How Often Should You Audit Your PPC Campaigns?
Abisola Tazanko | Sep 26, 2023
Should you audit your PPC campaigns?
Auditing your PPC campaign is an essential part of any advertising strategy. They help you identify your ad’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities that can position you to create better campaigns.
Auditing PPC campaigns is becoming increasingly essential as marketing budgets are cut down, and marketing teams are expected to do more with fewer resources. With regular PPC audits, the odds can be beaten down, and an above-average ROI (return on investment) can be achieved.
Despite the benefits of PPC audits, only a few publishers/advertisers perform them regularly.
- Only 10% of advertisers optimize their Google Ads accounts every week.
- About 20% of Google Ads managers keep their campaigns the same for a month.
40% of organizations want to increase their PPC advertising budget. Unfortunately, this may not be feasible in the current economic downturn. Instead, you can make the most of your budget by regularly auditing your PPC accounts.
Why perform a PPC audit?
In addition to maximizing ROI, a PPC audit provides other valuable insights, such as:
- Identify performance issues: A regular audit helps you detect performance problems and issues early, so you can fix them before they drain your ad budget.
- Identify areas for improvement: auditing your PPC helps you find out where and how you can optimize your campaign performance.
- Understand your performance over time: auditing your PPC helps compare your performance from one period to the next.
- Learn more about your audience: Through a PPC audit, you eliminate ad fatigue and increase conversions by understanding which ads best performs with your audience.
- Benchmark yourself against competitors: During the PPC audit, you can compare your results with other advertisers who bid on keywords like you using Auction Insights.
You can audit your PPC campaign at least every six months, but ideally, it should be done every three months so that you consistently get the best results from your advertising campaigns. Let’s walk you through a step-by-step method of conducting a PPC audit.
Preparation before you audit your PPC campaigns
Before you begin with your audit, determine your PPC audit measures. This will give you an understanding of what success looks like and give you a baseline for future assessments. Here’s what you need to prepare before starting your PPC audit.
First of all, understand what your campaign is designed to achieve. There are many potential PPC goals, including:
- To improve brand awareness
- To increase website traffic
- To boost sales
- To increase revenue
- To generate leads
Everything about your PPC campaign, such as keywords, campaign structure, and bidding strategies- must be aligned with this goal. So, it’s important to establish this from the beginning.
Decide which KPIs will be used to measure campaign success. Common advertising KPIs include:
- Conversion rate
- Click-through rate
- Return on ad spend
- Return on Investment
Ensure that the KPIs you choose are directly related to your campaign goals. Below is a table that provides a quick overview of the best KPIs to measure each goal:
|Improve brand awareness||Impressions, reach, and engagement rate|
|Increase website traffic||Click-through rate, number of visitors|
|Lead generation||Conversion rate and bounce rate|
|Boost sales||Conversion rate, number of conversions|
|Increase revenue||Cost per conversion, return on ad spend, return on investment|
Select date range
Choose a data set large enough to give you an overview of your results. This will last a minimum of three months.
Determine budget allocation
See how much you spent on campaigns within your date range and how it’s distributed across campaigns and ad groups. Knowing the allocating process of your budget can help you make informed adjustments to your budget and bids in the future.
Check out conversion tracking
Most importantly, you want a PPC audit to determine whether your campaigns deliver results. Conversion tracking is the best way to find this out. Watch out; it’s easy to make mistakes when setting up conversion tracking, and inaccurate conversion tracking can also give you a false sense of success (or failure) if:
- You measure low-value conversions, such as the number of newsletters that are signed
- When your conversion tracking is measuring visits to the wrong page
- You don’t track offline conversions, like phone calls.
- No conversion tracking code is implemented.
Before you analyze your campaign’s performance, always ensure that your conversion tracking code is a) installed, b) in the right place, and c) appropriately configured. Ensure it’s only added to relevant post-conversion pages (like order confirmation pages).
Evaluating campaign performance
In this step, you will determine which PPC campaigns and ad groups perform well and which are performing poorly. Your PPC goals and KPIs are at the heart of this, so keep them in mind when auditing your PPC account. Using a PPC checklist tool like Analysis or tracking campaign performance in a spreadsheet can be helpful.
Understand the PPC account structure
You can skip this step if you initially set up your campaign and are happy with your structure. However, if you inherit an ad account from another Google Ads manager, it’s essential to understand how their campaigns are structured.
Check campaign settings
Review high-level campaign settings and verify that they are optimized for your campaign goals:
- Are campaign goals defined? If so, does manual campaign optimization give you more control over your targeting and bidding?
- Which network do you use? You can reduce costs and improve results by showing ads only on the Google Search Network.
- Are your targets in the right locations? Make sure you’re not serving ads in places that aren’t your target.
- What bidding strategy are you using? Automated bidding strategies like maximizing clicks and maximizing conversions can quickly deplete your advertising budget if left unmonitored.
- Is your ad rotation optimized so that it shows the best-performing ads? Updating your ad rotation is a quick way to improve results.
Ad group analysis
Once your campaign-level settings look good, it’s time to get down to business. A well-optimized ad group should do the following:
- Have a reasonable and specific name that is easy to understand.
- Target up to 20 keywords (and ideally fewer keywords).
- Only include keywords that are highly relevant to your ad group name. More targeted ad groups will help you create better ads.
Analyzing these three factors makes it easy to determine which ad groups should be worked on. First, check the number of keywords in each ad group. Ad groups with many keywords may need to be divided into smaller groups or sections. Ensure the ad group title is specific to its target keyword.
Once your keywords are in the right ad groups, you can start refining them. Check for the following:
- Match type: Using phrase match and broad match gives you less control over when your ad is shown more than the match needed.
- Negative keywords: The search terms report always shows all the uncertainty your ad is showing for. Add any unrelated phrases to your negative keyword list.
- Keywords vs. campaign goals: Ensure your keywords are related to your goals. If you want to generate revenue, choose high-intent keywords like “buy wedding cake” instead of informational queries like “how to frost a wedding cake.”
- Keyword relevance: Ensure your keywords are highly significant to your ad group.
Evaluate your ad creation
Even with the best campaign structure across platforms, your ads must resonate with your audience. Check the following details when analyzing your ads:
- Messaging – Your ad copy should include your target keywords, have a catchy CTA, highlight your value proposition, and differentiate yourself from direct competitors.
- Offers – Make sure all advertised offers and prices are still valid. You don’t want to put up an offer that isn’t valid.
- Display URL: Make sure the URL you choose correlates to the keywords in your ad group.
- Ad relevance: Ensure your landing page is relevant to your ad and vice versa. (This can also improve your Quality Score, increase your ad rank, and lower your average CPC.)
- Ad approval: Edit or remove any disapproved ads.
- Ad extensions: Ensure your ad extensions are optimized for each search ad. If you’re not already using ad extensions, plan to add them.
Check offers and budgets
In general, you should invest more money into your best-performing ads. So remember to adjust your budget, so your best-performing ads get the lion’s share.
Remember that making positive, data-driven campaign changes (like removing irrelevant keywords and using manual bidding strategies) will eliminate unnecessary ad spend. Any significant changes will take time, so remember to test their performance during your next PPC audit.
Regular PPC testing is essential to getting the most out of your online advertising campaigns. They allow you to reduce unnecessary advertising expenses, help to improve ROI, and grow your business without increasing your budget. Use this step-by-step PPC testing guide to ensure your advertising campaigns are highly effective.