How To Audit Your AdWords Account

You’ve setup your Google AdWords account in hopes of increasing awareness and, more importantly, sales. The last thing you want is to be losing money, and not knowing where or why. Data from generated reports is vital to ensuring you run a successful campaign. This way you can tweak your campaign, retarget and reach the right demographics to achieve optimal results. However, if you’re looking at your reporting data and not understanding anything, you’re basically throwing money away.

Setting up an audit is the answer.

Make sure you consider the following questions to avoid the mistakes most self run campaigns make:

Are your campaigns too unfocused?

It’s important to have structure and focus in your AdWords account. This allows you to have control over your ads and when they will appear. There are many benefits from having a structured campaign including:

  • Lower cost per click
  • Greater reach
  • More conversions
  • Reduced cost per acquisition
  • Better quality scores

Unfortunately, there isn’t one perfect hierarchy that works wonders for everyone. A national business is going to vary greatly from an international or local business.

The difference between winning and losing at AdWords can be as simple as a improperly setup account, but as disastrous as throwing your marketing budget into a sinkhole. This is why you need to take auditing your AdWords account seriously – take the time to get to the ‘nitty-gritty’ and build a super targeted hierarchy in your account.

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Are your keywords ‘bleeding’?

AdWords can seem complex to those just starting up or who don’t know what they’re doing. Businesses can very easily end up with their keywords bleeding and costing them money. Here are some mistakes you should avoid to stop keywords bleeding:

  • Using only broad-match keywords: Broad-match keywords shows your ad when someone searches for that keyword or a variation of it. If there’s a variation you haven’t even thought of, there’s the possibility of your ad coming up. There are downsides to this approach. Google makes money per click, and if the variation isn’t relevant to you, that’s money spent that didn’t lead to a sale. When you’re using broad-match, make sure to carefully monitor your keywords and run reports frequently.
  • No negative keywords: a negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. Essentially, your ad won’t be shown to people searching a certain word or phrase. This means you can filter out anything irrelevant and people ending up at your website looking for something you don’t offer. This way you’re not spending money on clicks that don’t result in sales.
  • Trusting Google: Google is there to help you setup your AdWords account, and only offers you the best advice, right? Wrong! Google is, after all, a business that, like every other business, is motivated by profit. Don’t necessarily blindly trust Google’s recommendations. Google can control when your ads are displayed and how much you pay for the keywords. Make sure to do your own research, hire an agency if necessary, and don’t let Google decide every financial decision.   

Are you using location targeting correctly?

AdWords allows location targeting, which means your ads appear in the geographic locations of your choice. This means you’ll get the customers from where you want. Here are some geo-targeting tips that will help you use the tool correctly:

  • Exclude a location where you have no store or there are poor leads
  • You can target an income tier within a region, which could be used to specifically target expensive items to higher income households
  • Results are important on AdWords. You can sort your results by locations to see where you are targeting and see where is and isn’t performing well. Here, you are able to apply a bid adjustment, to lower or raise the big percentage.

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Are you reaching your customers when they are awake?

Are you wasting money advertising when your customers are asleep? Are you a Monday to Friday business, but paying for advertising on the weekend? Using AdWords, you can find out when your customers are online and when it’s the premium opportunity for you to advertise. You can use reporting and Google Analytics to find out more information about the habits of your customers on your website, and target your ad accordingly. Some tips include:

  • Run advertising when you are available to take calls.
  • Be selective about what hours of the day you’d like your ads to run; analyse your data and find out what time of day receives the best conversions and is most cost effective?
  • Increase bids for high-converting time frames.
  • Schedule your ads to show higher on the days with greatest conversion rate.

Are you using the same ad copy across multiple ad groups? Or tailoring it to marry the search query all the way through to the CTA on the landing page?

AdWords has Ad Groups, which is the container for your keywords in your advertising campaign. Within Ad Groups there is keywords, text ads and landing pages. While it’s important to have a cohesive campaign on AdWords, it doesn’t necessarily mean you only have to have the one advertising across all of the Ad Groups. You’re segmenting your Ad Groups for a reason – segment the ad copy too.   

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Are you making use of all the special features in AdWords?

AdWords has a bunch of special features, and you’re missing out if you don’t capitalise on them. It has such features including call-only campaigns, video campaigns, ad customisers and ads on Google Maps, to name a few. If you are able to utilise these and the rest of AdWords’ special features, you will be able to make the most of your AdWords campaign, increase conversions, lower costs and increase sales.

If you’ve got an AdWords campaign, or you’re about to embark on one, remember to ask yourself the questions:

  • Is my campaign focused?
  • Am I using the right keywords?
  • Am I using geo-targeting effectively?
  • Are my ads running at the right time?
  • Am I running the same ad for every demographic?
  • Am I using the special features?

If you are able to answer these questions and effectively use reporting tools, then you will be able to run an optimal AdWords campaign.