Live from SMX 2012 – Auditing PPC Campaigns

By Tad Miller | Jun 6, 2012
More Articles by Tad


This afternoon’s first SEM track Session is “Auditing PPC Campaigns with our own Cady Codyles, Joe Kerschbaum from Clix Marketing, Melissa Mackey from gyro and David Rodnitzky from PPC Associates.  The sessions topic are is supposed to be about evaluating the health of your PPC Accounts.

David Rodnitzky

First up is David Rodnitzky.  Most agencies will do an account audit for free just for the opportunity to win business.  Ground rules to audits:

  • be respectful of the existing team
  • provide all relevant data – including back-story and offline data
  • Chose a relevant timeline – at least 45 minutes

Top 10 Things to Look at in an Audit

#10 – Lack of a Multi-Screen Strategy.  Traffic from Tablets and Mobile need to be incorporated into accounts. Bids and performance is different and you want granularity to see performance.

#9 – More Aggressive Competitors – are they buying keywords that you aren’t?  You need benchmarks of SEM investment.

#8 – Lack of a match strategy – Keyword Match Types need to be used and broad match shouldn’t be the only match type in use. It’s minor league PPC

#7 – Lack of a ROI or ROAS Strategy.  Bidding by CPA is the wrong metric.

#6 – Lack of proper Geo or Day Parting Strategy.  It results in efficient bidding gains.  Targeting matters.  The more granular the better.

#5 – Bad landing pages.  It is a major component of Conversion Rate.  It’s a minor component of Quality Score.

#4 – Bad Placement Strategy on the Google Display Network – Bad placements eat up major budget with no revenue.

#3 – No ad extensions – buy real estate on the page to push out competitors and increase Click Through Rate.  Not using them is a sign of Lazy SEM

#2 – No Display or Re-targeting in use.  It is “low hanging fruit”.

#1 – Bad “Lin-Rodnitzky (L/R) Ratio – Ratio of CPA of all Queries / CPA of Queries that have 1 or more conversion.  If the ratio is between 1.5 and 2 is good.  Over 2 is too much aggression.  Under 1.5 account is to conservative and emphasizing brand terms too much.

Joseph Kerschbaum

Joe is talking on the 10 minute PPC Account Audit.  (It’s not possible to do in in 10 minutes though).  Joe’s talking about the quick pulse check.

Audit Process needs to yield a check list which yields a task list.

You can use Adwords Editor to do this.  See this check list bit.ly/10minuteaudit.  The advanced search function in Adwords Editor allows you to do the quick check.

Look for inconsistency.  Bidding Options, Delivery Methods, Ad Rotation, Ad Schedule need to be consistent.  At least ask why things are the way they are – there could be a reason.

Is there network segmentation of accounts:  Search Network and Display in different Campaigns.

Are mobile devices incorporated into the account?

Is there and AdGroup Structure Strategy in Place.  Find the average number of keywords per Ad Group.  Find the number of ads per Adgroup (you can have too many).

Check on Match Type focus.  Look for broad, phrase and exact match types.

Do Quality Score Analysis.  Sort keywords and sort by Quality Score.  Look for keywords above 7 and below 7.

KPI Thresholds.  Find a date range that makes sense.  Look for keywords over the threshold and below the threshold.

You can do all of these things with AdCenter on MSN also and see cross channel performance.

Cady Condyles

Cady has 6 tips:

1. Get to keyword level data to do evaluations.  Data is the key.  Find the keywords that don’t work and have good traffic to figure out what you need to test and improve.

2. Don’t use match types haphazardly.  Don’t bid them exactly the same.

3. Don’t focus on bidding by position.  There are no sweet spots by position.  Don’t be subject to what your competitors are doing.  Aim for what you can afford to spend.

4. Don’t Ignore all targeting options.  Look at time of day, network performance, click type, devices.

5. Don’t ignore product extensions.  They improve Click Through Rate and most of them are free.  Call Extensions, Location Extensions, Site Links, Product Extensions (soon Not to be free), Social Extensions.  Form Extensions are coming soon.  Click to Chat appears to be in Beta testing with Google.

6. Don’t ignore testing.  PPC isn’t a “set it and forget it” medium.  Always Be Testing.

Melissa Mackey

Advanced Diagnostics for use in Auditing is her topic.

Go Below the Surface, just like on the TV show “House”.

  • Go beyond clicks and conversions to find what else what might be going on.
  • What the data doesn’t tell you:  Web Analytics don’t show in PPC data.  Find out WHY problems are happening
  • Look at PPC Bounce Rates.  What is the desired action of the page.
  • Look at time on site.  Compare PPC to all other visitors to see if its out of whack
  • Look at pages visited.  See the path visitors take.
  • Look at “Site Search” to see if people are finding what they are looking for.  If it’s not what you sell you need to add negative keywords or add something new to your product line.
  • Look at Multi-Channel Attribution.  What’s driving “assisted conversion”.  Look at them to determine additional worth – even if the click didn’t necessarily didn’t drive the final conversion action.  This is especially important with B2B niches (with Display especially).
  • Use Advance Analytics Segments in Google Analytics.  Use the filters to evaluate performance in different ways – great for country specific targeting.
  • Look at customer lifetime value to evaluate performance.  Not all conversion are created equal.
  • Get a second opinion.  If you get stuck a fresh set of eyes can make a big difference.

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