PPC Audits

Pay Per Click Audits Overview

Even the best-run ad campaigns need a review periodically.
If one of the following applies to you, it may be time for a fresh assessment of your ad account:

Do You Rarely Touch Your Ad Campaigns?

Maybe your ad campaign hasn’t been touched in a while. Everything had been sailing along smoothly for quite some time. Perhaps you’re now seeing some declines in performance, but your big fear is that you’re missing out on opportunities.

Advertising platforms introduce new technology at a breakneck pace. Features that may give you the ability to better reach your targeted audience need to be tested in your accounts as they are introduced.

Competition keeps increasing and innovating. If your ad campaign is standing still, odds are your competitors are better positioned to get more quality leads.
You’re missing out. You’re not keeping up with the latest technology or keeping an eye on the competition.

Is Your PPC Performance Slipping?

Your costs have gone up, and your conversions are going down. It is getting more and more expensive to get fresh leads into your business. It is probably time to take a new look at things.

Do You Have the Right Person Managing Paid Search Accounts?

Maybe performance isn’t all that bad, but you suspect it could be better. Perhaps you’re beginning to doubt the person managing your ad campaigns is up to the task.

Whether that manager is an agency, a contractor, an employee – or even you – we can be your second set of eyes to identify potential issues with  accounts that need improvement.

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Our Google Ads PPC Audit Checklist

Historical Performance Baseline  

We’ll look at your baseline historical performance for your ad campaigns. This analysis helps us to pinpoint any PPC performance problems. Doing this allows us to come up with a course of action based on changes that have occurred in the account. After we implement audit recommendations, this baseline also serves as a way for us to measure performance improvements.

Conversion Tracking Implementation  

You must have conversion tracking implemented correctly in order to measure your results accurately. Without it, there is no way to measure the actual effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

You must have conversion tracking properly implemented in order to accurately measure your results. Without it, there is no way to measure the true effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

Google Account Settings  

We’ll make sure that your ad account settings are appropriate for your goals. A problem that we commonly see in Google Ad accounts is that too many advertisers take Google’s advertising recommendations.
Google also in some cases implements its recommendations by default – even when it may not be in your best interests. Remember that Google is in business to generate revenue for Google, and many of its recommendations will be detrimental to your ad campaigns.
Here are two essential settings that we recommend most advertisers should ensure are appropriately set in their accounts.
Turn Google Ad Suggestions off
Choose “Don’t Automatically Apply Ad Suggestions”. Google has advertising-related algorithms and will write ads for you based on your existing ads. We don’t recommend having a computer algorithm write your ads for you.
Disabling Google Ad Suggestions
Select "Don't automatically apply ad suggestions" to prevent Google from writing ads on your behalf
Despite advances in machine learning, you don’t want to leave writing your ads to a computer algorithm. You know your advertising objectives and goals. You know your customers much better than Google’s algorithms. You need to be involved in writing the ads.

Excluded Content
Choose all available options so that your ads are much less likely to appear on websites or apps which can be offensive or unrelated to your brand.

Exclude Ads from Sensitive Content on Google
Select "Don't automatically apply ad suggestions" to prevent Google from writing ads on your behalf

Google Ads Campaign Settings  

Networks

Search Network
For most advertisers, you’ll want to make sure that you’re only advertising on the Search Network.

Google Search Partners
Some advertisers have success with Google Search partners.  If you have extra budget, it may be worth experimenting with search partners after your Google Search Network campaigns are already optimized. The problem with search partners is that you don’t have as much control over your ad distribution. Search partner sites are also not of the same quality as the Google search engine, so your results likely won’t be nearly as good.

Google Display Network
Local service providers should rarely participate on the Google Display Network – unless they have a strong branding strategy. Don’t ever combine Display ad campaigns with Search Network campaigns.

Google Search Network vs Display Network
Network settings for your Google Ads Campaign

Locations

We also make sure that you’re only targeting people who are likely to become prospects. For local businesses, this usually means targeting “people in or regularly in your targeted locations” and excluding those “people in, or who show interest in, your excluded locations”

Ad Rotation

We recommend that you set your ads to rotate indefinitely. Google tends to favor ads with high clickthrough rates – which may not always be your best converting ads. If you don’t have a considerable volume of conversions coming in, Google likely won’t have enough data to make the right advertising decisions. We recommend A/B testing ads periodically or using a 3rd party tool (like AdAlysis) to do the testing for you.
Google Ad Rotation Settings
Hidden beneath "Additional Settings" in your campaign, be sure to set "Do not optimize: Rotate Ads Indefinitely"

Devices

We’ll compare performance on mobile, desktop, and tablet and recommend bid adjustments based on cost per conversion data. For some industries, mobile visits and searchers are now exceeding desktop.

This shift represents different opportunities based on performance. In some cases, advertisers will want to increase mobile ad spending. In some industries, desktop ads are becoming less competitive and offering better returns than mobile. We’ll look at both and determine what will work best for you.

We’ll look at your campaign settings to ensure that ads are only showing in locations where your ideal clients or customers are likely to reside.

Google Ads Setup  

Three Ads Per Group

Google’s recommendation of 3 ads per ad group may seem excessive for smaller accounts without a lot of ad clicks. It does make it harder to determine an ad winner based on statistical significance. That said, we still recommend following the guidelines as having an ad campaign with 3 ads as it may contribute towards an improved quality score.

Ad Extensions

We’ll take a look at your existing ad extensions configuration. We’ll make sure that you’re taking advantage of ad extensions. Ad extensions make your ads larger and stand out more. As a result, you’ll want to be using as many of them as possible to get opportunities for more clicks.

Ad Text

We’ll review your ads and make sure that your ads take full advantage of all available headlines and descriptions. We’ll also make sure that your ads are sufficiently different from each other. A tactic that we like to employ with ads is to present 3 different types of ads all competing against each other:
  • An Eye-Grabbing Offer – Like $ pricing or % discounts
  • An Inspiring Ad – Take your prospect on the transformational journey that your product or service will deliver to them
  • An Ad Appealing to the Logical – this is to appeal to those prospects that are more quantitative and interested in features

Use as many ad extensions as possible. It will make your ad stand out more on the search engine results page and likely result in a lot more clicks.

Keywords Auditing  

Match Types

We’ll go through your account and make sure that you’re correctly using all match types. The match types are:
  • Broad Match (not recommended)
  • Broad Match Modified
  • Phrase Match
  • Phrase Match Modified – not officially a match type, but a technique
  • Exact Match
We’ll make sure that you’re not too reliant on exact match terms and even phrase match terms which may be limiting ad exposure and clicks. We will also take a look to make sure that you’re not using budget-wasting broad match keywords. Broad match keywords should be used only in exceptional cases – and even then, with great care.

Keyword Performance Adjustments

We’ll assess all keywords to find the best performers and the budget wasters. We’ll recommend de-emphasizing poor performing keywords either through removal, lowering bids, or in some cases making them negative keywords.
We’ll come up with recommendations to amplify the effectiveness of your best-performing keywords. Keyword performance improvement tactics may involve increasing bids and moving keywords into smaller, more focused ad groups.

Search Term Report

Search Terms Report
The Search Term Report is an Essential Resource Showing User Searches that Triggered Your Ads
We will review your search term report to look for new keywords to add to your ad campaigns – as well as to look for negative keywords that we don’t want to trigger your ads.

Negative Keywords

We have thousands of negative keywords across multiple topic areas that we can add to your account to prevent your ads from showing for undesirable searches.

PPC Audit Improvements  

Google Ads Budget Scripts

Google has a daily budget option but will spend up to 2x of your daily budget whenever Google’s algorithms deem that it is necessary.  As a result, you lose a bit of control over the management of your ad account.

We have developed a Google Ads Script that will prevent Google from committing a runaway daily ad spend. We will apply this script to your account to give you better control over Google’s ad spend.

PPC Management Schedule

As part of the audit, we’ll come up with a plan of activities that your staff can perform to make sure that your ad campaigns are running smoothly. The schedule will consist of PPC related tasks that you can perform periodically (daily / monthly / quarterly).

Google will spend up to 2x your allocated budget on a given day. You can use scripts to keep runaway ad spend in check.

PPC Audit Cost

The cost of a PPC audit will vary depending on your needs.

The larger your ad account is, the more time it will likely take for our team to conduct the audit. Smaller, local campaigns generally require significantly less time and, therefore, will cost less.
Contact us to get an idea of approximately how long the audit will take and how much it will cost.

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