How to do a PPC Audit: A Step by Step Guide

Conducting a PPC audit is a crucial part of keeping your Google Ads accounts in tip-top shape. It's like giving your car a tune-up to make sure it's running smoothly. Experts recommend doing an audit every six months or whenever you start managing a new account to make sure everything is optimized to its fullest potential. In this guide, we'll walk you through the key steps to conducting a PPC audit so you can keep your accounts performing at their best.

Craig Graham
October 31, 2023

Conducting a PPC audit is a crucial part of keeping your Google Ads accounts in tip-top shape. It's like giving your car a tune-up to make sure it's running smoothly. Experts recommend doing an audit every six months or whenever you start managing a new account to make sure everything is optimized to its fullest potential. In this guide, we'll walk you through the key steps to conducting a PPC audit so you can keep your accounts performing at their best.

Step 1: Preparing for the Audit

Preparing for a PPC audit is like gathering all the ingredients before cooking a delicious meal. You want to make sure you have everything you need to create a masterpiece and optimize your campaigns to their fullest potential. So, grab your data, analytics tools, and a cup of coffee (or your preferred beverage), and let's get ready to dive into the world of PPC optimization!

Defining the Audit Scope

The first step in preparing for a PPC audit is to define the audit scope. This includes identifying the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords that will be audited, as well as the metrics that will be used to evaluate their performance. It is important to establish clear goals and objectives for the audit, such as increasing click-through rates, reducing cost-per-click, or improving conversion rates.

Gathering Data

The next step is to gather data from your PPC accounts. This includes downloading data from Google AdWords or Bing Ads, as well as analytics data from your website. It is important to ensure that you have at least three months' worth of data to analyze.

Understanding Business Goals

Before conducting the audit, it is important to understand the business goals of the PPC campaigns. This includes understanding the target audience, the products or services being promoted, and the overall marketing strategy of the business.

Step 2: Conversion Tracking, Evaluating Campaign Structure, and Settings

This pivotal phase delves into the core foundation of your campaigns, examining the meticulous organization of campaigns and ad groups, while also scrutinizing campaign settings. 

Ensure Conversion Tracking is Properly Set Up

The first step is to make sure that conversion tracking is properly set up. This means checking that those conversion tracking codes are on the right pages and are actually keeping tabs on the actions you care about, like form submissions or purchases. You’ll also want to integrate conversion tracking with Google Analytics or other analytics tools. This is crucial because it provides a campaign performance dashboard. It gives you insights into what's working and what's not, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy for better results and ROI.

Campaign Structure

The next step in evaluating the account is to review the organization of campaigns and ad groups. This includes ensuring that campaigns are organized by theme or product, and that ad groups are tightly themed with relevant keywords and ad copy. It is also important to ensure that campaigns are targeting the right geographic locations and devices.

Campaign Settings

The next step is to review campaign settings, such as ad scheduling, ad rotation, and bidding strategies. It is important to ensure that these settings are aligned with the business goals and objectives of the campaign.

Step 3: Analyzing Keywords and Ad Copy

This is all about getting friendly with your keywords and ad copy. Analyzing keywords and ad copy is crucial for creating effective and engaging marketing campaigns. By understanding the best practices and techniques for keyword research and ad copy writing, you can optimize your campaigns and drive better results.

Understanding and Defining Target Keywords

The first step in analyzing keywords is for you to understand and define the target keywords for each campaign. This entails identifying high-performing keywords. You should prioritize these high-performing keywords because they have the potential to drive significant traffic and conversions to your website. This is crucial because these keywords will act as guiding lights leading potential customers to your business.

At the same time, you should also address low-performing keywords that may need removal or adjustments. Managing these keywords is essential as they can drain your budget without delivering meaningful results. By identifying and optimizing or removing them, you ensure that your resources are allocated efficiently.

It's also important for you to ensure that your keywords are relevant to your ad copy and landing pages. Why? Because when a user clicks on your ad, they expect to find content that matches their search intent. By aligning your keywords with your ad copy and landing pages, you enhance the user experience and increase the likelihood of conversions.

It can be helpful to take a look at what your competitors are doing as well. This competitive analysis ensures that your ad copy are speaking the same language as others in your industry, helping you stand out and stay competitive in the crowded digital landscape. It's all about ensuring that your digital marketing efforts are finely tuned for maximum impact and success.

Examine Existing Ad Copy for Similar Campaigns

The next step is to examine existing ad copy for similar campaigns. This includes reviewing the ad copy for relevance, clarity, and call-to-action. It is also important to ensure that ad copy are aligned with the target keywords and landing pages.

Step 4: Assessing Landing Pages

When it comes to running a successful digital marketing campaign, assessing landing pages and conversion tracking are crucial steps to ensure that your efforts are paying off. 

Evaluate the Relevance and Effectiveness of the Campaign’s Landing Pages

When it comes to assessing landing pages, the first thing to do is check if they're relevant and effective. Basically, you want to make sure that they match up with your ad copy and target keywords. Plus, they should have a clear and enticing call-to-action. And here's the kicker: you also need to make sure they work well on mobile devices and load super fast. Why? Because all of this really matters for user experience. It ensures that when people visit your page, they can easily find what they're after, which increases the chances they'll become your happy customers.

Step 5: Reviewing Bidding and Budgeting Strategies

To make sure your digital marketing campaign is set up for success, you should take a good look at the bidding strategies you're using and how your budget is divided up.

Analyze the Bidding Strategies Used in the Campaign

So, when you're diving into reviewing your bidding strategies, the starting point is to take a closer look at the strategies you've been using in your campaign. This means checking out how you've tweaked your bids for various devices, locations, and times of day. Plus, don't forget to examine the bidding strategies you've applied to different keywords and ad groups. And the icing on the cake: make sure all of these strategies are on the same page with your campaign's business goals and objectives.

Assess the budget allocation

Now, moving on to the next part, we've got to take a good look at how you're divvying up your budget for the campaign. This means checking out your daily and monthly budgets, and also how you're spreading that budget across different campaigns and ad groups. The goal here is to make sure your budget is working its hardest to give you the best bang for your buck, really maximizing that return on investment (ROI) for your campaign.

Step 6: Monitoring and Reporting

In the world of PPC advertising, success isn't just about setting up your campaigns and letting them run wild. To ensure that your pay-per-click efforts are continuously delivering the best results, you'll need to set up regular monitoring and reporting processes.

Set Up Regular Monitoring and Reporting Processes

Think of this final step like keeping a vigilant eye on your PPC campaigns, a bit like a coach watching over a game. Your goal is to track their performance and gather valuable data – basically, understanding how things are playing out. Regular monitoring is your way of staying in the loop, like having your finger on the pulse of your advertising game. It helps you spot trends, figure out what's working like a charm, and pinpoint areas where you could do better. 

Moreover, reporting plays a pivotal role in sharing these insights with key stakeholders, helping them understand the impact of your PPC efforts and enabling more informed decision-making. By utilizing tools and software to automate reporting, you can streamline the auditing process, saving time and resources while maintaining a clear view of your PPC performance.

Here are the top 5 tools to consider:

  • 1. Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords): Google Ads is the most popular and widely used PPC advertising platform. It allows you to create and manage PPC campaigns on Google's search network, display network, YouTube, and more. Google Ads provides extensive reporting and optimization features.

  • 2. Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads): Microsoft Advertising is a PPC platform for advertising on Bing and Yahoo search engines. It offers similar features to Google Ads and is a valuable platform, especially for reaching users who use Bing for their searches.

  • 3. Facebook Ads Manager: Facebook Ads Manager is the go-to platform for running PPC campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. It provides powerful targeting options and in-depth reporting to reach your target audience effectively.

  • 4. LinkedIn Ads: LinkedIn Ads is a specialized PPC platform for professional networking. It's ideal for B2B advertising and allows you to target professionals based on their job title, company, industry, and more.

  • 5. SEMrush: SEMrush is a comprehensive digital marketing toolkit that includes PPC advertising features. It offers competitive research, keyword analysis, and ad management tools to optimize your PPC campaigns across various platforms.

With these tools on your side, you'll be able to streamline your reporting process and have a clear view of how your PPC campaigns are performing.

Conclusion

Conducting a PPC audit is an essential practice to maintain and optimize your digital ads accounts. It ensures that your ad campaigns are aligned with your business objectives and performing at their peak. With regular monitoring and reporting, you can continue to improve the performance of your campaigns and achieve your marketing objectives. By following these steps, you can ensure that your campaigns are aligned with your business goals and objectives, and that they are optimized to their full potential. 

Need help with digital marketing? Book a discovery call with us today to see how we can work together to optimize your campaigns!

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