PPC Audit Checklist

Shutterstock 2264733057 PPC Audit Checklist Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 6 minutes

Pay-per-click ads are one of the most measurable forms of advertising, but they still require diligent oversight to ensure your budget is working as efficiently as possible. That’s why having a well-defined PPC audit checklist is so important. 

When done properly, a well-defined PPC audit checklist allows you to identify issues in your campaigns, make improvements, and ultimately get the best possible return on your investment.

Read on for a comprehensive checklist for auditing all aspects of your PPC performance and identifying areas for improvement. 

Things You Need for a Successful PPC Audit

1. Pre-Audit Preparation

The first step to a successful PPC audit is organizing yourself before diving in. Taking time upfront to gather essential information will help ensure your audit is thorough and focused. Proper pre-audit preparation is crucial to identifying areas that need attention and making strategic optimizations.

Some of the most important information to collect include: your overall campaign goals, target audience details, and budget parameters. You should let your PPC auditor know what you’re trying to achieve with your campaigns with the PPC audit beforehand so they can tell you what to prepare on your end.  

Get specific about who you want to reach and what actions you want them to take. For instance: 

  • Are you looking to optimize within existing spending? 
  • Do you want to know if you’re losing out on opportunities because of a low budget? Is there room to invest more?

They will need to review your historical data from the past 3-6 months to get a clearer picture. Your analytics can reveal how campaigns have been performing overall and which ads, keywords, and match types are driving the most value. 

Examining click-through rates, average cost, and conversion rates at a granular level will also expose strengths to capitalize on and weak spots begging for improvement.

2. Account Structure Analysis

A well-planned account structure lays the foundation for a successful PPC campaign. Analyzing and refining your structure can help you better optimize your campaigns.

When auditing or getting your account structure audited, it is important to evaluate naming conventions, ad group organization, and keyword structure. 

Here is how this can help your online ad campaigns:

  • Campaign naming conventions should clearly and straightforwardly indicate the product or service you’re advertising so you and others know what ads an ad group or campaign focuses on. They should be able to do this at a glance. Logical naming conventions also allow for easier management down the road.
  • Make sure your ad groups are based on the types of queries or user intent they target. You can also indicate in brackets what devices or geographical locations you are targeting.

3. Keyword Analysis

    The keywords driving your paid search campaigns are the foundation for everything that follows, so they deserve scrutiny. Take the time to carefully analyze your keyword portfolio to make sure you’re targeting the right opportunities.

    Start by identifying your highest-performing keywords, i.e those that generate the most clicks and conversions for the lowest cost. These are your campaign’s workhorses and deserve attention to see how you can expand their reach. For instance, expanding your match types (e.g., switching from exact to phrase match) or adding closely related variations to capture more long-tail searches can help here. 

    Similarly, identify any irrelevant, unrelated, or low-performing keywords that can be removed to improve efficiency. Search your query reports for keywords outside your area of business or those generating minimal results. Getting rid of these can help focus your budget on prime targets.

    Expanding your lists by using keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush is also a good idea. The related keyword and search volume data should inspire additions tailored to your business goals and offer.

    Pro Tip: Review your keyword lists to eliminate duplicate, irrelevant, or broad keywords that waste money. Check for any negative keywords that are conflicting with your important keywords and remove them. 

    4. Ad Copy Evaluation

    Your keywords are good, but how well is your ad copy or creative doing justice to those? Is it possible that your keywords do bring you a lot of visibility but your ad copy just doesn’t prompt enough clicks? 

    To know for sure, review elements like your headlines, descriptions, and CTAs against metrics like click-through rates.

    An eye-catching headline that clearly communicates what you offer is crucial for grabbing attention in crowded search results. Make sure yours is compelling and specific.

    Take a close look at your calls to action, too. Is the desired action, such as visiting your website or contacting sales, coming through clearly?

    Testing variations (either in experiment mode or live mode) can help determine the most effective language. Your descriptions must also be relevant to the keywords and landing pages to ensure a smooth experience for prospects.

    5. Landing Page Assessment

    It doesn’t matter whether your ads are good or not if the landing page doesn’t actually convert your customers. Sure, the ads can send traffic there but landing pages still need to do the final “selling”. Auditing them can reveal what’s breaking your conversions. 

    What should a good landing page look like? A quality landing page is optimized to welcome visitors and guide them toward the desired goal, like a purchase or subscription. Assess your pages on these factors to judge their quality:

    • Page load speed: Evaluate page load speeds and check for bloated elements, like large images, that could cause delays on mobile. Speed is critical for engagement.
    • Relevance to ads: Validate that your value proposition and content match your keywords and ads so visitors feel they’ve reached the right place. Navigation should be clear and labeled calls-to-action prominent.
    • Ease of navigation: Remember to review your content on multiple device sizes to ensure it fits every screen size. You should also ensure legal and brand elements like privacy policies and logos are in the right place. Test potential improvements with A/B testing when possible.

    6. Bid Strategy Review

      Having the right bid strategy in place is one of the most important factors that will influence how well your ads perform. It’s important to take a close look at the strategies you’ve set up for each campaign and ad group.

      One of the first things to do is to analyze the performance data over the past three to six months. This will give you insight into conversion rates, cost-per-click, and return on ad spend for each strategy. Look for any red flags like low conversion rates or a strategy eating up your budget without good results.

      From there, you may need to adjust bids or change strategies altogether. If a strategy is underperforming, raise bids slightly to see if you can achieve a better position and results. Conversely, lower bids may be getting more traffic than needed. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

      If you aren’t already using Google’s automated bidding strategies, consider them. Tools like Target CPA, Target ROAS, and Maximize Conversions can help you optimize bids based on your goals.

      7. Ad Extensions Analysis

      Ad extensions expand your presence in the SERPs and can help you stand out from competitors. 

      When was the last time you reviewed how extensions are performing for your campaigns? It’s a good idea to take a look at which extensions you’re currently using and evaluate their effectiveness.

      Start with popular options like site link extensions. Are they driving valuable clicks and engagement? If not, consider modifying the site links or removing underperforming ones.

      Call extensions can be another powerful way to prompt user actions. Check call metrics like your call conversion rate. If it’s low, try using dynamic call tracking to understand caller quality better. 

      Structured snippets showing address, price, or other data at a glance are also worth assessing.

      8. Tracking and Analytics Assessment

      You can make all the changes you want, but you can’t judge the effects of your campaign optimizations unless your tracking is set up correctly. 

      During an audit, take time to validate that everything has the appropriate tagging. This includes verifying that the event tracking on your website matches your settings in Google Ads.

      You’ll also want to confirm that Google recognizes all conversions. 

      One way is to compare reported conversions to your analytics. Any discrepancies could point to missed tags. Accurate tracking is key for bidding, so fix inconsistencies as needed.

      With tracking validated, turn to analytics for insights. Tools like Google Ads and Google Analytics allow an in-depth performance review of your ads. Look at metrics like your average position, click-through rate, and average cost per acquisition at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels.

      Drill into audience and location insights as well. They may reveal untapped opportunities. Pay special attention to underperforming areas you can optimize or poorly performing keywords you can remove. Also, ensure that you leverage analytics to identify issues and inform your optimization plans after the audit.


      Conducting regular audits of your PPC campaigns is one of the most important steps you can take to optimize performance and improve your return on advertising spend. The checklist that we have provided outlines the key areas that should be examined during each audit to identify any issues or opportunities for enhancement.

      By methodically working through each point on the checklist, you can ensure that your campaigns are operating as efficiently as possible. Lastly, ensure auditing is a routine part of your marketing process for the best PPC results.

      At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our status as a Google Partner, along with our PPC Management, Google Shopping Ads, Social Media Advertising, Amazon Advertising, and other Paid Media services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.