Do it yourself Pay Per Click Audit

There is a downturn in economy hitting worldwide though people are spending millions dollars on online advertisement whether its pay per click campaigns for major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing or Social mediums like face book , etc. Google’s unaudited income from advertisement is approx $ 17 billon of first 2 quarters of 2011.

Digital Agencies are spending millions of bucks on ppc campaigns with the objective of driving ROI [Return on Investment] towards their business in terms of either increasing subscribers or getting inquiries for their services. Ask this question to yourself before you come to any conclusion about effectiveness of your ppc campaigns : “whether you’re getting maximum return from your ppc campaign or not? If you’re not sure about it; then it’s time to think on measuring ppc campaign’s performance.

Many firms keep on spending on PPC but fail to guage the performance of their campaigns. Hence it’s always mandatory to keep eye on ppc campaigns. Most important thing is identifying metrics and key performance indicators [KPI] to measure the effectiveness of PPC Campaign. Therefore we thought of sharing campaign analyzing process and providing steps of how to do PPC audit yourself that you can follow and check how your campaigns are doing.

Objective – Objective of any PPC campaign is either to increase ROI [Return on Investment] or to maintain the traffic at lowest CPC [Cost per Click] or lowering the budget and CPL [Cost per Lead]. But how can you identify which factors affect performance of your campaign. Hence we’re going to conduct PPC Audit that helps you to identify loopholes of existing advertisement program either at Account / Campaign or ad level and the factors leading to poor performance of campaigns. This is followed by recommendations to improve the important metrics like ROI, Cost per Click[CPC], Click through Rate [CTR] or Cost per Conversion [CPC] and increased clicks.

Below are the steps for Do it Yourself PPC Audit –

1) Analyzing Account and Campaign Structure

2) Analyzing Ad Group / ad copy

3) Analyzing Keyword and Landing pages

4) Identify quick opportunities for optimization

1. Analyzing Account and Campaign Structure

Firstly start with conducting ppc audit of your account by looking into existing ppc account and campaign structure. It is very essential to have an account and campaign structure established in proper manner or direction.

Let’s say we’re building one apartment but its base isn’t solid then Apartment will be having survival problem against pressure of gravity or heavy rain or storm; hence base of apartment has to be solid to withstand these problems. This same logic of solid base implies to the ppc also. How?

Let’s consider base of apartment as ppc account, apartment as ppc campaign and your ppc campaign has to survive against higher cost per click, lower quality score or lower position; hence base [Base of ppc account] has to be solid with proper campaign [Apartment] categorization and settings to survive against higher cost per click or lower quality score or lower position. So let’s start with analyzing campaign structure.

1.1. Campaign Structure – Ideally start with checking your ppc campaign structure, check whether it includes categorization of different ad groups or not properly. A well-categorized campaign will help you to get target audience that leads to ultimate conversion. Conversions are successful metric of any PPC campaign.

For instance if you’re running ppc campaigns for shoes then you’ll have to create 2 different campaigns to target men’s shoes and women’s shoes as illustrated in below chart.

Standard Account Structure of Any PPC Campaign
PPC Account Structure

PPC Account Structure

Note – If you’re targeting different geo-locations then it’s advisable to create a different campaign for different campaigns. I.e. USA, France, Canada or Australia

2. Analyzing Ad Group / Ad Copy –

2nd most important factor is categorizing ad groups with relevant ads, keywords, landing pages, and settings. We all know relevance is the only key to a successful campaign.

For instance, if you’re going to run a campaign on men’s shoes then you’ll have to categorize 2 or 3 different ad groups as per shoe style avail for that demography i.e. formal or party shoes. You can create 2 ad groups as per the below image.

PPC Campaign Structure

PPC Campaign Structure

For instance, if you’re ad group is about men’s shoes then parameters like keywords relevance, and landing page should be focused on men’s shoes with multiple calls to action. Keep in mind the relevance of keywords, landing page, ad copy, and call to action while creating ad groups for your campaign.


2.1. Ad Copy – While doing Ad Copy Review, check whether you’ve used keywords, Prices, special offers, unique selling points and strong call to action i.e. buy now or call now in ads or not. Adding these factors help you to increase performance of your ad. Try with at least 4 to 5 ad variation at a time in a each group.

For instance if you’re selling Men’s shoes then write ad copy as below

Ad Title Discounted Men’s shoes
Ad Description 1 Discounted Men’s Shoes starts from $150.
Ad Description 2 Free Shipping, Buy Now or Call us.
Display Url’s+shoes


2.2. Settings – While conducting ppc audit of your account, don’t forget to look into your ad group’s settings which is the most ignored part. Look into ad scheduling, geographic location targeting, and language settings and check advanced location targeting options that helps to get most of the budget.

3. Analyzing Keyword and Landing pages –

Keyword level analysis gives you insight about the performance of keywords. How is the keyword performing, is it performing well or not. Look at quality score, keyword match type, bid rate and conversion on particular keyword.

3.1. Keywords – Keywords are the heart of the any ad campaign, so while doing keywords review check whether keywords are related to your product or services and different variations related to targeted phrases are included or not.

Tips for Keyword Selection – For selecting best keywords always use keyword research tool and think from the customer’s perspective as to how you could search for a specific product or service?

For instance People are searching for men’s shoes; they also might try these combinations i.e. discounted men’s shoes, causal men’s shoes, cheap men’s shoes etc. Review your keywords periodically and remove non performing keywords which are not providing any revenue.

3.2. Keyword Match Type – Keyword match type is important factor that helps you drive quality traffic. When you conduct ppc audit then consider checking keyword match type of your keywords. There are 5 type of keyword match i.e. broad match, phrase match, exact match, broad match modifier and negative. It’s advisable to use phrase match, exact match and broad match modifier as a match type. It will help to trigger ads on relevant user queries.

Let’s say if you placed men’s shoes term as a broad match, then your ad would be eligible to appear when a user’s search query having either or both words “men’s” and “shoes” in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads could also show for singular/plural forms, synonyms, and other relevant variations. With broad match selected, ads may show on searches for men’s, shoes, buy men’s shoes, men’s shoe photos, running shoes and so on.

Let’s say if you placed “men’s shoes” as a phrase match then your ad will be eligible to trigger only when a user searches on the phrase of men’s shoes with the same order of word. Your ads also appear for that terms that you’ve defined in exact phrase. Your ads will also appear for search terms like casual men’s shoes, buy men’s shoes, men’s shoes photo and so on. Main benefit is in compare to broad match is that ad won’t show on searches for shoes for men, men shoe, men’s sneakers and so on.

Let’s say if you placed [men’s shoes] as an exact match then your ad will appear only when a user looking for specific term “men’s shoes” with the words in order and without any term in the query. Ads won’t show on searches for cheap men’s shoes, mens shoe, buy men’s shoes and so on.

Let’s say if you placed +men’s +shoes as a broad match modifier type then your ad will appear only when a user searches for terms like discounted men’s shoes, stylish men’s shoes and so on.

Also check whether you’ve added any negative keywords properly or not, adding proper negative keywords helps to stop triggering your ads on unwanted or irrelevant keywords, that saves your couple of $ being spent wrongly. For instance, if you’re selling only men’s shoes then put women’s as negative keyword.

3.3. Landing Page Quality – User conversion ratio mostly depends on the quality of the landing page. If your landing page is promising then it will convert more otherwise not. While doing landing page analysis, look at these factors for improving quality. Use of appealing tag line, use of strong call to action button above the fold, testimonials, videos or demo of product, content in bulleted points and try to optimize load time of landing page it should load in approx 2 to 3 sec. Don’t forget to place inquiry form with the least fields to boost your conversion rate.

4. Identifying Quick Opportunities to Optimize –

Now we’re in the last stage of ppc audit, where you’ll have to look into quick opportunities to find out hidden potential of ppc campaigns like quality score, conversion rate and content of landing page that are major contributor in performance of ppc campaign.

4.1. Quality Score – Generally Quality Score measures how well your advertising message matches with the user’s requirement. Quality score is generally calculated based on relevance of keywords that matches to a search query every time triggered by a user.

For instance, let’s say if your keyword has good quality score i.e. < = 7 / 10 then it will help you to achieve top position with the lower cost per click.

Let’s say if you’re keywords has low to medium level quality score i.e. > 7 / 10 till < = 5 /10 it will help you moderately to achieve top position with the moderate cost.

If you’re keyword has poor quality score i.e. > 5 / 10, it will increase your cost to achieve top position that will increase your budget without guaranteed performance.

Tip for Increasing Quality Score – If you have multiple keywords with lower quality score then you should focus on increasing the quality score of those keywords like split keywords in different ad groups, write keyword & relative ads, always experiment with keyword matching type, change in title & meta description of landing page, add targeted keywords in images as image alt tag and also change in content of landing page that will help you in increasing quality score of keywords.

4.2. Conversion Rate – Conversion rate of your website is ratio of web site users that are converting in to your probable clients through web site form signup, purchase, email subscribe etc. 3% conversion rate is industry standard but it’s hard to achieve.

Conversion rate (%) calculated as # number of conversions / # number of visits

Consider value of cost per conversion in success metrics of any ppc campaign and it should be low. Cost per conversion calculated as # Total advertising cost / # of conversions = Cost per conversion.

Tip for increasing Conversion Rate – Always emphasis on keeping promise on your landing page that you’ve motioned in your Ad copy otherwise your visitors will be mislead and never return on your landing pages. For instance, if you’re showing men’s shoes at $ 140 then you’ll have to show it same price on landing page.

Outcome of PPC Audit – So we did a quick ppc audit of an existing account. Now you can start analyzing the factors responsible for low conversion and take actions to improve your ppc campaign. Happy PPC Analyzing!

If you’ve any questions or suggestions regarding this blog post then feel free to share here in comment.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dipali Thakkar is working as Technical Associate at Tatvic. She has more than 4 years of experience in SEO, PPC and Social Media. Google Plus Profile:
, , , ,
Previous Post
Google Analytics implementation for Joomla!
Next Post
Google Analytics v5 Dashboards

1 Comment. Leave new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed