PPC Audits: 9-step checklist for an ideal PPC audit

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So you launched an Adwords or Bings campaign and you expected some fact-action sales, right?

But sales are not coming in, and your budget is soon to be exhausted. 

You go back to your ads, trying to figure what’s going on.

Is it the keywords list?

Have you used extensions right?

Is the copy ok?

 

Enter the PPC Audit.

A PPC audit is the best way to investigate your pay-per-click campaign, comparing results, and analyzing particular areas that need tweaking and enhancing.

Understandably, marketers today rely on highly developed PPC accounts to work in favour of their businesses.

If you consider the benefits of a PPC audit you notice that the advantages of a comparison against rivals of the same spending capacity are unmeasurable. Second, this is a chance to see if anything is wrong with your PPC account, what can be upgraded, and advanced, and if you stick to the advice what possible results can you achieve.

Don’t be a couch potato and optimize your PPC account and get the most out of it. Getting your account audited by agencies or consultants can cost an arm and a leg, so that’s why it is commonly done by an individual. But, if you happen to stumble upon a used PPC account which you need to take over, you can find yourself in deep water. 

Don’t sweat it. There is a solution!

When is the ideal time to do a PPC audit?

If you detected some issues

If you detect your PPC campaign is not giving the results it used to and all the parameters are reducing, it is certainly time for a check-up.

If your strategy has been changed

If there were some modifications regarding the type of product or service you offer or your marketing strategy has been directed in another way it is paramount to do a PPC audit, change the keywords and input the ones that are relevant to your current offering.

If you want to make your campaign more effective

A PPC audit can be particularly useful when you feel like your campaign can use a little push to be more effective and fruitful.

Now, if you wish to see the steps, read on to find out the ultimate 9-step PPC audit checklist.

PPC Audit Step #1: Have your ducks in a row

The first imperative thing you would need to do is check whether your conversions are tracked accurately. This data is vital to have a clear grasp on the success rate of all your hard work and effort. 

It seems completely logical, but by a recent report from Disruptive Advertising, it was discovered that merely 58% of the total amount of 2000 accounts included in the study have registered at least one conversion. And that’s not all. Only half of these accounts were actually tracking conversions and had the correct code implemented.

If you would like to avoid being placed in this group of accounts that are not reaching their full potentials you can look for the following indications of tracking that was properly set up:

Your conversion count and click count are equal.

You have reached outstandingly high conversion rates and still, your sales are low. This could indicate that your conversion tracking might be measuring visits to a page and not the actual order confirmation data.

If you have a strangely low conversion count, implying you are missing conversion, maybe the previous manager failed to track phone calls or simply forgot to add tracking codes to fresh landing pages.

In the case there are no conversions on the account, you urgently need to implement a tracking code for conversions as this is the cardinal step of your Google Ads optimization process.

PPC Audit Step #2: Examine Campaign Settings

Reviewing your targeting settings is an easy task that will take up only five minutes of your time, but it is essential to be on the lookout and focus on not making any mistakes in this step as it can have an enormous impact on your whole performance.

Fundamental elements to check in on:

Location: Check to make sure that your business converts in the regions you opted for. After this, you can even go a step further and review your geo-reports to find a location that is doing particularly well (or bad) to put a priority on this specific location or tweak the settings.
Devices: Make sure you are targeting the correct devices, so if you are aiming at mobile-friendly, optimize your ads, and create them for mobile device usage. This task should be of high priority to you, given the majority of traffic is established through mobile phones.
Language: We know that the whole world speaks English now, but if your targeted audience is strictly your home county, you should be aware of language barriers and choose a language that best fits your requirements.
Network: The settings on performance, the expectations, goals, and performance are going to depend on the targeted network.
Competition: Depending on the timeline and how long ago the settings have been set, you can also analyze your rivals and see if there are some new keywords or phrases that are currently popular. You can use Google’s free keyword planner tool, which allows you to examine via a specific site.

You are doing great. Let’s continue.

 

PPC Audit Step #3: Assess Ad Groups

When we say Ad Groups, this refers to a group of ads, so make sure that your advertisements and landing pages are of direct importance, not just in the shadows.
Some points you should consider are:
Number of keywords: If there is an ad group that includes more than 20 keywords, this is the matter that needs your full and immediate attention and a thorough clean-up. A group is not supposed to contain more than 10-15 keywords. Why is the number vital you ask? Well, think of it this way. If you have a huge group of keywords your ad copy needs to more generic and not specific for you so you disappear in the sea of similar advertisements. Instead, your goal is to create specific groups for your searchers.
Ad groups alignment: Be sure to check if the groups complement each other.
Budget: Make up your mind on your most valuable and efficient ad group and hand over the biggest amount of gravy to it and see the magic happen. Opposite, if you notice that a certain ad group takes up the majority of your budget and the performance is not satisfactory, move the budget to another group.
CPC: Take a second look at your cost-per-click rate. If you are paying abnormal amounts on ad groups and not receiving enough conversions, you have to shake things up.

PPC Audit Step #4: Check Number of Ads Per Ad Group

If you have inherited an account that has one active ad in each ad group, this can be a sign of poor managing and an indication that the person handling the ad groups did not put in the effort to test ad variations. 
On the other hand, if you notice many active ads per ad group, brace yourself for some work. The previous manager was probably a) testing everything at once which is a total disaster, or b) failed to turn off the ads, which is an even worse situation, a catastrophic move of a typical slug. 
When you take over, try to stick to the middle, meaning two or three variants per ad group are sufficient to test and draw conclusions on the efficiency of each. Once you identify the winner, get rid of the losing ads, and create a new test variant.
Normally, everything beforementioned applies only under the condition that your ads are marvelous design-wise, too.

 

PPC Audit Step #5: Tackle with Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are necessary for a modern establishment like yours and you should learn to use them properly. The crucial thing to remember here is that the extensions need to correspond to your business. 
For example, if you are an e-commerce make sure that you eliminate all location extensions. On the contrary, if you want to show your location, create your GMB (Google my Business) account with AdWords.
If by any chance you need a call extension, make sure the number is accurate and operating, and there is a designated person to take incoming calls. If there is no such person make the extension visible only office hours.
As you can see, ad extensions are a must-have in this day and age so jump right on it!
Congrats! You have made it almost to the end. Stick with us a little while.

PPC Audit Step #6: Review Keyword Match Type Settings

A keyword can be set to four match types. If you would like to brush up on the info click here.
A Google Ads account that has been properly run is usually set to a variety of match types to ensure different purposes and therefore the best possible outcome and conversion.

If by some chance you have come into possession of an account that puts all of its eggs in one basket, meaning investing in only one match type, you need to react quickly.

This frequently happens to be the broad match type that shows searches including any of the terms typed, as well as misspellings, relevant connected terms, and similar word variations. This is fine for acquiring a lot of traffic, but not enough given that it is searchers who are looking for terms and items too generic and humdrum.

If the account you inherited has already got a mixed match type, it doesn’t mean you are in the clear. You still have to try to understand the strategy and decide whether it is still acceptable or needs a makeover. Sometimes it is fine to use Google’s default broad strategy but, on some occasions, it is safer to lean on a phrase or exact keyword strategy as it can draw more quality traffic and better results.

There is another side of the keyword match type story. If there are some keywords you want to avoid for some reason, be it low conversion rate or wrong association, you can eliminate it.

A great example is the word “free”. If you are selling, let’s say vitamins and supplements, why would you want visitors who typed in they want something free. This is a waste of your money and the searchers time, so add similar words to “bad” keywords.
Also, if you use keywords that are mainly seasonal there is an option to pause them and save a few bucks. (example: New Year)

 

PPC Audit Step #7: Negative Keyword

Let go into detail on those negative keywords.
If the previous manager left you with an actual list of negative keywords, go through it and if it seems fine, your job just became easier. If not dig in.

Negative keywords are essential to eliminate unqualified searchers and clicks and impressions from people who are not going to purchase. Try to lead a proactive approach with negative keywords as there aren’t any strict rules to be guided by. Try and see for yourself what are the terms that will not bring proper traffic to you.

PPC Audit Step #8: Landing pages

Landing pages are a wonderful place where a searcher ends up while looking for a specific product or service. They are external to Google Ads but need to be mentioned in this guide as they have an enormous impact on the metrics you see.

You can have the best possible keyword groups the online world has ever seen, but it is worthless if your landing page is a poor representation of your business.
Carrying out a perfect customer-oriented landing page entails having clear CTAs, appealing design, great headline, correct and operating forms, thank you messages, nice pictures and product descriptions, prices, and maybe the most important item- testimonials and positive feedback from existing customers or users.

And one more step!

PPC Audit Step #9: Create Your Game Plan

And finally, you have made it. But wait, there is more. Once you have finished all the previous 8 steps from the checklist, it’s time for some fun. Let’s begin optimizing!
Organize your notes and start working on your account from the topics that are the most urgent and have top priority, or the ones that need the most tweaking and altering.
Put together a game plan and always keep in mind that there is room for improvement.
Have a lovely time auditing!
 

    About The Nutraceuticals Marketing Blog

    Each month (and maybe more) we blog about best practices in digital marketing with a sole focus in the nutraceuticals, vitamins and health/dietary supplements space.

    We offer digital marketing specifically for the nutraceuticals industry. Unlike any other generic agency, we are highly specialised and we know all the players, the market and how we can best help you achieve your goals.

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