You can find plenty of PPC audit guides and templates online, so I see no reason to write another one.

Running a Boutique Digital Marketing Agency based in Spokane, WA, I've learned that real-life examples are much more effective.

So, I'll show you the PPC audit checklist from a client's Google Ads account, what we discovered, and how it can improve their ad campaigns.

The platform's popularity and the fact that Google Ads work well for small businesses lead to many common mistakes.

Chances are...If you conduct a PPC audit, you'll probably find similar opportunities for optimization.


Hi, my name is Evan Ernst. I published this case study to help you understand the importance and benefits of PPC audits for your business growth.


What Does a Full PPC Audit Include?

A full PPC audit includes analyzing the key components, which can tell you if all ads perform effectively. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Reviewing the account structure (if ad campaigns and ad groups are logically organized).
  • Examining the keyword strategy to identify what drives conversions.
  • Evaluating ad relevance (ad copy, call to action, keywords, and landing page content).
  • Checking performance metrics (click-through rate, cost per click, return on ad spend).
  • Looking at the budget allocation, bidding strategy, and target audience.

The PPC Audit Checklist of Our Client's Ad Account

We do PPC management on several platforms for this particular client. But in this article, I'll break down their Google Ads account audit for you.

google ads ppc account audit and results

It's a Seattle-based company that sells eyewear both online and in physical locations. While the client has generated decent results so far, they came to us to see if their PPC campaigns can be optimized.

The business uses two Google Ads accounts, one for Shopping campaigns and one for App campaigns. Here is the PPC ads audit checklist we used in their particular case. We analyzed:

  • Google Ads Account Settings
  • Accounts Structure
  • Ad Groups
  • Ad Extensions
  • Bid Strategies
  • Location Targeting
  • Bid Adjustments
  • Audiences
  • Ad Copy

Now, you may think this isn't the ultimate PPC audit checklist, and you're right. The thing is, managing PPC campaigns for many SMBs has taught us exactly what we need to look at...And here is what we found.


The Google Ads Audit Results

I won't waste your time with the full PPC audit report. Instead, I'll show you a summary of each Google Ads account and the campaign settings that need improvement.

Google Ads Account (Shopping Campaigns)

In this account, we identified three areas for improvement (Shopping campaign structure, bid adjustments, and audiences).

Structure

When we conducted the PPC audit, the client had four separate campaigns: a Smart Shopping campaign for sunglasses, a Product Shopping campaign for contact lenses, and two Showcase campaigns (for sunglasses and contacts).

Analyzing each campaign performance, we found that the Smart Shopping campaign has by far the best ROAS over the past 30 days at 4.29. The other 3 campaigns showed ROAS ranging from 0.51 to 1.76.

We recommended ad spend optimization by creating one more Smart Shopping campaign for Contact lenses.

Bid Adjustments

There were no bid adjustments utilized for device type, ad schedules, or audiences on any of the active PPC campaigns.

Thus, we recommended creating bid adjustments based on historical data. The idea is to give higher priority to high-value targets (device/audience/time) and reduce bids for lower-ROAS targets. The goal is to optimize overall account ROAS.

Audiences

While the ad account had created audiences (remarketing, intent, similar audiences, etc.), none of these were used in any of the PPC campaigns.

We suggested adding all audiences as Observation Targeting to active campaigns to see how they perform. Then, those Observation Targets are used to set bid adjustments based on data to bid higher on high-value targets.


Google Ads Account (App Campaigns)

For these advertising campaigns, we advised adjusting the bid strategies and optimizing the location settings and ad copies.

Bid Strategies

When auditing this Google PPC account, there were four app campaigns:

  • Two with App Installs as the goal & target cost per install bidding.
  • Two with Purchases as the goal & target cost per purchase bidding.

The App Installs campaigns used target cost per install bidding, with average CPI bids of $0.25 (all good here). However, the Purchase campaigns could be enhanced.

These campaigns used target cost per purchase bidding with bids of $18 and $24 when the value per conversion was just $0.27 and $0.25.

To optimize each Purchase campaign performance, we advised that Target CPA bids should be substantially lowered. In other words, at or below the average value per conversion.

Location

At the time of the PPC audit, location settings were set to “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations.”

This resulted in their Google ads serving outside of the target geo (Seattle). Reviewing the User Location report revealed that the client was paying for clicks from places like Hawaii and Alaska.

Our recommendation was to switch the PPC campaign settings to “People in, or regularly in, your targeted locations.” Obviously, the goal was to reduce wasted ad spend.

Ad Copies

While each ad campaign had a good mix of creative assets, only two headlines and two description lines were used. As you may know, Google allows advertisers to use up to five.

We recommended utilizing all available headline and description fields. That way, Google can mix and match more variants and better optimize PPC campaign performance.


By the way...Ernst Media accepts limited applications for 100% free ad campaign audits. 

free ad campaign audit

Why Auditing Your PPC Campaigns is Important?

Regular auditing of your PPC campaigns is important for maintaining and improving their performance. Without periodic reviews, you'll waste money on ineffective strategies or miss out on the advantages of search engine marketing.

As you saw, even following a simple PPC audit checklist like the one I shared uncovered several areas for improvement. Apart from the necessary optimizations, we noticed that our client could grow their brand and revenue further through Google ads.

For example, while they had Shopping campaigns, there were no active search ads. Thus, we suggested implementing text ads for brand, non-brand product-related, and competitor keywords to maximize exposure.

To wrap it up, I'll highlight the benefits of evaluating your PPC advertising.


What Are the Benefits of a PPC Account Audit?

The main purpose of a PPC account audit is to get better results for every advertising dollar you spend. Diving deeper into your ad campaigns helps you do that by:

  • Identifying inefficiencies
  • Optimizing budget allocations
  • Improving ad relevance
  • Enhancing user experience
  • Making data-driven decisions

I hope this case study helped you understand how to evaluate your current PPC efforts. That's the first and most important step in our process of helping small businesses scale up.

There is always room for improvement...Trust me on that.

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