How To Run A PPC Audit

by Michael Talburt on October 3, 2019

For those interested in learning more about online marketing, two tactics every online marketing pro must be familiar with are search-engine optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

ppc-audit-seo-imageWhile both online marketing tactics have their pros and cons, PPC’s main glaring con is the necessity of paying cash to bump your business’s website listing to the top of search results. Considering how PPC can cost business owners a considerable amount that depends on the keywords used to bring up the desired website, it’s only natural that beginner online marketers are often both wary and hesitant to use a PPC campaign to promote a particular product or service.

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Even though a PPC campaign can generate more traffic to a business’s website, a successful PPC campaign is dependent not only on increased clicks but also on increased net gain and profit.

With an investment of time and energy, a PPC campaign can be a useful tool for your business. While there is no foolproof way to smoothly run a PPC campaign from the get-go, one method to ensure you get the most out of your PPC campaign is through a PPC audit.

In this article, we break down what a PPC audit is, highlight the reasons to get one, and a few items to consider for the checklist of your next PPC audit.

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PPC Audit: A Quick Definition

A PPC audit is much like a tax audit. In a tax audit, the IRS scrutinises your financial documents and reported income more closely than usual to ensure you are faithfully reporting your yearly income and financial details.

However, unlike the tax audit, a PPC audit typically occurs more often and by no means should trigger a sense of overwhelming dread. Though a PPC audit is similar to a tax audit in that it is a scrutinisation of the data and traffic processed through your PPC campaign, the end goal of a PPC audit is different.

PPC audits are typically held every half year, or at the very least when you begin a new PPC campaign, and are meant to help you and your business. The ultimate goal of a PPC audit is to find any weaknesses or potential weaknesses in your PPC campaign, highlight points of improvement, and give you a general sense of how your PPC campaign is doing over a given course of time.

Especially if you’re an independent business owner or someone who is looking to branch their business, a PPC audit is an excellent way to evaluate what your business needs and the direction you need to take for marketing your business’s products and services.

In our next section, we cover the reasons to get a PPC audit in greater detail.

Why Get a PPC Audit

Now that you’re familiar with what a PPC audit is, you’re probably wondering why you should get one and what are the benefits you can reap from a PPC audit.

Here are the top 5 reasons:

  • Run & Know Your Business. Managing a PPC account isn’t an once-a-week ordeal—it’s a task that requires consistent monitoring and adjustments. While as the business owner you may think you know what your business is, a PPC audit helps to show you what your business can be. While it can’t replace the outside, human perspective of a third-party observer, it can greatly help the starting business owner or beginning PPC auditor.
  • Extraneous Clicks Equals Extra Wasted Money.  Finding a potential weakness in your PPC campaign isn’t just about improving your overall marketing strategy—it also involves saving you money spent in a PPC campaign. A PPC audit can help in identifying costly mistakes or help you in considering whether or not a particular keyword is worth spending that extra 1K on.
  • Maintain Accuracy.  Through a PPC audit, you can specifically cheque to make sure any traffic going through your business’s PPC ads is going to the right pages of your business’s website. Though it is human to error, it is foolish to not maximise your PPC campaign.
  • Schedule Appropriately.  A PPC audit tracks down traffic going to your business during a PPC campaign in a simple, easy-to-process manner. This data crunching includes not only how many visitors your business’s website receives but also when these visitors access your website. While PPC ads through Google Adwords appear for a 24 hour period, a PPC audit can show you which time of the day your PPC ad receives the most response. This allows you to schedule your PPC ads in the most efficient way possible.
  • Simulate Results.  Through a PPC audit, not only can you see what weaknesses are in your PPC campaign or what improvements need to be made, but you can also see possible results that may occur if you incorporate the suggested improvements. This is especially useful given the high cost that a PPC campaign has and can help you make important decisions for adjusting your business’s marketing strategy.

How to Get a PPC Audit

When running a PPC audit, you can use Google Analytics to see how your PPC campaign is doing. If you especially have multiple accounts to manage, make sure to have your Google Ads ID number ready and to sync all your PPC accounts to your Google Manager Account.

If you’re consulting with an outside party, making sure the consultant can access your Manager Account is important to streamline the process of auditing multiple accounts.

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On terms of analysing and breaking down the data, here are three ways to consider:

  • Use Inside Intel.  If you are in a company sizeable enough to hire multiple PPC managers, you can have one manager audit the other. Not only does this save you money from hiring an outside party, but you don’t need to go through the steps to train individuals about the inside practises of your company.
  • Hire an Third-Party.  If you have the funds, hiring a PPC consultant who is not affiliated with your company or not personally affiliated with you can be beneficial. Not only is the PPC consultant professionally trained to interpret a PPC audit’s data concisely, but they can provide an effective outside perspective on your PPC audit and overall campaign. This outside perspective can be useful especially if using inside personnel has led to pushed deadlines or politicking.
  • Do it Yourself.  Especially for those starting a new business or PPC campaign, you may not have the means to hire a PPC manager or even to simply hire a consultant. In this situation, doing the PPC audit on your own is more cost-effective and streamlined for your developing business.

Things to Consider for Your PPC Audit Checklist

Regardless if you are having other people audit your business’s PPC campaign or have decided to take on the task yourself, it is essential to make a PPC audit checklist.

The checklist not only organises the parts of your PPC campaign that you should be keeping an eye on but it is also communicable and comprehensive—everyone can use and follow the checklist, not only its maker.

Here are a few key items to consider when making a PPC audit checklist:

  • Adjusting Keywords.  A PPC audit can highlight which keywords are doing well and which keywords aren’t doing too hot, especially keywords with a low search volume. If a keyword is unlikely to be used by search engine users, it means it is unlikely for your business to garner traffic or a desired action through that keyword. Adjusting keywords is also useful for seasonal keywords (e.g. Christmas). By keeping in mind which keywords bring in traffic, which don’t, and which produce a high volume of traffic during a specific period of time, you can efficiently max out the usability of your chosen keywords.
  • Location Settings.  Does your business have stores or branches in one specific area but not in another? Location settings ensure that your PPC ad is not only shown to the right audience but it can also reach your audience. Showing an ad in an area where even potential or interested customers can’t receive any of your business’s products or services is not only a waste of their time but yours as well.
  • Device Targeting.  Different devices will need different ads—an ad meant for a computer browser may not appear the same way on a smartphone browser. To optimise your PPC campaign, it is important to note and adjust your PPC ad appropriately depending on the device.
  • Disapproved Ads.  A PPC audit will notify you if any of one your PPC ads have been disapproved and will also inform why the ad was disapproved. Settling these cases is useful for any business to learn what improvements can be made for future PPC ads.
  • Tighten the Language.  A seemingly obvious but nevertheless important item on any checklist, double and triple-check the spelling and grammar of your PPC ad. Nothing more radiates a sense of unprofessionalism than sloppy grammar, an easy-to-fix typo, or funky word choice.

After a PPC Audit

When you receive the results of a PPC audit, the most important thing is to use the suggested improvements. Implementing the necessary changes will help your business improve, whether it’s more net gain and profit in a shorter amount of time or managing the improvements that the audit recommends. Whether you’re paying money for others to run your audit or doing it yourself, not incorporating the PPC audit’s results is the same as letting your money and time go to waste.

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Topics: SEO Services, PPC Management