“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
True! But in recent years, failure has become glamorized. You might have seen article after article telling you to embrace failure, to fail forward, to fail quickly. The successful business owners you admire all have harrowing tales of epic screw-ups. But there’s an important distinction to be made: the failure itself isn’t the important part. In fact, failure by itself is never a good thing. It’s what happens after the failure that matters most.
Failure presents a unique opportunity that’s often absent from success: it’s much easier to determine why something failed than to determine why something succeeded. If you want to see someone act clueless, ask them what they’ve learned from their successes.
For example, look at Slack, the increasingly popular team communication Platform. In the span of 12 months, Slack went from not existing to being valued at over $1 billion. When the CEO of the company, Stewart Butterfield, was recently asked at a conference how they had become popular so quickly, his response was brutally honest:
“I have no idea,” he said.
Failure doesn’t guarantee enlightenment. But it does provide the opportunity. So, here I share with you one such failure ad campaigns. This is what Gavin Zuchlinski of Acuity Scheduling had to say on AdWords Metrics:
“My biggest marketing failure was misreading the metrics behind AdWords. I was successfully measuring engagement and things like sign-ups for our mailing list which looked absolutely phenomenal — but the life-cycle of someone? Horrendous! Once I realized the small metrics of success didn’t represent success for the company, only then could I turn it around.
“The number of sign-ups can be a TERRIBLY misleading metric without the context of other data.”
The key takeaway from this is to value of monitoring of your entire funnel rather than just the entry point. When you pay to acquire opt-ins, you have to make sure that enough of those opt-ins are converting into customers to justify what you’re spending. If you’re not looking at all of the relevant metrics, you’re essentially flying blind.
This story gives us an insight on how important it is for us to check on our AdWords account and what are all the metrics that are to be considered to improve our performance.
Find the infographic on the step-by-step procedure to create AdWords Audit Reports here.
This video talks about online advertising and how important it is for businesses to use this to get to the right customers at the right time.
Since Google AdWords is an advertising platform that uses a paid search advertising model, in which users bid on the keywords they want to have trigger their sponsored ads, it is necessary to know how to optimize it to generate the best results.
While a number of factors determine a successful Google AdWords campaign, much can be achieved by focusing on:
Relevance – Crafting relevant AdWords keyword lists, tight AdWords keyword groups, and proper ad text.
Quality Score – Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC campaigns.
Whether you’ve inherited an AdWords account or created one from scratch, it’s important to take a step back and review the account as a whole to make sure there are no problems. There are a lot of moving parts and dozens of places problems can hide and it’s easy to miss them if you don’t have a system. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a comprehensive account audit to identify opportunities to improve your Google AdWords account! But before that just look at the way you need to think about your Ad campaigns for your business.
“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
For the keywords (and ad groups & campaigns) in your account that meet your goals, you’ll want to be as visible as possible. Every missed impression is a missed opportunity to generate additional clicks and conversions to further increase your profit.
“If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing at all.”
Maybe a campaign isn’t meeting your goals and you decide to lower its daily budget, which leads to lost impression share due to budget. This, of course, is just damage control and not solving any underlying problems. Lowering the budget also leads to less impressions for the profitable keywords, while still leaving impressions for the unprofitable ones. To prevent this, make sure you fix your problems at the right level: adjusting bids, adding negatives, pausing keywords, improving ads and landing pages, etc.
“If it can’t be done right, do something you can do right instead.”
If you’ve tried everything to improve the performance and impression share of a keyword but it doesn’t pay off, your time is probably better spent at improving other areas of your account. Don’t obsess over Ad Rank and quality score for every one of your keywords, and certainly don’t indulge yourself into ego bidding to ‘solve’ the problem.
Now having understood how and what to think about to make your ad campaigns, this blog will help you in different ways:
I. Common Errors done in AdWords management
II. Understand how AdWords Audit Reports Work
III. Analyzing the AdWords Audit Reports data using ReportGarden
IV. How to Use the Google AdWords Audit reports
I. Common Errors done in AdWords management
Data collected from the AdWords performance reports help you discover the major markers that determine the success or failure of advertisers in dealing with PPC ad performance. Many struggling adwords accounts make the same mistakes:
- Inconsistency: Only 1% of small business advertisers log in and do work in their PPC accounts each week. Our research has shown that PPC account activity plays a huge factor in determining ad performance. Don’t abandon your account at the wayside – treat it with care!
- Wasteful Spending: 20% of small businesses aren’t using any negative keywords. Negative keywords are absolutely essential when it comes to cutting down costs and preventing wasted spend that results from unqualified clicks.
- Improper Account Setup: More than 50% of small businesses aren’t implementing conversion tracking, which makes means they aren’t able to see how keywords and ad performance lead to sales. Conversion tracking is absolutely essential for properly measuring your ad performance.
Auditing an account helps save you money and time, and it should be regularly done both on new and old accounts.
II. How the AdWords Audit Reports Work
Google AdWords audit reports help AdWords advertisers better understand how well their campaigns are performing compared to PPC best practices. Let us look at each level of the account, from its organization to campaign and ad levels to understand the metrics to be worked on for the account’s improvement.
A. Account Organization Audit
The following steps will help you review your overall Google AdWords account to make sure it’s in good shape:
Structure – A well-structured campaign helps prevent problems like missing or overlapping keywords and helps you spot opportunities in your reports. It also makes it easier for colleagues to help manage your campaigns if your team grows.
Conversion Tracking– With conversion tracking, you can optimize every aspect of your campaigns to maximize profit and eliminate wasted spend by measuring the impact ads have on your bottom line. Make sure you’re tracking the most important actions a visitor could take.
Brand & Non-brand Split – All keywords that contain your brand name should live in their own campaign because branded keywords perform differently than non-brand keywords: CTR is higher, Quality Score is higher, search intent is different, ad copy is different, cost per conversion is different. Keep brand and non-brand separate so you can optimize accordingly.
Ad Group Focus – Having too many keywords in a single ad group makes it very difficult to create focused and relevant ads. Split out keywords into new ad groups based on the main word and theme and drop in a custom ad that someone searching those keywords would want to see.
Approval Issues– Approval issues keep your ads from running but can be fixed quickly. If you find any, make the required change and set a reminder for yourself to check back in a few days to make sure the issue has been resolved.
B. Campaign Setting Audit
Now that we’ve made sure your AdWords account is in good shape, let’s take a look at each campaign to make sure they’re set up optimally.
Ad Rotation – While “rotate evenly” is great for split testing multiple ads, it requires you to manually monitor the test for a winner. Failing to pause ads that under-perform will mean the losing ads keep serving. A great alternative is to set the ads to “optimize to clicks” or “optimize to conversions.” With these settings, AdWords will test your ads on its own and serve the winners more quickly than if you were to do it manually.
Budget – Review your spend and budget to make sure your best-performing campaigns have a high enough budget to handle the volume. If the budget is maxed out, consider lowering your bids in order to reduce your cost per click– you just might get more clicks for your money.
Location & Language – Make sure your campaign is targeting only the locations your business serves. And if your budget is limited, consider only targeting your most profitable locations for now. Also consider adding additional languages that your bilingual customers may speak. This opens up your campaign to additional opportunities to display your ads.
Search/Display Network – You never want to create an AdWords campaign that’s set to serve on both the Search Network and Display Network because that makes the campaign difficult to optimize. If you want to serve banner ads and advertise on blogs and niche sites, create a dedicated Google AdWords campaign that is set to serve on the Display Network Only.
Ad Delivery – Standard delivery distributes your budget throughout the day and helps you avoid running out of budget early in the day. Accelerated delivery shows your ads as soon as reasonably possible which means your ads could stop serving before you even wake up.
Bid Modifiers – Bid modifiers make it easy to adjust your bid based on the predicted value. For example, if you have a 5% conversion rate on mobile and a 10% conversion rate on desktop, you may want to decrease your bid for ads shown on mobile devices.
C. Ad Audit
Now it’s time to address that part of your campaign that potential customers see. Your ads are what you’re paying to promote, after all, so let’s make sure they’re strong.
Typos – Typos reflect poorly on your business and obscure the message of your ad. Pause any ads with issues, and make the corrections in a duplicate of the ad (changing the ad directly will reset the performance statistics).
Calls to Action – Tell your customers what the next step they should take is and you’ll see an increase in the number of them that actually follow through.
Ad Quantity – Keeping multiple ad variations in an ad group makes it easy to find and serve the best ad for those keywords. It also protects you from sudden disapprovals that could pause an ad without you knowing. Add new ad variations to your ad group to keep the number of ads to two or greater.
Custom Display URLs – The display URL is a great place to tailor your ad to show relevance to the ad group. It’s possible that that display URL outperforms the real URL so you should test it. Just make sure you have redirects set up for these made-up URLs in case someone copies and pastes the link.
Having spoken about the audit at account organization, campaign settings and ad level, let us now look at the general metrics to be looked at to improve the overall performance of the account. These reports include an overall grade as well as individual grades in ten key areas of pay-per-click management:
- Wasted Spend
- Quality Score
- Impression Share
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Account Activity
- Long-Tail Keyword Optimization
- Ad Text Optimization
- Landing Page Optimization
- Mobile Advertising
- PPC Best Practices
You need to know how well you’re really doing in each of these important areas, as well as how you could improve your performance, driving more leads and sales at lower costs. So to know your performance and to improve that you need to what these parameters are in detail and understand how to improve each of these.
1. What Is a Good Quality Score in AdWords?
Google’s AdWords Quality Score is a grading system that judges your ads and gives you a “score.” Having a good AdWords Quality Score is essential to a successful AdWords campaign. Google’s quality rating has a powerful influence over the cost-effectiveness of your paid search campaigns, making it essential to have a good Quality Score in AdWords. Having a high Quality Score is a tremendous benefit to your AdWords campaign, as it provides you with:
Lower costs – Google rewards advertisers with high Quality Scores by lowering their cost per click (CPC), which can subsequently lower your cost per conversion.
More exposure – When you have high Quality Scores, your ads will display more often and in better positions. You can get more exposure, more clicks, and more conversions without having to raise your bids.
Your AdWords Quality Score is determined by several factors:
- Relevance of ad copy to the keyword
- Relevance of the ad to its corresponding landing page
- The ad’s click-through rate (CTR)
- Historical account performance
- Other relevance and performance factors
A higher Quality Score equates to more impressions at lower costs, lowering your cost per click and cost per action. Having a high Quality Score is key, but it can often be difficult to manage the varying factors that contribute to Quality Score single handedly.
2. What Is a Good Click-Through Rate (CTR) on AdWords?
Click-through rate (CTR) measures the percentage of clicks advertisers receive on their ads per the number of impressions. “Impressions” refers to how often your ad is viewed-if your ad has a lot of impressions but no clicks, you will have a low CTR, which generally reduces the effectiveness of your campaigns. Click-through rate is important because it affects your Quality Score, making a high CTR an essential component of a profitable AdWords campaign. Google AdWords gives high Quality Scores to advertisers with high AdWords click-through rates. In sum:
- High click-through rates lead to high Quality Scores.
- High Quality Scores allow you to improve or maintain ad position for lower costs.
3. What Are Negative Keywords in AdWords?
Negative keywords serve as essential building blocks in establishing a successful keyword list. Adding a negative keyword to your AdWords ad group or campaign ensures that your ad will not appear for search queries containing that term. Using negative keywords in your Google AdWords campaign is beneficial because they:
- Filter out unwanted ads – Creating a negative keyword ensures that your ad doesn’t show for that particular term.
- Allow you to reach the most appropriate audience – By ensuring that only relevant queries trigger your ad, you are more likely to reach an audience that is likely to convert.
- Reduce cost per click and increase ROI – Don’t waste money on unwanted impressions and clicks from irrelevant searches that won’t convert to sales. Using negative keywords helps put a stop to wasted spend.
4. What Makes a Good Landing Page for AdWords?
Having a well-crafted landing page is a big component of a good Google AdWords Quality Score. From the moment a prospective customer reaches your landing page, everything should be tailored to helping the customer find what they are searching for and assist them towards a conversion. A successful landing page requires a number of different elements:
- Keyword Segmentation – Different types of keywords should take visitors to different landing pages with their own customized offers.
- Navigability – Users should be able to easily find what they are looking for and move around your site.
- Compelling Offer – If your ad references special products, have those products in the front and center on the landing page. You should give visitors a reason to stay.
- Focused Page Content – Optimize each landing page by authoring page content around groups of relevant, narrowly focused keywords.
The better the landing page, the more conversions you are likely to achieve. Expertly designed landing pages have a powerful impact on both SEO and PPC marketing campaigns.
- Organic Search Benefits: Keyword-relevant content results in higher rankings in the SERPs for the keywords you’re targeting, bringing more visibility and more traffic.
- Pay-Per-Click Benefits: Keyword-specific AdWords landing pages are much more likely to earn strong Quality Scores and high conversion rates, as the landing pages will be more aligned with the searcher’s intent.
While a better optimized landing page will help increase conversion rates, depending on what you are trying to persuade visitors to do, what constitutes a “good” conversion rate will vary. A “good” conversion rate depends on what the desired conversion is. Conversion rates will tend to be higher if visitors are asked to sign up with a simple form to receive something free. If visitors have to fill out a lengthy survey or provide credit card information, conversion rates will be lower. While conversions can range from 0-50%, 2% is quite common.
5. What is Impression Share View?
This view helps us understand how often our ads are showing up. We can see if our budgets are where they need to be and if our ad ranks are sitting in the right places. Most times advertisers want to improve PPC performance without increasing budgets. While optimization should always be happening, there is a time and place for budget changes. Bid management and budget management need to be revisited often.
6. What is Text Ad Optimization?
The more text ads you write and test, the better your results will be. Do your ad numbers measure up? To get the most out of PPC, target your weakest ads and replace them with new and relevant text ads that feature compelling text and keywords from your ad groups. Long-tail keywords cost less per click and often drive more conversions. Are you taking advantage of these less competitive long-tail opportunities? Adding more long-tail keywords to your campaigns could improve your conversion rates and lower costs per click.
7. What is Mobile Advertising?
Mobile searches increased by 200% year over year and are set to outpace desktop searches. Mobile searches often have higher action intent, convert quickly with 55% taking action within 1 hour, and typically cost less per click than desktop CPC’s.
8. What are AdWords Best Practices?
These best practices for AdWords account management will help you improve your account performance:
- Filtering out wasteful, irrelevant clicks and non-converting traffic with negative keywords.
- Maximizing relevance across your campaigns for higher Quality Scores.
- Raising click-through rates with strong keyword, text ad, and ad group targeting and organization.
- Practicing regular, active account management and optimization.
- Expanding and refining your campaigns with long-tail keyword research.
- Testing multiple text ads to optimize CTR, conversion rate and cost per conversion.
- Creating unique, targeted, well-designed landing pages for each ad group.
- Making use of the modified broad match option and other settings that improve targeting.
- Leveraging Mobile PPC features like call extensions and site-links to improve conversions.
III. Analyzing the AdWords Audit Reports data using ReportGarden
If you’re managing accounts consistently and sticking to a well thought-out process, there will almost certainly be things you can automate to free up your time to work on the strategic and creative elements of your campaigns. And of course, if you’re either not comfortable mucking around in Excel with large volumes of data or simply don’t have the time, ReportGarden, a PPC & Adwords Reporting Tool, automates a lot of the work of getting all the performance related data of your account data to bubble up important insights about your account performance. You can try the tool for free!
This infographic clearly gives the step-by-step process to be followed to create AdWords Audit Reports using ReportGarden.
1. Select New Report option available in the Reports option on the left side of the screen.
2. Name your report and select a template that will generate your report in the required format. For example, for this AdWords audit report we can select AdWords account performance Template from the options available.
Select your AdWords account from the drop-down menu of the AdWords Account and also the time period that you would like to analyze the campaign for.
The sample report is created where each page of the report can be modified according to the interest of the client with various text formats and custom colors with the edit option on the respective pages.
3. This report contains various performance reports like
Impression Share performancea
- Search Query Performance Report
4. All these performance reports can now be edited based on the requirement of the metrics to be included to understand the insights better.
You can track your conversions through these performance reports at the campaign, ad group and ads level as well. In each of the performance report you can edit the attributes to add the conversions metrics and the other metrics related to that.
From these AdWords audit reports you can as well check your account structure so that they don’t have too many duplicate keywords and not too few or too many ad text variations.
You can also check the keywords performance with reference to the ad group and the keyword match types.
You can also segment the data so that you can look at your data at a granular enough level to get actionable insights based on:
These performance reports can also be created using the widgets on the right side of the screen and by changing the dimension of the table with reference to the performance report needed.
5. You can also arrange the attributes in each of the table in ascending/ descending order based on any measure used in it like impressions, clicks, CTR% or others by using the options available in the advanced setting options in the edit menu.
6. You can now analyze each performance report based on the metrics involved and improve the performance of your account based on the insights.
IV. How to Use the Google AdWords Audit reports
Google AdWords has revolutionized the online advertising landscape, encouraging advertisers to create relevant ads that cater to the searcher’s needs. The innovative quality requirements that make Google AdWords so unique and powerful can also make it tricky for advertisers to maximize their ROI, especially as new businesses struggle to juggle the various components that make up AdWords.
The AdWords Performance reports provides clarity and understanding to the difficult and confusing elements of Google AdWords Management. Because AdWords is so complex, it can often be difficult to determine where you are losing money in your campaign. The AdWords Performance reports give you a fast, free, and easy-to-understand audit of your AdWords campaign, showing where and how to improve your PPC campaign in order to maximize profits. The AdWords Performance reports can be used in numerous ways:
- To focus your efforts as you begin in Google AdWords, ensuring a profitable and efficient campaign.
- Provides a thorough and comprehensive report on your Google AdWords campaigns, bringing your attention to where you can improve results and save money.
- Use the AdWords Audit Report to see how well your agency is working for you.
Any and all of these are great reasons to use the Google AdWords Audit reports to see how your PPC metrics stack up against best practices.
Learn more about how you can automate your AdWords Client Reporting!