How To Audit a Low Performing AdWords Account
January 10, 2018
AdWords accounts are sometimes like children, your job is to take of the account and watch it grow. But also like children, having all of your children healthy at the same time is not always a given. There are going to be times when one of your accounts is underperforming and will need some extra TLC. In this article, I am going to discuss how you keep plugging away when your account is not up to snuff and how to help your contact understand you are working on the right steps to get the account healthy again.
Where to Begin
When you first notice that your account is under the weather, the best thing is to evaluate all of the changes you have made in the last few days or weeks. If you have made a lot of changes in the last few days and not sure what you might have done that could have changed performance, go to “Tools” and click on “Change History” to see all of the activity that has happened in that account. For certain changes, like bid increases and uploading ad copy, you can undo the change by clicking the undo button.
If you haven’t noticed any changes that are out of the ordinary, such as adding keywords, changing bids, or new ad copy, then it is the time to bring in a person with fresh eyes. When you have worked closely with an account for a substantial amount of time, you might overlook some warning signs because you get into a routine on what you think the account needs. By bringing in a new person who does not work on the account on a daily basis, he or she might notice you might have made a change such as switching your audience to target instead of bid only and that you missed out on some valuable traffic. Also by bringing in a new person you can brainstorm what areas of the account could be the problem and help figure out next steps to get the account back on track.
Outside of AdWords
Sometimes even when bringing in your backup squad, you might find ways to improve performance but that there wasn’t an event within AdWords that brought the health of the account down. During times like that, it can be frustrating but you have to keep going to look for what you can do to help get your ads performing well again. There could be new competitors in the paid search field that is driving up the cost per click (CPC), your landing page may have changed and now your ad copy and landing page aren’t congruent anymore. By pulling an Auction Insights report, you might notice new competitors and by auditing your landing pages you might discover content could have changed.
One of the larger clients I work with had a drop in mobile site speed and that lowered our conversion rate and spiked our cost per conversions. Even though the work our team was doing within AdWords did not cause our low performance, it was our responsibility to look outside of AdWords and develop a new strategy on how to fix performance. With this client, we were able to work with a Google Site Speed representative and look at the backend of the page to see how our client could rework the page to make it load faster so our users could convert. This work was outside of our scope, but by being consultative the client was able to make changes on their end and our paid performance bounced right back.
The Earlier the Better
I mentioned a few things to do to help pinpoint what could be causing trouble with the account, but one of the most important things is to communicate the situation to the client. When performance is down it could be tempting to hide it under the rug and hope the client won’t notice. It is better to be upfront with your contact and explain that you know that this is not normal performance and the steps you are taking to fix the problem. Walk the client through your thought process of your audit, bringing in additional team members, as well as looking outside of AdWords to see if the problem is external.
By working with the client and letting them know you are working on the problem, you are being proactive instead of having the client come to you on their own discovering that performance is not ideal. Once you know what the problem is and how to fix it, make sure the client is in the loop especially if you might need their help to boost performance. My client whose mobile site speed was a big factor with our low performance was a huge advocate for getting the landing page cleaned up as soon as possible because they understood the correlation between our numbers and the speed. When you are upfront about performance and have a clear plan on how to fix it, the client will understand you are working hard to get the account where it needs to be and will be healthy again.
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