Although every campaign is different there are a few key checks for auditing your AdWords campaign to make sure it produces measurable, scalable and profitable results. We all want to get the best ROI possible from AdWords so we’ve put together this self help  ‘How To Do An AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps & Improve Your AdWords Account’ to help you do just that.

  1. Keyword, Market & Competitor Research
  2. Account Objectives
  3. Profit Maximisation
  4. Wastage
  5. Customer Engagement
  6. Re-Target & Generate
  7. Maximise Exposure with Google Shopping Ads

 

1. Keyword, Market & Competitor Research

These elements form the building blocks of your CPC campaign and in turn have to be approached with that in mind. To find your online audience, you need to understand them and explore the keywords they are using to try and find you!

What to do:

  • Look at you historical data (if you have any). Are you applying what works for your business offline to the campaign? Are you using the keywords your customers use to describe the product? Are you using the keyword tool to expand those keywords and include variations you hadn’t thought of?
  • Look at market trends to ensure your pushing at the right times, planning for for short term wins and long term success.

How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 1

Keywords Planner – Trends & Search traffic volume based on historic data

 

  • Look at you competitors to make sure you are competing effectively in the search listings. Why would they click on your ad over another one? Has your ad got good visibility? Do you have rich snippet reviews? Do you have offer additional information and links with site-link extensions?

 

2. Account Objectives

Firmly establishing the purpose of each of your ad campaigns is something many overlook. For example not all e-commerce websites want to drive traffic that is going to directly convert online, but may need to generate enquires for higher value products or services. Without this knowledge campaigns are often using the wrong call to actions or conveying the wrong USP’s.

What to do:

  • Set up tracking for goals/conversions, or check existing tracking is targeting the desired areas so you can make sure the account performance is meeting your objectives.
  • All avenues that visitors could convert through should be tracked so information gathered can be used to optimise the campaign (and website) to get you the best ROI.

Do you take phone calls? This should be tracked!

Do you have a contact form on the site? This should be tracked!

Do you take transactions through the site? This should be tracked!

  • The customer journey doesn’t stop once someone clicks on the ad. Track the interaction and engagement of the user through the site. Linking to Analytics allows you to see more information about user engagement to make sure you’re investing in the right areas.

 

How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 2

Goal Flow Report in Google Analytics – Are people dropping out at the final hurdle?

 

3. Profit Maximisation

Your account structure ultimately determines how well your CPC campaign will perform in the long term. The structure of the account affects the budget management and how relevant you appear to your target audience. Ultimately, the potential performance of the campaign rests on the foundation.

What to do:

  • Have a well-structured account to allow for complex targeting at a detailed level. High converting keywords receiving low traffic due to budget spread is a very common issue. Also, by not structuring a campaign efficiently, you are not able to effectively appeal to customer intent.
  • All the way through the process take budget spread, bid management and relevancy into account; from Campaign to Ad group to Keywords to Ad, Ad extensions and Landing page, this allows optimisation for both visibility and profit.

 

 How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 3

 

4. Wastage

Remember it’s not all about visibility!

Paid search offers the ability to maximise your visibility for any keyword you want to be found for, however you are paying for every click so ensuring your ads are showing up for relevant keywords is important to make sure that cost per click is not going to waste.

What to do:

  • You need to optimise keywords based on target audience, objectives and your site. It’s important that all these things portray the same message.
  • To make sure spend is not wasted on clicks from irrelevant traffic, use keyword details such as match types, negatives and keyword settings. If you are targeting “high waist trousers”, you don’t want to be paying for clicks from people searching for “high waist bikini” or “how to design high waist trousers”
  • You can also make sure your ad is being shown at the time of day you receive the most useful leads, or focuses on specific locations you want to target. If you are restricted in where you can provide services or ship to, there’s no need to pay for clicks outside of those areas.

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If you offer a service, it may be most cost effective to target the areas closest to where you have offices located.

 

5. Customer Engagement

Targeting a relevant audience means nothing if you don’t generate enough interest in your ad text for a customer to click through to the site. Even then a high CTR doesn’t account for much if people aren’t carrying out the desired action afterwards.

What to do:

  • Testing a variety of ad copy based on sentiments, USP’s and intent is essential to increase effectiveness.
  • As well as this, ad copy to landing page relevancy, resulting time on site, bounce rate and other metrics should be monitored and optimised.
  • Relevant ad extensions should be used to increase CTR.
  • The landing page should be continuing the message from ad copy. Delivering the expected webpage ensures you’re not wasting clicks on people that aren’t going to be interested in purchasing your product or using your services. Finding that balance between volume and quality is often difficult to get right!

 

How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 5

Star ratings, sitelink extensions, USPs, promotional incentives – Your competitors are doing it so you should be too!

 

6. Re-Target & Generate Awareness

Re-targeting allows you to use the Google Display Network to continue promoting your marketing messages to site visitors. These are potential customers who have already shown an interest in your product or service by visiting your site. It’s a powerful way to match the right people with the right message using information like number of pages visited on the site, time on site, products purchased and much more!

On average 95% of visitors leave a site without making a transaction – These potential customers can still be captured by reminding of what you have to offer or showing them the products they were considering purchasing.

On average returning customers 70% more likely to complete a transaction – Re-engaging with first time visitors or visitors who have dropped out at the checkout can encourage them to return.

What to do:

  • Remember these are going to appear in places where people are doing other things so it needs to catch their attention!
  • Include USPs – Remind people what you have to offer, or offer something new to encourage them to return.
  • Test different designs to see what generates the best engagement.
  • You don’t have to show your banners across the whole of the Google Display Network – See what sites your re-marketing banners perform best on.
  • Use different message to target different audiences – do you want to target people who have visited the site and not made a purchase or people who have made a purchase and could be interested in a new product?

 

 

How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 6

Test your remarketing banners – designs, sizes and placement sites can all be tested!

 

7. Maximise Exposure with Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping ads give you the opportunity to display rich product information, including image, price and site – showing a customer exactly what they’re looking for, perfect for eCommerce sites!

For this reason it’s a fantastic addition to your PPC marketing when it is managed correctly. Working on a CPC basis (just like your text ads) you can increase your visibility for search queries, boosting your chances of getting clicks from relevant traffic. Google Shopping Ads allow you to promote your products on Google Shopping and create a more engaging user experience.

What to do:

  • The information displayed is based on your product feed so ensure your feed contains all the information necessary for you to get the full potential from this network. The more information in the feed, the more targeted you can be!
  • Make sure you are focussing on your products/services with the highest margins to maximise exposure for these. You can increase the focus on specific categories and even specific products – As well as removing poor performing products.
  • Using a combination of ad types allows you to maximise your visibility in the search listings – it’s what all your toughest competitors are doing!

How to do an AdWords PPC Audit in 7 Steps - 7

Maximise Exposure, increase chances of getting clicks – Google shopping ads & text ads combined

Summary

Remember AdWords is not just about getting traffic, it’s about getting relevant traffic that gets you a ROI from your spend! In order to achieve this you need to analyse the traffic coming into the site so it can be refined and improved. Use these steps to help you get on track!

Resources

Google Display Network – http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/products/google-display-network.html

Find the right keywords – http://www.services.google.com/fh/files/blogs/google-keywords-to-the-wise.pdf

How & Why to link Adwords & Analytics -https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033961?hl=en

Google Analytics for tracking traffic on site – www.google.com/analytics/

Check out Google’s guide on setting up your product feed – www.support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494?hl=en-GB

Set up your Google Shopping campaign (or update PLA campaign’s if you haven’t yet! – www.searchenginewatch.com/article/2329648/Google-PLA-Shopping-Campaigns-Open-to-All-Advertisers

Account Writing Tips – www.ppchero.com/ad-writing-tips-for-a-new-account/

Continuing your ad copy to landing page – http://www.searchenginejournal.com/write-killer-adwords-ad-treating-mini-landing-page/30508/