AdButler – Ad Serving Platform

AdButler is a long-established and widely used ad serving platform with a flexible and affordable pricing structure to suit organisations of every size and type.

AdButler Ad Serving Platform

What is an ad serving platform?

Good question. The whole subject of automated ad serving is a bit of a minefield but the simplified version would be something like this.

If you have a website and you want to “sell” advertising space then you have a number of options. For most small to medium sized website owners the number one choice would be Google’s AdSense service. Just set aside a chunk of your web page(s) and place the AdSense code there. Google will supply the ads and, if anyone clicks on them, you will get a share of the click price. Easy and quick to set up.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to restrict yourself to Google you could use a service like AdButler which is an ad server. Again, you decide which areas, or zones as AdButler calls them, you want to run ads on and they will do the rest.

An Ad Exchange, on the other hand is the platform that sits between the Ad Server (AdButler in this case) and the advertiser. Google’s Doubleclick is the biggest and best known ad ehange. It allocates advertiser’s ad requirements to availables paces on the ad network and hooks into inventory made available through Ad servers like AdButler.

AdButler is a cloud based platform a there’s no need to install any software on your site, unless it is a wordPress site for which there is a handy, free plugi available.
AdBulter claims to have the world’s fastest ad-code and that it can handles ads in all available formats.
Couple this up with real-time reporting and a customisable interface with white-label capability and AdButler could well be the ad-serving solution you’ve been looking for.

AdButler is very affordable to even the smallest of businesses. The starting point is their “on demand” service which is just $9.95 per month plus 0.25c per thousand requests. Other plans cost a little more but include more requests. You can save by paying the subscription annually on all but the starter on-demand plan which is monthly only.

AdButler is a reasonably priced and very “safe” platform that is well established and fairly easy to use. There’s no free trial but there is a 30 day money back guarantee.

Support is good and all-in-all it is a good choice for all but the very largest of businesses – and it’s probably OK for them too!



Where To Find It
Product Type
Ad Serving Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
N0 – 30 day money back guarantees
$9.95/month starter level

adAlysis PPC Campaign Analysis

AdAlysis is an AdWords analysis package that goes beyond the facilities included in the AdWords interface and lets you really streamline your ppc campaigns. AdAlysis also works with Bing ads.

Anyone who has spent many hours coming to terms with the AdWords interface, possibly taking Google’s training courses and sitting the AdWords exams, will be aware that it is not short of functionality. I’ve done all of the above and feel comfortable with just about everything that AdWords has to offer. along with Analytics, I believe that Google has provided us with pretty much everything that is needed to research, build and manage a ppc campaign.

Then along come suppliers like adAlysis, (yes, they really do start their name with a lower case “a,” eschewing the rules of grammar in order to raise eyebrows no doubt), and make their pitch, saying that they will, for a monthly subscription, enhance that which Google gives for free.

OK, lets take a look. Exactly what extra functionality do we get for our adAlysis subscription?

Ad Testing

AdWords does let you set up tests or course but the process is largely manual whereas adAlysis can automate the process and produce reports highlinghting results.

adAlysis ppc management tool

In the above report you can see at a glance that the ad flagged in green is the most effective performer.

The package lets you queue several alternative ads and replace failing ads with new ones automatically.

Quality Score Management

One of life’s great mysteries, Google’s Quality Score, can be tricky to get right so any help is welcomed. Adalysis lets you measure QS over time and provides insights into possible problems.

Keyword Management

Lets you manage your keywords and drill down into possible keyword/ad/landing page combinations. Adalysis also handles negative keywords in great depth.

Landing Page Management

Here, adAlysis really touches a nerve. It’s often difficult to indentify which landing pages are performing the best with which ad and or keyword. This tool seems to make it much easier and it’s probably worth the subscription for this feature alone.

All-in-all theres a lot to this package. Yes you could easility manage without it, it’s hardly revolutionary but that would be missing the point. Adalysis will save you time and, if you have clients who need all the answers yesterday, they are after all spending their own mnoey on funding the ads, then adding adAlysis to your tool chest could be a no-brainer.

Adalysis is supplied on a monthly subsription starting at $25 for up to 500 ads – these can be across munlitple accounts or in an MCC. There’s a free 14 day trial, no credit card required, give it a go.


Where To Find It
Product Type
PPC Management Tool
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 Days
Starting at $25 for up to 500 ads

Perfect Audience – Retargeting Platform by Marin Software

Marin Software are justifiably well known as a provider of PPC  bid management software, mainly to marketing agencies. Their scope, and product range, is now much wider than that and Perfect Audience is their answer to the need for an effective ad retargeting platform.

Perfect Audience by Marin Bid Management and retargeting software

Perfect Audience Claim To Be “One Solution to all your Retargeting Needs”

Most marketers believe that, most of the time, people do not make a purchase on their first point of exposure to a product or service. Usually they will look around, compare specifications and prices and maybe look at some customer reviews before they hit the buy button. Trouble is, when they do make their minds up – they might not be on your website, they will probably be on your competitor’s site, so you lose the sale.

Retargeting, or remarketing as Google calls it, can reduce the impact of this behaviour. If someone visits your site but does not convert then a cookie or “smartpixel” is added to their browser and they are added to your “audience”. When they visit another website that carries ads your ad will be shown to them again – it could be a reminder or “next step” ad to persuade them to come back and complete the sale.

Marin are past masters of anything to do with paid ads and how to make them more efficient so i have no hesitation in recommending that you take a good look at retargeting with Marin’s platform Perfect audience. They offer a free trial which removes most of the risk and their charging structure is very fair and friendly, even to the smaller business.

Cost, however, although important, is only part of the equation with retargeting campaigns. Even if you ignore the Analytics for “normal” ppc campaigns you simply cannot do so for retargeting campaigns. There are so many variables that being on top of the numbers is vital. Fortunately, Perfect Audience, with its pedigree of coming from a company like Marin who are pretty good at winning “numbers games,” caters for this need very well. There are excellent analytics and reporting options built into the Perfect Audience platform making true campaign control a snip.

With remarketing options for most of the popular sites, the places where your visitors are likely to go after leaving your site, including Facebook and Twitter, Perfect Audience is well placed to make sure that you maximise on your conversions.

Marin Twitter retargeting

Perfect Audience is a grown-up product from a well established supplier of some note in the fields of PPC and PPM, (price per thousand impressions), advertising so if those activities form a part of your digital marketing strategy then be sure to take the free trial option and give Perfect Audience a try.

Perfect Audience

Where To Find It
Product Type
Retargeting Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 days, full featured
Depends on your ppc budget

Pardot – Marketing Automation By Salesforce

Pardot is a marketing automation platform from Salesforce that works in conjunction with their market-leading Salesforce CRM.

I’ve been reviewing quite a few marketing automation platforms recently and, as a Salesforce user for several years, (although not at present), I was more than a little interested to see what Pardot looked like and how it worked.

At the pricing point that they’ve chosen, Pardot has to be considered against the very best marketing automation platforms. Even the basic level will cost you £800/month, payable up front for a year, and £1600/month before you can have integration with your Google AdWords account, A/B Testing and several other enhancements that you are probably going to need.

Pardot from Salesforce Marketing Automation

For any organisation already using Salesforce, Pardot is probably a strong contender, possibly the only contender if the close integration with the Salesforce CRM is important to you, but at the price it’s up against very strong opposition and, although the CRM integration is seamless and very powerful, I’m not sure it cuts the mustard against packages like Infusionsoft, Marketo, Hubspot, IBM Marketing Cloud, Maropost and Adobe Marketing Cloud to name but a few, when it comes to email marketing and marketing automation.

Since most, if not all, of the above do integrate quite well with Salesforce CRM then the Salesforce user still has the option of considering other platforms that offer more powerful marketing features.

That’s not to say that there are any big reasons why Pardot should not fit the bill for many users. If you go up the levels in terms of the available plans you do get access to most of the tools you are  likely to need. There are gaps though, there’s an AdWords PPC interface but not, apparently, one for Facebook and Twitter ads and I do think, at this price point, there ought to be. The social analytics did not strike me as being particularly detailed either and you would probably need another service if you are big on social.

Pardot’s landing page creator, forms builder and email builder are all very competent looking options and the ability to bring together all activity in those areas and effortlessly feed it into the CRM and workflow management capabilities of Pardot is a great help to the in-house marketing team when it comes to interacting with the sales team.

Lead nurturing and customer development are all made much easier with the kind of automation Pardot provides and all of this strengthens the case for giving it a go, especially if you already use Salesforce.

One area often overlooked, or just given a token effort, is that of competitor analysis – it doesn’t matter how slick your marketing operation is if your competitors are even slicker. Pardot does claim to offer competitive Analysis but no examples are given on their site and it isn’t mentioned very much so, if you are working to an  in-depth digital marketing strategy that includes in-depth competitor landscape analysis this probably isn’t the system for you.

I can’t say it isn’t a top class platform, it obviously is, but it comes at a price where, in my opinion, there are much more powerful options available. There’s no option to test the system other than an automated walk-through but if you contact them you would probably get an in-depth demonstration.

If you can handle the cost and are prepared to make a few concessions then Pardot could be the one for you, especially if you already use Salesforce.


Where To Find It
Product Type
Marketing Automation Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
From £800/month, paid annually in advance.

SEOprofiler – Full-featured SEO Tools & Services

SEOprofiler is a suite of SEO and PPC optimisation tools designed for the smaller organisation and representing very good value for money, especially at the entry level price point.

All the usual suspects are there, Keyword Rank Tracking, Site Audit, Website Optimisation, Competitive Analysis etc and, based on my so-far limited experience of using them, they seem to do a perfectly good job for the money.

The SEOprofiler interface is nicely laid out and easy to read. There is a good reporting facility which includes a white label option for customising reports to send to clients but only on the higher level plans, the entry level plan does not have this option.

It was good to see that SEOprofiler have included a basic Social Media Management tool with the other tools. Effective management of Social Media is just as important for visibility online as other more traditional activities like Backlink Management and Website Auditing, both of which are also included in SEOprofiler.

As to pricing, SEOprofiler offers a limited function free account but the entry level “Standard” account will cost you $49/month. Currently there is an offer to try the “Smart” account, (normally $99/month) for 30 days at a cost of $1. This will give you access to the white-label and link disinfection functions which a missing from the standard account.

It was good to see that the Social Media module is included in all plans – this option is missing from so many of their competitor’s offerings at this price level. Since Social Media is fast becoming an integral part of most people’s digital marketing strategy this is good news indeed.

All-in-all, SEOprofiler represents good value and is one that you should definitely include on your shortlist – here’s the link in case you want to give it a try.






Where To Find It
Product Type
SEO Management & reporting platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes, almost – 30 days for $1
From $49/month.

iSpionage – PPC Competitor Analysis

iSpionage is a suite of ppc competitor analysis research, monitoring and analytics tools for use with Google AdWords.

“Steal Your Competitors’ Traffic & Uncover Their Conversion Strategy,” that’s the opening statement on iSpionage’s ppc competitor analysis website and it pretty well sums it up really. I cannot over-emphasis the importance of keeping a very close eye on your competitors when it comes to running effective ppc and natural search campaigns.

You can do everything absolutely right and still lose – because your competitors are doing it a little bit better!

Which is where competitor analysis platforms like iSpionage and Spyfu come into their own.

PPC marketing costs money, sometimes lots of money, so you have to get it right. Google and other ppc platforms are very coy about how much information they give you about how or what your competitors are doing.

Google tells more than the others (see the “Details” tab, just below the graph in your AdWords Campaign Manager dashboard, choose the “Auction Insights” option to see details of your competitor’s activity for the same keywords that you are targeting), but it is very limited, often being based on only a small proportion of the keywords in use.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as far as I know, have no equivalent to this so a third party ppc competitor analysis solution is called for.

Which is why, if you are using pay per click marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy to any great extent, you need a service like iSpionage to help you to make informed decisions about your ppc activity, compared to that of your competitors, and how it affects your overall digital marketing strategy.

iSpionage has manu useful features, including this tremendous landing page gallery which not only shows you thousands of great examples f really good landin pages but also tells you which search terms, (keywords) are triggering those pages to be used. With tools like this you really can srt to hack the funnels of successful competitors and see what their strategy is.

ispionage ppc competitor analysis

The other, very popular feature worth looking at is the competitor ads report:

ispionage top ads report

With this kind of information about your competitor’s ppc campaigns you’ll probably know more about your competitor’s campaigns than they do.

Data coverage is currently restricted to USA, UK and Canada so if you are outside of those territories its a no go..

Price wise, iSpionage is a paid service, starting at $29 /month for the entry level account and rising up to $299 /month for the Advanced agency account. Savings are available for prepayment and there is, the the time of writing, a limited free trial account offer so it costs nothing to find out more.


Where To Find It
Product Type
PPC Competitor Analysis
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – limited free account with restrictions
From $29/month.