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How To Run A Google Ads Audit

Updated 5 Feb 2024 9:01 PM

Whilst I’m here to help you with optimising and improving your Google Ads accounts with Google Ads Audits and monthly maintenance packages, I also understand that sometimes you just want to have a go yourself (or your boss insists!).

So here are my top tips of things that you can ask yourself to get the most from your Google Ads account.

Why not use this list as a Google Ads Audit checklist?

Simply read through whilst checking your Google Ads account and tick off the things you’re already doing well!

1. Goals

As with any marketing campaign it’s important that your Google Ads campaigns align to your business goals and objectives, and that you can gather the right performance data and analytics.

  • What are your business goals?
  • Are you able to track beyond the ad click or do you “lose” customers to non-tracked elements (telephone/third-party website)
  • What is your target audience? Has it changed since you set-up your ad account?

2. Account Structure

There are many ways you can organise your Google Ads account, I’d advise you map out potential structures in Excel or Google Sheets (or go old school with a piece of paper!). You could structure by:

  • Matching your business objectives/goals?
  • Segmented based on your target audience or persona groups?
  • Product or service based
  • Subject matter
  • Customer journey purchase point

Take a moment to think about what you want to be able to see when you look at your account – how much granularity do you want?

At the end of the day what we want to help you achieve is an answer in five minutes (or less) when your CEO or CMO asks “what’s our best performing campaign?”.

3. Account & Campaign Settings

Often the account and campaign settings in Google Ads are looked at during initial set-up, never to be reviewed again – I feel it’s important to review them on a regular basis to ensure the following:

  • Are you targeting the right geographic audience?
  • Do you have device segmentation across your account?
  • Have you set-up your bid strategy, budget and ad delivery methods correctly? Do they need to be updated?
  • Are you using day-parting? And are you using it correctly?
  • Have you got dynamic search ads in your account – are they being used for the right reasons?

4. Landing Pages

A critical part of any high-performing campaign, but often overlooked, as they are outside of the Google Ads landscape.

  • Is your wording, tone and terminology consistent between ad and landing page?
  • Are you using clear call to actions on your landing page?
  • If your CTA is a telephone number are you using call tracking?
  • If you’re directing your audience to a form submission have you added conversion tracking code to the submission event or ‘thank-you’ page?
  • Are you trying to drive multiple audiences/intent groups to the same landing page – are you able to create multiple pages to tailor appropriately to each segment?

5. Ads

Often ads are either over-tested or ignored. It’s important to remember that our audience are humans and therefore responsive to one ad variant one day and another the next!

  • Are your call to actions and headlines effective?
  • How many ads have you got with low-mid quality scores?
  • Have you got two ad variants in each ad group? (Even with the multi-headline ads, it’s still good to test two different ad variants)
  • Are you using dynamic keyword insertion and measuring performance against a static headline?

6. Keywords

It’s time to look for trends or patterns across your Google Ads account. But at this stage don’t be tempted to make any amends, no matter how minor, sit back and review fully so you can understand the whole landscape.

  • Are you using negative keywords?
  • Does your search query report show any keywords that are off-topic for your goal?
  • How many keywords have you got that have low quality scores?
  • Is your keyword max CPC set optimally?
  • Do you have any anomalies across your CPC, CTR, conversions or conversion rate targets (good or bad!)?

7. Ad Groups

Too often I see businesses focusing intently on keywords and ad copy, but not on the actual intent of their audience or the journey they’re taking them on.

You could have the greatest keyword selection of all time, but if you are landing your clickers on a poorly optimised landing page or your advert copy is poor/mis-directed – then your quality score will be poor, your ads won’t be served properly and you’ll ultimately lose business.

  • Are your ad groups complementary and not competing?
  • Is your ad group max CPC set to an optimal level?
  • Is your keyword max CPC set optimally?
  • Are you splitting your budget correctly to support your best performing ad groups?
  • Do you need to start using SIAGs (Single Intent Ad Groups)?

8. Evaluating & Forming An Action Plan

Once you’ve done your review, it’s good to formulate it into a report and action plan. You can provide a score for each element that will help you identify your priorities, based on:

  • What is the current cost to the business?
  • How much revenue is it driving for your business?
  • How much time/resource will it require to fix?
  • Is it something you can amend in-house or do you need external assistance?
  • What pre-requisites are involved? (Landing pages, copy-writing, images, new website etc)

Great ideas but not enough resource/capacity to run your own Google Ads Audit?

I know what it’s like to want top performance from your ad campaigns, but also knowing that you’ve only got a few minutes every other week to spend time on them.

This is where I can step in and help. I offer Google Ads Audits and Google Ads Maintenance Packages set-up so I can take on the load of sorting everything out, and provide you with visual dashboards of performance, “So What” insights (that you can pass straight onto your boss) and the reassurance that your Google Ads campaigns are being well looked after.

Want more tips like these?

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Updated 5 Feb 2024 9:01 PM