How to Conduct a Google Ads Audit in 5 Efficient Steps

Gain a detailed review of how your Google Ads account is working and where changes need to be made by conducting an audit in five straightforward steps.

How to Effectively Audit a Google Ads Account

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When it comes to your Google Ads campaigns, knowing what is working and where changes need to be made is crucial.

Yet, your Google Ads account can be tricky to effectively manage, involving several parts that can slip past you if you’re not paying close attention.

Conducting a Google Ads Account audit can help.

Auditing this account can provide you with valuable information as to where to make beneficial changes, and it can also potentially guide other areas of your digital advertising strategy.

Keep reading to know more!

    What is a Google Ads Audit?

    A Google Ads audit is a specialized process of identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of your account(s).

    Essentially, it is a process for gaining a detailed review of how your account is working and where changes are needed.

    It can reveal issues you didn’t even know about and allow you to focus on ways to improve the overall performance.

    You’ll take notes, capture screenshots, and prepare an overall results report. From there, you can take action.

    What are the Goals of a Google Ads Audit?

    The broad goal of conducting a Google Ads Audit is to gain an understanding of the status of campaigns, keywords, and ad groups to locate concerns and opportunities.

    Specific goals of a Google Ads audit include the following.

    Identify wasteful spends

    In digital marketing, the potential for wasting money is always a factor.

    Things are constantly changing and evolving, and this can impact the tactics you are currently using, which often results in inefficient budgeting.

    By finding out where wasteful spending is occurring in your Google Ads account, you can identify where to cut into that ad budget and re-allocate it elsewhere.

    Find new opportunities

    In today’s digital marketplace, you constantly need to search for new opportunities to reach your targeted audiences and increase returns.

    As such, constant monitoring is essential. Excitement can surround new opportunities, so stay on the lookout for trending keywords, ad content types (e.g., interactive content), and ad format features.

    Streamline or update management processes

    To remain efficient, you need to occasionally find ways to streamline or update management processes. Your Google Ads account audit can identify areas that need improvement and introduce tools to help, such as AI.

    Validate any developing assumptions

    Exploring the data resulting from an audit can alert you to potential correlations or growing trends that may benefit your business.

    When you’re not completely sure and ready to commit resources, however, give it some time. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Let these assumptions prove themselves.

    Take notes of what you find, then in the next audit, seek to follow up on these to determine if they are worth your time or not. Is there enough information or data to now validate your assumptions?

    Gain actionable insights

    It’s beneficial to gain insights that you can take action on and improve your ads to reach more of your target audience.

    To gain these insights, utilize the metrics and data available to you within your account. Use it to look for notable trends or changes occurring over time.

    Identify the offers, features, or topics that you believe will resonate with your buyer personas.

    Why Does Your Business Need a Google Ads Audit?

    There are a number of reasons why your business needs a Google Ads audit.

    For one, it helps gain a starting point if you are new to the company or taking over a Google Ads account for whatever reason.

    Also, in daily management of your marketing and advertising efforts, you rarely drill down to take a good look at each activity or channel you are undertaking. 

    The audit allows you to focus on this one channel solely and ensure you are making the best use of it.

    Here are additional reasons why your business needs a Google Ads Audit.

    To ensure relevancy of ads

    While your ads may be successful now or in the past, that doesn’t mean they always will be. Relevancy of ads can fade quickly or over time, depending on what is going on in the world.

    With the audit, you can learn where the low performers are that can negatively affect your Google Quality Score.

    Alert you to the value of your keywords

    Analyzing the usefulness of your keywords can alert you to their value, which can diminish over time.

    Change requires you to know when to update those keywords and find new ones that target your audience more effectively, thus boosting engagement, conversions, and sales.

    Provide a way to stay in sync with your audience

    By conducting regular Google Ads audits, you can get to know and stay in sync with your target audience. You’ll find out the content that reaches and entices them the most and what doesn’t, aiding your content strategy.

    To confirm budgeting and ROI

    To make the most of advertising budgets, you need to know what you are doing is working. Without an audit, you could be wasting part of that budget on content that isn’t applicable to your target audience.

    5 Strategic Steps to Conduct a Google Ads Audit

    There are various layers to Google Ads, and each one affects the outcome of your strategy. Use the following five steps to locate areas to expand, remove, optimize, or improve.

    1. Set benchmarks to compare your performance

    Before jumping into your accounts, begin by defining and setting benchmarks to measure performance against.

    You need to establish your vision of what will resemble success before you get started.

    These benchmarks are essential to the process, showing you what you want your audit to accomplish.

    2. Optimize time and budget spends

    Review your account structure to determine better ways to optimize your time and budget spends. Look for ways to organize better and more efficiently.

    When accounts are structured insufficiently, performance can be limited. Review how you are currently managing even the smallest details, including budget, bid, and ads. 

    Include the following:

    • Analyze how your budget is being spent currently across your different campaigns.
    • Devise more ways to adjust your strategy, budget-wise, to receive higher benefits.
    • Look for choke points, such as a landing page that is poorly optimized.
    • Identify the lowest performers, how much you are spending on these, and decide whether to remove them or not.

    Make note of all your optimization efforts to review on your next audit.

    3. Define keywords

    When it comes to keyword usage in your Google Ads, you need a strategy for reviewing their performance.

    List out what keywords you are currently using in your ads. Conduct separate keyword research and use both to define the optimal keywords you need to be using in your Google Ads account. 

    Here are some tips.

    • Focus on user-intent keywords, that is, keywords audiences are entering in search queries.

    • Add branded keywords (keywords that mention your particular brand) to at least one ad campaign.

    • Identify low-quality keywords by reviewing the performance of each one across your ad campaigns.

    • Compile a negative keywords list. Plan to remove any that are not relevant to your campaign or business goals and which can lower your quality scores. You can find these by asking: Which keywords do not serve the particular subject matter or your conversion goals? Which, if any, keywords result in zero conversions, even if they receive clicks?

    • Stay open to new keywords to include (often found in search term reports).

    Focus on keywords in each campaign. 

    These are essential to the success of your ads, so spend dedicated time to defining then revising your keyword strategy.

    4. Test

    An ad campaign shouldn’t be a “set it and forget it” tool to reach audiences.

    As you audit, determine where A/B testing can be implemented for most effect. 

    Ensure your ad groups contain two separate versions that rotate, so the testing occurs automatically.

    No need to have your content crew come up with all new ad copy, although you may want to consider that for your action plan that follows the audit.

    Keep the differences small. Test out modifications to different elements of your ads, such as different headings only.

    5. Define how to engage users

    Engaging users is the goal behind each Google Ad.

    Because of this, you want to find the best ways to entice users to take some sort of action and increase conversion rates.

    Before your ad takes the user to a landing page containing an informative heading and a call-to-action (CTA), you first need to capture their attention.

    The Google Ad, then, needs to reach the right audience and cause the right people to click over to your landing page. This makes ad copy of utmost importance.

    Without that good ad copy, you won’t be able to attract the highest potential customers or subscribers to take any action.

    During the audit, identify what is currently working in your ads and what needs a new strategy and ad copy.

    As you proceed through the strategic steps of your audit, take descriptive notes, capture those important screenshots, and use all you learn to prepare an audit report you can then act upon.

    You may also be interested in these articles:

    Wrap Up

    An audit can provide you with valuable insights into what you’re doing right and what needs adjusting. 

    It can also show you new opportunities to expand into to improve your ads while also maximizing your potential ROI.

    Set yourself up for success by first establishing benchmarks for your audit, then review the account structure to identify ways to optimize your time and budget spends. 

    Next, focus on keywords, test ad versions, and make sure to find the best ways to engage with your audience through clear and enticing ad copy and CTAs.

    To find more ways to rock your ad’s performance, request a free demo today!

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    Barbara is one of our WriterAccess talents. Find good writers like her on www.writeraccess.com/trial

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