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The 10 Minute PPC Audit

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10 Quick Steps to Analyze Your Account

By Rachel Anderson
As a pay-per-click specialist I analyze PPC accounts on a regular basis. Sometimes an extremely thorough analysis is in order where I go over every facet of an account, keywords, ad copy, landing pages, individual keyword bids, etc. Other times the objective is to quickly determine the overall quality and health of an account.

I’ll outline the steps for a basic PPC audit. This provides a great picture of what’s going on and will help to plan for the success of the account.

Step 1: Take it in

This may be your first time looking at the account and you may not understand all the data available. That’s okay! Right now we are focusing on the big picture. You can always come back and dig deeper.

Step 2: Settings

This is where you can learn a lot about how the account has been run and it’s complexity. Take a particular look at:

  • Mobile bid modifiers- Many times you will see 100% mobile bid adjustments. Sometimes there are reasons for this. More often it means a mobile strategy has not been considered.
  • Ad schedule- What days of the week and hours of the day are they advertising?
  • Delivery method- Typically you’ll see Standard delivery selected. If you come across Accelerated delivery make note of it and check to see if it’s being used account-wide or on select campaigns. There are cases where Accelerated delivery works great but it can also be the source of major problems.
  • Bid strategy- Are bids set manually? You probably have a manager who makes frequent changes and adjustments, Are bids set to CPA bidding? You may have a less involved manager.

Step 3: Change History

Check out the Change History tool to get an idea of how often and what sort of changes have been made in the account previously. Are changes made on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? This will give you another insight into the management of the account.

Step 4: Automated Rules

Get into Bulk Operations to take inventory of any automated rules that may be in place. These can play a big role in an account. For example an automated rule can be in charge of making daily bid adjustments, scheduling ads or managing budgets. Be aware of any automated rules that have been in place and what their role has been.

Step 5: Performance Trends

Set your time frame to the last 6 months to a year. You may be lucky enough to have year-over-year data and if so take advantage of it. How has performance over longer periods of time changed? Has performance flatlined, increased, decreased? Are changes seasonal?

Step 6: Campaign Structure

  • Networks- Search? Display? Shopping? Search and Display?
  • Number of Ad Groups per Campaign- is there a campaign with a great deal more ad groups? Why? Is there room for segmentation?
  • Number of Keywords- Overload of keywords in an ad group? Keywords that don’t belong?

Step 7: Ad Testing

  • Has there been (is there) ad testing being done?
  • Is there more than one ad per ad group?
  • Is the ad copy specific and relevant to the keywords and landing page?

Step 8: Keyword Match Types

Do a quick download of all the active keywords. Sort by match type and take a look at the break down. Is there a good balance of Phrase and Exact to Broad?

Step 9: Negative Keywords

Are there any negative keywords in any campaign or ad group? Is there a campaign wide list that is shared between campaigns?

Step 10: Ad Extensions

Are campaigns using ad extensions? There are many options available to help ads stand out and this is a great area for immediate improvement if they aren’t already in place.

That’s it for the 10 minute audit! There is definitely a place for deeper audits but for a quick look to gauge the health of the account, this is a great way to start. Happy analyzing!

Rachel Anderson is a Pay Per Click Advertising Strategist at Netmark.com. She loves helping companies be successful online by defining target markets and creating the most relevant, appealing ads. Off the job she enjoys photography, good food, the outdoors and family time.

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