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Our 10 Step AdWords Account Audit Process

AdWords Account AuditAn AdWords account audit can mean different things depending on who is doing the auditing, and the size of the account to be audited. There are certainly more than ten items we will review when conducting an initial AdWords account audit. However, in the interest of clarifying our process, here is our “Top Ten” list.

1. Conversions

What is the goal of your advertising? Have you already put a conversion strategy in place?

Before we even begin the audit, we will discuss your advertising goals. The key to making your online advertising work for you, is being able to track, report, and optimize for those events or actions that you want more of! Whether that’s direct sales, leads, or phone calls to and feet in the store.

2. Search Terms

What are your customers actually searching for?

Believe it or not, but search advertising is NOT all about keywords. It’s all about the underlying search terms that your customers actually enter into the Google (or Bing) machine! We will review and make sure that the most effective search terms have been added as keywords, and that the most irrelevant terms have been excluded as negatives.

3. Networks

Are your campaigns segmented by network? Which network(s) are most profitable for you?

We will review Google search, Google search partners, and Google display networks data over the history of the account. We may recommend adding or excluding networks depending on past history and goals.

4. Ad Extensions

Call extensions, Sitelinks, and location extensions specifically.

Are you an online only business, or a local “brick and mortar” shop? Are you currently using these extensions, and if not, why? If it’s just simply a matter having someone who knows how to do the work setting it all up, we can certainly take care of that. However, just because you can use the features doesn’t mean you should. We will review your campaigns ad extensions and make recommendations based on your goals, and the nature of your business.

5. Location Targeting / Geographic Reporting

Where are the most profitable, and most costly locations?

We will review your geographic reports, and AdWords campaign location settings. There are many tools and options when it comes to AdWords location targeting and optimization, especially within the U.S.  If you have specific location targeting needs, let us know what those concerns are during the initial goal discussion, and we can come up with a plan as part of the audit process.

6. Devices

Does mobile “work” for you?

There aren’t as many device targeting options as there used to be with AdWords (Bing Ads still currently have device segmentation settings). At this point all you can do is increase or decrease bids on mobile devices (or opt-out all together). Which, makes this a pretty simple yes, or no answer, to the mobile device (smart phone) targeting question.

7. Ad Content

What ad messaging works best?

The ads themselves are the only part of your PPC accounts that a customer ever sees, or interacts with. Writing compelling effective ad copy is a process that takes time, and is always ongoing. While you should always be testing your ad creatives, we will look to establish the most effective messaging to date. We will also look for any disapproved ads in the account. If there are, we will find out why, and make suggestions as to how to fix the problem.

8. Budget Per Impressions Share

Do you have enough budget to cover 100% of the available impression share for your current campaigns?

Out of all the impressions and clicks you could possibly be getting – If you have a set budget, how much of the “top of the pyramid” revenue are you potentially leaving on the table due to lost impression share? It’s rare that even for larger accounts our first piece of advice is not to consolidate the current account. If on the other hand you are looking to expand your reach and increase your adbuy, we can fairly quickly give you an estimate of how much more budget it will take to reach 100% of the available impression share for your current campaigns.

9. Linked Accounts

Do you have a Google Analytics account linked to your AdWords account?

Google Analytics is an extremely important tool. If you do not currently have an Analytics account, you have to make that investment if you are serious about the online exposure of your business. No matter how big or how small a business you are, Google Analytics is an absolute necessity.

Linking the Google Analytics and AdWords accounts is a fairly simple process with the proper level of access to both accounts. If we have that access and find that the accounts are not linked, we’ll take care of it right away.

10. Website

Do you have a privacy policy and functioning navigation on site?

Preventing any possible future suspension issues, even if you haven’t had any in the past, is part of the auditing process.

Even if you know your disclosure statement on site meets any legal requirements, that doesn’t mean it meets Google’s policies. Here is an example of a proper privacy policy. If you don’t have one on your site yet, get one posted!

“Functional navigation” means more than just a working back button. It also means no pop-ups, and/or re-directs when a user tries to exit the site. If at any point during the AdWords account audit process we come across any potential policy issues on your site, we will definitely bring that to your attention.