The 10-Step PPC Audit Guide & Checklist
In this PPC audit guide, we’ll dive into detail about how to set up a PPC audit, plus provide a handy 10-step PPC audit checklist. If you need help conducting your PPC audit or would like a free one, call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist.
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What is a PPC audit?
A PPC audit assesses the short- and long-term performance of your paid advertising strategy by looking at the performance, cost, and returns of your ad campaigns, ad groups, and individual ads. PPC account audits should happen on a routine basis to maximize the performance of your PPC strategy.
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Why should I conduct a PPC audit?
You may have heard others saying you should conduct an audit if you’re running a PPC campaign. So, what’s the value in conducting a PPC audit?
There are numerous benefits to auditing your campaign. Here are just a few of them:
- You’ll see how your strategy performs over time: If you’re investing time and money into a campaign, you want to know that it’s working. A PPC audit allows you to see how your strategy is working over a time period and see how you can improve it.
- You’ll discover performance issues: It’s important that you’re constantly monitoring and updating your campaign to perform its best. A PPC audit will help you pinpoint issues within your campaign and fix them as needed.
- You’ll see how you stack up to the competition: PPC audits give you insight into your campaign’s performance. You can use this information to see how your ad performs compared to your competition.
- You’ll discover where you can improve your campaign: Whenever you run a digital marketing campaign, there is always room to improve your campaign. A PPC audit will help you discover where you can optimize your campaign to help it perform better.
- You’ll learn about your audience: A PPC audit will give help you understand how your audience interacts with your ads. You will discover what your audience likes about your ad and what aspects need improvement to provide a better experience for them.
The 10-step PPC audit checklist
Never done a PPC audit before? Then this PPC audit checklist is for you! Use it to start (and complete) your first PPC account audit.
1. Choose a date range
The first step to creating a PPC audit is to set the date range. You want to ensure that you have enough data to analyze.
You don’t want to look at a small set of data that only spans over 30 days. A month isn’t enough time to analyze how well your changes are taking effect. It’s best to choose a wider set of data to ensure you can accurately measure results over time.
At the very least, you’ll want to look at three months’ worth of data. This is enough data to help you see if your strategies are working. You can also look at more data than this to see a fuller scope of your campaign, but three months will be enough.
2. Download the data
Since you’ll be analyzing a large set of data, the best thing you can do is download all the data. You can easily export your data by going into your Google Ad’s account. You’ll have the option to export all your PPC account data, data from certain campaigns, or set custom exports.
If you run Bing ads, you’ll also want to download the data for those ads, especially if you’re running the same ads on both these platforms. It will help you get a better scope of your PPC efforts.
You can download all of this data into an Excel spreadsheet. It will help you keep the data organized.
3. Document your budget
When you’re conducting your PPC audit, make sure you know how much you’re spending on each campaign. Record that data so you can see how much you’re spending to generate the results you have for your campaign.
You’ll want to record your cost-per-click (CPC) and how many clicks you get for your budget. This is important information to know when you’re setting up your audit because it will help you understand how successful your campaign is.
4. Look at your ad content
This is one of the only non-metric aspects of your PPC campaign you’ll want to monitor. When you’re analyzing your PPC campaign, it’s important to look at your ad content. Your ad content strongly impacts how your audience responds to your ad.
First, you want to check that your ad is targeted to a specific group of people. You should have a target audience in mind when you run your campaign. If you can’t determine who you’re targeting, you’ll want to set a target audience because it will help your campaign product better results.
Next, see if your ad content answers the question “what’s in it for me?” When your audience looks at your ad, they want to know what they get out of choosing your business. Check to make sure your ad lists benefits of your products or services.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) on your ad. CTAs are valuable for driving leads to convert. You must make sure you have a clear and effective CTA on your ad copy.
When you evaluate your PPC ad, ensure that your keywords are integrated on your page. If you want to boost your ad relevancy, you’ll want to make sure that your keywords are relevant to your ad text.
These are just a few aspects of your campaign you’ll want to analyze. If you want to have an effective PPC ad, you must ensure your ad copy is effective first.
5. Check and log your quality score
Quality score is one of the most important aspects of your PPC campaign. Your quality score and maximum bid determine your ad’s placement. If you want to improve your ad’s placement, you must improve your quality score.
Your quality score is determined by factors such as your ad relevancy and click-through rate (CTR). If your ad is more relevant to people’s search query, they are more likely to click on it.
When you’re conducting your PPC audit, you’ll want to pay attention to your quality score. If you have a low quality score, you must improve it. Improving your quality score will improve your ad’s overall performance.
If you have a good quality score for your keyword selection, you can continue your practices to ensure that you keep your ranking.
6. Assess your keyword targeting
As you conduct your PPC audit, you’ll want to audit your keyword selection. Keywords are a driving force behind your PPC ad’s success. If you want to drive the right leads to your ad, you must choose relevant keywords.
The most important part is that you optimize for long-tail keywords. These are keywords that contain three or more words. An example of a long-tail keyword is “flower shops in Harrisburg, PA.”
These long-tail keywords help drive more relevant leads to your page. If you aren’t currently using long-tail keywords in your campaign, now is the time to optimize for better keywords. It will help you create a more effective campaign for your business.
7. Analyze your click-through and conversion rate
Next in this PPC audit checklist, we’ve pieced these two metrics together because they go hand-in-hand with one another. Your CTR will influence your conversion rate, so it’s important to look at both of them.
CTR is a key factor that influences your ad’s success. It’s important that you monitor your ad’s CTR to see if people are interested in your ad. This tells you how many people see your ad in the search results and choose to click on it.
If you have a low CTR, you may need to rethink your ad copy. You want to have a high CTR because it means there is high interest in your ad. It also means that your PPC ad appears relevant in the search results.
It’s important to note, however, that it isn’t enough to have a high CTR. A high CTR with a low conversion rate means that the information your audience sees in the search results is relevant, but once they click on it, your landing page isn’t as relevant.
The ultimate goal is to have a high CTR with a high conversion rate. This means that your ad is extremely relevant to what users are seeking, and they are converting. Monitor both of these metrics in conjunction with one another to see where you could possibly be falling short.
8. Review your bids
When you run your PPC campaign, keep track of your bid amounts. You’ll want to monitor this number to see how much you are spending to obtain leads for your business.
You want to leave enough room for your business to make a profit. If you’re spending $10 each time someone clicks on your ad, and they’re buying a $15 product, you’re cutting your profit margin thin. Instead, you may be able to reevaluate your strategy to lower your costs to allow more clicks.
Analyzing your bid amount will help you figure out if you can lower your bid amount. It’s a valuable way to help your business earn more leads.
9. Check your location targeting
Location analysis is a valuable tool to your PPC audit. When you run your PPC ads, your ads may appear in search results for different cities or states. This is even more true if you have a strong online presence and sell your products to people across the country.
With location analysis, you can see where your ads perform best. Google Ads allows you to see the different cities where your ad appears and how your ad appears in those cities. It’s a great way to help you see where you’re more likely to drum up business.
This helps you see where you can increase ad spend. If certain cities are driving better results than others, you can allocate more funds towards ads in those cities because you know you’ll get more with your return on investment.
Location analysis helps you figure out where to move funds to drive the most successful results for your Google Ads campaign.
10. Compile areas of wasted spend
Companies don’t want to waste money. If you’re going to invest time and effort in different digital marketing strategies, you want to ensure that it’s well worth your money. When your campaign isn’t optimized properly, you risk having a high wasted spend.
Wasted spend is the amount of money you’re losing from your Google Ad’s campaign. It shows you different aspects where you miss out on conversions or spend too much money to obtain leads.
One of the biggest culprits is irrelevant keywords. Many times, you’ll optimize for great keywords, but there are other, irrelevant keywords, that cause your ad to appear in the wrong search results. People who see your ad click on it, only to find that it isn’t relevant to their search.
For example, let’s say you own a bakery. You created a PPC ad to advertise your red velvet cakes to brides, party-throwers, and more. Your long-tail keyword is “red velvet cake.”
Now, let’s say someone is looking for “red velvet cake pops.” Even though your bakery doesn’t make cake pops, your ad is appearing in search results because you’re ranking for “red velvet cake.”
So, people who are looking for the cake pops will click on your ad, only to find that you don’t have what they need. You end up spending money on ads that leads don’t find useful, which results in an unprofitable campaign.
This is where negative keywords can alleviate these problems. Negative keywords are keywords that are related to your keywords but aren’t relevant. In this case, you would make “pop” a negative keyword to ensure you don’t appear in search results for cake pops.
By implementing that simple trick, you reduce your wasted ad spend.
You put more money towards obtaining valuable leads and helping your business earn more conversions. If you want to have a successful campaign, you must audit your wasted spend. You’ll see where you can improve your campaign to prevent your business from losing more money.
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If you want to get the most out of your PPC campaign, you must conduct a PPC audit to ensure your campaign is running properly. A PPC audit will help you figure out where you can improve your campaign. At WebFX, we have over 25 years of experience and are trusted ppc consultants.
We’re a full-service digital marketing company that specializes in PPC. Our team of over 450+ experts will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. We’ll help you create a campaign that drives valuable results for your business.
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