A Simple PPC Audit Checklist

Just hosting your ads on different platforms and paying for them on the click will not get you the results you are looking for. You need to dig into the campaigns and look for areas that need improvement because nothing can be really perfect. There is always some scope of optimization that will improve the performance of your ad campaign.

The longer you work on something the more the chances of you overlooking something and assuming that everything is set up correctly. That is why you need to conduct an audit in your  Bing ads or Google Adwords account. It is called PPC Audit because you use these ad accounts to manage your pay per click ads.

Who should conduct the audit

Well, you can conduct the audit yourself if you’re trying to improve a particular issue but if you’re looking for a comprehensive check on your account then it’s better to hire someone to do that. Because as an account manager it’s difficult to find fault in something you have created. You could very easily skip things which are very sure of and lose out on the chance of optimizing that.

When should you conduct the audit

There is never a bad time to conduct the audit but it’s better to avoid immediately after launching a new strategy as you won’t be having sufficient data to judge the performance. Doing it every six months sounds reasonable but you can do it every quarter too.

How to go about the audit

You should make sure to look at a long enough range of time to get a statistically relevant data that will help you get insightful information about the different parts of the account and the performance.

Now after selecting the date there are various components of an ad account that need your attention-

Review targeting settings

Location: Check for the location targets to ensure that your company offers services there, review your geo reports to find out a location which is doing really well so that you can put prioritize that location.

Device: Make sure you are targeting the right devices and create mobile ads specifically for mobile devices for a better-optimized view.

Language: Language targeting is very important too.

IP Exclusions: You should always make sure to exclude your office IP address so that your ads do not show up when you search for your keywords and end up wasting impressions and clicks.

Check ad scheduling

Your ad should be showing at the prime conversion or transaction time for your business. As a local business, there could be a day or hour of the day when you would not like to display the ad. So have control over that.

Track your conversions

Neglecting the conversions is the biggest mistake you are making in your ads account. Without this, you won’t be able to know if your hard work is paying off. Check for the “tracking conversion” code is implemented correctly and at the proper place.

If your account is reflecting high conversions despite low sales numbers then it’s a possibility that your conversion tracking is measuring visits to product pages or landing pages and not the order confirmation page.

So make sure the tracking codes are added at the right place and you are tracking the correct picture.

Verify delivery methods

The delivery method chosen will determine how long your budget will last. The default choice is the ‘standard’ delivery because Google will optimize the delivery of the ad and spread them throughout the day. If you choose ‘accelerated’ delivery your budget may get exhausted soon as Google does not optimize the ads here.

Ad rotation settings

If you have more than one ad per ad group then they will be forced to rotate as Google doesn't allow more than one ad from one account to show at a time. To review this setting you need to ensure that your “all features” is enabled. From the ad rotation section, you can choose the frequency of your ads relative to each other

Verify your ad schedule settings

If you want your ads to be displayed at certain days of the week or specific times of the day, you modify this section. But you should take care of the fact that people looking for your keywords in those times will not see your ad so choose wisely.

Curate a bidding strategy

You need to understand the bid strategies that work for you and optimal to achieve your KPI’s. You can choose a manual CPC(cost per click) strategy or go for automated strategies of Google Ads. You can increase your bid per ad to get more exposure and if you think your keywords are costing too much per click and cost per conversions is going high, you can reduce the bid.

Review of Keywords used

Check if your keywords are set to a variety of match types and not only one. Although Broad match types are the defaults and yield plenty of traffic, these impressions are from people searching for things loosely related to the business. This results in poor click-through rates and conversions.

So it’s also important to put keywords in exact match and phrase match types to get more explicit clicks that are actually looking for your business. Also if you come across keywords with very low impressions in the last 3 months then that needs to go.

If some part of your keywords are seasonal like any festival or new years then they need be paused during offseason.

The number of keywords: You should not have more than 10-20 keywords per ad group. If you had it then move it to a separate ad group. This will make sure your ad group is point focussed.

Analyze your negative keywords

While doing your audit, go to your query reports and try to see what terms are triggering your ads. You can also find the search terms that are not included in your keywords, and then you can decide if you want those keywords and if not you have to put them to your negative keyword list.

Also if you have already set negative keywords you need to revisit them to confirm if they are exclusive and not blocking the impression of any of your keywords.

Check Google analytics account linking

Every Adwords account should be linked with the Google analytics account. During the audit ensure that the account is properly inked and the tracking code is implemented correctly. Also, go through the analytics report to gain insights into the paid search data of customers.

Ad extensions

Ad extensions are a must have for a competitive ad copy but you should be using them effectively. The important thing to note here is that the ad extensions should be relevant to your business. For example, if you’re an e-commerce company with no physical stores then be sure to remove any location extensions so your ads do not list in Google maps.

  • If you want to show your location, then you need to link your Google My Business account with Adwords as it picks the address from there.
  • If you are using call extensions then you should make sure the number is correct and working, also if you do not have a person to pick up calls round the clock, schedule the call extensions to appear only during your business hours.
  • The site links added should be relevant to the ad or your campaign. Check if the site links are mobile optimized for mobile devices. The minimum requirement is of two site links for both desktop and mobile devices although you can have a maximum of 6 and 8 site links for the respective devices.
  • Similarly, you can also display callout extensions that show unique offers in a few words or a single phrase. You can have up to 4 call-out extensions per ad. Make sure the tet is short and also the offer is very specific “free shipping” or very general like “24/7 support”.

Evaluate the ads

  • Assess the ad copy for the call to action, unique value proposition, relevant keywords. Also, make sure that the offers getting advertised are not expired.
  • Test review the Display URL
  • Be sure that the landing pages that the ads take visitors to are most relevant to the ad. They are work on all devices and the loading time is less.
  • You should never ignore the spelling and grammar errors in the ad description, URL or any extensions.
  • The placement of ads is also important, be attentive to their performance, change the place of display and manually change it.

Now that you have got hold of all things wrong, you know what to do to bring your account in better shape. First things first - prioritize your list of things and try changing things that will have a broader effect on various things. Also if you were looking for some issue even before the audit, then, start with that and move to things that you discovered along the way that aren’t directly linked to the problem. Also, do not go about changing things all at once, proceed in steps as too much hurry can ruin things.

If you are not sure how to go about Auditing your PPC account Contact us  or write to us at contact@chaskis.digital and we will be happy to help.

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