3 Excel Features That Can Make A Search Practitioner’s Life Easier

June 9, 2016




With Microsoft Excel being the “bread and butter” of a search manager’s day-to-day optimisation and data manipulation, it is key to be able to exploit any and all features that help make our “search” lives as easy as possible (and work as efficient and streamlined as possible).

While there are a wealth of systems and tools out there, and formulas and functions to follow, we wanted to highlight 3 Excel tools and add-ons that can help in providing search insights, supporting in campaign build outs, keyword research, and analysis.

Bing Ads Intelligence
ASAP Utilities
Power Maps

[Tweet “@BingAds Intelligence, @ASAPUtilities & @Microsoft #PowerMaps are 3 important #excel add-in tools for any #search manager”]


1) Bing Ads Intelligence

Most users are familiar with Google’s Keyword Planner and its capabilities. However, many search practitioners may not be aware that Microsoft provides BingAds users with a free Excel add-on that allows us to build and expand keyword lists, as well as generate quick, on the fly insights, straight within an Excel spreadsheet!

This tool also provides the following for selected keywords or search terms:

• Demographic insights – gender and age
• Device trends – query volume percentage splits by device
• Geographical information – weighting of search volume by region
• Associated terms to the keyword/s entered
• Keyword expansion ideas – around individual or sets of keywords
• Keyword estimates (for the BingAds network) – examples for the terms “payday loans” and “short term loans”, provided below (notably cheaper than they can be expected to be on Google).
• Auction insights – competitor insights based on overlapping advertisers appearing across the same keyword set run within the advertiser’s account

The data is based on logged in profiles and historical data on the Yahoo / Bing network. All you need is a login (user access) to a BingAds account, then you can download the add-on, plug in your credentials, and go from there!

You will then see the BingAds Intelligence tab pop up in your Excel workbook, and you can delve into the tools with which it provides you.

TIP: Make sure that your language and location settings are correct before running insights using this tool, as it defaults to the US.



Below are also some previously run demographic and device split examples for “payday loans”, “personal loans” and “short term loans”:




A useful tool to have on hand, particularly when an account is new, you need expansion ideas or you need insight in the planning stages.


2) ASAP Utilities

This Excel add-in offers users a vast number of short-cuts that are certainly handy for when ones’ stuck for a formula!

Just some of the short-cuts that could be found useful when doing PPC campaign build outs, or organising data, using this feature, are highlighted below:

• Insert before and / or after each cell in your selection – this is effectively “concatenation”, but faster.  Particularly useful for naming ad groups and campaigns in a consistent manner.
• Start each word with uppercase – handy for applying the best practice of “inter-capitalising” ad copy on Facebook and PPC ads, to help ad messages stand out and enhance the CTR.
• Delete excessive spaces – these count as extra characters. This short-cut helps with removing any spaces that have been accidentally added in ad copy (or even campaigns, ad groups and keyword lists).
• Count and / or colour duplicates in selection – rather than just removing them in one fell swoop.
• Advanced sorting (by custom criteria) – this allows you to highlight duplicate keywords for instance, rather than simply de-duping the data, so that you can decide which keywords to keep or remove based on the data alongside them.
• Transpose – does what it says on the tin, but in case you forget how to swap data from being laid out in columns to rows!

Other popular shortcuts used using ASAP Utilities as well as videos on “how to” make the most of this add-in can be found here: http://www.asap-utilities.com/excel-tips.php

Examples of how ASAP Utilities shows up in Excel are provided below, with just some of the lists of shortcuts for popular formulae shown.



3) Power Maps

Finally – Power Maps. Probably the easiest of the three to use, but most visually appealing!

Not much is needed to take advantage of this Excel feature. Simply download it, highlight the geographical data you wish to use, and Insert “Map” from Excel toolbar. From there, you can toggle between different layouts and visualisations of your data.

This is an attractive feature to use in presentations when trying to depict search volume by region, variances in CPCs, engagement by geography, and more.



This is just a small sub-set of the many Excel tools that are used on a day-to-day basis to support us in the management and performance analysis of our search campaigns. Needless to say, there is a wealth of data available to manipulate and manage across any given search account, and being able to manage this effectively, with the tools, products and systems we use is fundamental. Microsoft Excel forms the cornerstone of much of the search (PPC and SEO) account management carried out daily, so being well-versed in all its glory and functionality, helps us spend less time fiddling with numbers, and more time adding value to our client accounts.


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