How To Conduct a Complete PPC Audit

As a digital marketer, it’s important to know how your advertising is performing and when you can increase the return on investment. This guide will help walk you through finding PPC insights in Google Analytics and also provide some best practices for optimizing campaigns.

A “ppc audit checklist” is a list of tasks that can be completed to conduct a complete PPC audit. These tasks are broken down into the following categories:

Maintaining and enhancing your Bing Ads and Google AdWords accounts requires regular PPC audits. To ensure that each account is maximized to its greatest capacity, you should perform an audit every six months or whenever you start managing a new account. Within three months of implementing major modifications, an audit should not be performed. At least three months’ worth of PPC data should be included in every PPC audit.

Download Data from Multiple Sources

To do a PPC audit, I usually download both Google AdWords and Bing Ads, as well as Analytics, to verify the data. Some PPC experts conduct audits using just their online AdWords or Bing Ads accounts. To make it simpler to evaluate and interpret the data, I like to download all of the data to an Excel spreadsheet. Managers and directors may readily observe the modifications made and the rationale for the changes thanks to the Excel spreadsheet audit.

Make a spreadsheet and populate it with data.

For each campaign audit, I begin by establishing an Excel spreadsheet. I identify the spreadsheet with the season, year, and campaign name, for example, “Brand PPC Audit Autumn 2015” for a brand campaign in Autumn 2015. I start at the campaign level and work my way down to the keywords while performing a PPC audit.

Within the main spreadsheet, each element of the AdWords or Bing Ads and Analytics PPC analysis has its own worksheet, for example, each ad extension has its own worksheet. The Analytics worksheet tabs are usually orange, whereas the AdWords or Bing Ads worksheet tabs are usually blue or green.

I also have a worksheet with suggestions and modifications. The existing issue, the cause for fixing the problem, an illustration of the problem, and the remedy are all explained in the recommendations worksheet. The issue, an example, and how the problem was corrected are all explained in the modifications worksheet.

I look at the impressions, clicks, sessions, average CPC, cost, Quality Rating, Positional average, average session length, percent of new sessions, pages per session, bounce rate, conversion rate, conversions, click conversion rate, and cost per conversion for each component of the PPC account. To guarantee that they are improved, I mark the top in red and the lowest in blue on each worksheet. I also use red to identify any concerns (such as unapproved advertising) that I find during my audit. How-To-Conduct-a-Complete-PPC-Audit

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Examine the Account Structure

You should double-check that your account’s structure matches the components of your company or website. Campaign names should be double-checked to verify that they make sense; for example, a furniture-related campaign should be called furniture.

Multi-Channel Funnels, Google Analytics Linking

A Google Analytics account should be connected to every AdWords account. During the audit, make sure your account is properly connected and the Google Analytics tracking code is accurately applied. An AdWords audit should also look at the Analytics multi-channel funnels to have a better understanding of the paid search client experience.

Auditing Programs

Theme of the Campaign

To guarantee a more successful marketing, the campaigns should be carefully themed. Non-branded keywords should be placed in a different campaign than brand keywords. If your campaign isn’t using the majority of your spending, you should make changes to guarantee that it is.

Setting up a campaign

The Setting up a campaigns can be easily ignored during an audit, however every setting should be checked to ensure it is optimized.

Examine the Budget

You should make sure you’re getting the most out of your money. If your campaign claims to be budget-constrained, it should be modified. To prevent a budget depletion, you may optimize your ad schedule, target a smaller region, decrease your bids, alter the keyword match type to exact or phrase match, switch from expedited to conventional delivery, and include negative keywords. If you still have budget concerns after making these modifications, some PPC experts suggest transferring the low traffic volume keywords to a different campaign.

Examine the Networks

You should look into the networks where the campaigns are running. It’s important to double-check that the campaigns are only running on the search network or the display network, not both.

Examine your location preferences.

Targeting by Location

Make certain you’re focusing on your optimal areas. These should be places where the firm has shops or branches, or where it can deliver.

Locations to be excluded

You should make sure that areas where your organization doesn’t have branches/stores or can’t deliver are excluded.

Examine Bid Modifications

Bid adjustment is the process of adjusting the value of a click depending on location, device, and time. I usually alter my bids depending on three months’ worth of data for location and device targeting, as well as ad timing. You should be certain that the bid changes you’ve put up are the most efficient.

Examine the Device Targeting

You should double-check that you’re targeting the right devices. Mobile advertising should be produced particularly for mobile devices and optimized for display on these devices.

Examine the Ad Scheduling

Check to see whether ad scheduling is the best option for your campaign. Your adverts should appear during peak conversion or transaction periods. If your best time for conversions or transactions is 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, then your advertising should appear at that time. You may also employ bid changes to increase your chances of winning.

Make Certain You’re Targeting Properly

You should double-check the language targeted. If you just want to target English speakers, make sure it’s set up that way.

Ascertain that the best delivery method is chosen.

To guarantee that the budget is spread over the day, confirm that the delivery mode is set to the suggested regular delivery rather than expedited, unless there is a justification for an accelerated delivery.

Ensure that your ad rotation and PPC objectives are in sync.

Make sure your ad rotation settings (found in the advanced settings section of the settings page) align with your PPC objectives. Optimize for clicks (the default setting), optimize for conversions, rotate evenly, and rotate eternally are all options.

Take a look at your bidding strategy.

Your campaign objectives should also be reflected in your bid tactics. To concentrate on clicks, you may use automated CPC or manual CPC, manual CPM for impressions, or CPA bidding for conversions.

Examine the IP Exclusions

Make sure your office’s IP address is blocked. This implies that when you search for your search phrases, your advertising will not appear, preventing you from wasting impressions, clicks, or impressions on your workplace. You may use the ad preview and diagnosis tool to see what your advertisements look like.

Theme Ad Groups and Keyword Count

The ad groups should be carefully themed around the keywords you’ve picked. It is suggested that an ad group only include 10 to 20 keywords.

Examine Your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads


When doing an audit of your adverts, make sure the messaging is accurate. Every PPC ad should include a call to action, emphasize the unique value proposition, incorporate relevant keywords, and stand out from the competition. You should also double-check that the offered discounts and pricing have not expired. To ensure that ad messages are optimal, they should be evaluated on a regular basis.

URL to be shown

The URL to be shown used within the ad copy should be optimized for your keyword. For example if you are advertising sunglasses, the URL to be shown should include the domain of the destination URL with the addition of the keyword after a forward slash.

Landing pages / final URLs

The landing pages that visitors are sent to as a result of the advertising should be the most relevant to the ads and keywords. The landing pages should be tested to verify that they function properly on all devices and load promptly.

Amount of Ads

I normally have three to five advertisements in each ad group open at the same time, which makes it easier to evaluate ad wording. Each ad group can include a maximum of 50 text advertisements, however even if I’m trying a lot of different ad messages, I try to keep it around 15.

Ad Rank

For each ad and term, you should make sure you have a good ad rank. In AdWords or Bing Ads, you may confirm this by looking at the Positional average column. You may be losing impressions owing to a poor ad rank if an ad or keyword ranks lower than second. I raise the Quality Rating by boosting ad relevance, optimizing landing sites, and grouping keywords into smaller ad groups to enhance ad rank. You may also raise the CPC bid to enhance the ad rank, although this is less cost effective if the Quality Rating can be improved.

Ads that have been disapproved

You should check for Ads that have been disapproved. When you have a new disapproved ad, there will be an alert on the right hand side notifying you. The policy details column will explain why the ad was disapproved so that you can fix the ads.

Grammar and Spelling

You should check the Grammar and Spelling of the ads including the description, headlines, URL to be shown and final URL. You should also check the spelling of keywords, campaigns and Extensions for Ads.

Remarketing and the Display Network

Placements Made Automatically

If you are using Placements Made Automatically, you should ensure they are performing well. Poorly performing Placements Made Automatically can be changed to be managed manually if required.


If your advertising are showing up in locations where they aren’t functioning well, they should be removed.

Sizes of Banners

To guarantee that your adverts can display in a variety of locations, make sure you have a variety of banner sizes.


You should double-check that the display advertising are properly targeted. In the display network, you may target by subject, contextual, location, language, placements, device, keywords, interests, and audience.

Cookie codes are little text files that are placed on your

You should check the Cookie codes are little text files that are placed on your have been implemented correctly.

Extensions for Ads

During the audit of Extensions for Ads, you should check your Extensions for Ads have been approved as Extensions for Ads go through an approval process similar to ads. The status of Extensions for Ads can be checked in the status column under each ad extension. Each ad extension should be checked for relevancy against the ads, keywords, ad group and campaign. If your Extensions for Ads aren’t showing, you should review your keyword’s Quality Rating, keyword’s maximum CPC bid, the Positional average of your ads, the relevancy of the landing pages, the relevancy of the ads, the relevancy of your keywords and the other Extensions for Ads appearing within the campaign or ad group.

Site Addresses

Site Addresses should be relevant to the ads, ad group and campaign. I also check that I have mobile optimized Site Addresses for each relevant desktop site link. You need a minimum of two Site Addresses to appear on desktop and one site link to appear on mobile, although up to six Site Addresses can appear for desktop ads at once.

Extensions to the Location

Extensions to the Location use Google My Business listings to show location information to people within the area. In order to improve the Google My Business listings, you will need to login to the Google My Business account. You can link your Google My Business account and adjust which location listings show within AdWords. Extensions to the Location can be added directly into Bing Ads.

Extensions Should Be Requested

If your Extensions Should Be Requested are not appearing, you should check that the text is short enough, there are enough call outs active, the call outs are approved and Quality Rating of the ad group’s keywords. In order for Extensions Should Be Requested to appear, Google AdWords recommends you add at least two, but four can be displayed with your ad. You can add up to twenty callout extensions at each level of your account.

Examine the Add-Ons

While auditing your Examine the Add-Ons, you should check that your Examine the Add-Ons have been approved by AdWords and that they are appearing.

Extensions on the Phone

You should check the number you are using as the call extension is correct and schedule the Extensions on the Phone to appear during your business’s opening hours if the call centre isn’t available 24 hours a day. If you only want the call extension to appear for mobile device users, you should ensure the extension is targeting mobile users. To show a Google forwarding number which can provide detailed reporting on calls dialled using the Extensions on the Phone, your ad group needs a minimum number of clicks in four weeks.

Extensions for Structured Snippets

If your Extensions for Structured Snippets aren’t appearing, you should check there are a minimum of three or four snippets added.

Consider Your Keywords


I examine the average CPCs for the keywords, and if they are near to the maximum CPCs determined, I boost the maximum CPC slightly to accommodate them. If your CPCs are set too low, your advertising will not get any impressions; however, you may remedy this by raising your maximum CPC bid. You should bid down or halt the keywords if the cost per click is too high and the cost per conversion is too high.

Positional average

As I have previously stated, if the Positional average is below second position I either improve the Quality Rating or increase the CPC. Keywords that have an ad rank below second position have lower click through rates.

Quality Rating

You should check the Quality Rating of each keyword. Google AdWords now sets the default Quality Rating at 6. If any keyword is below in the ad groups or campaigns I manage, I improve the Quality Rating to improve the keyword’s ad rank.

Keywords for your search

You should review the Keywords for your search report during your audit. By filtering by added / excluded to just none, you view the Keywords for your search that are neither added or excluded. This can provide keywords that may have been overlooked in keyword research and can provide keywords to add to the negative keywords list.

Types that go together

You should review the match type of your keywords. Exact and phrase Types that go together are the most cost effective, however these Types that go together can miss keyword opportunities. The Types that go together should be set up according to the PPC goals and budget available. If you are using phrase match, broad match or broad match modifier, I would recommend you research possible negative keywords before creating the campaign or ad group. You should also review the Keywords for your search report every week to view any possible negative keywords that should be added.

Low Volume of Searches

Keywords with a low search volume are those that are seldom searched for, therefore advertising are unlikely to show for them. If your ad groups or campaigns include any keywords with a low search volume, these keywords should be removed since they are unlikely to generate clicks or conversions/transactions. You should also look for keywords with low impressions during the last three months, since they will be in the same boat. If your account contains seasonal terms, these keywords should be halted during the off-season (such as Christmas) to avoid squandering your PPC spend.

The total number of keywords

You should have approximately 10 to 20 keywords per ad group, with a maximum of 30. If you have more keywords in an ad group, you should move the keywords into a separate one. These recommendations mean the ad group can be tightly themed as already discussed and ensure your keywords have high Quality Ratings.

Emma McHale is an in-house Online Marketing Executive with a focus on SEO and Pay-Per-Click advertising. Emma McHale may be found on LinkedIn and Twitter. Her digital marketing portfolio is also available.

The “ppc audit checklist 2020” is a comprehensive list of all the steps that need to be taken in order to conduct a proper PPC audit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you conduct a PPC audit?

A: Probability, Partial Priority, Cost of Quality.

What does a PPC audit include?

A: A PPC audit is the process of auditing an existing project, program, or code in order to evaluate its performance and identify where improvements can be made.

What should I look for in a PPC audit?

A: A good business should have an internal process for accounting and reporting. An external auditor will find things that the company is not doing correctly, like having a PPC audit done by one of our experts to ensure proper tracking in Google Analytics.

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