Pay Per Click Audits by Assertive
When running Google ads and Bing ads, it’s essential to frequently conduct PPC audits.
A PPC audit helps your PPC account manager to ensure that the account runs optimally.
Our team of PPC specialists at Assertive takes away the hassle of conducting a PPC audit from you so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
As digital marketing experts, we’ll provide detailed reporting of your ads, provide solutions for poor performing ads, and optimise your Google ads account for maximum returns.
Want to get your Pay Per Click Audit moving?
PPC Case Study
One of our most recent marketing client case studies
Justerinis & Brooks
Assertive was to help Justerini’s with on-site and off-site SEO whilst rebuilding and re-structuring the PPC campaign.
Justerini & Brooks is a fine wine and spirit merchant founded in 1749. They belong to the large drinks company Diageo.
What is a PPC Audit?
A pay-per-click audit (or PPC audit) analyzes your client’s Adwords or Facebook Ads account. It gives an unbiased overview of the account in order to point out possible issues and suggest alternative approaches to help improve campaign performance. An audit will also highlight underperforming areas, allowing the client to make informed decisions on allocating their budget more efficiently.
An impartial review of your campaigns allows us to take stock of what works well and what could be improved upon. This way, we can proactively address problems to improve results. PPC audits ensure that advertising spending is being used efficiently in line with potential returns for clients.
When Is The Right Time To Get a PPC Audit?
The best time to get an audit is when there are signs of low campaign performance, such as falling impressions or clicks, new keywords not generating traffic, no impression growth on existing keywords or lack of engagement with your ads. We also recommend audits be carried out after significant changes have been made to campaigns either by optimisation or new additions to the account. These could include expanding the search network, implementing sitelinks, increasing ad rotation settings or new targeting options using Facebook’s custom audiences list, for example.
The following are events that call for a PPC Audit.
Change of PPC Strategy
Once you make major changes to your pay per click strategy, you need to conduct an audit to evaluate the effect of the changes. When you have a new PPC agency handling your PPC campaigns, it’s also important to have an audit to record the campaign data before and after the changes.
Poor Google Ads Performance
Poor performance of the ads necessitates a PPC audit. You need to pinpoint the exact source of problems in order to make the needed changes. This could include ad variations, a different bidding strategy or optimizing your landing pages. An audit helps you assess each of the elements in an ad so that you can make an informed decision.
Enhance Efficiency of Google Ads Campaign
Things don’t always have to be going wrong in a PPC campaign for you to conduct a PPC audit. An audit is also useful when you feel like you’d want to have a better campaign performance. It could identify underutilized resources that could lead to even better results.
How Long Should You Take Before Conducting a PPC Audit?
Regular audits of your PPC account are important. Besides the incidences mentioned above that necessitate a PPC audit, you need to conduct one at least once every six months.
You could have audits at a shorter time interval, but you need at least three months of PPC data to have a meaningful audit. Three months give you a data range that can provide meaningful insights into your PPC campaign.
How Long Does a PPC Audit Last and how Much Does it Cost?
A typical PPC audit will typically last between 3 and 6 weeks, but we always recommend longer engagements where possible as they allow us to make big changes and improve campaign performance more quickly. This means that our audits provide great value for money and can generate significant new business too!
We also know that every client has different needs, so we customize our offerings rather than following any form of quote system. Our pricing structure allows you to get the most out of your budget, so reach out for a free quote.
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PPC Audit Checklist <Continued>
So, where do we start?
1. Get the Right PPC Account Information and Data
Before conducting your PPC audit, you need to have the right data from your PPC accounts. Know exactly what you’re auditing. Instead of just focusing on data from Google ads, you could also pull data from your Bing ads and Google analytics.
If you’ve probably just changed your PPC strategy, then you want to wait for at least three months before conducting an audit. It’s also important to know which areas you want to focus on before conducting your audit. For example, if you changed your ad copy, then you need to know how to analyze the impact of the change.
The structure of your Google ads accounts also matters. You need to look at the state of your Google analytics linking to be able to track your customer’s journey on your website once they click on the ad link.
2. PPC Campaigns Audit
Before starting your campaign, you need to know the theme beforehand. A campaign’s theme guides the choice of keywords. You’re also able to track the performance of brand keywords on their own and the non-brand keywords used in a certain campaign theme.
Campaign settings affect all ads in the same campaign. So, you need to make sure that all the ads in the campaign work well with the settings. For example, in the Network settings, you have the option to include the appearance of your ads on Google’s partner networks. An audit helps you determine if such a setting is suitable for all the ads in your campaign.
Similar to other forms of digital marketing and marketing in general, the budget is an integral part. Sometimes an audit could reveal that you’re underfunding your budget. However, most times, the struggle is to remain within the stipulated budget and to optimize it.
PPC audits could reveal that you have wasted spend due to less relevant keywords. In this case, you could include negative keywords to streamline this. You could also look at your ad schedule, phrase match, or narrow down your broad match to a much smaller target.
There could be an ad group that receives a larger budget but isn’t performing as expected, so that you could move that budget to another campaign.
Campaign Match type
Organize your campaigns by the kind of match type; exact match, broad match, phrase match, or a modified broad match.
3. Account Structure
Account structure refers to the organisation of your account and campaign to ease the assessment and navigation around it. Account structure includes:
Having a descriptive campaign makes it easy to know the exact particulars. For example, if your PPC ad is a search ad with branded whiskey in London, your campaign name could be Search- Branded- Whiskey- London. Such organization makes it easy to read, create reports and also have other people easily navigate the information.
You want to have logical labels to identify campaigns with a commonality. It could be a certain broader region but then have a more specific name for the campaign.
Ad Groups and Number of Keywords per Ad Group
Having logical names for your ad groups makes it easy to navigate around your PPC account. You could probably name your ad groups based on the main search item.
It’s advisable to have about 20 keywords in each ad group to have better quality data to assess. Over 20 keywords in ad groups dilute the quality of keyword data you’ll obtain from a campaign.
4. Network Settings
Search network or Display network
You can’t have your campaigns running on both search and display networks. Each network requires different strategies.
Depending on your budget and the impact of the campaign, you can choose to turn off the option of having your ads appear on Google’s search partners. Further, you can’t access campaign data from each partner but can only view aggregated data.
Search Terms Report
Your search terms report gives you insight into the performance of keywords. You can identify keyword opportunities from keywords that performed better than expected then add them to your exact match list.
The report also helps you identify keywords to add to the negative keywords list. You need a date range that falls within 3-6 months to get a meaningful search terms report. Evaluating keywords from a campaign level, breaking them down to search intent will help you fully evaluate the performance of chosen keywords.
As negative keywords are more difficult to add, it is recommended that they are added at the start of campaigns (or even campaigns/ad groups). By regularly auditing negative keywords, any that no longer produce conversions can easily be removed, saving further expenditure on non-converting terms.
The highest factor in determining where you rank in ad auctions is your Quality Score. Regularly monitoring your Quality Score for each of your keywords will help you determine how changes to your account may be needed.
An ad’s quality score is quantified by the expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and the landing page experience. Each of these parameters gets a score of 1-10, where 1 signifies very poor keyword performance and 10 is very high. High-quality scores are an indication of the effectiveness of your PPC campaign.
Having a low CPC translates to fewer impressions. However, you should change your bid strategy if the cost per click for each keyword is too high. Ultimately your bid strategy should align with the campaign goals, so don’t shy away from making bid adjustments.
6. IP Exclusions
Remember to exclude your office or employee’s IP so that you don’t have misguided impressions data. Remember, each ad click costs you, so don’t forget to exclude the internal IP to help you eliminate the costs of such clicks.
Ensure that you are targeting the appropriate devices. Optimize ads for mobile devices for better ad results. Make sure that your ads work on different operating systems and ad inventory.
Does it make sense to create separate campaigns for multiple regions and languages within the same country (or region if you’re a local business)? Or would you be better off creating separate accounts?
If your business has physical stores in certain regions or you’re sure that you can deliver products without issues arising, target such regions. It’s advisable to exclude locations in which you cannot deliver from your list of target locations.
Trends & Seasonality
Has anything significant changed recently that might impact your search advertising performance (new competitors, Google updates, industry trends, etc.)? What does this mean for your current campaign structure and budget allocation moving forward during this period of change?
Ensures that your ads reach the most appropriate customers. You don’t want to waste your budget on bids that display your ads to customers who are unlikely to make a purchase.
While Google ads let you display ads all day, it’s advisable to schedule your ads for specific times of the day when you can get the most conversions.
8. Ad Evaluation
Recently, Google released an update that allows advertisers to automatically select appropriate extensions for their ads (such as adding the “Call” extension whenever a phone number appears in the ad text). If you use any ad extensions, monitoring them regularly will ensure that you are taking advantage of these automatic selections.
You need to review extensions because they need to align with your campaign goals. Ad extensions include location extensions, price, call, callout, message extensions, among others. They can help increase conversions and increase the quality of your ad copy.
Below is an overview of how different Ad extensions affect your Ad rank, which in turn affects your ad position.
For businesses with physical shops adding call extensions in the ad makes sense. For example, if a new hotel is trying to drive customers to their premises, a call extension is a good way to encourage and facilitate the booking of tables. Call extensions work particularly well on mobile devices.
You can also have callout extensions to help increase your click-through rate. Such extensions include words like “free PPC audit” or “free delivery” in your ad. You should add at least two callout extensions, although you can add up to four.
Structured Snippet Extensions
Structured snippets allow you to highlight certain features of your product and could help you increase your CTR.
Review extensions let you showcase third party reviews. You need to manually add them on Google Adwords. You also need to check that Google Adwords has approved the review extension and that they appear in the ad display. Bing ads also allow for review extensions. These kinds of ad extensions build trust with your potential customers.
Expanded Text Ads
Having expanded text ads entices a user to click to read more. You can add a third headline, second description, and you can use a maximum of 90 characters for each description.
Check out your list of disapproved ads and figure out why Google rejected them.
Have one of your keywords in the display URL to entice potential customers to view the ad.
Check out your list of disapproved ads and figure out why Google rejected them.
Final URLs or Landing Pages
Landing pages play a huge role in ensuring conversion. Using a final destination URL takes the user to the landing page, so you need to have relevant information posted there. Create new landing pages if the existing ones derail the success of your campaigns.
Whether you use the Google Analytics tracking code, a third party system or a manual implementation, it is essential that your landing page is designed to convert visitors into prospects and then customers. If your conversion process doesn’t match what you’re trying to achieve through your PPC campaigns, then they could be costing you money without providing results.
A/B Ad Testing
It’s important to try out different ad variations to determine which strategy works the best. Ad relevancy can change over time, so you need to regularly test whether an ad will get clicks. Tweak a certain element and observe the impact.
9. Formulate an Action Plan
Now that you have checked all the items in the PPC audit checklist and assessed your campaigns, it’s time to figure out the way forward. We’ll put in place strategies to increase the effectiveness of campaigns and ensure they’re implemented correctly.