PPC Audit: What It Is, When to Do It, and How to Do It

Maintaining and enhancing your Bing Ads and Google AdWords accounts requires regular PPC audits. To ensure that each account is maximized to its full potential, you should conduct an audit every six months or whenever you start managing a new account.

What is a PPC Ads Audit, and Why Is It Important?

A PPC audit is a review of a PPC campaign to see how it may be improved for a higher return on investment.

PPC is a difficult task. Even if you’re following best practices when it comes to account management, chances are you’ve overlooked something – especially if you’ve been working on the account for a while. In addition, things in paid search change quickly. It’s possible that what worked yesterday won’t work today. Google AdWords continuously roll out new features, policies, learning paths and discontinue some features to make things better than earlier.

Hence, it is crucial to keep up with these updates and make changes in your PPC ads campaigns.

A PPC ads account audit will help you know where you have to make the changes according to the new trends and features, so you can achieve the potential results from your PPC advertising.

When to do a PPC Ads Account Audit?

  • Your PPC campaign was performing well before, but suddenly you’re not seeing the same results.
  • You’re new to PPC and are having difficulty achieving decent results. What exactly are you doing incorrectly?
  • Your PPC campaign is performing well, but you’re wondering whether you could do even better. What opportunities do you think you’re missing out on?
  • You are generating traffic, but your ad spends are out of control.

Steps to do the PPC Ads Audit

1. Conversion Tracking

When auditing a PPC account, one of the first things you should look at is the tracking implementation. You’ll want to double-check that the Google Ads tracking code is installed on the site and that conversion actions are appropriate.

Before you begin an audit, you must first obtain a list of known conversion goals. You’ll be able to debug existing implementations if you know what they are.

Here are some scenarios that signify that there is something wrong with your conversion tracking and need optimization.

  • The number of clicks and conversions are the same. If this is the case, either you have irresistible products, or your conversion tracking code was placed on your landing pages instead of your order confirmation page.
  • Your conversion rate appears to be low, implying that you’re missing out on sales. In this case, it’s possible that you failed to track phone call conversions or forgot to install tracking codes to new landing pages.
  • Despite minimal sales, your conversion rates are really high. If this is the case, your conversion monitoring is likely tracking visits to a product page or homepage rather than a purchase confirmation.

The last case is there are no tracked conversions; in that case, you have to generate and implement your conversion tracking code on your web pages.

So, audit all these scenarios and resolve any issues to get the right data, and move to your next step of conversion tracking.

2. Targeting Settings

Setting your campaign targeting parameters is a straightforward task that takes no more than five minutes, yet one tiny error here might have a significant impact on your account’s success.

So, review the targeting setting of your campaigns and conclude whether they make sense or not. Here are some key aspects that you should check in the targeting settings audit.

Network Settings: Ads on the Google Search Network have very different goals, expectations, and overall performance than ads on the Google Display Network. The audit and optimization process should be unique for the network you are targeting.

Device-Targeting and Bid Adjustments: Do you want to show your ads on mobile devices? If that’s the case, make sure your bid modifiers are set high enough to get you noticed for mobile searches. To figure this out, look at your performance by the device to see how effective your current mobile bids are. However, if your website isn’t ready for mobile traffic, then it’s better to keep your bid off till you optimize your landing pages for mobiles. You may want to focus on the device your target audience uses the most to search for a business like yours.

Location Targeting and Bid Adjustments: Check to see if your firm provides services in the regions that your account has chosen. Then go a step further and go over your geo-reports to find your performance on different locations and improvise for the locations that matter a lot to you. You can also make the bid adjustments according to locations to get better results for your preferred locations.

3. Number of Ads Enabled Per Ad Group

It’s vital information to check. If your ad group has only one ad, then you might be missing out on the potential results. Contrarily, having too many ads in a group can also make things unmanageable and effective. So, you should check the number of enabled ads in your ad groups. The magic number is 2-3 ads for an ad group to test multiple variations easily and find the best-performing ones and turn off others. You may also want to keep testing variations of the top-performing ones to find the best possible ad copies that drive profitable results.

4. Number of Keywords per Ad Group

Each ad group should include no more than 20 keywords. Having more than 20 keywords in an ad group will dilute your budget and make it more difficult to build keyword insights, especially for smaller PPC accounts, because the sample data will be dispersed across several phrases.

Each term will be automatically matched against variations such as misspellings and plural forms.

The goal is to populate a themed ad group with appropriate keywords. An ad group with more than 20 keywords may indicate an ineffective and unfocused spending strategy.

5. Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are critical for aligning with conversion goals and increasing click-through rates by making your ad copy stand out. Ad extensions have a direct impact on Ad Rank, which is a metric that determines where your ad appears in search results.


You’ll need to know your conversion goals while auditing an account for ad extensions. For example, if one of the company’s conversion goals is to generate more phone calls, you’ll want to make sure the account uses call extensions.

So, know about the different ad extensions, and use the suitable ones according to your goals.

6. Keyword Match Types

Keywords set to a range of match types are common in a well-run Google Ads account. Each has its own purpose; for example, a broad match is useful for keyword research, but an exact match ensures that you only interact with the most qualified searchers.


One of the most common and deadly account mistakes is using the same match type for all keywords. Because the broad match is Google’s default, we encounter this most frequently. Although these broad-match keywords generate a lot of traffic, many of the impressions come from people searching for terms that aren’t even remotely linked to the business, resulting in low click-through and conversion rates, as well as low-Quality Scores.

So, go through your account and understand the match types used to modify for better results. You may know that Google AdWords recently removes the “Broad Match Modifier” match type, and you must optimize your keywords and their match types accordingly.

7. Negative Keywords Lists

Negative keywords are your strongest barrier against unqualified searchers’ impressions and clicks. You can establish negatives in advance by guessing, but I like to take a more reactive approach with an active account. To figure out what terms have been activating your ads, look at your query reports. Keep an eye out for terms that you don’t want to show up for any longer and mark them as negatives.

You may review your existing negative keywords list and confirm that all of the negative terms are relevant to the business and aren’t preventing any of your business keywords from receiving impressions. Check the match type settings for your negative keywords to make sure they’re working correctly. Many accounts have negatives set to “exact” match, which doesn’t deliver anything reliable. These options can have a significant impact on your negative keywords and may audit and optimize them.

8. Bid Strategy

Keep track of your bid amounts as you execute your PPC campaign. You’ll want to keep an eye on this number to understand how much money you’re spending on leads for your company.

You want to leave enough room in your budget for your company to generate a profit. If you pay $10 every time someone clicks on your ad and they buy a $15 product, your profit margin is razor-thin. Instead, you might be able to rethink your strategy in order to reduce your costs and allow for more clicks.

You’ll need to figure out which bid strategy to use and whether it’ll help you achieve your objectives. For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, you may use a bidding technique called “maximize conversions.”

A helpful tutorial from Google on establishing a bidding strategy can help you choose the right one for you.

9. Quality Score

One of the most crucial parts of your PPC campaign is the quality score. Your ad’s placement is determined by your quality score and maximum bid. You must raise your quality score if you want to improve the placement of your ad.

Your quality score is based on things like ad relevance and click-through rate (CTR). People are more likely to click on your ad if it is more relevant to their search query.

You’ll want to pay attention to your quality score when doing your PPC audit. If your quality score is low, you must work to improve it. Improving your quality score will boost the overall performance of your ads.

If your keyword selection has a high-quality score, you can keep doing what you’re doing to maintain your position.


10. KPIs

Knowing which metrics are most important to a client is the greatest approach to ensure that your audit is successful. If you’re in charge of an account, we’re guessing you’ve already set some KPIs. A simple check to ensure you’re focusing correctly can be worthwhile. So, examine existing KPIs and set up new ones to make your tracking and analysis more effective.

Now, you are done with the PPC audit, and you may make the required changes to get the optimum results. If you don’t have any expertise or experience with Google or Bing ads, then you can hire a PPC ads agency to do the audit and manage your PPC account.

If you are skilled enough, then you now know the way to go.

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