You’ve got your Google Ads (AdWords) set up. But are they really optimized to give you the best results? Is your ad spend is being wasted on ineffective ads? There are already plenty of comprehensive AdWords guides out there to help you figure this out. So instead, we want to offer you a simple Google Ads audit template for great results in less time.
The truth is, if you set up your Google Ads and never really revisited them, beyond checking how they were converting, chances are you’re missing out on some big opportunities to optimize your ads. They aren’t designed to be “set it and forget it.” That means they require regular audits so nothing is missed and you can be sure you’re getting the best return on your investment.
Along with your Google Ads, there are a number of other elements in your digital marketing strategy that need to be checked in on regularly. This includes performing regular SEO updates, Facebook Ads auditing, and monitoring all of your social media campaigns.
But today, we’ll stick just with Google Ads. These are an incredibly powerful tool when they’re used properly, and that’s exactly what this post is going to help you do.
Your Super Simple Google Ads Audit Template
As always, we’re going to cover the basics first.
What are AdWords?
Simply put, Google AdWords is a marketing platform. It’s a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising that gives advertisers two different ways to reach people. First, they can target users through the Google Search Network. Alternatively, they can do this through the Google Display Network.
Now, we know your next question is, “what’s the difference?”
The search network refers to having your ads show up as users search for similar products on Google. So, let’s say you sell sunscreen products. When a user enters certain search terms (in this case, sunscreen) on Google, your Google Search Network PPC campaign can help your brand show up in the options.
On the other hand, there’s Google Display Network. This displays ads on other websites across the internet that are trying to make money with the Google AdSense program.
To sum it up, the Google Search Network is used to target consumers at the moment they’re searching for a specific product.
The Google Display Network shows your ads to users while they’re browsing other internet pages. This has the goal of building brand awareness or getting users to click on your ad and boosting your conversion rate. It’s also a common practice in retargeting or remarketing campaigns. This is when you are essentially “reminding” people who have engaged with your content in some way before. For example, if someone placed one of your products in their shopping cart but never checked out, you might use a retargeting ad to remind them of the products waiting in their cart.
Using a combination of search and display ads is usually an effective strategy for a successful marketing campaign. Another component of a successful marketing campaign is performing an AdWords audit to make sure your campaign settings and bidding strategies are up to snuff.
Your Simple Google Ads Audit Template
We promised to keep this simple, so here it is! We break down quick and easy ways to fine tune your ads campaigns.
Start with tracking
The first steps of your Google Ads audit is making sure proper tracking strategies are in place.
First, you need to set up goals in your Google Ads account. With the help of these goals, you have tangible outcomes to shoot for, providing you with a lot more insight into the success of your campaigns.
You can select from three options when you’re creating goals:
- Using a goal template
- Creating custom goals
- Creating Smart Goals
(Google offers a quick guide to creating, editing, and sharing goals here)
Goals give you the ability to track major metrics that determine your ad success. Your KPIs can be converted into “goals” so you can actively monitor how successful your ads are.
Once you select the option for creating goals, you will then choose from Goal Types, including destination goals, duration goals, event goals, and pages/screens per session goals. Or, if you’d like, you can set up Smart Goals and no further set up is necessary.
Common conversion tracking mistakes
If you already have tracking in place, it’s time to make sure you’re not making some of these common mistakes. But keep in mind, the biggest mistake is not having conversion goals set up in the first place.
Now, take a look and see if your tracking pixels are placed correctly. Tracking pixels are HTML code snippets. They’re loaded when a user visits a website or opens an email. Then, you can use these pixels to track user behavior and conversions.
Google Tag Manager is a useful tool for tracking and measuring these code snippets so you can analyze them in Google Analytics.
Check out this how-to guide for more on testing and monitoring tracking pixels.
Another critical component of a Google AdWords account audit is optimizing your keywords.
Start by checking your keywords status in AdWords.
- Log in to your AdWords account.
- Select “Keywords” on the page menu on the left.
- Check the “status” column which tells you the current status of the keywords.
This will show you several status options:
- Campaign Paused
- Pending Campaign
- Campaign Removed
- Campaign Ended
- Ad Group Paused
- Ad Group Removed
- Under Review
- Below First Page Bid Estimate
- Site Suspended
- Low Search Volume
- Rarely Shown Due to low Quality Score
- Few Page Matches
Based on the keyword status, you get an idea of their quality score which helps you make the best decisions for your ad campaigns moving forward. For example, focusing on keywords with few page matches or low search volume aren’t likely to be successful.
Check for negative keywords and keyword health
Part of your Google Ads audit includes having a look at your keyword health metrics.
These are some of the keyword performance indicators that tell you they’re performing successfully:
- Look for quality scores that are >6.
- Remove or refine keywords with a conversion rate of less than 1%
- Keywords relate to the same topic in an ad group.
Now, what about negative keywords? This is a list of keywords you’ve submitted that AdWords won’t bid on.
To check these, click on “Negative Keywords.” Then make sure irrelevant words are negated and incorrect weren’t accidentally added.
By the way, if you’re looking to expand your search reach and increase being found on monthly searches, you should implement a long-tail keyword strategy. Using long-tail keywords are keywords or keyword phrases that are a more specific search term – and typically longer – than more popular keywords that are searched for. Here’s how to do it.
Optimize ad copy
Now it’s time to optimize the actual content of your Google Ads. Ad copy can make or break the success of your digital marketing campaigns. Even if you have everything else in place, including killer audience targeting and a big budget, without the right copy, you won’t get the clicks and conversions you want.
During your Google Ads audit,
Here are a few things to look for:
Make sure your keyword is in the ad headline: If you’re selling a red dress, you need to make sure “red dress” is included in your ad headline. This seems pretty straightforward, but it’s actually one of the most common mistakes we see in ad campaigns.
A powerful call-to-action (CTA): A CTA is what gets someone to click on your ad. It needs to be compelling enough to not only get their attention, but to also click and convert. We also talk more about creating CTAs in 6 Tips For Creating Landing Pages That Convert.
Check for mobile optimization: If you’re like a majority of businesses, most of your impressions come from mobile users. If your ads aren’t optimized for mobile use, you’re going to lose out on countless clicks and conversions. Not only will your ad campaigns be less successful, but you’ll also miss out on sales.
A great way to optimize your ad copy is with the help of A/B testing. In this case, that involves creating two similar ads, but with different ad copy on each one. The other elements, including the audience they’re targeting and any visual design specs, could be the same. But what is different will be the ad copy. You might try two different CTAs or different body copy on each ad. Then, over time, you will see which one gets better results. Based on this data, you can craft your ad copy in that direction for future ads.
Get help with your Google Ads audit
We’ve made this AdWords audit as straightforward as possible. But we know it can all seem overwhelming. Chances are, you have other things you’d rather spend your time on in your business than AdWords, so let us help!
Our Pay Per Click Marketing campaigns are not left to chance or speculation. We analyze your industry, competitors, and location to determine trends that will dictate your campaign.
Our Pay-Per-Click specialists with advertising experience help you decrease costs and increase results. We will assign an ad specialist on our staff to run your Pay-Per-Click campaigns. This person learns your business, develops an advertising strategy, and executes on it, ensuring you’re fully aware of the campaign progress. We want to ensure that our clients are able to track each conversion and click through rate. That’s why we make sure each campaign is tagged correctly for detailed tracking.