If you are managing your own AdWords account or a client’s account, you want to make sure you are getting the absolute best results you possibly can.
AdWords isn’t free and if you are not routinely fine-tuning and optimising your account, then money is probably going down the drain.
Google makes it seem like AdWords is easy to set up and manage however it is a science and art with lots of moving parts to work on.
So you are probably wondering if your account is performing at its optimum level.
Focusing on Google’s data to show them how their account is doing is a huge mistake. Google “hides” data from your default dashboard. It is easy to think your account is doing well if you are just looking at the basic information.
You need to roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work to evaluate how well you are actually managing your AdWords account. For this, you are going to do a very simple Google AdWords account audit.
Quick & Easy Google AdWords Account Audit
Here is a super quick and easy to follow Google AdWords account audit checklist. It will help you see where you are succeeding and what needs some work.
As you probably have heard or know, you need to continually work on your AdWords campaigns, monitoring, adjusting and fine-tuning…if you are meticulous in doing so, you will succeed.
You don’t need to be an expert to win…you just need to make regular and frequent improvements to achieve profitable results.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with our audit and see where we can improve our account management.
1. Campaign budgets – are they accurate and realistic?
Look at the ad campaign status. Do any of them say they are limited by budget? Or are they not achieving the max budget spend?
If you see any of these problems, you need to have another think about how you are managing your budgets. It is important that you match how much you are willing to spend on your keywords with what the market is allowing. Oh, and make sure you are focusing the budget on achieving conversions and not clicks.
2. Campaign Settings – make sure you are not using Google’s default campaign settings.
Don’t follow these settings blindly…Google makes a ton of money and if you trust Google to do your work for you, then your campaigns will be severely under optimised and Google will be smiling.
3. Ad extensions – are you using them and are they receiving impressions?
Why wouldn’t you want to maximise your advertising real estate in the search results? Adding ad extensions won’t cost you any more per click than without them and they give your ad rank a boost! This is a successful strategy to show up higher in the search results and above your competitors.
4. Ads – are you testing 2 or more ads per ad group?
Testing is a fundamental part of succeeding at Google AdWords. Without testing different ads, you cannot improve your results. Also, make sure that Google is rotating your ads, otherwise it is likely Google will show your more expensive ad instead of the ad with the higher click through rate. Sneaky sneaky!
5. Quality score – are locating and improving low quality score keywords?
The lower your quality score on your keyword, the more you pay for a click and you also have the risk of the ad not even showing up when a potential client is searching for the exact term.
Look out for quality scores lower than 6 out of 10 – these are the ones that you need to prioritise and look at improving. If you want to improve your budget optimisation, then improve your quality scores.
If you do have low quality scores, check out the following:
- Make sure your ad copy matches your keyword
- Is your offer relevant to the keyword?
- Does the copy on your landing page match your ad copy?
Refine these and raise your scores.
6. Bidding – are you using individual bids for keyword, not ad group default bids?
DON’T use the ad group default bids – instead, use the individual keyword bids which allow for more flexibility and better results…adjust your max CPCs for the keywords which in effect can lower your average CPC (cost per click)
7. Negative keywords – have you got negative keywords in your account?
It is important you include negative keywords in your ad groups. They can block your ad from showing for the wrong search terms which in turn can save you money. As soon as someone clicks on your ad, you pay…so make sure you are only showing up for the keywords that give you results.
8. Search terms report – are you checking this report frequently and adding/excluding keywords to your ad groups?
If you regularly check the search terms report, you can find some new and high performing keywords as well as new negative keywords you might want to add to your campaigns.
This process is essential to fine-tuning an AdWords campaign with the end goal of having your ad groups having a solid relationship with its keywords and ads.
9. Audiences – have you defined and targeted your audiences and exclusions?
Google knows so much about our behaviour…scary I know…but we should use it to our advantage! The audience options allow you to target customers based on their lifestyle, demographics and shopping behaviour.
You can also use the remarketing options to target people who have already paid your site a visit, or who have seen only certain pages such as check out cart.
You can even upload your email list into AdWords. With AdWords Customer Match you can use these customers in your ad campaigns by either targeting them or even excluding them.
10. Mobile bidding – are you using individual keyword bids for each type of device?
In a mobile first world, having the flexibility to bid for different devices is essential. Now more than ever, people are using their mobile devices for browsing, getting directions, buying online and so much more. Depending on your business and your audience’s activities, you might need to bid higher or lower if they are searching on a mobile device vs a desktop computer.
You can make your budget more effective by targeting the devices that are best suited to your ads.
11. Opportunities – are you frequently reviewing the AdWords Opportunities section?
Google AdWords gives you tips on how you can improve your account. The suggestions can relate to your account structure, keyword opportunities, ad extensions and more.
Be careful, not all suggestions are helpful, but they can give you recommended improvements that are easy to implement with just one click.
12. Conversions – are you tracking all possible conversions and have set them to linear attribution?
Make sure you are tracking your conversions as this will show you if your campaign is achieving the objectives or not. You can either track your conversions via the Google AdWords tracking code or Google Analytics.
If there is only one rule I would tell you to follow, it would be this…optimise for conversions, not clicks. You can follow all the above checklist items, but if you are optimising for clicks, then you can forget it.
Make sure you have customised your columns so that you can easily see your conversion and cost per conversion data.
13. Change history report – are you making at least 1 change in the last 14 days?
Don’t be one of the AdWords managers that sets up a campaign and then forgets about it. Results come from being active and consistent. Even if it’s just a few small adjustments.
Make it a daily/weekly ritual. When you sit down at your computer with your morning coffee, check your AdWords account and make 1 small change. This is how you win the AdWords game.
If you don’t have the time or the skills to do this, then pay someone who does…the money will be worth it. Just make sure they know what they are doing, and you will see great results.