ADWORDS AUDIT · 12-MINUTE READ · By Tina Arnoldi on February 26 2018.
Did you read our earlier post on auditing an AdWords account? If not, I encourage you to start there for a foundation, especially if you have never audited an AdWords account. In that post, I talk about checking your budget, reviewing your campaign structure, checking the number of ad groups, and ensuring your ads have a CTA, among other things.
In this post, I’ll add to what you have learned previously with additional items for your checklist. Let’s get started!
Task 9: Use location extensions
Rationale: People still search locally even though implicit terms like nearby and closest in Google have declined. For searchers, local relevance is expected, but not always overtly requested. At least 60% of clicks on a location extension were for directions or more information about a location. Don’t miss out on an opportunity for your ad to stand out against local competitors who do not use location extensions. (Also make sure your Google My Business page is updated so you can connect it to AdWords).
Task 10: Target audiences with observations
Rationale: There are multiple ways to reach target audiences with AdWords, such as Similar Audiences, Google Analytics segments, and Smart Lists. For now, we’ll look at Observations since that does not impact the reach of an existing campaign.
An Observation provides data about how different audiences engage with your campaign without impacting the existing targeting for it. (And if no one on your team knows about this feature, you’ll look like a rockstar for including this feature). I’ll walk you through it in the below example.
For previous visitors to the website in a specific account (All Users), I adjusted the bid up by 20%. Compare this to email marketing, where you contact people who already know you to share a new offering. It’s similar with Observations. All users are people have been to this site and I want to bring them back when they search on Google. I now have data about segments of site visitors that could potentially be used in a separate RLSA campaign down the road.
Task 11: Look for negative keywords
Rationale: Accounts that are not managed regularly are often missing negative keywords, which are the words you do not want to have trigger your ad. This can be very costly to an account if not monitored. As part of the audit, you won’t create a negative keyword list or add negative keywords. At this point, you are only checking for their use.
When you click on Keywords In the left column of AdWords, you’ll see search keywords, negative keywords, and search terms on the right. Click on negative keywords.
In that section, there should words that have been excluded from the account or added to a negative keyword list in the Shared Library.
When an account does not have a negative keywords list or individual phrases added, I next look at the keywords to see how costly this might be. If my keyword match type is broad match for all the keywords in a campaign, I know there are probably a number of irrelevant searches that are costing a client money. (Logical Position has a thorough explanation of keyword match types.)
Task 12: Check for n-grams
Rationale: Huh? That was my response too when I first heard of them. Adalysis states that n-grams analyze the instances of a word or phrase across all query data. In AdWords, you can easily glance at the terms that triggered an ad so you can analyze word performance throughout your search queries. Much easier than a single instance at a time.
In the below account, you can see the word wiki is one of the terms used along with primary search terms (which have been grayed out since this is client data). When I hover over the word wiki (bottom left), I see searches where wiki was included and that one of the primary target keywords with the word wiki resulted in 39 conversions. The word wiki with other phrases in the account did not result in conversions so I may want to pause those words and focus on the phrase that does result in conversions.
I recognize you are auditing the account and perhaps not the person making changes. However, this is a valuable insight for you to share – especially since this feature is somewhat hidden. (You’ll find it in the Overview tab toward the bottom in the Searches section).
Task 13: Check the landing page experience
Rationale: It’s okay that you are not a developer. This step is not technical but an important metric for overall ad performance – and only takes a minute. Select Landing pages on the left side of AdWords and see what the mobile experience is for the campaign. If the mobile-friendly click rate is low, you’ll want to note that in your audit write-up.
Task 14: Look for AdWords rules
Rationale: AdWords rules can be a big time saver and are set up in the Bulk Actions section of AdWords.
I frequently use a rule to raise bids to first page CPC if they drop below the first page as seen in the below screenshot. This decreases the manual time spent optimizing an account. You can see other use cases for rules in a post I wrote for ASPE.
To recap, here’s your tasks for Part II:
- Check for location extensions if the business is local.
- Add audiences as observations. (You will not impact the reach if you do observation rather than targeting).
- Note if negative keywords are used.
- See if n-grams stand out as good ones and if there are some to consider pausing.
- Look at the landing page data to see how it performs on mobile.
- If rules are not used, offer some suggestions for AdWords rules.
There can be as many steps for an AdWords audit as you want and with the Part I post, this will guide you through what features to check when you review an AdWords account. Would you like to see a Part III? If so, tweet to @Supermetrics!
About Tina Arnoldi
Tina Arnoldi is Analytics and AdWords Qualified and one of the few people in the United States recognized as a Google Developer Expert(GDE) for marketing. Her agency, 360 Internet Strategy, is also a Google Partner. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn