time you spend on each piece.

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AI tools for marketing agency - Clearscope home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Clearscope home screen.

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With Clearscope, you input your content and improve your chance of showing up on search engines by adding the suggested keywords and enhancing the piece using a graded scale.

Pricing: Plans start at $199 monthly.

18. Frase.io

Frase does a great job combining SEO research with AI writing. In short, you can do everything in one place to research, outline, write, and optimize your content.

AI tools for marketing agency - Frase home screen.AI tools for marketing agency - Frase home screen.

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Pricing: Subscribers pay $12.66 monthly (billed annually) with options to upgrade packages.

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Choosing the right AI marketing agency tools in 2024

Effective marketing AI tools help you save resources and increase productivity to build better campaigns and strategies. You just have to find the right fit.

It’s best to start with a challenge and work backward. Where are the workflow bottlenecks? What repetitive busywork is a creative contributor constantly bogged down by? Then, look for AI tools that address those challenges. Do that regularly, and you’ll run an even more efficient marketing agency.

Here are the best AI tools for marketing agencies:

  1. ChatGPT
  2. Jasper
  3. Copy.ai
  4. Typeframes
  5. Midjourney
  6. Grammarly
  7. FeeHive
  8. Hootsuite OwlyWriter AI
  9. Lately.ai
  10. Wordable
  11. Zapier
  12. Taskade AI
  13. Drift
  14. HelpHub
  15. Perplexity
  16. Keyword Insights
  17. Clearscope
  18. Frase.io

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

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How to Do a PPC Audit in 8 Simple Steps

My computer’s desktop, to most, appears to be cluttered and disorganized. My teammates are constantly begging me to clean it up. To me, there’s a method to my madness. But if someone else tried to use my desktop, they’d spend weeks trying to decode my scattered thought process.

The same can be said for many PPC accounts. Oftentimes, the original owner creates and manages the account in their own, unique way. When someone new takes over, they have to navigate the existing account without fully understanding its historical background and why it’s been organized the way it is.

The best way to overcome this gap is to do a PPC audit any time you take on an existing Google Ads account. And that’s just one reason you might want to perform a PPC audit. From time to time, it’s just good hygiene to make sure your pay-per-click accounts are in healthy shape.

But how do you actually do a PPC audit? What’s the right process to audit your Google Ads account? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this step-by-step PPC audit guide. These are the steps I follow when I dive into a newly acquired search ads account. You can use this checklist as a handy tool for all future account audits.

🚨 Fast-track your PPC audit! Use the Google Ads Grader to automatically audit your account for free.🚨

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Table of contents

Click to jump to each step of my PPC audit guide:

  1. Check your conversion tracking
  2. Review your targeting
  3. Assess your ad group relevancy
  4. Check how many ads are in each ad group
  5. Dive into ad assets
  6. Review your keyword match types
  7. QA your negative keywords
  8. Create a game plan

First, let’s get clear on what a PPC audit is. A PPC audit is an evaluation of the structure and performance of your paid ad accounts in platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, and Facebook Ads. A PPC audit looks at the setup of key account components like ad groups, campaigns, ads, and more. Regularly auditing your PPC accounts can help you stay ahead of performance trends and optimization opportunities to maximize your marketing ROI. Let’s look at the steps that go into a PPC audit next.

1. Be sure conversions are being tracked (properly)

Are you tracking conversions properly? This is an essential question to ask in any PPC audit. Neglecting to track conversions is one of the biggest mistakes a PPC manager can make. Without this data, it’s impossible to understand whether all of your hard work is paying off! While this should be one of the very first tasks completed after setting up an account, a report from Disruptive Advertising found that only 58% of the 2,000 accounts featured in their study had at least one conversion registered.

ppc audit - google ads conversion tracking screenshot

Google has made this setup easier and easier through the years. Use it!

That’s bad, but this is worse—of this group, only half of the accounts that were “tracking conversions” had the code implemented correctly. Meaning, only 29% of all accounts reviewed passed muster when it came to tracking conversions.

Be sure that your newly acquired account doesn’t fall into this group. If conversions are registered in the account, be watchful for these tell-tale signs that the tracking has been set up improperly:

  • Your click count and conversion count are identical. If this is the case, you either have the most amazing products in the world or your conversion tracking code was added to your landing pages, rather than your thank you/order confirmation page.
  • Your conversion rates are super-high, despite low sales numbers. If so, your conversion tracking may be measuring visits to a product page or home page, rather than an order confirmation.
  • Your conversion count is suspiciously low, suggesting that you’re missing conversions. In this case, the former account manager neglected to track phone call conversions or forgot to add tracking codes to new landing pages.

If no conversions are registered on the account, generating and implementing conversion tracking code should be your first order of business! With this first PPC audit step conquered, your Google Ads conversion rate optimization is off to a good start.

🌱Get more tips on how to grow your PPC strategy with our free guide to hacking Google Ads!

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2. Review campaign-level settings

Setting your campaign targeting settings is a simple activity that takes five minutes, tops, but one small misstep in this section can have a profound impact on your account performance. (You can see how some of our clients learned this the hard way here.) Dive into each of your newly-acquired campaigns to review the previous owner’s targeting settings and ensure they make sense for the business.

Google Ads account setting updatesGoogle Ads account setting updates
Key items to check in on are:

  • Network Settings: The goals, expectations, and overall performance of ads on the Search Network are significantly different than those running on the GDN (get the low-down on each network here). The audit/optimization process that you follow will be dependent on the network you’re targeting.
  • Mobile Bid Adjustments: Do you want to show on mobile devices? If so, make sure that your bid modifiers are high enough to score you visibility for mobile searches. To determine this, segment your performance by device to assess the effectiveness of your existing mobile bids. Is your new company not quite ready for mobile traffic? Set the bids to -100%, until you get your mobile-preferred ads and mobile landing pages up to snuff. I recommend prioritizing this, given the ever-growing percentage of searches occurring on mobile devices.
  • Target Locations: Check to ensure that your company services the regions that your account has opted into. Then, take this one step further and review your geo-reports. You may find that a particular area performs ridiculously well (or ridiculously poorly) and can fine-tune the account to prioritize that location.

Congrats! Another step your PPC optimization checklist knocked out.

3. Assess your ad groups

The general rule of thumb is that an ad group should never contain more than 15-20 keywords and, for auditing purposes, I think this is a good jumping-off point. Scan your newly inherited account to find ad groups that hold more than about 20 keywords. These are likely the groups that will require the most clean-up.

You’re probably thinking, why the heck does the number of keywords matter so much? Realistically, your ad groups’ keyword count won’t impact performance. However, keep in mind that you’re serving the same set of ads for every keyword in a given ad group. If your keyword list is huge, it is likely includes various themes, meaning you’re forced to write generic ad copy.

Instead, your goal should be to populate each ad group with a list of super-granular keywords that all share the same semantic theme. You can then create hyper-specific ads for each ad group that are truly reflective of what the searcher is looking for.

keyword groupingskeyword groupings

I think we can agree that it’d be way easier to write an ad for the second keyword group than the first!

Despite the best of intentions, it’s easy to wind up with a few big ad groups in your account. Even if you start with small, tightly-knit keyword combinations, as more and more terms are added, your ad groups can grow to an unwieldy size. It’s important to QA them regularly and move terms that aren’t a good fit into new ad groups.

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💡Find more ways to clean up your campaigns during your PPC audit using our free guide to Google Ads Account Structure.

4. Check how many ads are in each ad group

If the account you inherit only has one active ad in each ad group, it’s an indication that the previous manager was not testing ad variations, which severely limits account optimization. On the flip side, having multiple active ads per ad group can also be detrimental. Likely, the previous owner was a testing zealot who dreamt up plenty of ad creative and tried to test it all at once (fail) or he just never bothered to end any of his tests (double fail).

The sweet spot you should be shooting for is two to three ad variations per ad group. This is a manageable number of ads to run tests with. Once you’ve identified your winner, pause the losing ad and try testing a new variation.

5. Dive into ad assets

If your Google Ads account doesn’t have any ad assets (formerly known as ad extensions) set up, hop to it! In this day and age, ad assets are not a nice to have, they’re a must for creating competitive ad copy.

ppc audit - google ads asset examplesppc audit - google ads asset examples

Ray-Bans has the right idea. This ad features callout and sitelink assets.

Luckily, since Google’s announcement that assets officially do impact ad rank, most advertisers have gotten their act together and implemented them. However, just because these asstess exist, doesn’t mean you can cross them off of your to-do list.

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Confirm that the assets running are appropriate fits for the business itself. For example, if you’re using call assets, be sure that your company’s phone lines are staffed to handle incoming call volume. If you don’t have someone to answer incoming calls around the clock, schedule the assetss to only appear during your hours of business. If you’re advertising for an e-commerce company with no physical storefront, be sure to eliminate any location assets so your ads don’t appear in Google Maps. Finally, check to ensure that your sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets are truly representative of your offerings and not overly repetitive.

Don’t forget about automated assets! You can view the performance of any automated assets that Google has served alongside your ads from the assets section of Google Ads. Typically, we see that these yield positive performance but, if any appear to be negatively impacting the account, stop the bleed by opting out of them in the advanced extension options settings!

6. Review keyword match type settings

A well-run Google Ads account typically includes keywords set to a variety of match types. Each serves a unique purpose, for example broad match is great for keyword research, while exact helps to ensure you’re only connecting with the most highly-qualified searchers.

ppc audit tools - keyword match type guideppc audit tools - keyword match type guide
One of the most common (and dangerous) account faux-pas is running all keywords on the same match type. We see this most commonly with broad match (since it is Google’s default). Although these broad-match keywords yield plenty of traffic, many of their impressions are from people searching terms that are loosely related to the business, resulting in disastrous click-through and conversion rates and poor Quality Scores. Although broad match is usually the culprit for this problem, using all phrase or exact match can be just as damaging, as they may limit volume considerably.

If the account you’ve inherited is already using mixed match types, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Take the time to dive in and understand the previous owner’s strategy and ensure that it was implemented correctly. Just because they’ve attempted to enact an advanced strategy, like tiered bidding per match type, doesn’t mean they did it right!

🔍 Perfect your keyword strategy using our Free Keyword Tool!

7. QA your negative keyword lists

Negative keywords are your best defense against impressions and clicks from unqualified searchers. If the previous account manager was not utilizing negatives, your work is cut out for you. You can proactively set negatives by doing some guesswork, but with an active account, I like to take more of a reactive approach. Try heading to your query reports to understand exactly what terms have been triggering your ads. Be on the lookout for terms that you do not want to continue showing for and set them as negatives.

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Google Ads master negative keyword listGoogle Ads master negative keyword list

As you can see, we have a robust “master list” of negatives that we use for all campaigns!

If the former account manager added negatives already, review the list with a fine-toothed comb. Confirm that all of the negative terms are genuinely a good fit for the business and are not blocking impressions for any of your keywords. In addition, check your negative keywords’ match type settings to ensure that they are operating as anticipated. I can’t tell you how many accounts I’ve seen with negatives set to “exact” match that are doing absolutely nothing for them. These settings can drastically affect the impact of your negatives.

8. Create your game plan

Now that you have all the groundwork done, you know exactly what you need to do to whip the account into tip-top shape. It’s time to start optimizing! Once you’ve cleaned it up, the real fun begins. Happy auditing! If you try the tips in this PPC audit guide but still want to squeeze more out of your accounts, see how our solutions can help you maximize your PPC success!

Looking for a PPC audit tool?

If you’re tight on time and resources, let a PPC audit tool do the work for you. Get a free, instant account audit with our Google Ads Grader.

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