22 Techniques to Audit Your Google Ads Account Like a Pro

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Whether it’s your Google ads account or your client’s, you need to audit it accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll face an unorganized mess, and your Google ads will perform awfully. You don’t want to face this unwanted situation for sure. But aren’t you clear about how to audit Google ads accounts? Just read this article because here I’ve discussed 22 techniques to audit your Google ads account like a pro.

How Can You Audit Your Google Ads Account like a Pro?

I don’t like to keep you waiting. That’s why directly getting into my discussion. So, let’s look at the 22 techniques at a glance:

1. Decide Your Goals

2. Check the Performance Trends

3. Keyword Research

4. Pay Attention to SKAGs & STAGs

5. Apply RLSAs or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

6. Realize and Select Search Intent

7. Mostly Invest Your Budget in the Top-Revenue Generating Sectors

8. Target the Locations Where You’ll Get the Best Results

9. Check Carefully the Time of Prospect Conversion

10. Realize and Select Your Suitable Demographics

11. Check the Search Partner’s Value

12. Apply Bid Adjustments Delicately

13. Perform Regular Audits of Negative Keywords

14. Focus on the Crucial Metrics

15. Take Care of the Secondary or Vanity Metrics

16. A/B Test the Ads and Settings of PPC Campaigns

17. Apply for All Relevant and Accessible Ad Extensions

18. Review the Shares that have Lost Impression

19. Check Conversion Settings

20. Apply Sets of Conversion Actions

21. Check Seasonality22.  Take Action on Statistically Crucial Data

Let’s discuss these techniques thoroughly.

1. Decide Your Goals

When you are starting an advertising campaign and also want to make it successful, you need to clearly define your goal. Otherwise, you’ll be going nowhere. It might happen that you are doing so many things to make your advertising campaign successful, still, lagging. So, before you start auditing a Google ads account set your goals. 

Decide carefully, whether you want to enhance conversion or reduce CPA or cost per acquisition. You need to think logically i.e. figure out how this goal will be beneficial for your company. Chasing a goal just because your competitors or others in the market are doing so won’t make any sense. So, start with a well-defined goal to make your campaign a success. 

Make sure your goals are smart i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely or time-bound.

2. Check the Performance Trends

You need to realize your performance trends before you focus on technical details. Understand how your performance has changed and during which period. When reviewing this change or fluctuations in performance don’t focus on too narrow a timeframe or too large either. For instance, if you focus on a period of only two to three weeks, you won’t be able to understand anything clearly, because of too little information. 

The opposite situation will occur if you focus on a too large timeframe like three months, the performance will be affected by too many metrics. You’ll be confused. The best thing is to focus on a period of 30 to 60 days to get exact performance trends about your company or client’s company. You’ll be to compare the fluctuations in the business goals between then and the current situation. 

When you can figure out the reason for the fluctuation, you can start working on that.

3. Keyword Research

It’s a crucial thing while auditing your Google ads account because you need to know how people are searching for your or your client’s products online. Always keep yourself updated. Because SEO or search engine optimization is an ever-changing field. Your keyword planning team might have made each possible effort to make your list of keywords updated, but they should never stop researching because a change can take place at any time. 

It can happen that you don’t know a term using which your audience is looking for a certain product or service. Thorough research and continuous studying can play a crucial role here. Sometimes, paid keywords can drive more conversions and traffic. Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can help you in this regard.

You can learn more here: How to do Keyword Research for PPC Campaign

Competitor keyword research will make your work easier. Because it will tell you what to target for your clients. For this, you need to go through the following steps:

a) Recognize your main competitors:

This is the first and foremost step in competitor keyword research. This information needs to be readily available because it starts the process of requesting for proposal or RFP. But if you don’t have it, ask the Google accounts manager for it. In case, you can’t find this information anywhere, try searching for this information on (SERP) search engine result pages.

Read also: A Guide to Conducting a Competitor Analysis for PPC

b) Analyze and understand their keyword tactics:

When you are done with the above step, try analyzing and understanding their keyword tactics. SEMrush, Ahrefs, and the like tools will help you get an idea about which keywords are being targeted by your competitors. 

c) Find gaps in those strategies or tactics:

After analyzing your competitors’ keyword strategies, try finding gaps in their strategies. If they are targeting some keywords and getting remarkable results from them but you aren’t targeting those, your strategy has a gap. If the opposite occurs, your competitor’s strategy has the gap. If you’ve found the gaps in your competitor’s strategies, try targeting those gaps with your effective strategies. 

When you are well aware of all your competitors, test some of their PPC campaigns. Keep in mind that your company can bid on their(competitor) trademarks but you can’t always use their trademarks in the text of your ads. 

4. Pay Attention to SKAGs & STAGs

SKAGs stand for single keyword ad groups. It means you prepare ads for every keyword. Here, you can target the ads better, and tracking performance for every keyword is also simpler, but it can also easily be abused. This tactic will be suitable for you when you need to put extra effort into search volume and conversion volume. 

Ensure that you aren’t creating any conflicting SKAG that can have close variants. In such a case, you can make the Google algorithm confused. You will never want that for sure. You need to constantly monitor the search term reports to ensure that your money is not getting wasted on unimportant keywords.

Again, testing each PPC campaign becomes quite impossible because each ad group’s volume gets too low. SKAGs will perform well if you use them only for best-performing keywords when you like to keep them separated. 

Nowadays, STAGs or single-theme ad groups are preferable approaches to the above one. Because here you won’t get exact matches but close variants. These ad groups can use similar keywords at the same time to cover all things that Google can consider as close variants.

5. Apply RLSAs or Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

If you want to improve your client’s or your PPC campaign, consider applying RLSAs. Because remarketing lists for search ads target past site visitors with specific ads. It can be an effective way to improve your PPC campaigns because these visitors have a past connection with your brand and are searching for a current solution to their problems. You need to follow these mentioned things here:

  • A large-size remarketing list:

If you are applying RLSAs, consider using a large-size remarketing list. If your remarketing list is not large enough, try working more on it. 

  • Customized ad copy and/or landing pages:

Customize your ad copy and/or landing pages as per your remarketing lists’ returning customers’ requirements to enhance your ROI and conversion rates. 

  • Bid adjustments:

You or your clients should be more likely to may something more to bring back an existing prospect or customer than an uncertain or cold audience. Consider a 20 percent to 30 percent bid increase for RLSAs.

Read also: Successful Google Ad Campaign Like a Pro

  • Review your outcomes:

Regularly review the outcomes from these RLSAs and take corrective actions if needed. 

6. Realize and Select Search Intent

You need to realize and select search intent based on the type of search intent and match of search intent. Here, the type of search intent can be of four types such as navigational, informational, commercial, and transactional. Let’s have a quick idea about each of these terms:

Navigational: Here, people are looking for a specific brand, website, or page such as “digiSocial”.

Informational: People are looking for certain information here, such as “How to make effective video content?”

Commercial: Here, someone is in a consideration stage and wants to make a decision. For instance, “V Company Vs Another Advertising agency.”

Transactional: Someone is searching for buying a service or product here. Such as “Hire an Advertising Agency.”

Again, it can be divided into subcategories like Local. Under local search intent, you look for a service near you. Such as “Advertising Agencies near me.” 

Match of Search Intent means the service you or your client is offering matches the users’ requirements or not. 

You can also face a certain situation where the product or service you or your client is offering doesn’t match the users’ requirements. Here, this situation is called mismatched search intent. 

When you will be able to realize what your user is looking for and you can address that need accordingly with your content your users’ goals will be achieved. For instance, when your audience is looking for some information, you need to give that information completely with blog posts, downloadable resources, or webinars,  so that they don’t have any more queries.

Again, when they want to purchase something you need to give the information so persuasively that they want to respond directly to your calls to action. 

7. Mostly Invest Your Budget in the Top Revenue-Generating Sectors

You will be blessed when you have got the opportunity to work with a client who has an unlimited budget. But this is an uncommon scenario. You always need to face situations where you’ll need to think about cost-cutting. In such cases, think of investing the budget in the top revenue-generating sectors. 

Try using the client’s top-performing keywords in the ad campaigns, so that they can generate more money. Invest the rest of the funds to optimize and test other opportunities. 

8. Target the Locations Where You’ll Get the Best Results

Use Google Ad’s geographic targeting to get better outcomes from your ad campaigns. This option lets you target specific locations with the ads and adjust bids depending on your locations to better or worse respond to the message of your clients. Target broadly by choosing countries and narrow them down by choosing cities, regions, or postal codes. Also, check for advanced settings to target a specific audience.  

9. Check Carefully the Time of Prospect Conversion

Now, let’s come to the Ad Scheduler. This feature allows you to adjust the PPC campaigns depending on individual time blocks. For instance, you can spend a lower amount for clicks occurring outside your business hours or can turn off the total non-branded campaign on weekends.

When your PPC campaigns have no specific timings, you are prone to waste investment during low-performing hours. All of your non-branded campaigns need to have certain ad scheduling on a priority basis. Generally, only branded campaigns need to run anytime at full force.  

In case, you run a campaign for lead generation, take care of the lead-to-sales ratio, as well as, the visit-to-lead conversion rate. You can discover that sometimes, you can generate some cheaper leads after hours, and convert them at a comparatively lower rate. Just find the exact match between cost per sale and cost per sale.

10. Realize and Select Your Suitable Demographics

The most common demographic factors include age, gender, education, and income. For instance, when you offer retirement residences, 18-24 years age groups will underperform. Again, when your product is for the 19-24 years age group, you can discover that the 55-65 age groups convert well, specifically during the holidays. So, realize and select the most suitable demographics carefully.

11. Check the Search Partner’s Value

Google Search Partners can give you lots of lower-cost yet lower-quality traffic. Applying search partners mainly depend on your objectives or goals and your PPC campaign’s performance. For instance, when your campaign is performing extremely well such as a remarketing or brand campaign, and your goal is to have more exposure for you or your clients, here applying Google Search Partner can be a suitable option. Conversely, when your primary goal is quality, and your present ROAS or return on ad spend is on its borderline, here considering search partners won’t be a good idea.

Try not to apply search partners while starting a campaign. Add them only after you have developed a strong performance baseline.

12. Apply Bid Adjustments Delicately

Bid adjustments let you increase your bids by different percentages for specific factors such as various audiences, various ad schedules, various devices, and many more. For instance,  you notice that your ads have a better conversion on mobiles. It means that you can enhance the bids only on mobiles. 

Again, your ads are performing better in Dhaka than in Chittagong. Then increase the bid adjustments in Dhaka. Take everything quite delicately and then make the adjustments. 

13. Perform Regular Audits of Negative Keywords

You need to regularly monitor keyword search terms and perform audits of negative keywords. Generally, you need to check it at least once a week. Specifically, if you notice that there’s a certain enhancement in traffic without any increase in revenue. Perform it more often for brand-new or high-volume campaigns. 

14. Focus on the Crucial Metrics

Focus on the metrics that are crucial for your campaign. You can primarily focus on one or all of these metrics such as ROAS or Return on Ad Spend, CPA or Cost Per Conversion, and Conversion Volume. 

ROAS is mostly important for e-commerce businesses. It helps you determine how much profit you are making in comparison to the money you are spending on the ad. When your business has the goal to make more profit by spending less, you need to focus on this metric. 

CPA will be crucial for your business if you want to mostly maximize the budget and spend less to get conversions. You can estimate this metric by dividing the value of your ad spend by the total number of conversions. 

Conversion volume is the most helpful metric for your business if you want to achieve the maximum number of conversions with your budget and want to spend less for this process. 

Choose your crucial metrics based on your business type and then focus on them.

15. Take Care of the Secondary or Vanity Metrics

Once you’ve focused on your crucial metrics, now it’s time to take care of the secondary or vanity metrics. You can call these metrics secondary or vanity metrics because they are tied to specific goals. Again, it doesn’t mean that they don’t affect your core goals anyhow. Generally, the secondary or vanity metrics are as follows:

  • CTR or Click-Through-Rate i.e. Clicks/impressions
  • Impression Share i.e. Impressions/Total Eligible Impressions
  • CPC or Cost-Per-Click i.e. the amount you need to pay for each click to your PPC ad. 
  • Quality Score i.e. Google gives a score to the keywords of an advertiser’s ad account between 1 to 10. 

16. A/B Test the Ads and Settings of PPC Campaigns

A/B test here means “Always Be” testing the ads and settings of your PPC campaigns. Google Ads gives you several opportunities to emphasize and test your ads or PPC campaigns. Try testing at least one test at a time because if you perform too many tests once, your test outcomes may get lost among too many outcomes.

These tests can be either simple or complex. For instance, changing your content or bringing some variations to your landing pages can be some simple tests. Again, when you are measuring ROI after decreasing your campaign’s CPC by 30% and after deducting some geographical locations is a type of complex test. 

Consider testing every part and type of ad to ensure a better outcome. Test the ad copy, ad rotation, expanded text ads (ETA), responsive search ads (RSA), responsive display ads (RDA), and video ads. 

Ad Copy: Check carefully whether the ad copy contains relevant keywords and a meaningful message for your target audience. Carefully consider everything because this ad copy is one of the most crucial parts of your PPC campaign. 

Ad Rotations: Review this setting whether the ad is set for “Rotate Indefinitely” or “Optimize for Best Performing Ads.” In the past, people used to prefer the rotate indefinitely option, but now the latter option is preferable. 

ETA and RSA: ETA, these ads no longer exist since June 2022. Now is the era of RSA. This is one of the mentionable current PPC trends. 

RDA: If you are using display ads or uploaded display ads, have you applied all sizes of display ads available on Google Ads? If you haven’t applied some, then you might be missing some great opportunities. Especially, if you haven’t applied RDAs yet, you are lagging for sure. 

RDAs let you fit across a vast range of placements and give you exposure that you haven’t got before. RDAs will generate a huge opportunity for developing the display ads, and you can quickly audit them. 

Video Ads:  In case, you’re running any campaign on YouTube, that will have some ads there for sure. But YouTube ads mostly target “top of the funnel” audiences i.e. the audience that is less likely to convert. It doesn’t mean that you won’t audit these ads, but you’ll spend less time behind these ads. 

Keep some facts into consideration in your audit such as whether you’ve applied the best practices, or you’ve applied all sizes and types of video ads best for the “top of the funnel” audiences, and the like.

Read More: Google Video Ads – Best Practices 

17. Apply for All Relevant and Accessible Ad Extensions

Try using as many extensions as possible to take better advantage of them. Most advertising agencies don’t take advantage of them well. You can do it and outrank your competitors. Using extensions will serve you with the following advantages:

  • Enhanced CTR
  • Improved customer data
  • Better ad rank

18. Review the Shares that have Lost Impression

Review the shares that have lost impression because of budget, because of bid, or because of rank. Here, a lost impression because of budget means your or your client’s money is over before the project is over. Lost impression because of bids means your or your client’s ads couldn’t bid rather your or their competitors bid. Lost impression because of rank means that you still have a chance to improve the situation either by improving the content, or improving relevance and the like. 

19. Check Conversion Settings

While checking your conversion settings mainly consider these three things: conversion count, conversion window, and attribution model. 

Conversion count will help you to keep track of the number of conversions. Suppose, if your website has some downloadable items, the number of downloads can be considered as conversion. Again, some people can download multiple times for some reason, the conversion number can be overstated. So, remember that count a conversion only once. 

Conversion window You have the option to set your conversion window between seven days to ninety days. You will get various information about your customers from click to conversion. 

The Attribution Model helps you choose which click has the most, least, or all contribution to getting the conversion. 

20. Apply Sets of Conversion Actions

You can group a bulk of transactions at a time by setting sets of conversion actions. For example, you can set lead generation conversion that will include only top-of-the-funnel campaigns, or purchase conversion that will include various conversion actions such as sales by product types. 

21. Check Seasonality

Check seasonality and it will help you save money from investing in your campaigns during off-seasons. You can notice that certain campaigns often see some declines in their performance suddenly. A particular time of year can affect your campaigns’ performance positively or negatively. 

22. Take Action on Statistically Crucial Data

Your campaigns can face fluctuations in performance due to seasonal issues. But you need to make sure that you are acting on statistically crucial or significant data. Try using statistical importance calculator such as an A/B testing calculator to ensure that you are making data-driven decisions. 

You must have gotten the answer to your question “how to audit PPC accounts?” by now. 

Final Words:

Now, after reading this article you must have become confident enough to perform the audit with these 22 techniques to audit your Google ads account like a pro. In case, you need any more assistance just contact digiSocial.

Frequently Asked Questions

I recommend you audit your Google Ads account regularly, i.e. at least once each 3 to 6 months based on your account size to ensure that you’ve considered everything carefully.

Google Ad’s 3 principles are as follows:

  • Relevance
  • Control and 
  • Outcomes or results

Let’s have a look at the following things and you’ll get the idea:

  1. Audience Segments and Bid Adjustments
  2. Device Settings and Bid Adjustments
  3. Demographic Settings and Bid Adjustments
  4. Ad Network Settings
  5. Ad Schedules
  6. Language Settings
  7. Location Settings
  8. Campaign Begin/ End Date
  9. Bid Strategy Settings
  10. Ad Rotation Settings
  11. Conversion Settings
  12. Check Budgets
  13. Check Optimization Scores
  14. Ad Group ROAS Review
  15. Review Shared Library
  16. Ad Group Default Bids Adjustments
  17. Add New Keywords
  18. Impression and Click Share
  19. Negative Keyword Audit
  20. Keyword Bid Adjustments
  21. Search Intent Review
  22. Review Current Ad Tests
  23. Review Quality Scores
  24. Ad Extensions
  25. Create New Ad Tests
  26. Landing Page Review
  27. Responsive Search Ads
  28. 24-Hour Post Optimization Review
  29. 7-Day Post Optimization Review
  30. 3-Day Post Optimization Review

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