Sample PPC Account & Management Audit

Below is an actual PPC audit we completed for a prospective client that has been scrubbed to maintain their anonymity.

Overview

We evaluated the account’s holistic performance to identify key areas for potential growth. We believe there are tremendous opportunities to see short term results by re-evaluating and potentially bringing back inactive campaigns that had positive ROI, re-aligning long-tail keyword targeting, streamlining the paid shopping experience, and generally optimizing the account to run more efficiently.

Long term, we believe expanded A/B testing, bringing retargeting back into the fold, diving into landing page optimization, getting more granular with conversion rate optimization, and steady ongoing maintenance/testing will yield positive results and open up new opportunities.

High-Level Goals

  • Focus on reducing cost / improving conversion to make the account more profitable
  • Discover and lean into relevant, non-branded keywords that have the potential to convert
  • Maximize each campaign’s individual performance through continued optimization

Recommended Actions

  • Confirm tracking setup & cross-check Analytics / AdWords data with Shopify data to verify accuracy. (These won’t ever be perfect, but we need to confirm the site is setup properly and look at more granular data)
    • Example: Smart campaign 1 shows ~$703k for conversion value with Shopify conversions being the only active AdWords "conversion action" being tracked. However, Analytics only tracked ~$288k in revenue.
  • Cut non-performing campaigns, Ad Groups, products in PLAs, etc. to use the daily budget more effectively.
  • Re-evaluate & bring back inactive campaigns that were performing well and increase budget.
    • Campaign 1: +345% ROI or $127k
    • Campaign 2: +958% ROI or or $58k 
    • Campaign 3: +798% ROI or or $48k
    • Campaign 4: +17% ROI or $41k 
    • Campaign 5: +25% ROI or $4k
  • Break out short tail keywords into longer tail variants to improve targeting & lower CPC.
  • Follow proper AB testing protocols to ensure objective results that are beyond reproach, i.e. one change per ad to ensure ensuing results are from said change.
  • Extensive negative keyword audit to ensure proper targeting & mitigate wasted spend.
  • Ensure that all non-branded campaign ads are pointing at relevant landing pages.
  • Ensure consistent targeting from keyword to landing page to boost Quality Scores above the Google Benchmark.
  • Implement remarketing campaigns for both branded and non-branded campaigns to re-engage customers that did not convert.
    • This will be a major priority moving forward.
    • Edit display campaign placements to improve targeting.
  • Further evaluate and adjust campaign ad schedules to show during prime hours. 

Detailed PPC Audit

Date Range: 1/1/2019 - 2/6/2020

Account

  • Average total spend: ~$39k / month
    • Feb MTD spend: ~$6.6k (~$31.9k projected EOM)
  • Data discrepancy between what’s being shown in AdWords for conversion value vs. revenue tracked in Google analytics
    • Conversion tracking reportedly fixed in May 2019 to remove duplicates.

Campaigns

  • Most of the active non-branded campaigns are leveraging exact match keywords.
    • This means that they’re bidding on very specific keywords and nothing else.
    • This makes for a very narrow focus when you aren’t leveraging phrase and broad matches as well.
  • High cost / conv. Makes me wonder how much profit is actually being generated from these sales.
    • Campaign 8: $483.42 cost / conv
    • Campaign 9: $405.99 cost / conv
    • Campaign 10: $294.95 cost / conv
    • Campaign 11: $238.20 cost / conv
  • Out of the 20 active campaigns, only 2 have positive ROI. See attached spreadsheet.
  • Curious as to why current agency hasn’t boosted budget on campaigns w/ positive ROI and why they paused campaigns that were previously converting.
  • Serious ad spend on PLA campaigns with small spend on category based text ads.
  • No active remarketing campaign from what we can see.
  • A lot of room for growth on the PLA campaigns.
    • "All Products" has 78% lost impression share due to its budget.
  • Local campaigns: Look into performance at the My Business Listing level to see what sort of throughput is going on here. 
    • At the AdWords level, it looks like it isn’t generating anything substantial.
  • Ad schedule: Basically running around the clock (4am - midnight).
    • 4a - 7a & 8p - 12a are the worst performing time blocks and prime targets to be removed so that budget could be reallocated and used during prime shopping hours.
    • PLA campaigns don’t have a specified ad schedule. Definitely not helping.

Ad Groups

  • A lot of non-performing AGs are still active, most w/ zero conversions. 
    • Campaign 15 has 36 active ad groups & only 4 have conversions. Whole AG has -85% ROI.
  • Hyper granular ad groups
    • 154 ad groups under the Campaign 16. 30 of which have received clicks since 1/1/19
    • This methodology is not working.
      • **** campaign: $158 cost / conv. Most expensive product is $164.
      • **** campaign: $483 cost / conv. Most expensive product is $790, but most are sub $450.
      • **** campaign: $405 cost / conv. Most expensive product is $989, but most fall in the $400 - $600 range.

Ad Copy

  • Not using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in the text ads nor has it ever been tested.
    • Break exact Ad Groups out into Short Tail & Long Tail variants to use DKI on short tail ad copy
  • Aren’t using Responsive Search Ads  (RSAs) nor have they ever been tested.
    • We’ve seen higher engagement with this ad type over standard text ads.
  • 3+ ads active on campaigns w/ low daily budgets. 
    • You’re not going to get good throughput on those AB tests.
  • Not following standard AB testing procedures. Multiple changes are being tested across multiple lines instead of one change at a time.
  • Using keyword-level URLs: Ridiculously inefficient with how granular these Ad Groups already are.

Keywords

  • Not leveraging long-tail keywords.
  • Very narrow targeting at the ad group level, i.e. 1-3 keywords per ad group.
    • Bidding on a small sample of short tail keywords. 
    • Leads to wider targeting and higher CPCs. 
  • Looks like they aren’t going into each keyword’s Search Terms and leveraging negative keywords to cull low / non performers and unrelated keywords.
    • Or, for that matter, breaking out keywords that are getting traction and specifically targeting them to drive down CPCs.
  • Low quality scores due to inconsistent keyword targeting from the keyword to the ad copy to the landing page. 
    • Currently sitting in the 2 - 5 range.
    • Low quality scores lead to higher CPCs.

Landing Pages

  • Some the campaigns & individual ad groups are using the homepage as their landing page.
    • This is invariably reducing conversion rates, lowering quality scores, and providing a poor user experience. 
  • Creating new collections in Shopify (if they don’t already exist) is a good stop gap measure until we develop an ongoing strategy for landing page optimization & testing.

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