For all businesses, particularly small businesses or start-ups, taking their first steps into digital marketing can be a little nerve wracking. For many people, just putting a chunk money in and hoping for positive results is their only approach. If it’s successful, they invest more, if not, some people simply stop advertising all together. These days digital marketing is not an option, it’s essential, and stopping altogether will only leave people in the dust of their competitors. Having guidance on the best route to take, and an idea of the sort of results and returns that they can expect from their investment gives most business owners and even marketing professionals a lot more confidence when putting together their marketing strategy. Luckily Google have some great, often little known about, tools and features that can make forecasting and planning a lot more reliable. 

1. The Performance Planner

Performance planner is a tool that lets you create plans for your advertising spend, and see how changes to campaigns might affect key metrics and overall performance.

Using performance planner, you can:

  1. Create a plan to see forecasts for your campaign.
  2. Explore your forecast by adjusting different campaign settings.
  3. Quickly implement changes prescribed by your plan.

This means you can see your campaigns’ projected monthly and quarterly performance. Get suggestions that can help your campaigns perform better for the same budget. And also Find out how your spend and performance goals are affected if you change your campaigns settings. 

To give the most accurate forecasts possible, performance planner takes into account billions of search queries and is usually updated every 24 hours. Performance planner then simulates relevant ad auctions in aggregate, including variables like seasonality, competitor activity, landing page, etc. it then forecasts conversion types in the “Conversions” column of your Google Ads performance reports.

After running simulations and collecting data, performance planner uses machine learning to fine-tune your forecasts.

2. Audience Insights 

Audience insights are designed to help you find new audiences by showing valuable information on the people who’ve previously interacted with your website or are on your remarketing lists. 

For example, if you’re using Google Ads conversion tracking, Audience insights can help you find audiences related to your ‘All converters’ remarketing list to expand your targeting or adjust your bids to better reach these high-performing audiences.

The benefits are:

  • Find new and relevant audiences to expand your ad group targeting.
  • Discover the demographics, locations, devices and interests that make up your remarketing lists.
  • Drive sales with new customers who are most likely to convert on your website.

Let’s look at an example:

A Bike shop checks the Google Ads audience insights report for their ‘All converters’ list. They discover that the people who typically convert on their website are: men, ages 35 to 54, Health & Fitness Buffs, they mostly use mobile devices and currently are in the market for Bicycles & Accessories. They could decide to use this information to create a campaign with ads that target this audience profile specifically, further increasing their chance of a conversion.

3. Reach Planner

For many people, visual mediums can be a powerful asset for their marketing endeavours. YouTube in itself has become a massive platform, with 1.9 billion monthly users so is a very attractive place to advertise.

If you’re advertising on YouTube but not sure which ad formats to go for or how much budget to give them then the Reach Planner tool is for you. 

The tool allows advertisers to forecast the reach and frequency achievable on YouTube and across Google’s video partners. Similar to the Performance planner you are also able to simulate expected results based on changes you can make. You can customize audiences to give yourself a better understanding of how, where and to whom to push your’ products or services.

4. The Keyword Planner

The keyword planner is probably one of the most practical tools on this list if you’re planning on doing Google Search campaigns. This tool really harnesses the vast amounts of search data that Google collects on all of its users. 

You can use Keyword Planner to assist you with researching keywords. Many people will be wondering what search terms people might use when searching for products or services like theirs. The first, and simplest method when using the Keyword planner, is to simply allow the tool to scan your website and pull the relevant keywords based on the content of your website. You can review these keywords by Average monthly searches, what the competition is on them in the ads auction and the price you should expect to pay on that keyword.

Alternatively, you can enter specific keywords for the products or services you offer. For example, if we go back to our Bike Shop and they enter “bike accessories” into the tool they’ll be shown statistics on keywords relating to bike accessories. Like below.

Once you’ve identified appropriate keywords you can use the keyword planner’s “Get search volume and forecasts” section to take your forecasting a step further by using historical statistics and traffic forecasts.

Forecasts predict clicks and estimated conversions and can give you an idea of how a list of keywords might perform for a given bid and budget. These forecasts can also help guide your decision on which bids and budgets to set.

Below are some of our bike accessories keywords we found from the research tool.

5. Google Ads Editor

Ever wanted to change your ad copy in bulk or update the landing page URL of all of the ads in a campaign in one go rather than having to go into each one individual? Well, you may wish you’d heard about this tool earlier.

The Google Ads editor allows you to do this easily and quickly, saving you time to do the more important things in life.

The Google ads editor can be used by anyone with any sized account but comes in particularly useful for larger accounts. 

Here’s an example of some of the things you can do with the tool (from support.google.com).

  • Use bulk editing tools to make multiple changes quickly.
  • Export and import files to share proposals or make changes to an account.
  • View statistics for all campaigns or a subset of campaigns.
  • Manage, edit and view multiple accounts at the same time.
  • Search and replace text across ad groups or campaigns.
  • Copy or move items between ad groups and campaigns.
  • Undo and redo multiple changes while editing your campaigns.
  • Make changes in draft before uploading them to your account.
  • Keep working even when you’re offline.