Digital mess – we’re all guilty of it. It’s easy to move a bunch of files and folders into another folder labelled ‘Sort Later’ or ‘Stuff’. While we may know our way around our mess, when someone else comes to use our computer it may be confusing where everything is.
This is also true when it comes to Google Ads accounts.
Back in the early days of SocialB, we developed a simple audit process to help make clearing this mess up simple and easy. Over time, we have adapted this process to fit the latest Google Ads developments. Today, we use a 6-step approach to auditing any new Google Ads accounts
So, let’s take a look at it:
Step 1: Goals
Goal tracking or conversion tracking is one of the most important elements of digital marketing (read why). Any accounts that don’t already have conversion tracking in place will need it adding on Google analytics, and imported into Google Ads.
So our first, and the most important step is to check that the goals are properly set up and have values assigned to them (assuming we have this information) both in Analytics and AdWords.
Step 2: Account Structure
Depending on the type of business – your Google Ads account structure should normally reflect the website’s structure. For example, if a company sells products online, each campaign should represent a product category, with each ad group focusing on promoting a product type. If, however, a company is service-based, then each campaign may represent an area (such as London, UK), while each ad group will focus on promoting each service in that area.
This step is highly dependent on the way the business is set up, both online and off. As long as the account makes sense, and isn’t just lumped into 1 campaign or ad group, then this step generally doesn’t take long.
Step 3: Targeting
Now that the structure of the account has been assessed, we look at targeting your ads to the right audience. Google Ads allows you different types of targeting like time of day, location, demographics, device and audience targeting. Depending on your business, certain hours of the day, cities, age groups and gender might be more profitable to your business, use bid modifiers to bid higher for these parameters.
You can also use Google Analytics to segment your data and create audiences which are worth targeting in Google Ads. Example visitors to the shop or product page, cart abandoners, etc. These audiences can then be imported into Google Ads and can be used in targeted remarketing campaigns.
Step 4: Keywords and Bids
Once the account is logically structured and each ad group has a clear focus within its campaign, the next thing to focus on is the keywords. Each ad group should generally contain about 15-20 relevant keywords. If goals had been set up properly prior to taking over the account then they will prove useful in determining the value of each keyword. If any keywords show a high cost with minimal to no conversions, we will make a strategic decision on whether to pause these keywords or adjust the user journey of people searching on these terms.
Negative keywords and search terms are also useful to look at in order to gauge where the account is and what work has been done up until then, while quality score and average position will give a good indication as to the quality of the advert, landing page and budgets.
Analyse bidding strategies to make sure you are using the right bids to optimise your keyword performance. Make changes as required to achieve the best results in available budget.
Step 5: Adverts
When we’re done looking through the ad group’s keywords, we check the adverts. CTR, session duration, pages/session, bounce rate and (especially) conversions are all good indicators as to an advert’s performance. During this step, check that the advert’s copy is relevant to the landing page and contains the keyword(s) the advert was designed to rank for. Each ad group should contain at least 4 adverts (depending on the estimated search volume of the ad group). Also, make sure you use the Responsive Search Ads option to help Google optimise your ad performance.
Step 6: Advert Extensions
Ad extensions are one of those things so many users are unaware of that can make a huge impact on click-through rate, conversions, and even ad ranking. If an account does use extensions, during this step we check all of these extensions’ accuracy and look at what the ad group could also be using (e.g. callout extensions). As a best practice, aim to have at least 3 callout and site link extensions for each ad group and also opt for a price, call, location and structured snippet extensions at account level if applicable to your business.