September 23, 2023

A poorly performing advert marketing campaign is like pouring cash down the drain. 

To research and optimize your pay-per-click (PPC) technique, observe our 10-step PPC audit guidelines. 

However let’s go over some background first.

What Is a PPC Audit?

A PPC audit is an in-depth evaluation of your PPC campaigns. 

It exhibits you the place you’re performing nicely—and the place you could be missing. 

In brief, PPC audits purpose to:

  • Optimize campaigns
  • Get monetary savings
  • Uncover new alternatives
  • Maximize return on funding (ROI)
  • Right errors
  • Improve conversions
  • Produce worthwhile insights

Word: There are a number of sorts of PPC advertisements. However we’ll be specializing in Google Search advertisements.

How Do I Run a PPC Audit?

You run a PPC audit by compiling and assessing your paid advert marketing campaign information. 

This may be accomplished manually, with the assistance of PPC instruments (like Promoting Analysis, proven under), or a mixture of the 2.

a graph showing paid search trends in Advertising Research tool

Tip: You shouldn’t totally automate this course of by PPC audit software program. Instruments may also help, however handbook evaluation offers you a extra worthwhile audit. 

A great PPC audit analyzes marketing campaign settings, prices, advert teams, and advert efficiency to determine areas of success. And areas that want enchancment. 

However a nice PPC audit takes it a step additional by what opponents are doing. And making changes based mostly in your goal market. 

The ten-Step PPC Audit Guidelines

Auditing your PPC campaigns might really feel overwhelming. However the worth is well worth the effort. 

To make the method extra manageable, observe this 10-step PPC audit information.

Tip: Overview your conversion targets earlier than doing a PPC audit. Having a transparent sense of what you’re attempting to perform (signups, gross sales, leads, and many others.) will sharpen your evaluation.

1. Manage the Information 

Begin your audit by downloading and organizing your paid marketing campaign information into spreadsheets. 

You need to use these spreadsheets to simply assess your campaigns. And create a PPC audit report back to share with the whole advertising and marketing crew.

Right here’s how:

  1. Obtain your Google Ads information as an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet
download your Google Ads data
  1. Title the spreadsheet for the present season and yr (e.g., PPC Audit Summer season 2023)
  1. Analyze every marketing campaign separately. Spotlight downside areas (like low impressions). And success areas (like excessive conversions).
  1. Search for traits amongst campaigns which are doing nicely. And amongst people who aren’t. 

Having these sheets will enable you visualize your campaigns at a excessive degree, consider your progress, and inform any actions you’re taking to enhance your PPC efforts. 

2. Examine Your Settings

Log into your Google Advertisements account and Google Analytics account and test the settings. To be sure you’re avoiding unnecessary errors. 

Whereas reviewing your settings, ask the next questions:

  • Are your conversions being correctly tracked? You’ll be able to check your tracking statuses in your Google Advertisements account. 
  • Are your naming conventions constant, particular, and descriptive?
an example of naming different campaigns
  • Are advert teams appropriately organized into classes and subcategories
  • Is your Google Analytics account linked to your Google Advertisements account? Examine this in your Google Advertisements account underneath “Instruments and settings” > “Setup” > “Linked accounts” > “Google Analytics (GA4) and Firebase” > “Handle & hyperlink.” Discover your Analytics property and ensure the standing is listed as “Linked.”
make sure your Google Analytics account is linked to your Google Ads account

3. Overview Advert Content material

Now, it’s time to check out your advertisements’ content material. As a result of an advert will succeed (or fail) based mostly on how the distinctive promoting proposition (USP) is conveyed. 

You in all probability decided your USP within the preliminary levels of planning your PPC marketing campaign. 

However you’ve modified since then. As have your opponents. And your viewers. 

So it’s time to re-examine your USP and optimize the way you market it by advert copy. 

See How Your USP Stands As much as Your Rivals’ USPs

Check out what opponents are together with of their advertisements so you’ll be able to guarantee your USP is really distinctive. 

Right here’s how:

Discover Your PPC Rivals

You first must determine who you’re competing in opposition to along with your PPC advertisements.

Go to the Promoting Analysis instrument. Enter your area and click on “Search.”

search for "" in Advertising Research tool

Navigate to the “Rivals” tab. 

“Competitors” tab in Advertising Research tool

You’ll see a listing of paid opponents sorted by those that current essentially the most competitors. 

“Paid Competitors” tab in Advertising Research tool

Right here, you’ll be able to see who’s bidding on the identical key phrases as you, what number of paid key phrases they’ve, how a lot paid site visitors they carry in, and what their estimated Google Advertisements price range is. 

Establish your high opponents and open their web sites in a separate tab by clicking on the arrow icon. To get a way of their messaging.

Analyze Your Rivals’ Advert Copy

The subsequent step is reviewing the copy your opponents are utilizing of their advertisements. To see what works for them and achieve inspiration in your personal campaigns.

Transfer over to the “Advertisements Copies” tab within the Promoting Analysis instrument. Enter a competitor’s area within the search bar on the high and click on “Search.”

an example of searching for "" in the “Ads Copies” tab in the Advertising Research tool

On this report, you’ll be able to view the headlines, URLs, and descriptions your competitor has used of their advertisements. 

“Ads Copies” report in the Advertising Research tool for ""

Analyze what your opponents are doing. 

What are their USPs? Calls to motion? Promos and offers? 

Pay shut consideration to which key phrases set off which advert copy. To do that, click on the place it says “Key phrases” underneath a particular advert. 

an example of checking which which keywords trigger one of the ad copies for

Use this data to gauge how your opponents are selling options to customers’ issues by their advert copy. Then, discover methods to enhance on what they’re doing. 

Overview Your Advert Copy for Accuracy

Reviewing your individual advert copy for accuracy may appear apparent, but it surely’s a step that may simply be ignored. 

As a part of your PPC audit, search for advert content material errors like:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Misspelled show URLs or URLs that don’t match the touchdown web page
  • Outdated promotions 
  • Expired pricing

Discover Optimization Alternatives

Bettering advert content material will take time, however you’ll be able to uncover concepts for strengthening your headlines, URLs, and descriptions in your audit. 

Optimized advert content material will embody:

  • A USP that stands out from the competitors
  • A name to motion
  • Related key phrases
  • Content material that matches key phrase intent (the explanation behind a searcher’s question)
  • A show URL that signifies the contents of the touchdown web page
  • An correct and attention-grabbing headline

Tip: You’ll be able to determine broad areas that want enchancment by a PPC audit. However copy optimization ought to be an ongoing course of.

Guarantee You’re Utilizing Advert Property

Advert belongings (previously referred to as advert extensions) are extra hyperlinks that present much more data. And so they present simple methods to extend engagement in your advertisements. 

Right here’s an instance of what they seem like:

an example of two ad assets for Capital One Shopping sponsored ad on Google

Google will routinely decide which belongings to show to enhance an advert’s efficiency. However not all belongings are routinely generated. 

Be sure you’ve arrange each related advert asset. So Google can select the most effective choices for every advert. 

Lastly, double-check all of your belongings for accuracy.

4. Examine Your High quality Rating

A better Google Advertisements High quality Rating (how Google charges your advert’s high quality in comparison with different advertisers’ advertisements) means decrease advert price and higher advert placement. 

High quality Scores vary from 1 to 10. And in accordance with Google:

A better High quality Rating implies that your advert and touchdown web page are extra related and helpful to somebody looking for your key phrase, in comparison with different advertisers.

Every key phrase’s High quality Rating relies on the next elements:

  • Anticipated click-through price (CTR)
  • Advert relevance 
  • Touchdown web page relevance
an infographic by Senrush showing how keyword’s quality score is calculated

Examine your High quality Rating by going to your Google Advertisements account and clicking on the “Campaigns” icon.

Then click on on the “Search key phrases” part. 

you can check your quality score in Google Ads the “Campaigns” section

Click on “Search key phrases.”

Then, click on on the columns icon (three bars). Within the higher proper nook of the desk. 

where to find the columns icon

Underneath “Modify columns for key phrases,” click on “High quality Rating.”

“Quality Score” section under “Modify columns for keywords”

Right here you’ll see your High quality Rating. Regulate your desk settings to view totally different parts of your High quality Rating.

In case your High quality Rating is a 7 or decrease, there’s room to enhance. To extend your High quality Rating:

  • Optimize advert relevance by matching your advert’s message to the intent behind its key phrases
  • Optimize touchdown web page relevance by ensuring it delivers every little thing the advert guarantees
  • Manage your key phrases into tighter advert teams

5. Analyze Your Key phrase Concentrating on

Analyzing your key phrase focusing on ensures you aren’t losing price range. 

Right here’s easy methods to do it:

Optimize Your Advert Teams

Overview your advert teams to find out whether or not it’s essential add, delete, or reorganize key phrases. 

Begin by trying on the PPC audit spreadsheet you created to determine weak spots (like low impressions or conversions). This will likely reveal which advert teams want enchancment. 

Enhance your advert teams with the next steps:

  • Be certain that your teams are tightly themed. Every advert group ought to be made up of key phrases with the identical goal. For instance, a key phrase aimed toward promoting (“order pizza on-line”) shouldn’t be in the identical advert group as a key phrase aimed toward informing (“finest cheese for pizza”).
  • Guarantee advert teams don’t have greater than 20 key phrases (purpose for 5 to 10 key phrases per group)
  • Delete key phrases with low search volumes (~100 month-to-month search quantity or decrease), so your advert teams aren’t diluted with key phrases that sufficient folks aren’t looking for
  • Take away key phrases with low impressions or transfer them to a distinct group, as this means your advert doesn’t match that key phrase’s intent
  • Pause seasonal key phrases, like back-to-school or vacation key phrases, in the event that they aren’t related to the present season
  • Examine that your key phrase match varieties align along with your PPC targets and price range

Additional studying: Learn to use Semrush’s key phrase analysis instruments to optimize your key phrase focusing on.

Uncover New Advert Group Concepts

Discovering new advert group concepts may also help you attain much more audiences.

To seek out new concepts for organizing key phrases into advert teams, go to Key phrase Supervisor and click on “Create listing.

"Create list" button highlighted in Keyword Manager tool

Enter one to 5 seed key phrases (broad search phrases associated to your small business) that you just wish to develop or reconfigure your advert teams round. 

Then, enter your area for extra correct key phrase clustering and click on “Create listing.”

an example of entering keywords "pizza delivery," "pizza deals" and "cheapest pizza delivery" into Keyword Manager

Subsequent, click on the “Thoughts Map” tab. You’ll be able to see this instance has 763 key phrases. 

an example of a “Mind Map” tab in Keyword Manager for a given search

Examine the “Clusters” report back to see every key phrase cluster’s breakdown by intent, Key phrase Issue (a measure of how exhausting it’s to rank within the high 10 natural outcomes for that time period), and month-to-month search quantity. 

The instrument even exhibits which clusters have the very best rating potential.

“Clusters” report in Keyword Manager tool

Use this report back to determine new advert group alternatives. Or methods to optimize your present teams. 

Refine Your Unfavorable Key phrases

Unfavorable key phrases are phrases you’ll be able to add to your campaigns to maintain advertisements from showing when customers seek for them. 

It’s a good suggestion to leverage unfavorable key phrases to stop wasted price range and irrelevant site visitors. 

In your Google Advertisements search phrases report, you’ll see metrics on which search phrases are triggering your advertisements. And the way your advertisements are performing for these searches. 

To see this report, go to “Campaigns” > “Insights and experiences” > “Search phrases.”

how to navigate to Google Ads search terms report shown in the left-side menu

For those who discover a search time period triggering an advert with poor engagement charges, your advert isn’t delivering what the person is in search of when utilizing that time period. 

Use these search phrases as jumping-off factors for increasing your unfavorable key phrases lists. 

6. Analyze Rivals’ Key phrase Concentrating on

Evaluating your opponents’ key phrase methods may also help you achieve a aggressive edge. 

Right here’s how one can incorporate aggressive key phrase analysis into your PPC audit:

Examine Your Rivals’ Previous and Present Advert Positions

Evaluating the advertisements your opponents have run previously will reveal which key phrases they’re focusing on. Which may also help you determine gaps or achieve inspiration in your personal advert teams. 

Begin by selecting one competitor to evaluate. 

Go to Promoting Analysis, enter their area, click on “Search,” and navigate to the “Advertisements Historical past” tab. 

where to find “Ads History” tab in Advertising Research tool

You need to use the “Superior filters” menu to exclude key phrases that embody that competitor’s model identify.

“Advanced filters” menu shown in Advertising Research tool

This may generate a report of the key phrases your competitor is bidding on and what advertisements they’ve run over the previous yr. 

It’s also possible to export the report as a spreadsheet. 

Subsequent, navigate to the “Place Modifications” tab.

“Position Changes” report in Advertising Research

This report exhibits you new, misplaced, improved, and declined positions for key phrases your competitor is bidding on. 

Discover Key phrase Gaps

Figuring out key phrase alternatives you’re overlooking can provide you concepts for reaching extra audiences.

And you will discover alternatives with the Key phrase Hole instrument. 

Enter as much as 4 of your opponents’ root domains together with your individual. Then, click on “Evaluate.”

enter your own and competitors’ domains to Keyword Gap tool

Change the key phrase sort from “Natural key phrases” to “Paid key phrases.”

Then, scroll right down to the desk. Change to the “Lacking” tab to view key phrases you don’t rank for however all your opponents do.

“Missing” tab in Keyword Gap tool lists keywords you don’t rank for but all of your competitors do

This may reveal related key phrases you could wish to begin bidding on in your personal campaigns.

7. Assess Your CTR & Conversion Charges

Assessing your click-through price (CTR) and conversion price reveals methods to enhance advert efficiency.

Too low of a CTR can result in a poor High quality Rating. However too excessive of a CTR mixed with a low conversion price can imply cash wasted on low-quality site visitors. 

You’ll be able to test your CTR in your Google Advertisements account dashboard. 

a column showing CTR highlighted in Google Ads account dashboard

In case your CTR is low, listed here are some methods to enhance it:

  • Be certain that advertisements are displaying throughout prime conversion occasions
  • Change your CPC bid technique
  • Check totally different advert copy
  • Refine your viewers focusing on
  • Tighten your advert teams. Be certain that they every have a unified theme. And that the advertisements match each key phrase’s intent. 
  • Optimize your advert belongings by offering related, up-to-date details about your small business. And be sure you’ve arrange all relevant handbook advert belongings. 

Tip: There’s no consensus on what an excellent CTR is, and the benchmarks differ by trade. Analysis your trade and analyze your most profitable advertisements’ CTRs to outline a objective price.

Subsequent, you’ll be able to test your conversion charges. 

In case your CTR and conversion charges are each low, focus first on enhancing your CTR. 

In case your CTR is nice however your conversion price isn’t, it’s in all probability because of considered one of two issues:

  • Your touchdown web page isn’t optimized to transform
  • Your touchdown web page isn’t delivering what your advert promised customers

Check out your touchdown web page to find out what you are able to do to enhance efficiency. 

8. Overview Location Concentrating on

Reviewing and optimizing your location focusing on can remove wasted spend. 

You might be losing cash delivering advertisements to areas that you would be able to’t serve. Or losing potential revenue not delivering advertisements to worthwhile areas. 

Focus your efforts on three areas:

  • Decide the place your advertisements carry out the most effective. In Google Advertisements, you’ll be able to test your location efficiency by going to “Campaigns” > “Insights & experiences” > “When & the place advertisements confirmed.”
navigation to “When & where ads showed” shown in Google Ads left-side menu
  • Be sure you’re focusing on areas the place you’ve a retailer/department and areas the place you’ll be able to ship (if related)
  • Exclude areas the place you’ll be able to’t promote or the place the demographic doesn’t match your target market 

9. Overview and Regulate Your Bids

Reviewing your bidding technique and present efficiency may also help you perceive easy methods to regulate your bids to maximise ROI. 

Automated bidding is usually a good suggestion for these simply beginning out. However you might be able to see higher efficiency afterward should you change to handbook bidding. 

If you wish to manually regulate your bids, consider no less than three months’ value of your PPC marketing campaign information. 

Assess totally different bid elements (e.g., how nicely cellular advertisements are performing for a particular marketing campaign or advert group) to determine the place it’s essential improve or lower your bids.

In Google Advertisements, you’ll be able to regulate your bids based mostly on:

  • Machine
  • Location
  • Schedule
  • Name interactions
  • Demographics (age, gender, and family earnings)

When you have a Google Advertisements superior account, you may also make bid changes for:

  • Concentrating on strategies (i.e., Search Community vs. Show Community)
  • Remarketing lists

10. Discover Wasted Spend

The last word objective of a PPC audit is to economize—each by maximizing returns and eliminating wasted spend. 

Large fixes that come out of your audit will clearly get monetary savings. However you may also determine small adjustments to make instantly for fast financial savings. 

So, be sure you’ve accounted for the next finest practices: 

  • Advertisements are scheduled to show throughout prime conversion occasions
  • Cell advertisements are optimized to show on cellular
  • Language focusing on matches your buyer base
  • Your private home and workplace IPs are excluded
  • Supply methodology is ready to straightforward (not accelerated)

Different actions you’ll be able to take to save lots of more money in your PPC campaigns embody:

  • Concentrating on a smaller geographic space to achieve your most related prospects
  • Decreasing your bids on advertisements that get numerous clicks
  • Altering your key phrase match sort to broad match
  • Optimizing unfavorable key phrases so that you aren’t blocking related site visitors or bringing in irrelevant site visitors
  • Altering your advert rotation setting to “Optimize” so advertisements which are anticipated to carry out nicely are prioritized 

Run Frequent PPC Audits & Optimize Your Advertisements

It’s a good suggestion to run paid search audits no less than each six months. Or each time you begin managing a brand new account. 

And know that advertisements can all the time be additional optimized. Particularly should you’re leveraging instruments like Promoting Analysis.