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Paid Search

10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

Auditing your PPC account is a necessary step to ensure success, but it doesn’t have to be over whelming. This article focuses on the 10 most important pillars you need to check in order to have a solid PPC account on Google AdWords.

1. Search Term  Report

Are you making sure your keywords are retrieving relevant terms? Most of the time advertisers are investing money on terms that are just not good enough or not 100 percent relevant. Spotting these terms can save you a lot of money.
What to look for in a search term report:
  • One word broad match keywords
  • Exact match negative keywords
  • Long tail keywords

You can look at your search query report by clicking on “details”, “search terms” and “all” in the keywords tab

search term report 637x177 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

 

2. Location Targeting Set Up

Are you getting clicks from locations you don’t want to target? This is a common issue for many accounts and it has an easy solution. Simply go into your campaign settings and select target “people in my targeted location” to avoid traffic you do not necessarily need.
You can set it up in your location settings in the settings tab:
Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.09.45 PM 637x141 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

3. Description Line 1

Having a period at the end of the first line of an advertising message will show a larger headline when displayed in the first three positions on Google. Also, it makes your extensions stand out more.
Additionally, I would suggest including a product feature or benefit in the first line of the ad in order to attract the eye of your potential customer.
This is an example of an advertising message without a period at the end of the first line:
Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.15.10 PM 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

This is an example of advertising message with a period at the end of the first line:
Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.18.18 PM 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

4. Advertising Extensions

Ad extensions are becoming critical to the success of a campaign. Proof of this is the fact that Google is now considering ad extensions as an important element of the quality score formula.
You should make sure the account is at least taking advantage of the following extensions:
  • Site links
  • Call extension
  • Location extension
  • Social extension
  • Review extension

You can find all advertising extensions below the extension tab at the adgroup or campaign level:

Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.27.12 PM 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

5. Keywords Grouping

Are the keywords in the account grouped in the right adgroups? As you may already know, having a high quality score can save you a lot of money, therefore you need to maximize you chances of getting as close to 10/10 as possible.
Also, grouping keywords in tight groups helps to improve the CTR as long as the ads are well written. Increasing the CTR will have a huge impact on the quality score and reduce costs even more.

6. Connection with Google Analytics

Make sure to have properly connected Google AdWords and Analytics because this can save you a lot of time and money!
I strongly recommend to use two features from within the AdWords interface:
  • Evaluate the average time on site of keywords and find out if your landing page is performing poorly or if you need to pause many of your keywords
  • Call extension
  • Evaluate the bounce rate by advertising messages and find out what kind of messages produces the best results!

You can link Google AdWords to Google Analytics to get extra columns in AdWords by clicking on “My Account” and then on “Account Access”. You can now click on “Linked Accounts” and move forward with the Google Analytics linking:

Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.36.32 PM 637x200 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

7. Geographic Report

Are you optimizing  your account customizing bids and exposure to geographical performance? Let’s assume you target the whole USA and find out that Florida and New York are performing with a CPA 50 percent lower than other states. You might want to segment your targeting in those states and allocate a higher bid to generate more sales in Florida and New York.
Similarly, you could lower the bid for low performing states.
You can change a geographic bid in the location tab under settings:
Screen Shot 2014 01 27 at 2.40.51 PM 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

source: adwords.google.com

8. Keywords Bids

How is your account bidding? You need to make sure that each keyword has a custom bid tailored to its level of profitability. Do not always aim to be in the top positions, but rather focus on being profitable.
Are you running on CPA bidding? Make sure to pause all unprofitable keywords and test new ones as you go. Also, test how different CPA goals affect your conversions volume.

9. The Display Network

Is a company running on the display network? if not, why? If yes, are they doing it right?
The display network has huge opportunities but it requires surgical targeting to generate a good CPA. The most common mistake is to target the display network only via keywords without any placement or topic. Make sure to create a custom targeting to take advantage of all available options.

10. Remarketing Campaigns

Many companies have remarketing campaigns that are simply targeting a bunch of people who have visited their website in the past.
The right approach is to target by product or service and to segment into as many lists as possible to create a better customer experience and maximize the conversion rate

In Conclusion

Auditing an account helps save you money and time, and it should be regularly done both on new and old accounts. The ten points mentioned above should be checked routinely to keep your account healthy.
We are all aware that it requires more than 10 points to review an account. I am looking forward to creating an even bigger list with all of your contributions!
Screenshots taken 01/27/2014.
 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account
Founder & CEO of Zebra Advertisement, a leading online advertising agency and Google Partners All-Stars Winner 2014. Rocco consults businesses of all sizes with an emphasis on Google AdWords, Facebook and cross-channel advertising. Rocco has been shortlisted as Young Search Professional of the Year by the European Search Awards (2013, 2014) and by the US Search Awards (2013). He holds two Master of Science and two Bachelor of Science degrees and is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.
 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account
 10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

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9 thoughts on “10 Steps to Audit Any Pay Per Click Account

  1. Great tips. Love point #3 – so valuable and yet so often forgotten.

    As for point #5 – I too have found that the tighter the group the better. In fact, I have had my most success by creating one ad group PER keyphrase — regardless of variants. I will repeat that keyphrase for each match type to start – to see which converts highest and then I will pause or delete the rest. I will also ensure that I ONLY split test 2 ads at a time for each adgroup — therefore ensuring I have ONLY ever one control and one treatment competing for a boost. When the treatment beats the control, it becomes the new control. Easy peasy, I do monitor daily to ensure that there is a positive change OR to reduce negative changes, but in the end – every minute is worth it as the increase in ROI can be pretty unbelievable. :) Just some extra food for thought. For whatever it is worth.

  2. Good list Rocco. So much work can go into managing a well run ad campaign that it can be easy to forget about the landing page. I’d certainly recommend a review of the landing page to increase conversions and quality score for your next post with the bigger list! Looking forward to it.

  3. Google (and everybody else in unison) has been saying that we should have as many extensions as our minds can imagine in our ads — that the extensions are more important than the ads themselves — but has anybody ever done a study to compare conversion rates among campaigns with a (1) single landing page, (2) a website and (3) an ad with extensions?

    I can tell you that someone who clicks an ad and goes to a single landing page will convert probably 2-4 times higher than someone who clicks to the homepage of a website. I have no idea what the conversion rate is you get when someone can click different extension links and basically work their way through a website. Clicks to a website homepage will get you a 1% conversion rate if that. (In this case, I equate a “lead” with a “conversion.) Clicks to a single landing page can give you a 5%-8% conversion rate. I know because I’ve done it. My clients would go broke if they got a 1% conversion rate (a single lead) for every 100 clicks they paid for. Does wonders for Google and sends businesses to the poorhouse.

    At the end of it all, the big thing to realize is that clicks don’t automatically translate into dollars unless you’re the entity (Google) who charges for the clicks. Google would like you to believe that every click they sell you makes you money. Guess what — they don’t.

  4. I crated the Google analytic and ad words account but i cant connect them please give me suggestion please
    jonkig

  5. One of the best Google Adwords tips I ever got, from a guy named Simon, was to include a solid mix of the three (four including modified) match types, with the correct proportions of broad, phrase, and exact within each ad group. Most people that get started on PPC don’t think to do things that way. If you want to talk to Simon, you can call him at 302-401-4478.