This comprehensive guide outlines the different account areas for you to analyse and review in an audit, and propel your paid ad campaigns to success!
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of your pay per click audit, you should ensure your PPC account is linked to Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is the holy grail for digital marketing, it will allow you to monitor all customer activity and behaviour on your website following an ad click or impression.
The first thing you should assess in a PPC audit is campaign structure. Is the naming structure simple, clear and does it make sense? A sensible naming structure makes your job a lot easier down the line. Each should have a unique name that clearly explains what kind of ad groups are within the campaign. Numbering your campaigns 1 to 20 will make it tricky to identify which campaigns you need.
Now that you have organised the campaigns methodically, it's time to review the ad groups.
Some things to consider for your ad groups; are you using ad groups as a subcategory for general product categories, for example? Have you used a maximum of 20 keywords within each ad group? Is your ad group niche? If the ad group is broad, you might encounter difficulties matching the ad copywriting with the terms.
Choosing your keywords are vital for a fruitful ROI. If mostly broad match terms have been associated with the account, there is scope to increase the ROI by adding phrase and exact match terms. If broad match terms are needed for a specific reason, a negative keyword strategy must be in place to eradicate irrelevant traffic. You can also use search term reports to discover high-reaching keywords and determine if they still need to be added to the account structure to increase traffic or conversions.
Quality score is one of the most important aspects of running a PPC campaign. The quality score determines your ad's placement, and the only way to improve your ad placement is to also improve your quality score.
Factors such as click-through rate and ad relevance help calculate your quality score; the more relevant your ad is, the more likely you are to receive clicks.
If you see that your quality score is low during your PPC audit, improving this should be at the top of your priority list if you want to improve your ad's overall performance. If your quality score is good, it's happy days; you can continue your current strategies to keep your rating.
Ad Copy and Design
Many people are so consumed with keyword selection and bidding that they forget to pay attention to the front end of the ad, but this has one of the biggest impacts on the click-through rate. You must ensure ads are grammatically correct, contain no spelling mistakes and contain content that excites or intrigues the audience. You should also ensure that all text on the ad is factually correct. For example, are you advertising a promotional price that is no longer valid? Is the messaging in sync with the information on your website? While this kind of error might not affect CTR, it will harm your conversion rate.
Your bid strategy should mirror your campaign goals. You can use manual cost per click (CPC) or automatic CPC to target clicks, CPA bidding to heighten conversions or manual CPM to focus on impressions.
Also, when running a PPC campaign, you'll want to keep track of your bid amounts and monitor this to see how much you are spending.
If you see the budgets creeping up with little to show for it, you could end up losing money or just breaking even, but that's not preferable; you should be making a profit.
If your CPC is £10 for a £15 product, your profit margin is minor. If you reassess your bidding strategy and spending, you might find a method of lowering your bid amounts while allowing more clicks.
Firstly, see if your remarketing campaigns are activated. If yes, you should start checking the specific audiences, if cookie codes are in the website coding, are they set up with the correct lengths and is there an assigned audience for each abandonment level.
Checking tracking implementation on a PPC account should be one of your first steps of preparing for an audit.
Before starting an audit, you should refine a list of conversion goals. Having this final list of goals means you can resolve any errors with the existing implementation.
Check the Google Ads tracking code is active on the website and assess any conversion actions to ensure they're relevant.
So, you're reviewing your ads while you're at work, but you or a colleague accidentally clicks... What does that do? Well, it's detrimental to your clicks and impressions. To ensure you're not wasting precious clicks and budget, you can exclude your office's IP address. Excluding your office's IP means your ads won't appear when you search for your search terms, so you won't be wasting impressions or clicks on your office. If you want to view your ads through the eyes of the audience, you can use the ad preview tool.
Location analysis provides valuable insights for your PPC audit.
When running a paid campaign, your ads might appear in different counties or cities, especially if you have a presence selling products or services nationwide.
Location analysis allows you to see where your ads best perform, the different cities where your ad appears and how it looks to the audience in those cities. This can be useful for assessing where you are likely to gain business and helps you to decide where to increase ad spend if certain cities are driving better results.
Location analysis can also prevent wasting budget. If you notice your ads keep appearing in a city where your services are not available, clicks from this region can waste your assigned budget. If you spot this mistake, you can rectify it and allocate your ad spend in areas that will yield sales.