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Auditing Your PPC Account

This PPC audit guide covers many of the most important aspects of a Google Ads and Microsoft/Bing Ads account. The purpose is to help you better understand these important – but often ignored or overlooked – facets of an advertising account.

 

For the record, the PPC audit itself is an evaluation of the ad accounts performance.

 

This guide is written as if I am actually running the PPC audit. I’ve categorized the important facets and listed the very questions I ask myself while performing the PPC audit.

 

It is first important to make sure we have the advertiser’s goals in mind. Before jumping into the PPC audit, we need a clear picture of what they are trying to get out of their advertising efforts. It would also be helpful to know what other advertising they are doing.

 

Evaluation of advertiser goals

  • What are the advertiser’s goals?
  • Does the advertiser have any KPIs (key performance indicators) in mind that they must hit? i.e. ideal cost per lead, ideal lead count, etc.

In this step we’re attempting to get some background information from the advertiser. We want to be sure that we are on the same page as them. We don’t want to point them in a direction that is completely the opposite of what their goals are. Our audit and any recommendations we provide should be in line with their business goals.

 

Account structure

  • How is the account currently structured?
  • Is the current structure limiting any high-performing campaigns?
  • Are any keywords taking all of the available budget from other keywords?
  • Does the structure make sense for the goals of the account?

There are many settings, or levers to pull, within an advertising account. The account’s structure plays a huge role in giving control to the advertiser to pull the various levers necessary to maintain control. Bid and budget management, location targeting, device targeting, network targeting and ad schedule all happen at the campaign level. This means that if there is a specific case where any of those settings are priority for a given goal, we must treat them separately.

 

For example, if an advertiser only performs a specific service in one town (but not in any of the other towns they typically work in) then we must be sure to break out this service into its own campaign with the respective location targeting within that campaign.

 

Conversion tracking

  • Is conversion tracking properly setup?
  • Tracking all forms, live chats, calls?
  • Keyword level attribution for conversion tracking

This is a really important facet that I have found is almost always overlooked if the advertising account is ran by the business owner or in-house by a person not so familiar with marketing online. Some people still don’t realize some very important facts in regards to PPC advertising and that was a really great reason for writing this PPC audit guide. One really important and often unknown fact that specifically has to do with conversion tracking is that all tracked conversions (leads) from PPC advertising can be attributed down to the very keyword that triggered the ad to show.

 

Bid and budget management

  • Are budgets shared and limiting performance in any campaigns?
  • Are smart bid strategies being utilized?
  • Is enhanced CPC on?
  • Any use of bid adjustments?

I alluded to some of the bid and budget management stuff above. These settings are adjusted at the campaign level, so it’s important to keep that in mind when doing a PPC audit. We’re making an effort to ensure that budget being shared across multiple campaigns isn’t hindering (or limiting) performance of any specific campaign(s). If a shared budget is limiting a campaign, then we must make a decision whether or not it is wise to move that respective campaign out of the shared group to set an individual budget for it.

 

Keywords

  • Are all match types being utilized?
  • If broad match type is being utilized is the negative keyword list built out enough?
  • How is the negative keyword list?
  • Are you combing through the search terms report and adding more negative keywords?
  • Utilizing broad match modified?
  • Utilizing geo appended keywords?

 

Locations

  • Exclude locations outside of service area
  • Take a look at the advanced location settings

It is best to layer in specific cities or zips so that you can modify bids at the most specific level possible. I typically recommend advertisers set their advanced location targeting settings to ‘People in my targeted location’. This will help eliminate any wasted spend that may come from users located outside of your targeted area.

 

Ad extensions

  • Is the account utilizing all appropriate ad extensions?
  • Is Google Business linked with a tracking number in the AdWords field?

Ad extensions help to expand your ad with additional information. As a service based business, some of the more important ad extensions to you may be:

  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • Sitelink extensions

 

Display & audiences

  • Are any audiences being utilized?
  • Is remarketing setup?
  • Remarketing list for search ads?
  • In-market for search?
  • Are mobile apps excluded from display targeting?
  • Check content exclusions
  • Check frequency capping

 

If you’re interested in having your Google Ads or Bing Ads audited then contact us today.