Why and How to Conduct a Successful PPC Audit

Shutterstock 2260960137 Why and How to Conduct a Successful PPC Audit Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 7 minutes

A PPC audit is a must for your brand if you want to effectively identify ways to improve your return on investment (ROI) from campaigns.

Unfortunately, most marketers ignore their campaigns. WordStream found that 20 minutes of optimization weekly places you in the top 10% of PPC marketers.

If you’re within the 90%, however, you may be having serious issues. Maybe your conversions aren’t tracking properly, you lack personalized ad copy, or you have a poor campaign structure, among other things.

These problems lead to big ROI losses. For instance, lacking personalized ads might cause you to lose up to 79% of potential customers.

A detailed PPC audit identifies these errors and offers the necessary information to address them, save money, and improve returns.

Here are the key benefits, top tools, and steps for a successful PPC audit.

Why Should You Conduct a PPC Audit?

A PPC audit helps to:

    • Identify ideal keywords and missed targeting opportunities: A PPC audit reveals your top keywords and shows new keyword opportunities. It also shows you what worked for your competitors, and how their ads can help you fine-tune your own campaigns. 
    • Establish the best platform for ad placement: This is especially beneficial if you run similar ads on different platforms. Each platform has its charges, rates of exposure, CTR, and conversions. Testing various platforms can help determine which ones offer you the best value.
    • Measure conversions to determine wasted ad spend: A PPC audit can help you identify which ad groups have the best returns. It lets you finetune your campaigns and determine locations, keywords, ad copy, and landing pages that work best.
  • Establish the best PPC ads to use: There are various PPC ads like paid search, social media, remarketing, display, and instream. If you use various ad types, an audit can help you establish which ones to prioritize.

How to Conduct a PPC Audit

A good PPC campaign requires regular auditing, preferably two to four times yearly. Still, you may need to do a PPC audit sooner than intended during:

  • PPC strategy changes.
  • Algorithm/interface changes.
  • Sudden, unexplained conversion rate changes.
  • Price fluctuations and adjusting for new competitors.

When it’s time to conduct a PPC audit, one of the first questions to ask yourself is: What methods are adequate for your campaign?

You can conduct a PPC audit manually or with tools.

Please note that if you use a PPC audit software, you’ll still need to analyze the data manually in order to implement it strategically. We recommend this combined approach as it takes out the tedious parts of manually gathering PPC campaigns data, while still leaving room for human expertise. 

Some of the best audit tools for your PPC campaign include:

  • Wordstream’s Google Ads Grader: A free tool that offers data on account activity, quality score, wasted spend, impression share, etc.
  • Adalysis: A paid PPC audit tool for Microsoft and Google ads with a wasted spend, account structure, quality score, and performance report.
  • Helium10: A free Amazon PPC analyzer that offers metrics on keywords and keyword duplication, advertising cost of sales, search terms, and overall campaign analysis.
  • Acquisio: A superb tool for multi-platform PPC audit assessments. It works with Google, Facebook, Bing, and Instagram ads.

Additionally, you need the right setup before your audit. You should ensure:

  • You organize ad groups into appropriate sections and subsections.
  • Your naming conventions are specific, descriptive, and consistent.
  • Your conversions are tracking properly.

Now that you’re all set, what steps should you take to ensure a successful PPC audit?

1. Data Download and Range Selection

The first step to ensuring a smooth PPC audit is downloading the data from your PPC platform.

You can easily share assessments with your team if you have the data in Excel sheets. Also, downloading the data lets you look at the big picture and draw conclusions.

Remember to pick a suitable range of data. For a realistic, detailed look, a good PPC audit needs at least three months of information.

2. Assess Your Ad Content

Analyze your unique selling proposition before diving into metric-based assessments. This step is crucial since the quality of your ad content determines whether a visitor converts or not.

Usually, search engines vet content quality. The better your quality, the more likely the search engine will favor your ads and enhance your visibility.

You need to know your target group and competitors to analyze your ad content.

Knowing your marketing audience allows you to tailor your ads to suit their needs and entice clicks.

On the other hand, competitors help you to assess the quality of your ad content against theirs.

Tools like Semrush’s Advertising Research can offer an overview of your competitors and their ad copies.

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Look at competitor calls to action, keywords, and deals to gain inspiration on how best to solve user problems.

You also need to ensure that your ads have the right landing pages, no spelling/grammar issues, and no outdated prices/offers.

Also, integrate keywords on your page. These keywords should be relevant to your ad content for best results. 

3. Quality Score Analysis

Besides maximum bids, quality scores are the most crucial determinant of your ad placements. Besides, you’re likely to spend less if you have a superb quality score.

Quality score ranges from 1-10.

Google Ads expert Robin Tesselaar recommends you “aim to get 7+.”

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To obtain a decent quality score:

You can check the quality score from your respective platform. Here’s how to do so on Google and Microsoft.

4. Review Personal and Competitor Keyword Targeting

Selecting relevant keywords is the only way to send the right searchers to your landing pages.

A comprehensive keyword analysis factors competitor keywords. By looking at what your competition is using, you can establish gaps and gain inspiration on what to use for your ad groups.

Semrush’s comprehensive keyword dashboard lets you easily assess your niche’s top keywords, including identifying gaps.

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Check the exported Excel file to determine which ad groups need keyword changes based on impression and conversion rates.

For the best results:

  • Use long-tail keywords that attract buyers at the end of the purchasing funnel. Words like “organic mango juice in Tampa” have higher conversion rates than broad ones like “mango juice.”
  • Use relevant keywords for each ad group. For instance, “organic mango juice in Tampa” shouldn’t be in the same group as “fresh apples.”
  • Don’t exceed 20 keywords per ad group to ease analysis and management.
  • Don’t use keywords with a monthly search volume under 100.
  • Remove or shift low-impression keywords to other ad groups.
  • Pause seasonal keywords like “Christmas shopping discounts” once such seasons pass.
  • Leverage negative keywords to avoid irrelevant traffic. You can determine such words by looking at search terms that trigger your ads but have poor engagement.

5. CTR and Conversion Assessment

    You’ll want a good CTR for a decent quality score. This way, you can lower ad spend and potentially boost conversion volume..

    According to Wordstream, Google Ads CTRs for the search and display networks average 3.17% and 0.46%, respectively.

    Desirable CTR also varies with the industry. For instance, the search network CTR for personal and dating service Google ads is 6.05%.

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    Meanwhile, search network technology ads on Google only have a 2.09% CTR on average.

    Bing ads have a 2.83% average CTR, with the leading being careers and employment at 3.53%.

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    It’s best to aim for your industry’s average or higher.

    However, if your CTR is low, you’ll need to optimize your ad copy. You can also unify your ad group themes, use a different bid strategy, or reanalyze your target audience.

    Another way to boost your CTR is to ensure your ads appear during peak conversion times.

    Of course, a good CTR is useless if your visitors aren’t converting well.

    WebFX recommends a 10% conversion rate for PPC but notes an average of 2.35%.

    With Amazon Ads’ average conversion rate at 9.47%, they recommend that you aim for 12%.

    As for Google Ads, they highlight 5.31% as a good rate.

    If your CTR is high but not attracting many conversions, either:

    • Your landing page is irrelevant to visitors.
    • You don’t have a well-optimized landing page.

    Determine which factor is affecting the results and optimize for conversions.

    6. Analyze Location Targeting

    Location analysis is crucial to ensure you aren’t losing potential conversions or wasting ad spend on irrelevant jurisdictions.

    Platforms like Google and Bing let you analyze which locations perform best and which don’t.

    Such data helps you finetune your PPC campaign to focus only on areas with the best engagement.

    Other ways to finetune location targeting and ensure the effective use of ad resources are to:

    • Only focus on the areas you serve.
    • Remove areas that don’t have your ideal target audience.

    7. Bid Strategy Analysis

      The right bidding strategy is crucial to maximize performance and ensure good ROI.

      If you’re new to PPC campaigns, automatic bidding may suit you. However, manual bidding may be more beneficial once you understand how your ads perform.

      Analyze and adjust bidding factors against your goals to determine which areas to spend more or less. For instance, you can tweak Google Ads based on:

      • Location.
      • Demographics.
      • Call interactions.
      • Device type.
      • Schedule.
      • Remarketing lists.
      • Targeting method (display/search network).

      8. Check for Wasted Ad Spend

        The whole point of a PPC audit is to maximize returns and lower ad spending, so you need to check if your ad spend is being wasted anywhere. 

        To determine whether your PPC campaigns are effective, you’ll need to analyze performance metrics like:

        • Cost Per Acquisition.
        • Impressions.
        • CTR.
        • Conversion rate.
        • Return On Ad Spend.

        It’s important to optimize your ad content, target the correct audience with the right bidding strategy, and have a good landing page that converts.

        You can also spend less with the following tricks:

        • Use the right language for your target audience.
        • Use a standard rather than an accelerated delivery method.
        • Lower bids on ads with high clicks.
        • Use broad match keywords.
        • Use the “Optimize” ad rotation to prioritize top-performing ads.

        Is My PPC Audit Successful?

        A successful PPC audit ensures that your tracking settings function and your ads have quality content that drives clicks. It also ensures you have sound landing pages with strategic CTAs that induce conversions.

        It’s best to conduct a PPC audit at least twice yearly to ensure you maximize your ad spend and identify new ways to boost conversions. Be sure to check out our PPC Audit services!

        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.