When launching a paid search campaign, many digital marketers will perform a generic campaign management audit. After, most PPC campaigns will never receive the in-depth analysis a search campaign needs in order to be a success. However, regular digital account audits are an essential part of managing paid search campaigns.
While the thought of constant monitoring may seem daunting and time-consuming to a small marketing team or an individual business owner, a regular PPC audit is vital to a healthy digital marketing strategy. With this step-by-step guide, your marketing team will benefit from an auditing methodology that works for your business.
Set your audit goals
Before getting started, you need to establish the reason why you’re performing this paid search audit. Are you looking to shake up your campaign strategy? Have you seen a decrease in your digital marketing analytics? At Statwax, we typically perform account audits in order to:
- Uncover new opportunities for growth in existing campaigns
- Double-check new launches for accuracy
- Introduce a new team member to an existing account
- Learn about a new client for the first time
Determining the purpose of your digital marketing strategy will help the auditor create campaign goals as well as an action plan for each of your advertising platforms.
Document before you start and as you go
For a paid search campaign audit to be successful from the start, there’s certain information and data that should always be documented. This offers the auditor a high-level overview of past and current account activity. Before you begin performing your audit, you may want to include information about:
- Account structure: Details about campaign naming structures and main conversion actions
- PPC campaign settings: An understanding of targeted locations, bidding strategies, etc.
- Landing pages: A list of landing pages and the campaigns or services they are promoting
- Performance thresholds: What is the cost-per-action or lead expectations? Does the account have any seasonal fluctuations?
- Client offerings: A list of products or services offered by the client
Continuously documenting insights during the audit will make it easier to create a guide to help optimize your campaign throughout its lifespan.
Find new opportunities
After running for an extended period of time, paid search campaigns often plateau, leaving you feeling as if there is no room for growth. When success becomes stagnant, your marketing plan may benefit from an audit to identify new opportunities and optimize existing campaigns.
First, you’ll want to review all digital advertising platforms to see which PPC campaigns are active. For paid search ads, you can evaluate specific details such as keywords and locations to identify potential areas of growth. You might even discover some digital platforms that you haven’t implemented into your marketing framework yet.
Once you’ve reviewed all current and past campaigns, a good next step is to bring in people who aren’t on the account regularly to brainstorm new PPC campaign strategies. Since they aren’t as embedded with the information about the specifics of the search campaign, they can often bring a different perspective, allowing you to take a more well-rounded approach when optimizing your tactics.
After the brainstorm, you can then compare new ideas to what is already running or paused. Maybe an existing search campaign wasn’t approached correctly the first time around and just needs a few tweaks. Or you might come up with an idea for a completely new campaign strategy on a new online platform.
Double-checking work may seem like a tedious task for a PPC campaign audit since many settings can be automated to make your work more effective. Marketing automation does save time and can be more reliable than one person reviewing an entire account. However, it’s important to review your automations regularly to make sure they’re running properly.
For example, say we have an automation set up to ensure each paid search ad group has at least three ads in it. It’s still possible these ads aren’t in the correct ad group or might even be sending users to the incorrect landing page. These small details can be missed when we try to automate everything.
At Statwax, we find it helpful to perform regular check-ins on the different digital campaign items we’ve automated to ensure success. We also recommend having someone who isn’t running the day-to-day of the account perform a check-in on a regular schedule.
The main takeaway we hope marketing groups get from this blog is the importance of laying out your intent or goal for an audit before you begin. Though the process can seem daunting, regular digital account audits can help you find new opportunities and avoid mistakes.
Interested in an in-depth audit of your digital advertising campaigns? Reach out to our digital marketing experts today.