If your Google ads campaigns aren’t generating as many results as you wanted, and you also have no idea what could be the cause, it may be time to dive into a good, old-fashioned audit. It’s the process of evaluating the effectiveness of everything that makes up your ad and determining the good, the bad, and the ugly to be able to plan for improvement.
While there are even some tools you can use to run these audits, we’d also recommend you run the process manually. Sometimes, these tools may not paint a complete picture, as they lack an understanding of what your campaign goals are, and that could affect the results.
In this article, we’ll look at what makes a good Google ads campaign audit, and what are the new techniques for doing one in 2020.
What Makes a Good Audit and Why Do You Need It?
The key to a good Google ads campaign audit are:
- Knowing what you’re going to review, and have a plan on how to do it;
- Analysing and documenting everything that you find;
- Mark everything that will need to be revised after the audit is complete.
Performing an audit isn’t as complex as it may sound to certain people, but it does take some preparation if you want to do it right. While you have a specific trigger for wanting to perform the audit, such as a lower conversion rate for your ads, the process will go deeper than the ads themselves.
Google ads audits can uncover various issues that are affecting your performance at an ad, ad group, campaign, or even ad account level. They are essential to providing marketers and business owners with the right insight into how their digital marketing strategies are delivering. Marketers should perform them recurrently, as we know some problems can appear without warning.
Some benefits of performing these audits can include:
- Identifying where you waste campaign budgets;
- Discovering new opportunities to tackle;
- Enhancing campaign performance;
- Improving audience targeting;
- Confirming a hunch – marketers love data, but sometimes instincts can take over.
Below, you can check out our quick guide into how to perform such audits for your Google ads campaigns. The techniques outlined are meant to help business owners perform an audit into everything Google ads related, from the Google Ads campaign structure to targeted location, ad copy, and more.
1. Review Your Goals
You should take this step even before you open your Google Ads account. Reviewing your business goals and ad goals set the stage for the entire audit.
Your business goals are the ones that drive every single action you take, such as what to invest in, when to branch out, and what kind of campaigns to run. Ad goals are smaller but designed to support business goals.
You can’t audit your Google ads account without establishing what your ad goals are since you won’t know what to look for. Some areas to focus on include:
- Ad conversion goals (type and scale – you can have multiple goals);
- Target audience characteristics;
- Performance tracking beyond the campaign itself.
Note that your goals or target audience may change over time. If they do, this is the part where you redefine them, and use the new criteria to continue auditing your account.
2. Look at the Account Structure
Your account structure is the hierarchy in which you organise your ads and campaigns. Having a good structure can facilitate ads management. What the hierarchy looks like, however, depends on what sort of ads you are running, but you do have 3 levels:
- Ad groups
You can structure your ads based on objectives, product lines, or even the targeted locations segment.
3. Review Settings
Your campaigns settings may need to change once the entire audit process is over, but for now let’s just analyse what the are in terms of:
- Device targeting
- Location targeting
- Bid strategy
- Type of ads – Search Network ads, Display Network ads, or both
- Ads extensions used, such as phone call extension
Think of this as a quick rundown through your ads, just to get a better idea of their specifics as a whole.
4. Ad Groups
After reviewing your campaigns, you will move on to the ad groups. You will slowly go more and more into the core of each ad in your auditing process.
When it comes to ad groups, look for:
- Having the right amount of keywords;
- If the ads within the group belong in the same group (are they connected in any way?)
- Is the ad spend out of the ordinary? Are you paying too much for this group?
- Is there one ad group outperforming the others? Should you increase its budget?
Single ads are often the main focus of a lot of marketers since they are the things users will get to see in the Search Networks or Display Network. But as you can see, there are a lot of things to audit until you reach the ad.
When you do, you should look at:
- Are you leveraging the right keywords? Do you have negative keywords to exclude queries you aren’t interested in?
- What does the search terms report say? Are there any keywords you’ve added that proved ineffective?
- Is the ad copy engaging enough?
- Do any ads have low or mid-quality scores?
- What does the conversion data tell you? Are there some ads that aren’t generating enough actions?
6. Landing Page
Landing pages may have more to do with the success of your campaigns than you think. The campaign can be optimised to perfection, and your ads show where they’re supposed to, but when people click on your link they are not happy with where they end up.
Is your landing page:
- Relevant to your ad copy?
- Functional? (does it load fast, work on mobile, etc.)
- Captivating? (with CTAs and engaging copy)
Review and Improve
When you’re done going through all the stages of your audit (you may have fewer steps depending on how advanced you are in your Google Ads ventures), it’s time to review the results and start planning for the future.
Some changes may need to be done right away, such as seeing in your Google Analytics that users from the wrong location are viewing your Search Ads. That’s a sign someone made a mistake in your location targeting. Others may need more time to be implemented right, but at least you have a better understanding of where you are, and what can be improved.
Can We Help?
PPC accounts are integral to any business who wants to reach the right audience, but knowing how to create a good Google Ads campaign isn’t as easy as people think.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that. Australian Internet Advertising is the Google ads account manager who can help you reach your goals now. Book a free 30-minute strategy session with our Google Ads Experts and let’s get started.