There’s no shortage of good resources on theory and practical advice on auditing a Google AdWords campaign. However, I couldn’t quite find one which contained real-world suggestions based on an actual AdWords campaign which is what this blog post is all about.
The audit here is pretty much what I sent to client but removed any references to the company name and/or URL. The company offer a range of voice and data products for B2B – telephone systems, high speed data access, call recording solutions and so on.
This audit also includes some suggestions and areas of improvement of landing page data taken from Google Analytics.
The time period is Jul 20, 2017 – Oct 20, 2017.
PS. I audited the account over 2 days and different computers hence the mashup of old and new interface screenshots.
View: Settings >> Device
Comments: The campaign is delivering the lowest Cost Per Conversions for desktop visitors with mobile being the worst performing device. Both, computers and mobiles have had an almost equal share of ad spend, however, there have been 3 x more conversions from computers.
The cost of acquiring a desktop lead has been £145 but £439 for a lead from mobile which makes the former far more cost-effective as a lead source.
- Decrease the bid adj for mobiles by about 30%
- Increase the bid adj. for computers by about 50%
- Analyse the following KPIs for mobile users via Google Analytics
– Bounce Rate
– Time on site (compared to other devices)
– Visitor-to-lead conversion rate of organic traffic to get a broader data set to compare with
View: Settings >> Location
The default location targeting settings is currently not the most effective way to target the most qualified visitors. The default recommendations Google makes is seldom in the best interest of advertisers and is geared towards increasing clicks regardless of quality.
By targeting people ‘who show interest in my targeted location’ and excluding people ‘who show interest in my excluded location’ the campaign can be serving ads to anyone who searches for the keywords within the campaign even if they’re from a different country.
- Change targeting option to ‘people in my targeted location’
- Change exclude option to ‘people in my excluded location’
View: Settings >> IP exclusions
It’s a good idea to exclude all IP addresses that have access to the AdWords account to limit unnecessary impressions racking up thus reducing your CTRs. Optional but recommended. You can always use the ad diagnostic tool to check where your ad is showing up and how.
View: Settings >> Locations
Greater London has accounted for approx. 65% of your total ad spend but only delivered 50% of the conversions. More importantly, the cost/conv. from Greater London has been 1.5x higher than those from Essex, Sussex and other areas clearly suggesting the traffic quality from this location isn’t nearly as high as from others.
- Reduce bid adj. for Greater London by 30%
- Increase bid adj. for Hampshire by 40%
- Increase bid adj. for other areas by 10% each
View: Segment >> Hour of day
The campaign is set to run between 6am – 7pm and the lowest CPAs are coming in at around 11am, 9am and 3pm in that order.
The most expensive conversions are taking place between 2pm – 4pm.
Between the hours of 4pm – 7pm, absolutely no conversions have occurred even though it has taken up about 20% of the ad spend
- Increase bid adj. by 30% for 9am – 12pm
- Reduce bid adj. by 30% from 4pm – 7pm
- Reduce bid adj. by 50% from 4pm – 7pm
View: Segment >> Day of the week
The campaign is set to run Monday – Friday and the lowest CPAs are coming in on Monday and Tuesday.
The most expensive conversions are taking place on Thursday and Fridays.
The CPA for Monday is £123 compared to £339 for Thursday which is a difference of over 150%.
- Increase bid adj. by 30% for Monday
- Decrease bid adj. by 25% for Thursday
Out of a total of 23 keywords, only 2 of them have delivered 100% of the conversions and the cost/conv from the 2 varies significantly (£14.75 vs £279.06!).
Moreover, a lot of the other campaign keywords have incurred costs but not delivered any conversions.
- Review the current cost/conv and decide on what is feasible
- Consider creating more ad groups and keywords to find new opportunities
View: Ad groups >> All
From the 5 ad groups, only Call Recording Solutions / Generic has delivered 100% of the conversions even though it accounts for 65% of the ad spend.
It’s a good idea to regularly look at how the various ad groups are performing and not just the ads themselves as low performing ad groups still consume the budget for that campaign which could otherwise be spent on higher earners.
Low performing ad groups can also drag the Ad rank of the campaign down which over time can result in higher CPCs.
- Create separate ad groups for campaigns that haven’t delivered any conversions to date
- Analyse each of the non performing ad groups to analyse possible reasons for the low ROI and make changes before launching a new campaign (simply copying over the ad groups onto new campaigns will still deliver the same results)
View: Ads >> All
You have already paused non or low performing ads on both, the campaign level as well as Ad groups level which is good.
View: Shared library >> Audiences
The campaign isn’t currently storing any visitors for remarketing as the tags don’t seem to be active. The visitor data would suggest that the tag, either the remarketing tag or via Google Analytics was in fact active but due to possible changes on the website, the code has been removed.
Remarketing can be very effective esp. when creating highly targeted campaigns. For example, you might have one remarketing list for users who visited a ‘money page’ such as the download brochure or the price list. Or, you could create a remarketing list which comprises of people who’ve gotten a quote and then show them a special offer via display ads to encourage them to take up the offer
- Fix remarketing tag on website
The landing pages currently in use don’t have a form immediately visible the image in use isn’t closely related to the product/service being offered (not sure why there’s a picture of a car when the product being offered is a business telephone system).
Here are some tips and best-practices on how to improve your visitor-to-lead conversion rates and reduce your current Cost Per Acquisition of leads and sales.
- Include the contact form above-the-fold (taking into account the most common screen resolutions to determine what the above-the-fold dimensions would be)
- Include a relevant image within the banner
- Create different landing pages including only one piece of contact info and evaluate conversions
As a sidenote, you may expect that having as many contact options as possible on landing pages like you have (phone number, live chat, callback form etc) would improve conversions this isn’t always the case as sometimes this can overwhelm users. You may wish to experiment with landing pages by reducing the Call to actions to just 1 or 2 and comparing the impact on conversion rates.
The website gets almost an equal amount of share from mobile vs desktop visitors however the amount of time desktop users spend is 5 times that of mobile visitors. This would usually suggest that the website isn’t very mobile friendly or there are cross-device compatibility issues.
Similarly, as the chart above shows, the average Bounce Rate of visitors is close to 90% which is very, very high. However, the site itself seems fairly easy to use and I suspect there is a problem with the GA code somewhere as opposed to 90% of users bouncing off the site without having interacted with it.
- Check website on a few different mobile devices to uncover any mobile-specific issues
Traffic Acquisition Report
Looking at your traffic acquisition report, Organic search (SEO) seems to actually deliver the 3rd highest quality of traffic as well as sending through almost 35% of your new visitors.
Compared to paid traffic, visitors from SEO are spending twice as much time on site and are significantly more engaged!
Most of the organic traffic is coming into non ‘money pages’ such as blog posts. Possible reasons for this is a weak keyword selection on the landing pages and/or low SEO positions. Ideally, you want at least 60-70% of the incoming traffic coming to your home page and the landing pages as that is the audience set that is likely to convert into leads
- Identify the most lucrative pages and services and run a SEO campaign to improve your organic rankings
- Revisit the keywords being optimised for the landing pages and make tweaks where necessary
I hope you find this useful. If you’re looking for resources containing general tips and theory on auditing a PPC AdWords account, here are some that I have found to be helpful:
- AdWords health check (YouTube)
- A detailed look into account structure and tracking
- Helpful info on keywords, ad copies and more
- Not a lot of practical info but useful general suggestions and tips
Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.