6 Useless PPC Account Audit Techniques

By Jeff Allen | @JeffAllenUT | President at Hanapin Marketing

PPC Audits are incredibly useful. At our agency we have Account Mangers audit accounts routinely and they almost always find ways to increase account performance that the lead on the account glossed over. We also perform audits for companies small and large. Unfortunately, as with everything PPC, sometimes these audits are ineffective, or even cause damage. That’s because they focus on the wrong metrics, charts and analysis. Here’s a handful of poor audit techniques, and where you should really be focusing when conducting a PPC audit.


1. Data Fire Hose

This is where the final report is dozens and dozens of pages of raw data. Even if not raw, relatively useless. The best account audits I’ve seen have been 5-7 pages of actions items with one or two charts and/or graphs to back up the suggestion. You’re getting hired for your expertise, not your ability to pull reports.


2. Top Keywords or Top Campaigns or Top Ad Groups

To find the to performers you select a date range and sort by the metric. You knew that right? The person you are auditing knows how to do that too. Instead of listing the top anything, determine what the theme between the top performers are and report that.


3.  Quantity of Match Types

I’ve seen audits that list what percent of keywords in an account are the different ad types. This tells you nothing. What would tell you something was CPL by each compared to volume and cost. Additionally, there would need to be some weighting on the lesson learned from bidding on the match types. Specifically, were valuable keywords pulled from SQR’s that would not have been found if the broad match of a keyword was not in the account?


4. Trends in Cost per Click

Many audited show the history of CPC over the past month, year, or several years. This typically shows an increase in CPC over time as the marketplace continues to become more competitive. This is also not very useful because it doesn’t tell you anything other than you pay more per click. A more useful metric is per visit value. This tells you how much revenue is generated per click. Which is what really matters. Often CPC goes up as top performing keywords are identified and bid up. This means CPC goes up, but if you are optimizing, PVV goes up which


5. Total Impressions / Impression Over Time

First, reporting on just impressions is silly. There is too much that impacts it, including simply launching and pausing display campaigns. Segmenting impressions by those channels is a start, but what should really be done is segmentation of impressions by brand and non-brand (or even multiply categories). Segmenting these will show you if you are increasing brand recognition (brand impressions) and how that compares to non-brand. It will also tell you if performance increases are only related to an increase in brand awareness, or if general performance has exceeded brand reach.


6. Click Through Rates Over Time

This is another stat that has too many influencers. An increase in CTR could be bad if the traffic generated from it was irrelevant, a decrease could be bad because of an increase in competition and not anything to do with the effectiveness of the ad copy. A better metric to analyze for a PPC audit is conversions per impression.