How to Conduct a PPC Audit for Maximum Google Ads ROI

It’s quite astounding to see the substantial investments companies are making in advertisements globally. Take search ads, for example. In 2022, businesses spent a whopping USD$ 260 billion on them, according to Statista estimates. This upward trend is predicted to persist, with total revenues potentially hitting USD$ 435 billion by 2027.

Among the various types of paid search advertising, Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) ad holds a premier position, and deservedly so. Google commands over 80% of the global search market and estimates that companies generate eightfold returns on their investments in Google Search and Ads – a remarkable return on investment (ROI) rate. To leverage such opportunities, it’s worth considering partnering with a proficient Google Ads service.

These PPC ads are cost-effective, measurable, targeted, and highly customisable. They offer fast results if done right. But how do advertisers know if their campaigns are generating the desired results? How else but through PPC audits?

In thisarticle, we’ll delve intothe basics of PPCtracking, briefly discuss how PPCworks, and learn how to conduct an ROI-driven PPC audit.

How does PPC work on Google Ads?

Google Ads allow businesses to advertise their products and services on Google Display Network, which includes popular sites and platforms such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Search and Maps. With a highly customisable and flexible ad solution, business owners like you can tailor your ads based on your goals, budget, and target audience.

Pay-per-click is one of Google Ads’ segments that charge advertiserscertain fees every time a user clicks on their ad. Clickable ad texts, images, and videos lead to a landing page, the company website or an application. As such, it’s a more targeted means of attracting prospects to an advertiser’s site.

PPC Campaign Types

Advertisers can choose different PPC campaign types to align with their marketing objectives and target audience:

  1. Search ads marketing is the most common and covers text-based ads that appear on top of the search engine results page (SERP), above the organic search results. The ad shown will depend on the users’ keywords.
  2. Display ads describe banner, image or text-based advertising that links to your website or landing page. These ads are shown on various Google platforms, also called Google Display Network, and external sites.
  3. Social media ads have become one of the leading PPC channels,boasting of around 5 billion global users from all backgrounds and statuses.
  4. Retargeting PPC advertising uses cookies to show ads based on previous online usage or engagement, such as visiting your site or filling in contact details.
  5. Price comparison advertising happens when companies pay for exposure on aggregator sites that compare product or service prices.
  6. Google shopping lets advertisers place text descriptions and images of the products they’re selling. These ads pop up when a user searches for something and clicks on the shopping tab below the search bar.

Research has indicatedthat 65% prefer Google over other search engines. Of the total surveyed, 75% click on paid search ads because they can find information easily.

What is a PPC Audit?

A PPC audit is a process that evaluates certain PPC ad campaign components that impact its overall performance. It’s a process to determine the specific elements of your current PPC marketing push that drive success or lead to unnecessary spending.

Tracking paid ad performance provides valuable insights into strategies that work, those that need to be scrapped, and those worth exploring. Similarly, frequent changes to features, policies and other user term updates make PPC audit a must.

In other words, a PPC campaign audit lets your business determine areas for improvement and proposes steps to address them. The audit process seeks to get the most from your ad spending, leading to a more effective PPC campaign.

How to Audit PPC for Maximum ROI

An optimised campaign generates the biggest impact with the least possible costs, making regular PPC audits imperative to businesses. Frequent PPC performance evaluations provide valuable insights into your efforts and let you easily identify wasted ad spending and determine revenue opportunities.

To ensure a comprehensive PPC auditing process, draw your attention to these essential elements:

  1. Study your PPC Campaign and Revisit your Goals

Every Google Ads account contains information and settings about PPC and other campaigns, which lets businesses set ad groups and keywords.

The PPC campaign should accurately describe the most important elements of your advertising push, including:

  • Ad type: Is the campaign focused on paid searches, social media or display advertising?
  • Platforms: Are you running PPC on one, a few or several Google platforms?
  • Theme: Is your campaign labelled and tagged correctly (i.e., branded or generic, etc.)?
  • Labels: Are you using the right tags for maximum ad visibility?
  • Keywords: Are you using targeted and relevant keywords that drive traffic and conversion?

Your ad should be crafted based on your specific goals, the theme, the PPC ad type and the channel(s) in which they appear. Precise labellingsupports the proper grouping of ads and keywords, and enables better targeting and organisation. This iscustomisable and can be changed at any time.

Your advertising objectives will dictate which PPC campaign performance indicators to prioritise and include. For instance, if you want to measure your ad’s efficacy in promoting conversions, use Google’sSmart bidding. For video ads, a cost-per-view (CPV) bidding is recommended, wherein an advertiser pays when a user views the advertisement in its entirety or for 30 seconds.

  1. Know the Metrics that Matter

As mentioned, setting your goals clearly can help you decide which metrics to look at in every PPC audit report. Doing so lets you determine successful and less-impactful campaigns to implement changes for better results. Here are the metrics:

  • Return on investment (ROI) indicates your ad earnings versus your spending. Deduct overall costs from revenues, then divide by overall costs.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS) measures total revenue per advertising dollar paid.
  • Clicksare the number of clicks your ad receives. A high number indicates a compelling ad, though an audit will show that there’s always room for improvement.
  • Conversions represent the number of users who completed the desired action, including newsletter subscription, form submission, business calls and asking for store directions
  • Cost per click or view shows how much your business pays for every ad click or view.
  • Cost per conversionindicates how much you’re charged for every conversion.
  • Cost per impression conveys the number of times your ad was shown on Google platforms at any specified period, while the CPI shows the amountyou’re paying for every 1,000 impressions.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rates, when measured side by side, can help you determine ad performance better. For instance, if your CTR is high, but your conversion rate is low, you’d need to improve your content, landing pages and website to persuade users more effectively.
  • Cost per acquisitionmeasures the average cost of obtaining a paying customer.
  • Quality scoredetermines adplacements and is influenced by ad relevance, CTR and landing page experience.

A high CTR impacts your Google Ads quality score and,therefore,contributes to PPC campaign success. Additionally, it affects the ad costs discussed above, with higher scores indicating lower fees and more revenues.

  1. Make a Generalised and Specific PPCAudit Checklist

While Google Ads campaigns are automated, businesses must review their strategies to identify weaknesses and correct them immediately to improve performance.

Below are some general PPC audit processes to include in your template. Specific activities will be discussed in the succeeding sections.

  • Check your campaign overview statistics.
  • Ensure that your ads are optimised for desktop and mobile viewing.
  • Embed images and videos on your display ads.
  • Check whether all your ads approved by Google.
  • Confirm that your ads are updated according to the rules.
  • There should be no broken links in your ads.
  • Make your ad copy compelling, engaging and free from errors.
  • Ensure that your landing page is as persuasive as your ads.
  • Check whether your site is appealing and fast-loading.
  • Review and update all your business, product and service details.

These PPC audits should be regular, but considering the multiple components you must revisit, creating a checklist or template helps save time and ensures you don’t miss critical elements.

  1. Identify and OptimiseTop-Performing Keywords

Use your regular PPC audits to review keyword performance and pinpoint which are the most effective in driving conversions, high click-through rates, impressions and engagements.

Additionally, look at the following points to get the most out of your PPC keyword performance reviews:

  • Review and update your negative keywords list.
  • Check your keyword match types.
  • Track your keyword quality score (aim for seven or higher).
  • Ensure your top-performing keywords are used strategically in the ad copy, descriptions, display URL and others.
  • Consider using longtail keywords for a more targeted campaign.

Negative keywords and varied match types help algorithms show your ads to related sites, helping you avoid wasted ad spending. Meanwhile, longtail keywords help target your audience better, attracting high-quality leads and increasing the chances of conversion.

Besides leveraging high-performing keywords and removing low-quality ones, it pays to research and add new keywords that could improve relevance to optimise PPC spending further.

  1. AnalyseAd Groups

Your PPC ads must contain relevant keywords grouped accurately to maintain relevance. That’s because the keyword list on each ad group teaches algorithms in which related sites the ad must be shown.

Look at the following aspects to help you nail your ad groups correctly:

  • Use 10 keywords or fewer in each of your ad groups.
  • Pick relevant ad groups that complement rather than compete with each other.
  • Create a negative keyword list for every ad group.
  • Determine whether your ad groups target the right keywords, audiences, demographics, topics, interests and others.

When making ad groups, though, quantity matters for maximum exposure. But don’t overdo it nor forget about quality. Put a premium on your target users’search intent, Google Ads quality scores and landing pages. Users typically scan through ads and content. If they don’t think you can address their issues, they’re more likely to move on to your competitors.

  1. Calibrate Targeting Settings to Reach the Right Audience

Inspecting targeting settings and adjusting them following PPC audits help businesses get the most value from their PPC spending. Paid search reviews help advertisers focus on strategies that generate results.

Check the configurations of the following elements that help improve campaign performance:

  • Location: Local audiences are moreready to purchasefrom nearby stores, making them high-quality leads. Validate this finding by downloading a Google geo report to know your audiences’ location.
  • Ad rotation and scheduling: Making your ad visible to the right audience at the right time is fundamental for success. Your ad campaign is useless if it isn’t scheduled when most of your audience is online. Check your analytics data to learn the best times, or choose your peak operating hours.
  • Audience: Effective marketing strategies requireaudience segmentationso that you can refine your pitches based on their preferences and lifestyle. Your market can be segregated based on age, gender, location and other demographic data.
  • Ad extensions: You can optimise ad visibility without paying additional charges through ad extensions. These settings work on auser’sbrowser and provide advertisers multiple options, depending on their goals.

  • Device: Ensure your ads are optimised for mobile viewing, especiallyif embedded with images and videos. Statista projects that USD$ 260.20 billionof total ad spending in the Search Advertising segment will be generated through mobile by 2027, while only USD$ 175 billion from desktop searches.
  • Language: Your language settings impact your location, operating hours and currency. Check this configuration to boost your location settings and increase store calls, visits and purchases.
  • Networks: Google automatically shows ads on itssearch partners’ sites. Unclick this box to stick to the Google Display Network if you want a more targeted campaign. Having the correct settings allows you to market to the right location and audience, helping you measure the accurate performance indicators. In contrast, even the slightest mistake could muddle your ad performance, so it’s necessary to revisit and adjust them frequently.
  1. Evaluate and Improve Ad Copy and Landing Pages

Your ad copy and landing page(s) significantly impact click-through rates and conversions. An ad copy includes the headline, URL and a short description. It contains only a few words but must be persuasive enough to compel users to check out your offer.

Apart from being error-free, your ad copy must contain a highly convincing call to action alongside an irresistible proposition. Integrate photos and videos that make buyers more responsive, and make sure it follows Google Ad’s content and technical policies.

Why landing pages are crucial 

Even if it’s an external copy, a landing page plays a significant role in your advertising performance. It’s where users are often redirected when they click the ad, and tracking how they respond is important.

The following elements shouldn’t be missed when conducting a PPC audit for a landing page:

  • Create strong headlines and compelling calls-to-action (CTA) for each of your landing pages.
  • Use relevant keywords in the headline, URL and product description.
  • Have a custom and distinct PPC landing page.
  • Craft multiple landing pages for users in the different funnel stages.
  • Always conduct A/B testing for your ad copy and landing pages.
  • Ensure your landing pages are mobile-friendly.

Note that Google quality scores are influenced by landing page quality. These even include a separate tab for landing page quality reports. A high-converting landing page pulls your quality scores, facilitating increased ad visibility and improved placements.

  1. Focus on Improving Relevance and Ad Quality Scores

Like search engine algorithms, the machine that runs Google Ads will consider multiple factors when deciding on ad placements, the most influential being the number of bids and the ad quality score. High-quality scores will earn you a higher rank in the paid ads search results.

Focus on these primary components if you want better visibility and higher chances of conversions:

  • Expected click-through rate:It’s a prediction of how clickable your ad will be.
  • Ad relevance: Your ad must match a user’s search intent.
  • Landing page experience:Users who click on your ad must find your landing page valuable and relevant.

Google Ads will publish each of these components’ status, including their sub-elements like ad text, content and keyword selection. Use the report to identify areas that need improvement. More importantly, always strive to improve user experience by creating a relevant ad that speaks and appeals to your audience. Doing so can get you more clicks, which lowers your cost per click (CPC) fees and increases revenues.

Besides optimising ad copy and landing pages, organise your keywords into highly-related groups and pinpoint negative keywords to keep unwanted leads and traffic away.

  1. Create a PPC Audit Report and Action Plan

Your PPC audit report is the basis for your action plan and justifies the activities that enhance performance. Creating a template is vital in sharing your findings with executives and other staff, especially those involved in addressing the issues. Depending on your preference and needs, you can either prioritise or cover all areas in your template or report.

Revisit and Improve your Bid Strategy

Apart from improving ad relevance, keywords and settings and enhancing essential components such as ad copy and landing pages, a post-PPC audit requires advertisers to re-think their bidding strategies.

Identify bidding adjustments that don’t support your goals and invest more in PPC campaigns that drive more conversions, clicks and views. For instance, ifyou’ve noticed higher interactions via mobile devices, check your ad and targeting settings to ensure they’reoptimised for smartphone users.

Wrapping up

Google Ads’ pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can be used tofulfil different marketing goals. However, constantly reviewing and revising these components optimiseyour campaigns, boosting visibility, ad performance and revenue opportunities.

As such, a regular PPC campaign audit must be scheduled to know where your efforts stand and what you can do to up your advertising game. With a PPC audit report and recommendation, you’ll know when and how to tweak the target settings, improve the landing pages and ad copy and determine the best keyword variations to optimise the ads.

Moreover, tracking PPC performance helps you identify and cut spending losses, pinpoint strengths and areas for improvement and gain valuable audience insights that boost your overall marketing strategies. Ultimately, frequent audits help businesses formulate effective advertising strategies that drive traffic and conversions, minimise ad spending and increase ROI.

The discussion and checklist above should provide useful tips on getting the most from your PPC audit. If you still need help with Google Ads and PPC audits, drop us a line, and we’ll gladly assist.