Google Ads is a great way to show your brand and business to people who are likely to be interested in your products and services. It’s also a great way to filter out folks who aren’t interested in your brand. Moreover, it allows you to properly track the people who click on your ads and hopefully turn them from potential buyers to full-fledged customers.
Our focus today won’t be on why Google Ads are great, though. If you’re reading this, you probably know that already. Instead, it will be on how you can audit your Google Ads account to see if it’s as effective as it could possibly be. Stay tuned.
Google ads account audit – What is it?
Auditing your Google Ads account refers to the process of evaluating the overall effectiveness of your account(s). An audit can reveal many things. For instance, it can show you certain issues that were long hidden from you and need to be addressed.
Once you’ve successfully identified said issues, you can then get to improve the overall performance and health of your Google Ads.
The core of a good audit is:
- Identifying what you’re going to audit and clearly understanding why it’s important
- Reviewing and documenting the status of each item in your audit
- Taking detailed notes and examples of items that need to be checked again or addressed after the audit
It’s also very important that the Google Ads account audit results in a report and results that could be put into an action(able) plan. The last thing you want to do is to have an audit that results in ever-changing objectives.
The benefits of a Google ads account audit
Whether you’re handling the Google Ads account of your company or you’re taking over an account of a client, knowing what to do will save you a lot of time and money.
Regularly auditing your account comes with a number of benefits, including:
- Finding issues that were leading to a waste of money
- Enhancing ongoing processes
- Gaining better audience insights
- Validating assumptions
- Identifying opportunities for expansion
- And more
Focusing on the numerous areas of your Google Ads account during an audit will help ensure that you’re maximising your Google Ads performance and ROI.
How to audit a Google ads account
1. Determine your goals
The first step to performing a Google Ads account audit is what comes before performing it. You need to review the goals of your account and your business as a whole. This will give you a better idea of what to focus on and what the objectives of your audit will be.
And understanding what these objectives are will set the tone of your evaluation throughout the audit. In order to better determine these objectives, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your company’s conversion goals?
- Which of those goals are achievable through your Google Ads campaigns?
- Will these goals change in the near future?
- Are you tracking the performance beyond ads?
- Has your target audience recently changed?
Once you have a clear answer to most of these questions, you can start digging into the actual components of your Google Ads account.
2. Review account structure
Having a well-thought-out account structure can positively impact the amount of time you spend managing your campaigns and the data coming from them.
Now, there are many ways in which you can structure the use of your campaigns and ad groups:
- Business objectives
- Buy persona targets
- Subject matter
The thing is, though, there is no “correct” way to structure your account. You want to do it in a way that gives you as much control and observance as possible.
As for the audit, the aspects that you should focus on are the following:
- Do your Google Ads campaigns have different setting levels (geotargeting, budgets, level bids, etc.)?
- Do your ad groups work together properly to provide you with complete reporting for the campaign?
- Are your campaigns distinguishable yet easily comparable to one another?
3. Reviewing your account & campaign settings
In most instances, marketers will quickly review their campaign settings and move on with their lives. However, you might end up having to come back to these settings to make some changes that are necessary.
Here are a few examples of items that you need to review:
- Is the campaign’s device targeting appropriate?
- Is the geographic targeting proper and accurate? Are there any countries and regions that don’t really belong there?
- Is your bid strategy, budget, and delivery methods fitting for your goals?
- Are you relying on dynamic search ads?
4. Reviewing your ad groups
Your ad groups or group of ads might not perform at their best due to a variety of reasons. Not only should you pay attention to the ads themselves but also their landing pages, quality scores, and more.
Here are some questions to ask when auditing an ad group:
- How many keywords do my ad groups have on average?
- Do my ad groups complement or compete with each other?
- Are my best-performing ad groups receiving proper budgets?
- Do my ad groups have at least 3 ads each?
5. Review the ads
Once you’re done auditing your ad groups, it’s then time to review the ads themselves. In many cases, ads are often left unchecked once they’re launched. One effective way to check them is to implement A/B testing.
You basically have two versions of the same ad, version A and version B, and you run them at set intervals within the same ad group. After a while, you can judge the winner of the test and let it roll while you terminate the other one.
Plus, it is common knowledge that Google’s algorithm is quite brilliant at determining when to serve ads in a dynamic and effective way. However, it’s generally not a good idea to always leave it on autopilot. With time, issues with your ads might arise, and an audit can expose them properly.
As always, here is a list of questions that you can ask yourself while auditing your ads:
- Could I A/B test this ad to see if it is at its full potential?
- Would the ad perform better if it were a static headline instead of a dynamic one?
- Should I add a call to action to my ad’s headline?
- Am I using most of the character space that’s given to me by Google?
It’s also a great idea to double-check the spelling and grammar of your ads. Yes, this might sound like a no-brainer, but some people tend to miss it. You need to make sure that you’re using proper spelling and grammar throughout your text and image ads.
Tools such as Grammarly and Writer are helpful for this. You see, not only does the lack of proper grammar and spelling make you look unprofessional, but it also shows that you’re not paying enough attention.
Still, we’re not asking you to be extremely rigid when writing copy for your ads. There is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to certain words, as long as you’re in character!
For example, if your latest ad campaign is trying to reach an audience of parents buying products for their sons, you can rely on the latest buzzwords. These words shouldn’t necessarily be in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, LOL (see what we did there?).
Keywords are at the heart of paid advertising, and Google Ads is definitely no exception. It’s quite easy to get lost in them, though. Match types, search queries, negative keywords, and much more.
When auditing keywords, try to identify any patterns or trends with them. However, regardless of what you find out, do not make any updates yet.
Plus, try to focus on the keywords within their own respective campaigns. In other words, focus on the specific objective of the campaign while reviewing them. And if you’re running a large campaign, it’s probably a good idea to look at samples to find issues rather than focusing on each keyword individually.
Here are some questions to ask while auditing keywords in your Google Ads account:
- Does the search terms report show any keywords that are off-topic for the subject matter and conversion goals?
- Are there any keywords that get high impressions and clicks but little to no conversions?
- Do your ads rely on negative keywords?
- Are there any terms with CPCs or CTRs that are very different from the rest of the group?
Millions of ads run on the Internet on a daily basis. And many of these ads miss a crucial part – the knockout blow at the end of a fight – a CTA.
You can write all day about how wonderful your product or service is. However, if you miss the chance to suggest to the ad’s recipient to buy said product or service, what’s the point?
Say, for example, you’re looking to fix your phone, and you proceed to google for shops that can do that. You’ll get a lot of ad results with phrases such as “Phone repair” in the title of the ad. And it is highly likely that only the ads featuring strong CTAs such as “Call now” or “Make an appointment” will pick your attention.
When auditing your CTAs, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are my Google Ads’ CTAs visible?
- Are my CTAs backed by a clear benefit to the customer/prospects?
- Do my CTAs have a sense of urgency to them?
- Do my CTAs feel relatable to my target audience?
Given the reach and authority of Google Ads, you should consider adding them as part of your paid strategy. And in case you have already, which we assume you have since you’re here reading this, you need to continuously keep an eye on a lot of important items.
Truly, there is no such thing as a Google Ads campaign that doesn’t work. Rather, there are ones that work way better than others. And more often than not, the people behind those “superior” campaigns often audit their Google Ads accounts and campaigns.
And this methodology isn’t necessarily exclusive to Google Ads. Each advertising platform out there needs constant care from the advertiser in order to reach its fullest potential.