We're often mentioning that we offer PPC audits as part of our Paid Media offering, but what is a PPC audit?
A PPC audit allows you to investigate your paid ad campaigns, allowing you to assess the performance of your current strategy and gather crucial data on where you can improve. These audits include a comprehensive analysis of the performance of keywords, ad copy, ad extensions and more in a given time frame.
Why do we perform audits?
PPC audits are highly beneficial as they allow you to see what is working in your account and where improvements need to be made.
Advantages of PPC audits include:
- Spotting wasted spend. Utilising your budget is super important, so reducing wasted spend is a key benefit of auditing your campaigns. Audits allow you to pick up on possible underperforming keywords and ads which are spending without delivering any value.
- Discovering new opportunities. Just because ads or keywords have worked in the past does not mean that they always will. Find new opportunities by refreshing keywords based on new trends and discover new ways of connecting with your target audience.
- Detecting issues with performance. It's important to be able to pinpoint specific issues within your account and correct any issues that you notice. For example diving deeper into where conversion rate or CTR is low could help you discover problems which you were not aware of.
- Learning about the competition. Gain useful insights into your competitors and see how you fare against the competition to discover new ways that you can improve.
What does a PPC audit consist of?
Audits consist of multiple steps, so we’ve created a comprehensive 8 step checklist to make sure we’re getting the most out of our PPC audits - optimising our campaigns the best we can.
Step 1: Check account set up + tracking
The first step you should always take is to make sure that everything is set up and is correctly tracking conversions. Having correct conversion data gives you crucial insights into your performance so this is an unmissable step.
Step 2: Evaluate the structure of your account
With Google Ads continuously updating and sunsetting features, re-evaluating the structure you use for your account allows you to make sure you’re always getting the most out of your campaigns. Audits are a great time to spot ad groups that can be consolidated, allowing machine learning to gather more information, increasing the possibility of conversions or leads.
Step 3: Review ad content
From time to time ad copy should be refreshed and underperforming headlines and descriptions should be updated.
When reviewing ad copy ask yourself the following questions:
- Is everything spelt correctly with proper grammar? - Is the messaging too repetitive? - Do any headlines or descriptions contain outdated dates/promotions/product names? - Does this message align with the brands voice and target audience? - Do we have clear CTAs? - How has this ad copy performed historically?
Step 4:Look into your keywords
There's multiple things you should be checking when it comes to your keywords including:
- Pausing underperforming keywords with either a poor ROAS or ones which have never converted while having a high spend - Discovering and adding new keywords - Making sure all negative keywords are still relevant - perhaps a new product has been added which matches keywords you’ve previously negated - Evaluating match types. Could you look at testing broad match? - Remove irrelevant keywords. A product that we’re targeting may not be available so make sure all these keywords have been paused.
Step 5: Improve quality score
A higher quality score increases the chance of your ad being delivered and is a great indicator of how the ad will perform. Take time to go through your RSAs and keywords and improve your quality to score to help increase both CTR and conversion rate. Your landing page also has an impact on quality score, so make sure you’re directing users to the most relevant page on site.
Step 6: Revamp your assets
It’s best practice to use assets such as sitelinks, callouts, image extensions, promotions and more to improve on your ad and give the consumer more insight into your site before even clicking on the ad. Assets don't increase the price of the ad, but they do give more information to the viewer - a win win.
With text assets such as sitelinks, callouts and promotions we want to make sure these are all still relevant and do not contain any outdated event or product information.
We want to make sure image assets are also still relevant and current stock, making sure packaging is still current and the products displayed are still available.
Step 7: Analyse key metrics
Download your data to get a clear picture of the whole view, including CTR, clicks, CPC, and ROAS.
Check KPIs such as CTR (click-through rate) and CR (conversion rate) to get a clear insight into the ads which are delivering. A low CTR would suggest its time to refresh your ad copy, make sure the ad grabs the readers' attention and prompts them to click on the ad.
Having a high CTR doesn't mean much unless it’s also paired with a high conversion rate. If you see a high volume of people clicking off after viewing the ad, this is an indication that the landing page is not relevant, causing potential customers to leave the site without purchasing.
Another metric to look closely at is ROAS. This highlights the monetary success, or failures, of a campaign. Branded keywords will almost always bring a higher ROAS compared to generic key terms, so it’s important you keep an eye on those generic terms and make sure you're not losing money.
Step 8: Bid & budget adjustment
Finally, it’s time to make bid adjustments. You don’t want a high performing campaign to be stopped by too low of a budget, just as you don't want a low performing campaign to spend with few results.
You’ll also want to look at your bidding strategy, making sure it still matches with your goals. This is a great time to plan any bidding strategy experiments you may wish to do within the account.
How often should you carry out an audit?
Audits are data based, meaning you do not want to perform one too frequently as you simply won't have enough data to base your actions on. Waiting too long can also cause issues, as you miss discovering crucial information that could largely impact the success of your campaign.
We recommend doing an audit at the very least every 6 months, with every quarter being the goal.