7 most important questions during AdWords audit

Many AdWords accounts are not performing well or at least, are not working at their full capacity. The goal of our AdWords audit is to apply the 80/20 rule to AdWords and influence the most valuable AdWords traffic sources.

I know business owners who spend 2-3 hours a day with their AdWords management. The sad truth is that most of their actions make no sense as they act blindly. Pay Per Click marketing is the only area of marketing where all decisions are informed by statistics, and not by logic or personal opinion. During the past five years, we have developed specific questions that you need to ask yourself during an audit. Let me explain each question one by one:

1. Do we track results? 

The biggest mistake of the vast majority of advertisers is that they are not tracking results in the correct way. Both macro and micro conversions that correlate with your business goals need to be tracked.

For example, as an e-commerce store, you can also measure and import to AdWords of such events as “add to cart” and “page depth>5”. However, it is important to measure such correlations – if you have a high abandoned cart rate, tracking “add to cart” events would provide misleading data in AdWords.

Your goal is to collect at least 30 conversions with the campaign and test Google Conversion Optimizer. We strongly believe in the power of automation. As a human bidder, you can’t determine all factors that influence your conversion rate – time of the day, gender, type of device, and geographical region can all affect the outcome. You simply would not have sufficient statistics and time to compare all these things. That is when automated bidding solutions like Conversion Optimizer can help you.

The machine can do the hard work for you and bid based on countless factors a human being simply cannot comprehend at any one time; for example, device, schedule, etc. However, there is no magic bullet.

2. Is AdWords account structure optimal?

Every expert uses a different approach to AdWords. However, there is no default account structure that would be suitable for every account. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. “Am I able to reallocate more budget to the most profitable traffic sources?”
  2. “Can I create relevant ads/extensions for my most valuable traffic sources?”

Here are common ways to organize your campaigns:

  • By match type.
  • By specific location. This is useful if you are using different extensions or have a higher conversion rate in specific regions. However, if you have sufficient conversion data you don’t need to create a separate campaign for each region – Target CPA bidding would handle this task for you.
  • Separate campaigns for specific display audiences; for example, display or search remarketing.

3. Are you receiving relevant traffic? 

In Search campaigns, the easiest way to evaluate traffic quality is to dig into the AdWords search report so you can exclude irrelevant search terms and add search terms with higher conversion rate as keywords. Even if you are getting great results, you might find new negatives every week.

To make sure that there are negatives you need to double check them on 3 levels:

  • keyword level
  • ad group level
  • shared library level

Also, it’s important to have negatives in different forms such as:

  1. Number: animal, animals
  2. Tense: begin, began, begun
  3. Gender: author, authoress

But don’t work on search report too often and focus on search terms which got at least few clicks, lot’s of search terms would be never typed in Google again.

In Display network the only way to evaluate whether the traffic you receive is relevant is with your cost per conversion.

4. Did you add all possible extensions? 

Adding extensions is one of the easiest ways to boost your AdWords CTR. We recommend having sitelinks, callouts, and structure snippets in every AdWords account. Read more about extensions in the official Google blog.

5. Are you taking advantage of remarketing? 

From our experience, remarketing is one of the most effective targeting methods in AdWords. We highly recommend to use Google Analytics tracking code to set up remarketing audiences as this is far more flexible compared to the AdWords conversion tracking code.

Check our post about Remarketing to set up campaigns like a pro.

6. Are we wasting traffic on specific targeting methods?

Filtering by cost on campaign level you will understand which campaigns require your biggest attention. Very often 1 campaign is spending more compared to all other campaigns. So you can focus on 1 campaign and forget all others for a while.

Apply the same filter on different levels to understand which keywords, interests, topics, placements you should focus on.

7. Can we test separate RLSA?

Based on Google recommendations and our own experience RLSA has the highest conversion rate compared to all other campaign types on AdWords.

We would recommend search remarketing audiences to all your Search campaigns with 300% bid adjustment.

Also, you can create a separate RLSA campaign to target more general keywords.


Just these 8 questions would move your account to a new level. Are there any other questions?