Want more leads? Maybe… but probably what you really want is better leads. It’s 2019, after all – B2B marketers have evolved past “lead gen 101”. They need leads that contribute to pipeline. Leads that become closed deals and real revenue.
Plenty of research backs this up. But here’s just one example: 58% of marketers said their top priority was lead quality.
Only 46% said it was lead quantity.
Getting higher-quality leads is a great goal, but it means you have to think more strategically about your ppc lead generation advertising. You have to think beyond the first click – way beyond it. So while many of the tools we’ve listed here are expressly for ppc, a couple are for optimizing what happens after the click.
Some of these ppc tools may be brand new to you, some will be familiar. Some you may already use. We’ve also included a handful of tools that aren’t primarily known as pay per click tools – but if you know how to use them, they can really help B2B lead generation campaigns.
PPC Lead Generation Competitive Analysis Tools
SpyFu can show you detailed information about your competitors’ SEO and pay per click campaigns, including keywords, estimated spend, estimated traffic, and even the ads they’ve run. It will give you suggestions for negative keywords, tell you who their top organic and paid competitors are, and more. SpyFu’s new tool, Nacho Analytics, even promises to basically show you your competitors’ analytics reports.
Ahrefs is another tool that has similar functionality to SpyFu. They’re primarily known for SEO, but because SEO and PPC are so complementary, you could easily find ways to optimize your ppc accounts with this tool. Same goes for Moz, which is also a terrific SEO analysis tool.
SEMRush is another competitive analysis tool that can be used for both SEO and PPC. It can help you:
- analyze your ppc strategy and your competitors’ strategies
- organize your keywords into ad groups more effectively
- find negative keywords (more on that below)
- research your competitors’ keywords and ads
This is a brand-new tool Facebook has put out to offer better transparency for its ad platform. It’s excellent for competitive analysis. You can pick up ideas for ad creative testing and creation, and it will show you which countries your competitors are advertising in.
Audience and keyword research ppc lead generation tools
You can discover new keywords with Google Trends, but that’s not the most interesting thing about it. It’s the location data that’s so tantalizing.
Google Trends can help you find which locations to target for your lead generation ads. This is important because if your ppc budget is limited, you may not be able to afford to advertise country-wide. But if you can hone in at the state level (or the province level for Canada and other countries), sometimes you can cut off a slice of the market that is just enough more profitable to make a previously-failing campaign work.
If you serve customers across the country but need to optimize your spend, search with your keywords on Google Trends and see which states tend to have the most searches. Google Trends will also show you which terms people use in those states.
If you wanted to, you could even drill down to the metro level. In the example below, New York state looks like it’s a rich opportunity to target. But really, it’s only the New York metro area that’s worth targeting.
If you serve clients locally, of course, you should not be running national campaigns. We still see ppc ads for local businesses in national, (geographically unrelated) searches. If it’s the only thing you get out of this article, please: Don’t advertise to people you can’t serve.
Keyword tools for ppc lead generation
The Google Search Terms Report.
A great negative keywords list is an essential part of ppc campaign optimization, especially if you want quality leads. And while there are many ways to develop a negative keyword list, there are also a few tools that can help.
Start with the search terms report in your Google Ads account. To find it, go to the campaign you’re interested in, then the Keywords tab, then Select “Search Terms” from the Search tab.
You might also want to borrow some negative keywords from our own suggested negative keywords list. It’s designed expressly for B2B marketers, and expressly to help you cull the type of searches that might technically generate a lead, but end up going nowhere (like students or bloggers doing research).
Many of the comprehensive ppc tools also offer their own negative keyword features. SpyFu, for example, can give you great ideas for your negative keyword lists. And WordStream has a free negative keyword tool.
There is also the paid negative keyword tool Karooya. It promises to save 10-15% of your monthly ad spend “in minutes.” The cost is based on your monthly ppc ad spend. An ad budget of up to $10,000 would incur a $150 one-time fee.
Google Ads’ call extensions can “significantly increase clickthrough rate” according to Google. But they can be the devil to track. Or at least they used to be.
There are many services that offer call tracking, and several that offer call tracking specifically for Google Ads and Bing ads. Invoca is one; their pricing starts at $1,000 per month. CallRail may fit your budget better, especially if you just want to run a test. Their prices start at $45 to integrate with Google Ads and Analytics, or Bing Ads or Facebook ads.
Leads generated from call extensions do tend to be higher quality than average. It makes sense: If you can get someone to call your company, they’re more likely to actually be interested in doing business with you than someone who downloaded an ebook.
Landing Page and Website Optimization Tools
Speed up your landing pages with the Think With Google’s Test My Site tool.
Conversion rates are directly tied to page speed. So if you want to increase conversions, you want fast pages.
You’ve probably heard of Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool, but they’ve got a new speed tool that’s in some ways better. Better in that it easily lets you benchmark a page’s speed against its competitors. It will also show you how much money you’re losing every month by having a slow page. For lead generation marketers, just enter the value of a lead where the tool asks for Average Order Value.
So if you’ve wanted to speed up your landing pages, but you couldn’t get your team or your boss behind the project, go try this tool. Then go back to those laggards and show them how much it’s costing to have slow pages.
This is another tool that speaks to “thinking beyond the click.” What people do after they click through to your site is at the crux of improving lead quality. Ideally, you need to track them past the first conversion. Google Analytics is the best free tool available to do that, though it does fall short in that you can’t track the identity of individual users across multiple sessions.
Using Google Analytics to improve lead quality could be the topic of an entire blog post (and maybe even a book), but we have several resources that will help you improve lead quality without spending too much time:
- 27 B2B Marketing Measurement Reports in Google Analytics
- 7 Ways to Increase Accuracy and Insights in Google Analytics
- 15 Free Resources to Discover & Learn Google Analytics (from Google)
Track and analyze your competitors’ landing pages with Ispionage’s Landing Page Gallery.
How your landing pages perform has a massive influence over the quality of your leads.
So wouldn’t you like a little bit of competitive edge there?
You can, of course, check your competitors’ landing pages yourself. But Ispionage will also track landing pages across multiple industries. It’s a great resource for developing new landing page designs and new ideas for landing page tests. It also has robust competitive analysis tools for PPC, and can help you find more keywords, too.
Speaking of which… you’ll also need a good landing page builder tool. Unbounce, LeadPages, or Instapage all work well. You may also want to rethink how you map your keywords to your landing pages. That alone can make a major difference in conversion rates and lead quality.
Form analytics… did you know that is a thing? It is, and Hotjar does it. It can show you how people are interacting with the forms on your landing pages. I know – analytics AND forms, riveting! But when you double conversion rates, get a massive raise and a promotion… that’s pretty exciting.
Formisimo is another form analytics tool worth testing.
Landing page split-testing tools.
If you aren’t split-testing your landing pages… you’re almost certainly not getting as much out of your ad spend as you could be.
There are many tools for split-testing landing pages, but the two most popular ones are Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. Visual Website Optimizer is the more affordable of the two and is often recommended to split-testing “beginners.”
There’s also Adobe’s Target, AB Tasty, Monetate, and Google Optimize. All the full-featured landing page creator tools also have split-testing features. Use whatever integrates with your stack best, but please: Test your landing pages.
Novel Ways to Boost PPC Lead Generation
You don’t have to limit your ppc lead generation to traditional lead generation forms. Interactive content can be used to generate leads and to qualify leads. A tool like SnapApp (or other interactive tool creators) can help you create calculators, assessments, even a quiz or an interactive PDF. Those lead generation formats are all excellent at our real goal here: To generate higher-quality leads.
So consider sending some of your ppc traffic to an interactive tool, rather than a traditional lead generation download/opt-in form. It could get you dramatically better leads… and make things much more interesting for your prospects, too.
Here’s an example of a lead qualifying question that can be embedded into a PDF:
Wistia’s Turnstile lead generation tool.
Here’s another tool to use as an alternative to the traditional lead generation downloads and opt-in forms. With Turnstile you can get leads from video content.
You already know how huge video marketing is. So how about using it for your lead generation? You’ll get higher quality leads if you delay the opt-in form until it’s at least 15 to 20 seconds into the video, or at the very end. You’ll get even higher quality leads (though far fewer) if you make the lead form optional.
Traditional PPC Lead Generation Management Tools
Google Ads Editor.
Are you still clunking around your Google Ads account to make changes via a desktop? Stop. The Google Ads Editor is a power tool for power users. If this much power scares you, build up your Ads Editor skills first.
Bing Ads Editor.
Same principle, different tool. And yes, you should be advertising on Bing.
Tools / Platforms to Manage Your PPC Lead Generation Campaigns
PPC advertising is one area where all the anticipation over AI has become real. This is true both on the user side (many of the tools we’re about to mention use machine learning, if not full-fledged AI), and on the advertising platform side. Google and Facebook’s platforms are increasingly taking more and more tasks away from ppc marketers, and having the advertising algorithms do the heavy lifting – like with Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization.
If you’ve ever managed a big ppc account, this won’t be much of a surprise. It’s tedious to change the bids on 1,300 ad groups… every week. So this is one area where marketers may not care one jot if “the machines” take over this part of their jobs.
So here are the tools that can offer you machine-learning level ad management. This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers the major players. We have listed these tools in alphabetical order.
Acquisio’s ad management tool works with Google Ads and Bing. It will set up and launch campaigns, manage running campaigns. And optimize and report on those campaigns.
AdStage focuses on helping marketers with rules management and reporting.
Kenshoo’s “full funnel” tracking features will be especially helpful for ppc lead generation marketers who want higher quality leads.
If you need to have a multi-channel view of your prospects, this software may be a fit. It works with SEM, social, Amazon ads, and helps identify audiences to improve advertising on any platform.
This tool can automate bids, manage rules, handle reporting, scripts and other automations. It also works with Google Shopping Ads and Google’s Data Studio.
Click Fraud Protection with PPC Protect.
Click fraud is a real problem, and it’s almost certainly affecting your ads. While it’s probably not worthwhile to bother with click fraud software if you spend less than, say, $10,000 a month on ppc lead generation, if your budget is higher, it’s worth a test.
PPC Protect is only one of many click fraud prevention tools, but it’s probably the best known. And they have a 30-day free trial.
PPC lead generation has gotten more complex over the last few years. The tools within the advertising platforms are more sophisticated, and having to find higher quality leads makes the work even more challenging.
Fortunately, we have tools that are up to the challenge. Are you?