If you’re interested in advertising on Google Ads, an audit is a great place to start. A Google Ads account audit will give you a strong understanding of where you are now—as well as highlighting where you can improve.
At Vine Digital, our paid media specialists are passionate about data-driven strategy: so audits are an essential part of our process. In this article, we’ll walk you through the main steps you need to cover when conducting a Google Ads account audit.
What is a Google Ads Audit?
A Google Ads Audit is the examination of your existing campaigns, to evaluate their structure, performance and effectiveness in achieving your business goals. It is a crucial process that should be implemented routinely as part of your marketing strategy to ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing budget.
Why Do a Google Ads Audit?
This process is overlooked by most advertisers: including, most likely, your competitors. If you aren’t conducting Google Ads audits, there are high chances of the following issues.
Your Business Objectives Have Changed
Your business goals aren’t static: your campaigns shouldn’t be static, either. Rather, they should be able to pivot to meet the needs of your business. In the measurement-centric world of paid media, you can only measure a campaign’s true ROI if its structure aligns with your business goals.
If your campaigns have been running on autopilot, it’s likely that your business’ needs have changed. With this change in business objectives, it’s important to update your digital marketing strategies.
Review Your Google Ads Account Performance
A Google Ads audit can help you understand what’s working, and what’s not. They provide a great checkpoint for assessing performance, and determining whether your ads are achieving KPIs linked to your business goals. Determine whether your ads are giving you the returns you need and if not, delve into the data and understand what needs to be done to improve it.
Find Spend Wastage
When it comes to pay per click advertising (and the Google Search Network & Display Network), every cent matters. A Google Ads audit will help you identify parts of your spendings that you can cut down on, as well as highlighting the most cost-effective keywords and opportunities for you to target.
Whether it’s a spelling error or a campaign for a sale you had months ago, it’s important that your ads are up-to-date. Without auditing and fact checking your ads, you could be paying for clicks that will no longer lead to a purchase. In addition, this could lead the user to have a negative perception of your brand—as they click on an ad, only to find out that your brand presence is not current.
By looking at the data, you can gain audience insights and identify new opportunities. Maybe it’s an audience segment that you should be investing more budget in. Or perhaps you notice that a certain group isn’t responding to your ads. A Google Ads audit can help you better understand where you sit in the overall market, which you can then cater to to increase profits.
How Does Vine Digital Audit a Google Ads Account?
An audit process is much more thorough than a usual campaign and optimisation check. It includes detailed notes, documentation and post audit action plans that are crucial to improving performance moving forward. For our clients, we follow the steps below to maximise return on investment.
Step 1: Review Goals and KPIs
First, we need to understand the goals and objectives of your business. With this knowledge, we can measure all performance against your benchmarks and KPIs.
Some goals to consider are:
- Short and long-term objectives
- Monthly sales/conversion targets for Google Ads
- Any new goals. Have they changed in the past year?
Step 2: Campaign Structure
There are many ways to structure your Google Ads account. Campaigns are often sorted by product groups, categories, or pricing brackets. Although there is no right or wrong way to structure campaigns, finding a suitable campaign structure is crucial to performance. It gives you greater control over where to skew budget, and helps you focus on better performing products or categories.
Some important points to consider are:
- Does your current structure allow you to easily shift budget and skew toward main focus groups/products?
- Are campaigns segmented properly?
Step 3: Ads and Keywords
When running a Google Ads campaign, it’s important to monitor and update the search terms relevant to your brand. By doing this, you can win share of voice on profitable keywords as you find your audience and appear ahead of competitors. Similarly, your ads and ad copies should be regularly updated and optimised.
- Are negative keywords used, and are there any off-topic keywords targeted?
- What keywords have the highest conversions?
- Are there keywords that have a low quality score?
- Are there any keywords that are below expected or desired CPC, CTR or conversion targets?
Step 4: Other Relevant Features
- Are ad extensions used to their full potential, and what other extensions would be relevant to add in?
- Are you using the most appropriate bid strategy?
- How active is your current agency?
- What is your impression share, compared to your competitors’?
- Are landing pages working properly?
Step 5: Action Plan
The audit will help identify problem areas and inefficiencies, to help you formulate an action plan moving forward. This action plan will help to eliminate budget wastage, ensuring that you maximise the ROI of your Google Ads campaigns.
If you want to increase your sales and reduce budget wastage, conducting a Google Ads audit is the way to go. Luckily, this is something that Vine Digital can help you with. Our team of experienced professionals will take a look at your account and make suggestions on how you can improve your performance. Contact us today for a free consultation!