How to Do a PPC Audit in 10 Steps

How to Do a PPC Audit in 10 Steps


A poorly performing advert marketing campaign is like pouring cash down the drain. 

To investigate and optimize your pay-per-click (PPC) technique, observe our 10-step PPC audit guidelines. 

However let’s go over some background first.

What Is a PPC Audit?

A PPC audit is an in-depth evaluation of your PPC campaigns. 

It reveals you the place you’re performing properly—and the place you could be missing. 

Briefly, PPC audits goal to:

  • Optimize campaigns
  • Get monetary savings
  • Uncover new alternatives
  • Maximize return on funding (ROI)
  • Right errors
  • Improve conversions
  • Produce helpful insights

Be aware: There are a number of kinds of PPC adverts. However we’ll be specializing in Google Search adverts.

How Do I Run a PPC Audit?

You run a PPC audit by compiling and assessing your paid advert marketing campaign information. 

This may be accomplished manually, with the assistance of PPC tools (like Promoting Analysis, proven beneath), or a mixture of the 2.

a graph showing paid search trends in Advertising Research tool

Tip: You shouldn’t absolutely automate this course of by way of PPC audit software program. Instruments may help, however guide evaluation gives you a extra helpful audit. 

A great PPC audit analyzes marketing campaign settings, prices, advert teams, and advert efficiency to determine areas of success. And areas that want enchancment. 

However a nice PPC audit takes it a step additional by what opponents are doing. And making changes primarily based in your goal market. 

The ten-Step PPC Audit Guidelines

Auditing your PPC campaigns could really feel overwhelming. However the worth is definitely worth the effort. 

To make the method extra manageable, observe this 10-step PPC audit information.

Tip: Evaluation your conversion targets earlier than doing a PPC audit. Having a transparent sense of what you’re attempting to perform (signups, gross sales, leads, and so on.) will sharpen your evaluation.

1. Set up the Knowledge 

Begin your audit by downloading and organizing your paid marketing campaign information into spreadsheets. 

You need to use these spreadsheets to simply assess your campaigns. And create a PPC audit report back to share with your entire advertising and marketing crew.

Right here’s how:

  1. Obtain your Google Ads information as an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet
download your Google Ads data
  1. Title the spreadsheet for the present season and yr (e.g., PPC Audit Summer season 2023)
  1. Analyze every marketing campaign one after the other. Spotlight downside areas (like low impressions). And success areas (like excessive conversions).
  1. Search for developments amongst campaigns which are doing properly. And amongst people who aren’t. 

Having these sheets will provide help to visualize your campaigns at a excessive degree, consider your progress, and inform any actions you are taking to enhance your PPC efforts. 

2. Test Your Settings

Log into your Google Advertisements account and Google Analytics account and examine the settings. To ensure you’re avoiding useless errors. 

Whereas reviewing your settings, ask the next questions:

  • Are your conversions being correctly tracked? You may check your tracking statuses in your Google Advertisements account. 
  • Are your naming conventions constant, particular, and descriptive?
an example of naming different campaigns
  • Are advert teams appropriately organized into classes and subcategories
  • Is your Google Analytics account linked to your Google Advertisements account? Test this in your Google Advertisements account below “Instruments and settings” > “Setup” > “Linked accounts” > “Google Analytics (GA4) and Firebase” > “Handle & hyperlink.” Discover your Analytics property and ensure the standing is listed as “Linked.”
make sure your Google Analytics account is linked to your Google Ads account

3. Evaluation Advert Content material

Now, it’s time to try your adverts’ content material. As a result of an advert will succeed (or fail) primarily based on how the distinctive promoting proposition (USP) is conveyed. 

You in all probability decided your USP within the preliminary phases of planning your PPC campaign

However you’ve modified since then. As have your opponents. And your viewers. 

So it’s time to re-examine your USP and optimize the way you advertise by way of advert copy. 

See How Your USP Stands As much as Your Opponents’ USPs

Check out what opponents are together with of their adverts so you may guarantee your USP is really distinctive. 

Right here’s how:

Discover Your PPC Opponents

You first have to determine who you’re competing towards along with your PPC adverts.

Go to the Advertising Research device. Enter your area and click on “Search.”

search for "" in Advertising Research tool

Navigate to the “Opponents” tab. 

“Competitors” tab in Advertising Research tool

You’ll see an inventory of paid opponents sorted by those that current essentially the most competitors. 

“Paid Competitors” tab in Advertising Research tool

Right here, you may see who’s bidding on the identical key phrases as you, what number of paid key phrases they’ve, how a lot paid site visitors they create in, and what their estimated Google Advertisements price range is. 

Determine your prime opponents and open their web sites in a separate tab by clicking on the arrow icon. To get a way of their messaging.

Analyze Your Opponents’ Advert Copy

The following step is reviewing the copy your opponents are utilizing of their adverts. To see what works for them and achieve inspiration on your personal campaigns.

Transfer over to the “Advertisements Copies” tab within the Promoting Analysis device. Enter a competitor’s area within the search bar on the prime and click on “Search.”

an example of searching for "" in the “Ads Copies” tab in the Advertising Research tool

On this report, you may view the headlines, URLs, and descriptions your competitor has used of their adverts. 

“Ads Copies” report in the Advertising Research tool for ""

Analyze what your opponents are doing. 

What are their USPs? Calls to motion? Promos and offers? 

Pay shut consideration to which key phrases set off which advert copy. To do that, click on the place it says “Key phrases” below a particular advert. 

an example of checking which which keywords trigger one of the ad copies for

Use this info to gauge how your opponents are selling options to customers’ issues by way of their advert copy. Then, discover methods to enhance on what they’re doing. 

Evaluation Your Advert Copy for Accuracy

Reviewing your individual advert copy for accuracy may appear apparent, but it surely’s a step that may simply be ignored. 

As a part of your PPC audit, search for advert content material errors like:

  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Misspelled show URLs or URLs that don’t match the touchdown web page
  • Outdated promotions 
  • Expired pricing

Discover Optimization Alternatives

Bettering advert content material will take time, however you may uncover concepts for strengthening your headlines, URLs, and descriptions in your audit. 

Optimized advert content material will embrace:

  • A USP that stands out from the competitors
  • A name to motion
  • Related key phrases
  • Content material that matches key phrase intent (the rationale behind a searcher’s question)
  • A show URL that signifies the contents of the touchdown web page
  • An correct and attention-grabbing headline

Tip: You may determine broad areas that want enchancment by way of a PPC audit. However copy optimization needs to be an ongoing course of.

Guarantee You’re Utilizing Advert Property

Advert property (previously often known as advert extensions) are extra hyperlinks that present much more info. They usually present straightforward methods to extend engagement in your adverts. 

Right here’s an instance of what they appear to be:

an example of two ad assets for Capital One Shopping sponsored ad on Google

Google will routinely decide which property to show to enhance an advert’s efficiency. However not all property are routinely generated. 

Be sure you’ve set up every relevant ad asset. So Google can select the most effective choices for every advert. 

Lastly, double-check all of your property for accuracy.

4. Test Your High quality Rating

A better Google Advertisements High quality Rating (how Google charges your advert’s high quality in comparison with different advertisers’ adverts) means decrease advert price and higher advert placement. 

High quality Scores vary from 1 to 10. And in keeping with Google:

A better High quality Rating implies that your advert and touchdown web page are extra related and helpful to somebody looking for your key phrase, in comparison with different advertisers.

Every key phrase’s High quality Rating is predicated on the next components:

  • Anticipated click-through charge (CTR)
  • Advert relevance 
  • Touchdown web page relevance
an infographic by Senrush showing how keyword’s quality score is calculated

Test your High quality Rating by going to your Google Advertisements account and clicking on the “Campaigns” icon.

Then click on on the “Search key phrases” part. 

you can check your quality score in Google Ads the “Campaigns” section

Click on “Search key phrases.”

Then, click on on the columns icon (three bars). Within the higher proper nook of the desk. 

where to find the columns icon

Underneath “Modify columns for key phrases,” click on “High quality Rating.”

“Quality Score” section under “Modify columns for keywords”

Right here you’ll see your High quality Rating. Alter your desk settings to view totally different elements of your High quality Rating.

In case your High quality Rating is a 7 or decrease, there’s room to enhance. To extend your High quality Rating:

  • Optimize advert relevance by matching your advert’s message to the intent behind its key phrases
  • Optimize touchdown web page relevance by ensuring it delivers every little thing the advert guarantees
  • Set up your key phrases into tighter advert teams

5. Analyze Your Key phrase Focusing on

Analyzing your key phrase focusing on ensures you aren’t losing price range. 

Right here’s learn how to do it:

Optimize Your Advert Teams

Evaluation your advert teams to find out whether or not you could add, delete, or reorganize key phrases. 

Begin by trying on the PPC audit spreadsheet you created to determine weak spots (like low impressions or conversions). This may increasingly reveal which advert teams want enchancment. 

Enhance your advert teams with the next steps:

  • Ensure your teams are tightly themed. Every advert group needs to be made up of key phrases with the identical goal. For instance, a key phrase geared toward promoting (“order pizza on-line”) shouldn’t be in the identical advert group as a key phrase geared toward informing (“finest cheese for pizza”).
  • Guarantee advert teams don’t have greater than 20 key phrases (goal for 5 to 10 key phrases per group)
  • Delete key phrases with low search volumes (~100 month-to-month search quantity or decrease), so your advert teams aren’t diluted with key phrases that sufficient folks aren’t looking for
  • Take away key phrases with low impressions or transfer them to a special group, as this means your advert doesn’t match that key phrase’s intent
  • Pause seasonal key phrases, like back-to-school or vacation key phrases, in the event that they aren’t related to the present season
  • Test that your key phrase match varieties align along with your PPC targets and price range

Additional studying: Study how to use Semrush’s keyword research tools to optimize your key phrase focusing on.

Uncover New Advert Group Concepts

Discovering new advert group concepts may help you attain much more audiences.

To search out new concepts for organizing key phrases into advert teams, go to Keyword Manager and click on “Create checklist.

"Create list" button highlighted in Keyword Manager tool

Enter one to 5 seed key phrases (broad search phrases associated to your corporation) that you simply need to develop or reconfigure your advert teams round. 

Then, enter your area for extra correct key phrase clustering and click on “Create checklist.”

an example of entering keywords "pizza delivery," "pizza deals" and "cheapest pizza delivery" into Keyword Manager

Subsequent, click on the “Thoughts Map” tab. You may see this instance has 763 key phrases. 

an example of a “Mind Map” tab in Keyword Manager for a given search

Test the “Clusters” report back to see every key phrase cluster’s breakdown by intent, Key phrase Issue (a measure of how arduous it’s to rank within the prime 10 natural outcomes for that time period), and month-to-month search quantity. 

The device even reveals which clusters have the very best rating potential.

“Clusters” report in Keyword Manager tool

Use this report back to determine new advert group alternatives. Or methods to optimize your present teams. 

Refine Your Detrimental Key phrases

Detrimental key phrases are phrases you may add to your campaigns to maintain adverts from showing when customers seek for them. 

It’s a good suggestion to leverage damaging key phrases to forestall wasted price range and irrelevant site visitors. 

In your Google Advertisements search phrases report, you’ll see metrics on which search phrases are triggering your adverts. And the way your adverts are performing for these searches. 

To see this report, go to “Campaigns” > “Insights and stories” > “Search phrases.”

how to navigate to Google Ads search terms report shown in the left-side menu

If you happen to discover a search time period triggering an advert with poor engagement charges, your advert isn’t delivering what the person is in search of when utilizing that time period. 

Use these search phrases as jumping-off factors for increasing your damaging key phrases lists. 

6. Analyze Opponents’ Key phrase Focusing on

Evaluating your opponents’ key phrase methods may help you achieve a aggressive edge. 

Right here’s how one can incorporate aggressive key phrase analysis into your PPC audit:

Test Your Opponents’ Previous and Present Advert Positions

Evaluating the adverts your opponents have run up to now will reveal which key phrases they’re focusing on. Which may help you determine gaps or achieve inspiration on your personal advert teams. 

Begin by selecting one competitor to evaluate. 

Go to Advertising Research, enter their area, click on “Search,” and navigate to the “Advertisements Historical past” tab. 

where to find “Ads History” tab in Advertising Research tool

You need to use the “Superior filters” menu to exclude key phrases that embrace that competitor’s model identify.

“Advanced filters” menu shown in Advertising Research tool

This may generate a report of the key phrases your competitor is bidding on and what adverts they’ve run over the previous yr. 

You may as well export the report as a spreadsheet. 

Subsequent, navigate to the “Place Modifications” tab.

“Position Changes” report in Advertising Research

This report reveals you new, misplaced, improved, and declined positions for key phrases your competitor is bidding on. 

Discover Key phrase Gaps

Figuring out key phrase alternatives you’re overlooking may give you concepts for reaching extra audiences.

And you’ll find alternatives with the Keyword Gap device. 

Enter as much as 4 of your opponents’ root domains together with your individual. Then, click on “Evaluate.”

enter your own and competitors’ domains to Keyword Gap tool

Change the key phrase kind from “Natural key phrases” to “Paid key phrases.”

Then, scroll all the way down to the desk. Change to the “Lacking” tab to view key phrases you don’t rank for however all your opponents do.

“Missing” tab in Keyword Gap tool lists keywords you don’t rank for but all of your competitors do

This could reveal related key phrases you could need to begin bidding on on your personal campaigns.

7. Assess Your CTR & Conversion Charges

Assessing your click-through charge (CTR) and conversion charge reveals methods to enhance advert efficiency.

Too low of a CTR can result in a poor High quality Rating. However too excessive of a CTR mixed with a low conversion charge can imply cash wasted on low-quality site visitors. 

You may examine your CTR in your Google Advertisements account dashboard. 

a column showing CTR highlighted in Google Ads account dashboard

In case your CTR is low, listed below are some methods to enhance it:

  • Ensure adverts are displaying throughout prime conversion occasions
  • Change your CPC bid technique
  • Check totally different advert copy
  • Refine your viewers focusing on
  • Tighten your advert teams. Ensure they every have a unified theme. And that the adverts match each key phrase’s intent. 
  • Optimize your advert property by offering related, up-to-date details about your corporation. And ensure you’ve arrange all relevant guide advert property. 

Tip: There’s no consensus on what CTR is, and the benchmarks range by trade. Analysis your trade and analyze your most profitable adverts’ CTRs to outline a objective charge.

Subsequent, you may examine your conversion charges. 

In case your CTR and conversion charges are each low, focus first on bettering your CTR. 

In case your CTR is nice however your conversion charge isn’t, it’s in all probability because of considered one of two issues:

  • Your touchdown web page isn’t optimized to transform
  • Your touchdown web page isn’t delivering what your advert promised customers

Check out your touchdown web page to find out what you are able to do to enhance efficiency. 

8. Evaluation Location Focusing on

Reviewing and optimizing your location focusing on can get rid of wasted spend. 

You could be losing cash delivering adverts to areas which you can’t serve. Or losing potential revenue not delivering adverts to helpful areas. 

Focus your efforts on three areas:

  • Decide the place your adverts carry out the most effective. In Google Advertisements, you may examine your location efficiency by going to “Campaigns” > “Insights & stories” > “When & the place adverts confirmed.”
navigation to “When & where ads showed” shown in Google Ads left-side menu
  • Be sure you’re focusing on areas the place you have got a retailer/department and areas the place you may ship (if related)
  • Exclude areas the place you may’t promote or the place the demographic doesn’t match your target market 

9. Evaluation and Alter Your Bids

Reviewing your bidding technique and present efficiency may help you perceive learn how to alter your bids to maximise ROI. 

Automated bidding is usually a good suggestion for these simply beginning out. However you might be able to see higher efficiency in a while should you change to guide bidding. 

If you wish to manually alter your bids, consider at the least three months’ value of your PPC marketing campaign information. 

Assess totally different bid components (e.g., how properly cellular adverts are performing for a particular marketing campaign or advert group) to determine the place you could enhance or lower your bids.

In Google Advertisements, you may alter your bids primarily based on:

  • Gadget
  • Location
  • Schedule
  • Name interactions
  • Demographics (age, gender, and family earnings)

If in case you have a Google Advertisements superior account, you can even make bid changes for:

  • Focusing on strategies (i.e., Search Community vs. Show Community)
  • Remarketing lists

10. Discover Wasted Spend

The final word objective of a PPC audit is to save cash—each by maximizing returns and eliminating wasted spend. 

Massive fixes that come out of your audit will clearly lower your expenses. However you can even determine small modifications to make immediately for fast financial savings. 

So, ensure you’ve accounted for the next finest practices: 

  • Advertisements are scheduled to show throughout prime conversion occasions
  • Cellular adverts are optimized to show on cellular
  • Language focusing on matches your buyer base
  • Your private home and workplace IPs are excluded
  • Supply technique is ready to straightforward (not accelerated)

Different actions you may take to avoid wasting extra cash in your PPC campaigns embrace:

  • Focusing on a smaller geographic space to succeed in your most related clients
  • Reducing your bids on adverts that get a number of clicks
  • Altering your key phrase match kind to broad match
  • Optimizing damaging key phrases so that you aren’t blocking related site visitors or bringing in irrelevant site visitors
  • Altering your advert rotation setting to “Optimize” so adverts which are anticipated to carry out properly are prioritized 

Run Frequent PPC Audits & Optimize Your Advertisements

It’s a good suggestion to run paid search audits at the least each six months. Or each time you begin managing a brand new account. 

And know that adverts can all the time be additional optimized. Particularly should you’re leveraging instruments like Promoting Analysis.


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