Paid Search campaign management can be tricky business. To deliver stand out business performance from your PPC campaigns, you need to deliver on the basics whilst adapting and innovating your accounts with top drawer strategy.
Sometimes, you might hire an Agency to control this part. But if you work client side, you should also be checking on your campaigns yourself too.
How To Quickly Audit Your PPC Account
In most of the cases, advertisers hire an agency to conduct a PPC audit; in fact, I would recommend this. But if you don’t have the budget, you can also start to give your accounts a basic audit yourself.
An in-depth PPC account audit sounds time-consuming. But auditing doesn’t have to be!
I can show you how to get some quick wins in 15 minutes.
When Should Advertisers Run a Quick PPC Audit?
Carrying out regular audits allows you gain insights on everything from how your Ad Extensions enhance your performance to how your Audience is interacting with your ad. All of this information allows you to understand what to do next; understanding your data tell you what to implement next to optimise your PPC performance.
Top Tip – The key thing to remember is that you should not start auditing your account as soon as you activate your campaigns. Wait for at least 30 days before making any changes. This then gives you enough data to help you make more informed decisions.
Reviewing your PPC account at regular intervals after this initial 30 days is key to success.
Quick PPC Audit Tips
Below, we look to give you some quick PPC audit tips that will only take a few minutes to complete!
Scan Account History.
This is the most important thing you have to start your PPC audit with. History tells all about your account performance. Important components here are around ‘Change History’ and whether the last change that you made in your account had any effect or not.
Scrutinizing your change history can be useful to give you insight on whether your account has started performing well due to a recent change you have made.
Scan account level or campaign level history for 30 or 60 days to compare the results.
Examine Quality Scores.
The Quality Score tells all about the relevancy of the components used in your account.
You must check QS for Expected CTR from your Ads, Keywords Relevancy, and Landing page relevancy.
Download a Keyword report with your Quality Score column. Here you can identify non-performing keywords (Quality Scores of 5 and lower). Use Google Adwords to help you identify the insights to improve your QS. This will ensure that you are driving down your costs and getting more traffic for your money.
Here is a great Quality Score tracker that you can use. Your main aim through auditing will be to improve Quality Scores. It should be your main focus, and the above tracker will help you to maintain this on an ongoing basis.
Eliminate non-working or poor performing keywords immediately.
When you find your bid is set very high, you should check for keywords that are not performing. You obviously would not want to waste your money for those keywords, which are not working at all or giving poor results.
This easy trick will save your spending in the short term. Just follow this simple rule below to identify non-performing keywords.
Keywords that generate less than 1 conversions or ‘zero’ conversion in 30 days should be optimised or paused. In this way, you can slash your CPA to half.
Ensure if any of the performing keywords have not been eliminated.
Before pausing or eliminating a keyword you must scrutinize its performance using the data to help you to make decisions. Do not make it your practice to pause keywords regularly.
If you are reading this thinking “Damn, I’m that guy”, then ensure that you use reports to identify potentially valuable keywords that have been eliminated incorrectly.
The simplest rule to finding those keywords is to filter the deleted/paused keywords that had generated greater than 1 conversions:
Filter for a large date range and then filter for ‘Keywords status= paused/deleted keywords’ and ‘Conversion > 1’. This should give you a list of any keywords that may be Paused but could help to deliver your account some value.
Look at Impression Share.
Impression share tells you how many times your ad has appeared against the relevant search queries, versus how many times it could have shown. It is the ratio of total numbers of time your ad appeared and total numbers of eligible impressions.
Lower impression share means poor ad performance and this is generally caused by poor ad rank, bad keyword match, and low budget.
Impression share is very much important because without appearing in the Search Engine Results Page, your ad can never accumulate clicks.
You can check impression share at campaign, ad group and keyword level. Identify your low performing areas, and let the data tell you what to do next. Is it Budget, Low Ad Rank, Quality Scores? Fix it!
Examine Click Through Rate.
Click Through Rate gives you the clear picture on the ratio of number of the number of clicks received divided by the number of times your ad displayed.
CTR gives you an idea upon the relevancy of your ad texts against the search terms that people put. Your ads will get fewer clicks if it doesn’t match people’s search queries. Therefore if CTR goes down your ad rank gets affected immediately and potentially profits are lowered. You must check your CTR rate during the quick audit because it tells all about your ad relevancy.
Make sure you have a strong PLA feed setup.
Check your PLA feeds setup. Use the Google Merchant Centre reports to check how your Shopping feed is structured and where there is room for improvement. It’s the most common mistake with Google Shopping campaigns; you need to use both Google Adwords and the Merchant Centre together to help determine if something could be changed or improved.
Download a report on how many impressions your PLA campaigns got over the last few days. Has anything changed? You must try to improve it if the last few day’s PLA Campaign performance report is poor. It might indicate that some of your products have been disapproved. Here are some tips to keep your products approved.
Verify Geo location targeting setup.
You already know how to target people location wise and on that basis, you have already set up your campaign. Now, check your account that whether your campaign is covering all the target locations or not. Make sure that your campaign is not missing any target location that has been there on your list.
Start with a larger Geo catchment, and then go more granular once you have more data to work with.
Is there proper final URL being used?
Check your final URL setup. Final URL and Ad Paths of any ad should go with the ad group name and keyword within it. People must have a smooth journey from clicking on your ad to the landing page that they visit. Your ad text must maintain the messages and tone of voice on your site throughout every step.
Remember, Google is about answering user queries. Everything must be relevant for the user. Google will reward you for being so.
Scan for irrelevant keywords and misspellings.
Check your campaigns if there are any keywords that are calling unqualified traffic. Be more strategic in using broad match keywords and use Search Query Reports to identify expensive keywords (CPC and CPA). Ensure that the only traffic you are targeting is qualified traffic.
Add negative keywords to improve relevancy in your Broad Match Keywords. You should also create new keywords as Exact Match if your Broad Match Keywords are working well. Again, you should be utilising Search Query Reports to help you identify these.
If you follow these steps and processes, you will find the places where your Paid Search account needs modification. With this Insight, you find out why your Campaign performance is suffering and where the improvements need to be focused to start winning.