Every so often, an account lands in your lap and you just don’t know where to begin. Performance might be in a downturn and what is converting is coming at a high cost. You want to dive in and start optimizing, but how can you decide what to focus on first? By combining a couple of simple reports, you can quickly diagnose an ailing account and go from zero to PPC Hero.

Get Your Account On The Scale

The elusive quality score. When it is good, your account often looks and performs wonderfully. When quality score drops, finding the right fix can be an uphill battle. If you have been following PPC Hero for some time now you know what we preach: averages lie.

In order to get a clear understanding of ad group quality score, you need to look at weighted quality score. Calculating weighted quality score is easy and gives you more insight into the health of your account. You can calculate this metric by following these steps.

  • Download a keyword report to Excel with clicks, cost, impressions, impression share, and quality score, as well as any other metric you might find useful.
  • Create a new column called “QS*Impressions” and calculate the quality score times the impressions for each keyword.
  • Create a pivot table of your data so that your pivot table builder resembles this:Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 1.09.34 PM
  • Now create a calculated field in the pivot to get the normalized, or weighted, quality score, which will be the sum of QS*Impressions divided by Impressions.Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 1.13.35 PM
  • Add the field to your pivot and you can now see quality score next to weighted quality score for a truer picture of health.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 1.45.48 PM

Sometimes the average quality score is lying for the better, sometimes for the worse. It is really helpful to see where the bulk of the campaign spend and impression volume is. As you continue to diagnose, it will tell you where your efforts will make the most impact.

Check Exposure

Now that you have a good look at weighted quality score, time to add impression share to the mix and see where your keywords have been. PPC Heroes know there are multitudes of ways to optimize your account by looking at impression share. Just type in “impression share” into the PPC Hero search bar and you will find ways to maximize revenue and get more budget, to name a few.

What we are going to do with impression share is push it right up next to the weighted quality score. Go back to your pivot table and add “Average of Impression Share” to the columns. I then like to add conditional formatting to my data for quick comparisons. For both Weighted QS and Impression Share, add formatting so that the highest numbers are green and lowest are red.

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We have all the information we need. Now what?

Diagnosing The Underlying Cause

Look at the data. If the quality score is low and the impression share is low, that tells us we need a good old-fashioned restructure. The poor quality scores are limiting keywords from showing in results. Hone in on structure: tighten up your ad group themes, cut unnecessary keywords, write better ad copy.

If you find that quality score is good, but impression share is low then you’ve got bidding issues. Download a keyword report with estimated first page bids and make sure your max CPC is competitive enough. If not, raise those bids. Limited by budget? In this case, you might consider a smaller scale restructure in order to give breathing room to your core keywords.

Finally, if you find that both your quality score and your impression share are high, you are in luck. You can start working your best practices on the account right away.

Finding A Cure

No two accounts are the same. What is a cure for one account may not work for another. Regular check-ups are key. The report outlined here is just a starting point. Schedule some time to periodically check your account and try one of the following:

  • Audit your account: Check in on settings, extensions, bid modifications to make sure they still make sense.
  • Use a QS Tracker Script: Keep an eye on your top keywords, making sure other optimizations in the account don’t negatively impact your quality score.

In conclusion, before you start shoving solutions in an account, make sure you know what you are dealing with first. While it can be exciting to jump into accounts and throw your mad PPC skills at it, get your bedside manner in check and make sure you are listening to what your account is telling you. A correct diagnosis leads to happy and healthy accounts.

What other reports do you use to diagnose your account?