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Quick & easy 5 step AdWords audit to boost performance

May 04, 2021 9 min read

Local SEO and other digital marketing practices often rely on Google Ads in order to increase the number of visitors to a certain website or to promote a product etc. However, relying on ads is so much more than simply paying for the promotion and waiting on clients to start pouring in. You will also have to take some time and analyze the data on your Adwords account. This is done in order to evaluate the effectiveness of google ads, and figure out how to better utilize them.

These account audits are a standard practice among digital marketing specialists, and there are different tools that you can use to visualize the results of ads campaign. In this blog post, we will explain what AdWords audit means, why it is conducted, how you can perform an AdWords audit, and what should be on your audit checklist.

What Is a Google Ads Account Audit?

Google Ads audit is a process of analyzing the settings of your ad campaign or more precisely evaluating the effectiveness of ads. The idea is to gain enough insight that points out some of the flaws in your business strategy and allow you to improve the performance of your account.

Bear in mind though that you only get the results that are generated by an algorithm. In other words, this is an algorithmic-based analysis or audit, and as a result, might lack relevant context as to why the outcomes are the way they are. Meaning, there is a lot of work that needs to be done on your part in order to make the best out of that information, and use it for adjusting your advertising strategy.

Key Things to Consider During Account Audits

When performing an ads audit there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Decide on what you want to review, or establish your review goals, and understand the importance of those elements.
  • You need to document everything in detail, like the status of each item, in order to know which area needs more work, and which assets are performing as expected. So, be prepared to make a lot of notes.
  • Find a way how to incorporate your findings into an actionable report or valuable business intelligence. So, present the things where they currently stand, present desired outcomes, identify potential pain points, and hopefully, you might be able to come up with theories on how to improve.

If you do all of these things the report will be able to derive some conclusions from this report and even redefine some of your business goals. Here are some more concrete examples of those insights.

  • Identifying costs that do not yield sufficient returns. Meaning, you either abandon this campaign or make adjustments, in order not to burn through more of your funds.
  • Identifying new opportunities for expansions or areas where you can double down your efforts and continue to generate more revenue as a result.
  • Gaining a better understanding of your target audience like what resonates better with them, where they are located, age group, etc.
  • Figure out the bounce rate on your site, and potential reasons why it is happening.

    Below is an example of Whatagraph report which may be a good fit for your reporting needs. 

report example

If your report can incorporate all of this it will allow you to enhance your management efforts and even maximize your PPC so that only relevant people end up on your platform.

Steps for Conducting Successful Ads Audit

If you have an active google ads campaign and that you want to evaluate its impact, then there are a few steps that you should follow, in order to make the best out of that analysis.

Analyzing Goals

Before starting the analysis you need to establish what are your marketing goals in the first place, in order to see to which extent the ad campaign helped you realize those goals. Clearly, you don't have to settle for a single goal, considering how these campaigns can help you achieve multiple things. The more specific you are the better though. Here are a few things to consider when analyzing these goals:

  1. Conversion goal of your company - This is the overall goal that is not achieved solely through Google ads. It means increasing the number of leads in your sales pipeline and increasing the conversion rate within that pipeline.
  2. Conversion goals of Google Ads campaign - What is the number of leads or new customers that you wish to acquire through a campaign. Alternatively, it can be related to increasing the number of leads for a specific demographic.
  3. Change in the expectations
  4. Means of tracking performance beyond Google Ads campaigns - It's one thing to generate the report based on the performance of the ads campaign. However, it is important to have a context or other means of advertising that you are also tracking, in order to get a better understanding of the impact.
  5. Changing your target audience - Are you analyzing the overall performance or do you wish to isolate the results related to a specific target group.

If you know exactly what you wish to track, you can have more insightful analysis and more accurate business intelligence.

Adwords Account Structure

Once you have a clear goal then you will need to take some time and tweak your account or structure your campaign. The ad campaign is structured around the business objectives and they can include the following:

  • Targeting specific user personas
  • Advertising specific line of product or service

Based on these objectives you need to structure the account in a way that gives you as much control as possible. In other words, aim to manage just how much funds are spent on ads, and where and when the ads are displayed. Knowing where your ads are visible, and when they are visible can be extremely important if you wish to maximize marketing efforts and cut costs.

You should always check if you are targeting the appropriate geographies or if you are targeting some regions that you do not wish to include in the campaign. Also, make sure that the ads are displayed on appropriate devices, maybe you wish to focus on tablet users, or solely on smartphone users, etc. Finally, make sure that your ads are displayed in the desired dayparting interval, considering how both PPC and the impact of google ads are affected by this schedule.

Ad Groups

Since you have multiple groups of ads, each of them should have keywords or search terms that are used as a queue to air the ad from a group. When it comes to the number of keywords per group, that number should be somewhere between 15 and 20 keywords.

Of course, the list of keywords does not play a huge role, so long as those search terms are really relevant to your product or service. Therefore, try to be as specific as possible, since making ads as visible as possible does not directly translate to sales. In fact, if you will only burn through your budget if you are trying to target as many people as possible who will most likely ignore the ad or just click and leave the site immediately afterward.

For revenue printed ad groups the keywords should be really granular and have a similar semantic theme. This will allow you to create specific google ads, for relevant search terms, which accurately answer the user query, or give the potential client exactly what he or she is looking for.

Let's say you have a cake shop in Chicago, then a specific search term you can target with a specific ad can be - "Wedding cakes in Chicago," or "Birthday cakes in Chicago." Displaying ads to people outside of your area is unlikely to make them drive all the way to your town and make an order.

Another thing to be cognizant of when it comes to ad groups is the number of ads per group. If the previous account user only had one ad per group, then there are no variations or comparisons that you can draw. This can be a bad thing considering how you can't collect relevant data to optimize your ads in the future. On the positive note, having multiple ads does not mean your ad group will perform better, so having a single ad that works, could also potentially save money.

Ideally, you would want 2 to 3 ad variations of the ad that you can test through multiple campaigns and then remove those less efficient, and replace them with potentially better variations.

Keywords

The performance of your search campaigns will be lower if you don't keyword sets with a variety of search query match types. One of the best practices for connecting with highly qualified searchers is to be as specific as possible.

Moreover, tracking conversion for these search queries will also be easier. That being said, your keyword list should also include more broad search terms, as they are good for research, audience insights, and gauging engagements of different groups of potential clients.

However, in order for your audit to make sense, don't run all of the search ads or all keywords at the same time. Sure you might see good conversion and more users on your landing pages or a specific product page, but tracking conventions or individual ad performance will be impossible.

You need to discover new patterns, and figure out how to filter out the users who only end up on a product page due to a loosely related search. If you want a better conversion rate, you need to ensure your sales pipeline gets truly qualified leads. In other words, quality over quantity. To achieve this you can rely on negative keywords.

Negative keywords allow you to avoid impressions and clicks from unqualified users. You can review query reports to see the list of terms that have triggered your ads, and ascertain which of these terms are not qualified, buyers. You can also set negative keywords simply by guesswork.

Visualizing feedback

Finally, if you want to have quality feedback and monitor KPIs throughout your google ads campaign, then you should use data visualization tools. An application like Whatagraph can be integrated with a google ads account, and then it can be used to generate a report that you can present to board members. These custom reports can be extremely useful, especially for a future ads audit, and for tracking conversions over time as well.

FAQ

What does PPC Audit stand for?

A PPC or pay-per-click audit is a process of analyzing AdWords campaigns in order to determine how to better optimize your marketing efforts. You can cut your costs by doing a PPC audit, eliminate less impactful or irrelevant AdWords from your future campaigns, and focus on more qualified leads.

What is KPI in Google AdWords?

There are multiple KPIs or metrics that you can and should follow on your Google ads account.

  • Number of Clicks: This KPI allows you to find out which of your keywords get you the highest number of clicks.
  • CTR (Click-Through-Rate): Gives a good general idea of how appealing your ads are to your audience. A low CTR can indicate that you need to change the structure of the ad or change the audience for that ad.
  • Quality Score: Use this KPI to ascertain the relevance of your ad groups.
  • Cost-per-Click (CPC): Pretty self-explanatory, it's the price you pay per click.
  • Ad Position: Measures CTR based on where the ad is positioned.
  • Conversion Rate: You can find out which of your campaigns perform the best in terms of conversion, or turning viewers into customers.
  • Cost per Conversion: You can find out which of your campaigns were the most profitable for you

How do I analyze Google ad data?

You can analyze Google ad data using the following steps:

  1. Set up your Google account to monitor and track conversion.
  2. Track your ROI through conversion tracking, identifying the most profitable campaigns, and tracking costs per click.
  3. Test different keyword ad groups, or different keywords, to find out which ones yield the most qualified leads.
  4. Monitor the relevance of your ad groups via the quality score feature.
  5. Generate a report that details all of these KPIs

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Whatagraph team
Written by Whatagraph team

The Whatagraph blog team produces high-quality content on all things marketing: industry updates, how-to guides, and case studies.

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