41 Experts Answer: If You could only use 3 Adwords tools for optimisation, which 3 would you choose?

Have you ever wondered what Adwords tools the experts are using to consistently achieve fantastic results with Adwords? We decided to ask 41 Seasoned experts what their top 3 Adwords tools are.

Top 5 Adwords Tools:

  1. Adwords Editor – 19 votes
  2. Excel – 17 votes
  3. Adwords Scripts – 12 votes
  4. Unbounce tied with Call tracking technology (Callrail) and Adalysis – 5 votes
  5. Optmyzly – 4 votes


Matt Van Wagner – Findmefaster


  1. My brain: All other Adwords tools pale in comparison. I find that this tool, though universally available, is used far too sparingly by PPC account caretakers.
  2. Microsoft Excel: I have yet to find any aspect of account management. that Excel isn’t useful tor. Creating and uploading, ads, ad groups, campaigns. Analyzing performance, generating stats, reporting and charting performance trends and budgets. If I only had two Adwords tools, it would be my brain and Excel.
  3. AdWords Reports: In particular, Search Query and Placement Reports.

Kevin Lee – Didit


  1. Maestro: Our internal bid management platform
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. Regular AdWords reporting



Kirk Williams – Zato 


  1. Adwords/Bing Editor: once you begin to identify tips and tricks available for bulk editing, you will be amazed how quickly you can make bulk optimization decisions.
  2. Automated Alerts in Adwords Interface: (there are many alerts you can set up that don’t change anything, but notify you of changes in important campaigns or ad groups so you can quickly identify issues).
  3. Optmyzr: I recently began using Optmyzr and have been extremely pleased with the quality of its suggestions, as well as the Adwords tool options. If you are an ecommerce marketer so using Google Shopping a lot, Optmyzr is practically a must-have for quick account builds.

Brad Geddes – Certified Knowledge


That’s pretty easy; these are the 3 Adwords tools I use by far the most in managing AdWords:

  1. Excel
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. AdAlysis.com

While Excel & the Editor are probably common answers; they are the two most indispensable Adwords tools.

Adam Lundquist – Nerdsdoitbetter


The three Adwords tools I use consistently use to optimize for AdWords are:

  1. UnBounce: This allows me to update, change and optimize my landing pages for my lead gen clients. It makes it way easier for me as most of my clients care much more about leads and conversions than clicks.
  2. SpyFu: This Adwords tool allows me to get the jump and see what keywords and ads my competition has found to be successful.
  3. CallRail: Lately, clients have been telling me about the value of calls. CallRail allows me to track it as granularly as I need to.

Rocco Alberto Baldassarre – Zebraadvertisement


  1. The search query report: This is an essential Adwords tool for finding new long tail keywords. It is also a great tool to add negative keywords to your campaigns. I recommend using it at least twice a week or more if you have enough traffic
  2. The new Adwords reporting: The new reporting system is ideal to identify data trends and consequently optimize the account. It’s simplicity makes it easy to use for all advertisers.
  3. Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a key Adwords tool not only because it tracks the performance of a website but also because it allows advertisers to identify new opportunities such as geographic and device performance across multiple traffic sources. Google Analytics is especially important for e-commerce websites since it also tracks sales across multiple sources.

Luca Senatore – GenieGoals


  1. Excel
  2. Adwords Editor
  3. Optimizely



Ann Stanley – Anicca


  1. Analytics: so you can see all the addtional data associated with the keyphrase – such as assisted clicks, comparison with other channels (even though you can import a lot of this data and Goals into AdWords)
  2. Adwords Editor: in combination with Excel – the ability to manipulate ad groups and campaigns off line
  3. Call tracking technology: (Google or 3rd party) so you can optimsie against calls for lead gen campaigns

Frederick Vallaeys – Optmyzr


When asked what my three favorite Adwords tools are for optimizing AdWords accounts, note that I may be biased because I’ve been building some of these tools for over a decade, either at Google, or now at Optmyzr.

  1. AdWords Editor: I was one of the founding members of the team that started the AdWords Editor at Google. The purpose for the tool was to help agencies and advanced PPC managers complete the tasks they needed to do often more quickly by removing the constraints associated with a web app. Remember that back in the day when AdWords Editor was introduced, the internet was not as fast, browsers were slower, and Ajax was not commonly used so we spent a lot of time waiting for pages to reload to do even the simplest of optimizations. If you need to make optimizations in bulk, AdWords Editor is definitely the tool to try.
  2. AdWords Scripts: This is another free offering from Google but it hasn’t quite gotten the adoption of the AdWords Editor, partly because it requires some coding knowledge, and that scares many account managers. The thing to know about AdWords Scripts is that if you know how to do copy-and-paste, you can use Scripts. There are plenty of free scripts that you can install in your account where you can either run them as they are or make minor modifications to integrate them with the secret sauce of how you manage accounts.
  3. Optmyzr.com: Me and my team created Optmyzr because we found that there are certain workflows that virtually all account managers like to follow, but that are not easily done using existing tools. For example, methodologies as simple as finding queries that have conversions and adding them as new keywords, or finding and pausing underperforming ad variations simply take too long using most other tools. That’s why we built a set of over 20 specialized Adwords tools to help you manage PPC accounts more effectively. Our offering includes PPC reporting, Enhanced Scripts, One-Click Optimizations™ and Data Insight tools like the Historical Quality Score Tracker.

David Szetela – Bruce Clay


My three favorite Adwords tools are:

  1. AdWords Editor
  2. BingAds Editor
  3. iSpionage


Aaron Levy – EliteSEM


  1. Conversion Optimizer: I believe this tool is WAY undervalued, even for those who use a bid tool. I trust conversion optimizer for just about anything dynamic in the Google realm (DSA’s, Dynamic & regular remarketing). Google has much more predictive data on the back end than they’d ever let on the front. Let CVO take care of the bidding so you can handle targeting & creative.
  2. SuperMetrics (and Google Sheets): admittedly I’m only starting to get my feet wet with SuperMetrics, but it’s a Adwords tool that can automate a ton of pesky data pulls that you’d otherwise have to do manually. Spend your time digging through the data, not harnessing it. Plus, it plugs into SEMrush!
  3. AdWords labels: These are criminally under-used by, well, everyone, but especially anyone with a hyper-segmented account. Create labels for promotion copy or ad test to make automated rules fire correctly. Put labels to identify the source of new keywords. Break your campaigns down by country? Label them by region, continent and native language to roll up behavior. Label everything, and label often.

Christi Olson – pointit


  1. Excel: First and foremost if I could only use three Adwords tools, Excel would have to be on my list. I recommend all PPC specialist become an expert in Excel and then take their skill sets to the next level to learn macro’s to automate some tasks. The ability to pull performance data and manipulate it in Excel is essential for digital marketing managers to do everything from reporting and analysis to bid optimization. Also, don’t forget to install some of the extra addins to Excel that will give you direct access to additional tools and resources to help automate and speed up your process. I always recommend Bing Ads Intelligence to get indepth reporting and SEM insights directly into XLS or if you use Adobe Analytics their ReportBuilder to automate reporting across channels. If I was only given one tool for my day to day SEM management it would be Excel.
  2. Adalysis: The next Adwords tool that I would use for optimization is Adalysis, from Brad Geddes, because it makes ad copy testing simple, easy and scalable. I love that it’s an easy to use tool that gives you quick and actionable insight for ad copy performance and makes A/B/n testing and statistical significance a breeze. It helps with account set-up and management.
  3. ProductsUp: The final Adwords tool if I only ever had three that I was allowed to use would be determined if I were running a large variety of shopping campaigns or not! If I were managing a significant amount of shopping campaigns I would want access to a third-party technology like ProductsUp or ProductStream by CommerceHub that allows for feed optimization to keep my shopping campaigns humming along with customized and optimized feeds. If I weren’t managing a significant amount of shopping campaigns then I would want to leverage a competitive intelligence technology to be able to monitor what’s happening across the marketplace. I prefer SpyFu to some of the other platforms because it is very easy to use and I like the way that the data is presented and it can easily be transitioned out of the platform and into Excel for further manipulation.

Andrew lolk – Whiteshark media


  1. AdWords Editor
  2. Adalysis
  3. Call tracking (if lead gen business) or Datafeedwatch (if ecommerce business)



Perry Marshall – PerryMarshall.com


If you could only use 3 Adwords tools for optimisation, which 3 would you choose?

  1. Grade Level Tool
  2. Google Adwords Scorecard
  3. Swiss Army Knife



Jamie Smith – StrategyAnalyzer


  1. Google Tools: Adwords Editor / Adwords Scripts / Google Analytics
  2. iSpionage Competitive intelligence and campaign watch 
  3. Enterprise Bid management (Acquisio or Kenshoo)



Pauline Jakober – Grouptwentyseven


  1. Google analytics: Although we can see lots of analtyics data in AdWords, using Google analtyics allows us to view the big picture. We can see how our clients’ PPC campaigns perform against other channels like organic, social, email and even other PPC campaigns that are running via affiliates or other retargeting platforms. Another great thing about GA is that you can visualize and digest the data differently – you can set up dashboards based on the important metrics you want to see at a glance.
  2. AdWords Dimensions tab: I love this Adwords tool and this is something my team has unanimously named as a daily tool they use and find extremely valuable. I outline some of the highlights on SEL. They are: time analysis, geographic analysis and search terms.Viewing exactly how the budget is being spent and what the actual queries are that are driving revenue and/or leads is, of course, imperative. Both Analtyics and AdWords provide this data so you can negate irrelevant terms and also capitalize on the terms that are working well.
  3. Keyword search query reports: Viewing exactly how the budget is being spent and what the actual queries are that are driving revenue and/or leads is, of course, imperative. Both Analtyics and AdWords provide this data so you can negate irrelevant terms and also capitalize on the terms that are working well.

Andrew Goodman – Pagezero


  1. AdWords filters: used as a bid management methodology. If you check the available parameters, you’ll see just how powerful this is. Want to isolate a certain match type and a certain Quality Score of keyword at a certain volume and performance level, and then bid all of those up or down? This takes merely seconds. Some of the bid rules I use here will impact 50,000 keywords in an account, and the bid changes take about a minute.
  2. Ad testing rotation function in AdWords: If that isn’t tool-ish enough for you, I’d certainly cite Brad’s Adalysis, or the similar functionality offered in Fred’s Optmyzr, to provide alerts to ad test winners and losers across a large account. To hammer home the mathematical principles behind ad testing, I frequently recommend that people run an ad test or two manually through a statistical significance calculator like the one online offered by House of Kaizen. Oftentimes you’ll be intuitively convinced an ad “won” and it’s only winning to 80% confidence. Overall, people must be cognizant that much of the data in accounts is random rather than causal, and managing to random data is little better than chasing shadows.
  3. Optimizely: It feels like we need to get a conversion improvement, landing page testing tool into the mix here. Optimizely gets the nod, though the greatest ROI we’ve seen has been with Monetate — but you’ll pay accordingly for the latter.

Andreas Reiffen – crealytics


  1. Segmentation: With “segmentation” Google gives you the possibility to optimize accounts according to the performance of different segments. This way you can easily translate your analysis into actions. RLSA audiences, demographics (age and gender), device (Mobile vs. Desktop), day parting and geo targeting are the most important segments every PPC pro should use.
    We use different bid adjustments for each of these segments and layer them regarding to the individual performance in order to get the best performance out of the traffic we buy.
  2. AdWords Scripts: AdWords scripts are really great because they enable us to quickly build new, custom functionality on top of AdWords. It feels that there is an infinite number of requirements which are specific to individual businesses. This means that none of the PPC technologies on the market will ever be able to cover all of these. Building an AdWords script takes just a fraction of the time and effort compared to developing new software features and integrating into existing software tools.
    These are scripts we are using heavily at Crealytics: Quality checks (i.e. number of products in feeds), health checks (comparing data of yesterday with a specific set of data) Adjusting Shared library for a couple of accounts (for the use of negatives) Script that automatically pauses and activates campaigns (i.e. for planned site outages) Automatic labelling of ads / ad groups (condition to use dynamic ad params) Identify promising new keywords in Shopping
  3. Dynamic Ad Parameters: CTR is key to success and therefore we all have to make sure that our ads stand out from the competition. Dynamic ad parameters can do a great job. In the same way as we use keyword insertion we can now also dynamically insert prices or stock levels into ad copies. We also use dynamic ad parameters to write more compelling promotional ads (e.g. “Autumn Sale: Only X More Days!”)

Andy Taylor – RKG


Bid optimization is key to paid search success, and thus the Google AdWords tools I find the most useful all give advertisers the ability to optimize for the expected value of traffic.

  1. Mobile Bid Modifiers: The value of mobile clicks is much different than that of desktop, and advertisers have to take advantage of these modifiers in order to pay the appropriate amount per click for phone traffic. Hopefully the future will hold the release of modifiers specifically for tablet devices as well.
  2. Geographic Bid Modifiers: Whether using standard location types such as city or zip code, or location-based demographics such as Google’s average household income targets, advertisers should be taking advantage of geographic bid adjustments in order to vary bids based on the expected value of different regions within the areas targeted by their ads. For advertisers with brick-and-mortar stores, targeting areas around store locations with more aggressive bids and/or different ad messaging can help to drive more offline orders.
  3. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): Understanding and adjusting bids and ad copy for users who have interacted with sites in different ways can help advertisers achieve efficiency goals as well as pursue other initiatives, such as customer retention. However, measuring how many orders from past site visitors are incrementally driven by a paid search click is vitally important to properly adjusting paid search bids for past visitors.

Tom Demers – MeasuredSEM


In terms of tools for AdWords if I were limited to 3 without knowing the specific accounts I’d be working on, I think I’d go with:

  1. Excel
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. Google’s Keyword Tool

The reason there is just because those are three free to low cost, versatile tools that you can use to scale up or scale down, depending on the type of campaign you’re managing. I use a lot of other tools to dive deeper on specific tasks (such as keyword research, bid management, reporting, etc.) and if you were managing a number of small to mid-sized accounts you might leverage something like WordStream or if you knew you had an enterprise focus and/or a big roster of clients you might opt to use Adwords tools tailored to those clients (like Acqusio or Marin), but those may not be well-suited to every kind of campaign you’d be running.

Thomas Stern – Zog Digital


Like others you’ve spoken with and probably what you’ve experience yourself, there are a lot of Adwords tools that are used for search marketing. When whittling it down, these three are probably used most regularly by our team:

  1. Search Query Report: Solves our need to know which keyword queries shouldn’t be matching to our targets, as well as new keyword ideas that may not currently be targets but are performing well.
  2. Keyword Planner: An indispensable resource for starting any new campaign or ad group. We use the tool and API to get keyword ideas, identify related keyword targets + derivatives and build-out account hierarchy bids structures.
  3. Ad Preview Tool: We need to know which campaigns are winning the auction for keyword targets throughout the day and for different locations. This are essential to identify any overlap in coverage, budget shortfalls or if geo-targeting may not be adequately arranged.

Dave Davis – Redflymarketing


The three Adwords tools that we use for AdWords optimization are, in order of preference/priority:

  1. Google Analytics: Probably not as sexy as some other digital marketing or search marketing tools but there has been much tighter integration between AdWords and Google Analytics in the past two years. Treemaps, video campaign insight, conversion and engagement import, attribution and the ability to now segment remarketing lists all mean that GA is now a vital tool in our arsenal. We are currently in the beta testing program for a while bunch of new features that will increase this tight integration much more than most people could have ever imagined. The next 6 months are going to be very interesting for those who fully utilize GA and AdWords together.
  2. AdWords Scripts (and AWQL) and the AdWords API: The next two Adwords tools that we use have, fortunately, replaced the need for us to use Doubleclick and other PPC management and optimization tools. We have tried every optimization tool on the planet. We were once happy to pay 10% of spend for the 10-15% improvements in ROAS we could get from these tools. However, now with AdWords scripts and the API, we can pick the bidding strategies that worked from those tools and code them up very easily into a .Net desktop optimization recipe or save them in a shared library (inside AdWords itself), to test and implement on live accounts. We have scripts for optimizing budgets, position, conversion cost based on buying cycle stage, bid gap “surfing”, AB and Multivariate ad copy and image testing. Many of these can even be implemented with either flexible bidding strategies or automated bidding rules within the AdWords UI itself. No longer do we have to rely on some companies “secret sauce” to manage bids and optimize. We’ve come to the point where it’s more cost effective and efficient to pick and choose the particular optimization that suits your business goal and then simply choose the script or API recipe that can achieve this. There’s a thriving community of advertisers, business owners and even Googlers sharing these optimization scripts and recipes. We’ll even be releasing a free desktop suite of these optimizations in January for advertisers who don’t care about the nitty gritty and it will all be for free.
  3. Adwords Editor: An honorable mention would be the new AdWords editor version 11. It now contains some really powerful layered search and filtering options that allow granular keyword optimization and change management much easier than before.

Susan Waldes – Fivemill


  1. Excel: I always keep it open, usually have 10+ excel documents going at any given time
  2. Adwords Editor: I’ve been in it long enough to remember what life was like without bulk Adwords tools and it enables doing things much faster, better and at a more meaningful scale. If you want to know what Adwords was like before Adwords Editor, launch some linked in campaigns.
  3. Google Analytics: SEM is becoming more and more about reaching the user rather than the keyword and Google Analytics offers a free accessible data source that gives you valuable information about who comes to a target site, who converts, who doesn’t and why. Whether looking to improve a conversion funnel, or trying to develop a target persona, Google Analytics gives a depth of actionable data that I use on a daily basis. Also, newer functionality for remarketing, RLSA and conversion tracking extend the toolset available within Adwords and allows execution on more sophisticated strategies than can be achived in adwords alone.

Melissa Mackey – beyondthepaid


  1. AdAlysis
  2. Excel
  3. Acquisio Bid & Budget Manager



Larry kim – wordstream


  1. remarketing
  2. call only campaigns
  3. Adwords scripts



James Svoboda – Webranking


  1. AdWords Editor
  2. Excel
  3. KeyWordTool.io



Jeff allen – PPC Hero


  1. Excel
  2. Call tracking (Dialogtech, Navis or Invoca)
  3. landing page optimization tool (Optimizely, Unbounce or VWO)



Ian Laurie – Portent


  1. Excel
  2. Adwords scripting.



Wesley Parker – Clicteq


  1. Adwords Editor: Adwords editor is an essential for any ppc manager who is working with larger accounts, it allows you to build and optimised Adwords accounts at scale, even when your not connected to the internet.
  2. Excel: Excel is another hugely useful Adwords tool. It allows you to easily analyse and aggregate data so you can analyse the performance of your accounts. The pivot table function is especially useful for determining metrics such as your most profitable position and many others. Combined with Adwords editor excel also gives you the ability to build huge campaigns at scale from a spreadsheet, which is a huge time saver.
  3. Adwords Scripts: Adwords scripts are invaluable for automating Adwords tasks. Scripts are useful for a range of things. For example you can use scripts that works out the probability that one ad has won so that you will always have enough data to make the right call, you can even have the script email you and label the ads once the test is complete. Scripts can be used to monitor and calculate your quality score at account and ad group level that you can not see within the Adwords interface. They can be used to aggregate data from different elements of your adverts so that you can see the highest performing headlines, calls to actions and other elements so you can draw deep insight. One of the best things about scripts is the ability to look at third party data sources. You can build scripts to bid based on the weather and other factors such as the amount of products in a category on your website at any one point to ensure that your budget is being well spent. Scripts are generally underused by advertisers due to the fact that coding is required, however there are several pre made scripts that can be copied and pasted into your account so you can get the full benefit without any coding experience.

Michael Madew – Mostlymedia


  1. A landing page optimiser (Unbounce, Optimizely)
  2. Google Keyword Planner
  3. My brain



Sam Owen – Head of PPC at Netflix


  1. Excel/Google Sheets
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. Scripts



Luke Alley – Avalaunch Media


  1. Call Rail – critical to help measure effectiveness of campaigns given the value of calls. Many cool features but currently loving the ease of Analytics integration in order to import calls as goals, and then goals as conversions within Adwords. Powerful insights there.
  2. Unbounce – while we can and do build landing pages outside of Unbounce, this Adwords tool makes the creation more simple and editing even simpler. The a/b testing is quick and easy to use and understand. Well worth the money.
  3. Adalysis – for larger accounts this is a luxury to have in order to test ads at scale. Interface is intuitive. Pricing is reasonable. Insights gained pay for this Adwords tool and more.


Martin Roettgerding – PPC Epiphany


  1. Excel
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. Adwords Scripts



Samantha Noble – Koozai


  1. SEMRush
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. AdWords Interface



Mike Rhodes – WebSavvy


  1. Optmyzr
  2. Excel
  3. Adwords Scripts



Kate Watts – Rocketmill


  1. Excel
  2. AdWords Scripts
  3. The Human Brain



Matt Hopson – Screaming Frog


  1. AdWords Editor
  2. Excel
  3. AdWords Scripts



Richard Fergie – Eanalytica


  1. Excel
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. AdWords scripts



Dean Marsden – Koozai


  • AdWords Editor: Adwords editor is a must for fast campaign creation and management of multiple PPC accounts.
  • Ubersuggest Keyword Research Tool: Ubersuggest Keyword Research Tool gives additional keyword ideas to the ones you would get from Google own Keyword Planner. Keywords from Ubersuggest are gathered from actual popular search queries on Google so more likely to get traffic & conversions.
  • Unbounce: Unbounce landing page creation tool is great for maximising your PPC traffic’s conversion rate. It works particularly well for lead generation, often achieving double the conversion rate that we would normally get from a standard webpage.

Mark Tillison – Tillison Consulting


  1. Your Brian: The primary and most important tool of all is your brain. I find that many AdWords users miss great opportunities and waste a heap of money not thinking their way around user experience and buying behaviour and patterns. It’s often easier to adjust bids according to days of the week or for particular devices which can solve address the symptoms of poor performance, but not the cause.
  2. Adwords Editor: The offline AdWords Editor is irreplaceable for managing AdWords accounts. Many of the functions and optimisation processes would take hours using the online AdWords editor – tasks which can be completed in the offline version in minutes. I’m not yet a fan of the newer version over the old one, but Google is promising some updates soon which should make it more efficient to use.
  3. Analytics: Analysing user behaviour in Google Analytics for campaigns, ad groups, specific keywords or for different locations and demographics is essential to achieve the greatest ROI from AdWords campaigns. It’s an essential tool in the PPC Manager’s arsenal.

Jeff Sauer – Jeffalytics


  1. Search terms report: To refine my keyword list and generate negative keywords
  2. Ad Extensions: To stand out from the crowd and qualify users
  3. Conversion Optimizer: To tap into Google’s machine learning capabilities
wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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