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Structuring A Google Ads Account Audit

July 29, 2019

“We’d love for you to run an audit on our Google Ads campaigns and provide feedback on how your team can improve performance and add value to our campaigns”

It’s a common request in the prospecting stages when a client is looking for Google PPC management and still building trust with your company. It’s a fair request but it’s your job to set expectations and take charge of the deliverables. 

There are many different directions you can take an audit and when you first look at an account you’re unfamiliar with it can be overwhelming. I’m here to help guide you through the process. 

Before jumping into the account it’s important to be transparent with your prospects and lay the groundwork for what they can expect. I’ll do this by letting the prospect know that I won’t necessarily be the one working on the account so the strategies we discuss might not be the strategies that will be rolled out on day one. 

I’ll also explain that the goal of this practice is for our team to provide insight into under-performing areas that can be worked on to improve the overall account efficiency and set it up for growth. The objective of this practice is not for our team to provide free work in the way of combing through every campaign and ad group to suggest a restructuring plan that’s fully complete. Most prospects understand this and have been through this process before but it’s still important to speak this out so there’s no disappointment on the day of the pitch. 

A secondary goal but an important one as well is to convince the prospect that your team is the right choice for the job and a clear choice over any other agencies they’re considering. 

“You have to be 100 times better than the next best competitor” 

- Isaac Rudansky. 

So, where do we begin? 

From a conceptual standpoint, we should be looking at the account from outward in. So, you want to get an idea of how the account is performing on an aggregate level and use that to drill into a few campaigns and ad groups. 

The L/R Ratio

A common first starting place is deploying the Lin / Rodnitzky Ratio (L/R Ratio). The L/R Ratio is a snapshot of how efficient the search campaigns are being managed. 

The calculation divides the CPA for all search terms by the CPA for all search terms with greater than 0 conversions. Depending on the attribution modeling there might be fractional conversions. 

 The results are plotted on a chart that will help explain the results and open the conversation to the campaigns performing more efficiently. 

  • 1.0 - 1.5 - The account is too conservative.
  • 1.5 - 2.0 - The account is well managed.
  • 2.0 - 2.5 - The account is too aggressive. 
  • 2.5+ - The account is being mismanaged. 

Depending on where the results are, you can discuss common outputs you’ve seen by industry and/or make a quick reference to search terms that are overspending and can benefit by being converted into a negative keyword. 

Conversion Tracking

The next logical area we should focus on is the driving force behind the data being collected in the campaigns - conversion tracking. 

Conversion tracking is not a one-size-fits-all metric so I often see a lot of opportunity to improve the clarity and accuracy of the data. 

For example, if the goal of the campaigns is to drive leads but the lead-capture conversion action is set to count ‘every’ conversion, we’re likely inflating the number of conversions and optimizing off of bad data. 

Attribution Modeling

Within conversion tracking, it’s also important to understand the different available attribution models that can apply to the various types of campaign goals. There’s no right answer for which attribution model to use but there are wrong options. The two models that you should steer clear of is First-Click and Last-Click. 

Both of those options will produce incomplete data and make optimizing for best results more difficult. 

Account Structure

The account structure will determine how efficiently the campaigns can be managed. It’s a good opportunity to discuss some of the experience your team has with successfully restructuring accounts for more efficient management. 

This is an opportunity to prove that you understand their business and can visualize which categories are more important how an account restructure would put the budget focus on the most profitable areas of the business. 

Ideally, you would create a visual that’s custom to their business so they can conceptualize what the account might look like. Below is a general visual that I’ve used in the past. 

Specific Campaigns

Again, the goal is not to comb through every KW and every ad copy. I would sort by spend over a 30 day period and choose the top campaign in every category. 

Choose one campaign in each Search, Shopping, Display/Remarketing, and Video ( I would keep Video separate from standard remarketing). 

For each campaign, drill down into the search terms or placements report and again sort by cost and focus on the top spending group. This will help point to big potential improvements that your team can work on and turn around in a short period of time. 

I wouldn’t spend too much time on specific terms you would add as negatives or exclusions you would make to display campaigns. The idea is to shine a light on opportunities and save the full strategy pitch for a later date. 


The settings for each campaign are often set when the campaigns are launched and not thought about much after that. Google is constantly updating the platform and including new settings that are available to improve performance. 

An audit should include running through the setting on an account, campaign and ad group level. You want to make sure there are no conflicting settings that might be harming performance and/or geographic and/or bid adjustment settings that we’re forgotten about. 

This is also an opportunity to present these changes as ‘quick wins’ that are important for the account’s growth. 

Attention to detail is key to presenting your findings on settings will resonate that you have a deep understanding of the nuances of each platform.

Growth Opportunities

Growth opportunities are campaign types and/or bidding strategies that have not been implemented yet. 

Your job is to clearly explain the various types of campaigns and bidding strategies and how they can potentially be utilized to grow the campaigns. Again, a great opportunity to sell yourself and your team as the experts in the field when it comes to understanding the inner working of each platform. 

Not every campaign type will work for every business so be conscious to keep your audit relevant. 

Don’t pitch Smart Shopping to a law firm. 

Wrapping Up 

  • Set the stage for the audit but setting expectations. 
  • Understand how to structure your audit in a digestible way. Start from the big picture and crawl your way in, building on previously discussed concepts. 
  • Don’t spend too much time on specific KW’s or very specific strategy. 
  • Discuss settings and conversion tracking and make sure you can answer the tough questions that might be thrown your way. 
  • Finally, sell a growth picture on how you and your team can expand the current effort with opportunities outside of the current campaign types and bidding strategies.  

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