PPC Audit Guide - How to Evaluate Account and Campaign Effectiveness

PPC Audit Guide – How to Evaluate Account and Campaign Effectiveness

Regardless of whether you’ve inherited an existing account or simply need to overhaul your own, your first step in making major changes should be a PPC audit exercise.

With a good PPC audit, you will be able to assess the effectiveness of your advertising account and campaigns from the top down.

From analyzing key metrics to identifying areas for improvement, this post will help you optimize your pay-per-click efforts for maximum returns.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned marketer, you will come away with actionable tips and strategies to get the most out of your search engine marketing.

Understanding PPC Audit Fundamentals

Why You Need Regular PPC Audits

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns evolve over time. If you ignore them, you’ll notice performance drags sooner or later.

A PPC audit is the most effective way to remain diligent about optimization and lead generation.

These exercises are highly valuable in identifying areas for improvement, cost-saving opportunities, and potential risks that could be hurting your ROI.

Key Factors to Consider Before Starting an Audit

Before starting a PPC audit, you will need to be properly prepared to get the most out of it.

Make sure you have access to all necessary account information, including historical performance data, campaign settings, and conversion tracking details.

And of course, you will need to clearly understand the goals and objectives of the campaigns themselves.

Some specific tactics to tackle first include:

  • Validate that conversion tracking is properly set up
  • Evaluate ad copy and landing pages for relevance and performance
  • Analyze bidding and targeting settings to ensure they align with campaign goals

You need to have a clear understanding of the account structure and performance trends before starting your audit. These both play important roles in what areas you audit as well as the recommendations you will make.

You also need to have a clear objective for the PPC audit itself.

Are you aiming to reduce wasted spend? Generate more conversions?

Or does the campaign need a performance boost across the board?

The more specific your objectives are for the audit, the easier it will be for you to find areas to improve.

Before diving into specifics, start with these initial analyses to familiarize yourself with what is already active and what may be impacting it:

  • Review historical performance data to identify trends and potential issues
  • Understand the target audience and their online behavior
  • Consider any recent changes to ad platforms or industry regulations that could impact campaign performance

How to Evaluate Account Effectiveness

Tips for Identifying Inefficient Ad Spend

Small inefficiencies in your PPC account can add up to significant losses over time.

To identify inefficient ad spend, look for keywords with low Quality Scores and / or high CPCs with no conversions.

Also take a moment to see if any ad groups have low click-through rates across the board or a lack of impressions.

You may learn more than you expect during this exercise. You should make a plan to regularly review this data moving forward as well.

Factors to Analyze for Optimal Account Performance

Some issues may appear account wide, so it’s worth your time to do a high level analysis across the board.

Look into click-through rates, conversion rates, keyword relevance, ad copy quality, and overall ROI to determine how well the account is performing.

This comprehensive analysis will help you identify areas for improvement and develop strategies for enhancing overall account effectiveness.

Tips for Optimizing PPC Accounts

For optimal account performance, consider these tactics:

  • Implement ad scheduling to focus on peak times
  • Use geo-targeting to reach relevant audiences
  • Optimize device targeting to accommodate mobile users

This approach will help you maximize your ROI by aligning campaign settings to your goals and target audience needs.

Assessing Campaign Effectiveness

How to Identify Underperforming Campaigns

Underperforming campaigns will be fairly easy to pinpoint if you focus on the right metrics.

To find these laggards, dig into your click-through rates, conversion rates, and CPAs (Cost-Per-Acquisition, a.k.a. Cost-Per-Conversion)

Look for campaigns with low engagement or high costs compared to the return on investment.

Strategies for Improving Campaign ROI

To improve campaign ROI, the four most common actions are:

  • Optimizing ad copy
  • Refining your audience targeting
  • Identifying more relevant keywords and keyword groupings (ad groups)
  • Reviewing and improving your target URLs / landing pages to improve conversion rates

You can then use multivariate or A/B testing with all of these elements. This is how you can dial it in the best and continuously improve results over time.

Putting it All Together: Tips for Actionable Insights

When ready to take action based on your PPC audit, you’ll need to prioritize findings and implement recommendations effectively.

By following best practices and focusing on high-impact areas, you can optimize your campaigns for success.

Remember to track progress and adjust strategies as needed to ensure continued improvement.

How to Prioritize PPC Audit Findings for Maximum Impact

The easiest and more useful way to prioritize your findings is based on how they impact your campaign performance.

Start by addressing critical issues that can immediately improve conversion rates or reduce wasted ad spend.

Focus on areas where small changes can lead to significant results and tackle larger systemic issues next.

With this approach, you’ll have more immediate and lasting impact on campaign performance.

Best Practices for Implementing PPC Audit Recommendations

I can’t emphasize enough how important it will be for you to create a structured plan of action.

This plan should outline specific tasks, responsible team members, deadlines, and metrics for measuring success.

I know, this is basic project management stuff. Well, it works and you should embrace it!

This is how you can ensure the changes are completely implemented in a timely fashion.

Why wait, when you can get moving and enjoy improved results sooner?


So, make regular PPC audits a standard practice in your management process.

You don’t have to do it weekly or even monthly. But every 3, 6, or 12 months, you should audit your SEM to see what you can do better moving forward.

Look at your key performance indicators, review your targeting and budget usage, and double check click and conversion behavior.

With some small but important tweaks, you’ll be able to boost your ROI and fend off natural performance degradation that can happen to any PPC account or campaign.

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As Founder and President of Return On Now, Tommy Landry provides the vision behind our SEO and SEM methodologies. With over 25 years of business experience and a deep understanding of modern internet marketing techniques, he spends his time providing hands-on consulting, insightful content, and engaging public speaking appearances to Online Marketers of all skill levels.
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