Do you think Hemingway was a great writer because of his typewriter?

Or maybe Walt Disney had a magical pencil?

The tools mentioned below are just tools. They will not make you a better media buyer. No tracking tool is going to all of a sudden make your pages convert better or your ads get clicked more. Hopefully, you have learned that the true power behind being a media buying master is in your brain.

What makes a great media buyer is…

  • Being able to get inside the customer’s mind 
  • Knowing how to increase the relevance and value of an offer 
  • Understanding the math required to acquire customers profitably 
  • Knowing how to make an unprofitable campaign become profitable 

The tools just help you speed things up or automate it.

I’ve bought and tested 12 different tracking tools, 7 landing page generators, 21 different CRM or email marketing platforms, as well as both AdBeat & WhatRunsWhere. I’ve tested just about everything that you might have considered buying over the last 10 years.

Below is what I believe to be the current best stack of tools in 2018.

But remember…

Never let the tool dictate your marketing.
Let your marketing dictate the tool you use!

Research Tools

Market Map – I use this before anything else. The moment I have an idea for a product or want to promote a product for a client, I have a market map created for me. Without this I would be guessing and guessing isn’t a smart ad strategy. 

Empathy Map – NOTHING is more critical to the success of your ad campaigns. The goal is to brainstorm what you’re target market is thinking, hearing, seeing, and feeling. Getting inside your customer’s mind helps you create ad copy that they can’t resist.

SEMRush  There are a lot of PPC research tools, but none as robust and all purpose as SEMRush. I use it to research keywords, text ads, video ads, and even SEO stuff like digging up my competition’s backlinks.

SimilarWeb  This is a tool that I can’t believe actually exists. It’s like having access to your competitors Google Analytics account. I use it to see how much traffic sites have, where they get their traffic, and interests of their audience.

AdBeat  Essential for anyone doing large scale display campaigns (banner ads). However, anyone wanting to plan a native ad campaign or see what type of landing pages are working should also use this.

Ghostery  Designed for anti-marketing types, but is also a great research tool for media buyers. I use it to discover what my competitors are using for retargeting or what ad networks they are using.

Evernote  This is where I keep my swipe file. They have a chrome extension that makes it easy to save any advertorial, ad, or sales page. Then I can save it with any tags I want for easy retrieval later.

Veeroll  Essential tool for YouTube advertisers. I use it to find channels and videos to target my YouTube ads with.

AdEspresso FB Ad Library - For researching Facebook Ads.

Swiped.co - For researching different landing pages, sales pages, and funnels.

Creating Ads

Facebook 20% tool  I use it to make sure my images for FB ads don’t have too much text.

Pixlr Express  I use this to increase contrast of my images for FB. I also use it to add text to my FB images.

Pixlr Editor  I use it to create banner ads for retargeting and display ads.

PhotoDune  This is where I buy all my images for FB ads, native ads, and banner ads. Just as good as istockphoto but cheaper.

Promo - This is where I buy my video ad stock footage.

IconFinder – Also another great place for buying images for your ads. Really good for B2B ads.

Camtasia  I use this for editing my YouTube ads. Let’s me add overlays for my URL.

Sony G7x – It’s the camera I use to film my YouTube ads. Many pro vloggers love this camera because of its flip up LCD screen so you can see your shot. Great in low lighting and good audio too.

Tracking, Testing, & Analytics

Improve.ly  I use this for tracking conversions and split-testing for clients that don’t have good tracking already. It's not the best tracking tool but it's very simple, affordable, and gets the main jobs done.

HotJar.com - I use this for tracking things that other tracking tools cannot for example hot/cold areas of my page, what visitors are thinking of my page, and more.

Google Analytics – I use this for my own personal tracking and analytics. There is no better tool on the market in my opinion. You have to have Google Analytics in order to use Google retargeting, so you might as well learn how to use it for ad and funnel tracking as well. 

Google Tag Manager  I use this to manage all the retargeting pixels and conversion codes on my pages. Instead of having to check each page manually I just install GTM on every page once and I can manage all my codes from 1 dashboard.

Facebook Pixel Helper – I use this to check if my FB pixels are firing on the right pages.

Google Sheets  I use this to keep a weekly log of all my critical ad campaign data. It’s like a simple dashboard and it’s free. My assistant fills it out weekly for me.

Increasing Conversions

Typeform  I use this to create forms for lead gen pages or surveys or applications. Also allows me to create personalized funnels because it has conditional responses. Meaning if they answer one way I can send them to page 1 or another answer to page. They have a great user interface and pretty forms.

Landbot - I use this for creating unique mobile optimized lead gen and sales bots.

Zapier  I use this to sync most of my tools together. It ports leads over to our CRM, sales to our customer database, data to our spreadsheets, and leads to our custom audiences in FB.

ActiveCampaign  This is the email marketing platform and CRM I use. I use it because of its powerful automations and tagging. My favorite part is being able to send an email based on someone visiting a certain page on my site or clicking play on a video.

ThriveThemes  The highest converting WordPress themes and plug-ins. For 1 yearly price you get massive value. Their Thrive Architect is one of the best landing page building tools you can buy, also creates great looking members area/thank you pages. Plus they have a very active support forum if you need help customizing anything.

SumoMe  I use this to capture leads from my advertorials or to increase my CTR to the sales page. Their apps help me optimize my advertorials for higher performance.

Gumroad  This is the shopping cart I use for my front end products. The ability to let people pay whatever they want makes for really high converting front end offers.

Namecheap  I use this for my domain names.

WPXHosting  I use this for hosting because it's specially designed for WP sites, increases page speed, comes with free and easy SSL, and their support is impeccable.

Hemingway App – I use this for improving the readability of my emails and sales letters. Because better readability is better conversions.

Account Tools

Facebook Business Manager – I use this to access all my clients accounts and my accounts in one spot. It let’s me give different levels of access to different members of my team.

Adwords MCC  I use this to access all my clients Adwords accounts as well as my own. Also allows me to assign different levels of access.

Loom  I use this to create short videos to my team and customers. Allows me to give directions or demonstrations very quickly and easily.

RevealBot - The best tool for automation rules for your Facebook ads like increasing bids, pausing low performing ads, and duplicating ad sets. Also connects with Slack so you get easy reporting.

Ad Networks

Google – The best and biggest ad network. They have the highest converting traffic, the best targeting options, and the most traffic. Includes search ads, display ads, retargeting, and YouTube ads.

Bing Ads – 2nd best place to buy search traffic. Really good for any offers that target old white people.

Facebook/Instagram Ads – 2nd best ad network in the world. Not as much traffic as Google but just as high conversions. Also really good targeting options. The best mobile traffic in the world.

Twitter Ads – It’s just like Facebook ads. All the same options. Less traffic and a little more expensive. Love their ability to target #hashtags and keywords. Also love their ability to upload customer audiences and retarget my website visitors.

DedicatedEmails  The best email advertising company. They have access to monster sized email lists in a lot of categories. Mostly male oriented markets though. Really good for anything financial like stock market training, investment advice, real estate etc. Also good for health pills.

Oath – This is the Facebook of native ads. They have the highest converting native ad traffic, but also the most compliance rules. Very good for mobile ads and female oriented markets. Lots of targeting options, very easy interface, and they have search traffic too. It’s Yahoo, AOL, and Verizon in one.

RevContent – This is the native ad network that has the least rules. Really great targeting options. You can target by placement, topic, or demographic. IMO this will soon be one of the most popular native ad networks.

Propel Media – Used to be TrafficVance which was the best CPV (Pop Up ads) ad network. All the same great traffic, same great prices, and good conversions. Their text ads are great as well. 

TapJoy - Arguably the best mobile ads platform for video ads and app installs. Used by the biggest brands and games in the world.

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