Auditing Google Ad Campaigns When They’re Not Working

Discover how to turn your failing Google Ad campaigns around with a strategic audit. Uncover hidden issues and drive more conversions with targeted campaign improvements.

Google Ads can be a powerful tool for reaching your target audience and driving conversions. However, if your PPC ads campaign is not performing as expected, it may be time to conduct a thorough audit.  This will identify areas for improvement. Auditing a Google Ads campaign that is not delivering the desired results requires a strategic approach to uncover issues and implement corrective actions.  Furthermore, there are a few critical steps in conducting a comprehensive audit of a Google Ads campaign.  For example, identifying KPI (key performance indicators), analyzing ad copy and targeting settings, assessing keywords, and reviewing campaign structure. By following a systematic audit process, you can optimize your campaign performance and maximize your return on investment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regularly review campaign performance: It is crucial to frequently check the performance of your Google Ads campaign to identify any issues or underperforming areas.

  • Focus on key metrics: Analyze key metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, quality score, and ROI to understand what aspects of the campaign need improvement.

  • Make data-driven adjustments: Use data insights to make informed decisions and optimize your Google Ads campaign for better results. In addition, experiment with different strategies and track the impact of these changes.

Setting Up for the Audit

Accessing Account Data

An important initial step in auditing Google Ads campaigns is to access the account data. This involves obtaining the necessary permissions to view the campaign and its performance metrics. You will need access to the Google Ads account itself.  In addition, any other analytics or tracking tools that are being used to monitor the campaign’s performance. Without access to this data, it will be impossible to accurately assess what is going wrong with the campaign.

Preparing Audit Tools and Checklists

One of the key aspects of conducting a successful audit is the preparation of audit tools and checklists. These tools will help you systematically review all aspects of the Google Ads campaigns.  For instance, targeting and keywords to ad copy and landing pages. By having a structured checklist in place, you can ensure that no important detail is overlooked during the audit process.  Audit tools can include spreadsheets for organizing data, ad preview tools for checking ad appearances, and performance benchmarks to compare the campaign against industry standards. Furthermore, these tools will assist you in identifying areas of improvement.  And, creating a comprehensive action plan to optimize the campaign for better results.

Analyzing Account Structure

Assessing Campaign Organization

Structure is a critical element of a successful Google Ads campaign. When auditing an account, the first step is to assess the overall organization of the campaigns. Check if campaigns are logically grouped based on similar products, services, or target audiences. A well-structured account should have a clear hierarchy, with campaigns containing relevant ad groups and keywords.

Evaluating Ad Group Relevance

Relevance is key in Google Ads. Each ad group should be tightly focused on a specific theme or keyword. When evaluating ad group relevance, make sure that the keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are closely related. This ensures that users are presented with highly relevant ads when they search.  Therefore, leading to a higher Quality Score and better ad performance.  Evaluating ad group relevance involves analyzing the relationship between the keywords within an ad group.  Also, ensuring they align with the ad copy and landing page content. By maintaining relevance throughout the ad group, you can improve the user experience and increase the likelihood of driving conversions.

Reviewing Targeting and Audiences

Your Google Ads campaigns may not be performing as expected.  Therefore, leading you to conduct a comprehensive audit of your strategies. To ensure you are targeting the right audiences effectively, it’s crucial to review different aspects of your targeting settings. For a detailed guide on how to conduct a complete Google Ads audit, refer to How to Conduct a Complete Google Ads Audit.

Examining Location Targeting

Reviewing your location targeting is imperative to pinpoint any underperforming areas that may be draining your budget without yielding great results. Check if your campaign is targeting the right geographical locations and assess whether adjustments are needed to refine your targeting for better performance.

Auditing Google Ad Campaigns Audience Targeting Options

Examining your audience targeting options involves reaching the most relevant audience segments for your business. Evaluate your audience demographics, interests, and behaviors to ensure alignment with your campaign objectives. Plus, consider exploring additional targeting options.  For example, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) or Similar Audiences.  These options may expand your reach and improve campaign performance.

Assessing Demographic Targeting

Auditing your demographic targeting allows you to analyze how well your campaign is reaching specific age groups, genders, or income brackets. By assessing the performance of different demographic segments, you can optimize your targeting to focus on the most profitable audiences. For instance, if certain demographics are converting at a higher rate, you may want to allocate more budget towards targeting those segments to maximize your ROI.

Evaluating Keywords and Search Queries

Analyzing Keyword Performance

Despite having a well-structured Google Ads campaign, poor performance can often be attributed to ineffective keywords. Analyzing keyword performance is crucial in identifying which keywords are driving clicks, conversions, and ultimately contributing to the campaign’s success.

Identifying Negative Keywords

Keywords that are not relevant to your business can impact the performance of your Google Ads campaign. Identifying negative keywords involves pinpointing terms that are causing your ads to show up in unrelated searches.  Furthermore, placing them to your campaign’s excluded keywords list.  To improve the efficiency of your campaign, it is necessary to review search terms reports.  In addition, identify any irrelevant search queries that are triggering your ads. By adding these search terms as negative keywords, you can prevent your ads from showing up in irrelevant searches.  As a result, saving your budget for more worthwhile clicks.

Understanding Search Terms Reports

Search terms reports provide valuable insights into the actual search queries that triggered your ads to appear. By understanding this, you can refine your keyword strategy and identify new keyword opportunities.  In addition, optimize your ad targeting to reach a more qualified audience.  The knowledge gained from analyzing search terms reports can help you make informed decisions about which keywords to bid on.  Also, which ones to add as negative keywords.  Lastly, how to tailor your ad messaging to better align with user intent.

Assessing Ad Copy and Creative

Reviewing Ad Relevance and Clarity

Keep a close eye on the relevance and clarity of your ad copy. Ensure that your ads align with the keywords you are targeting.  And, that they clearly communicate your message to the audience. If your ads are not relevant to the search queries or lack clarity, it can negatively impact your campaign performance.

Ensuring Clear Call-to-Actions

The most crucial part of any ad copy is the call-to-action (CTA). The CTA tells your audience what action to take next, whether it’s to buy now, learn more, or sign up. Make sure your CTAs are prominent, clear, and compelling. If your CTAs are vague or hidden within the ad copy, users may not know what to do.  Therefore, leading to a drop in conversion rates.  With a clear call-to-action, you guide your audience towards the desired action.  As a result, increasing the chances of a successful campaign. Make sure that your CTAs stand out and clearly state the benefit of clicking on the ad.

Analyzing Visuals and Extensions

Visual elements and ad extensions can make a large difference in the performance of your Google Ads campaign. Images, videos, and extensions like sitelinks or callouts can enhance the appeal of your ads and provide additional information to users. Analyze how visuals and extensions are contributing to the overall ad performance and adjust as needed to improve results.  The use of visuals and extensions can make your ads more engaging and informative.  As a result, leading to better click-through rates and conversions. A/B testing different visual elements and extensions can help you determine what resonates best with your target audience.

Scrutinizing Bidding and Budget Strategy

One crucial area to scrutinize is the bidding and budget strategy. This can have a significant impact on the overall success of the campaign.  Additionally, identifying any issues here is imperative for making necessary improvements.

Evaluating Bid Adjustments

Evaluating bid adjustments is imperative to determine if the bids are optimized for the best performance. Review the bid adjustments across different devices, locations, ad schedules, and audiences to see if they align with the campaign goals. Make sure bid adjustments are based on data and insights rather than set arbitrarily.

Reviewing Budget Allocation and Performance

It is imperative to analyze how the budget is distributed across campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. Look for any underperforming areas that are draining budget without yielding significant results. Consider reallocating budget to high-performing areas to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness.  Understanding the relationship between budget allocation and campaign performance is crucial for optimizing and auditing Google Ad campaigns. By monitoring, you can ensure that your budget is being utilized effectively to achieve the best results.

Investigating the Impact of Automated Bidding Strategies

Bidding strategies play a vital role in Google Ads campaigns, especially with automated bidding options. Investigate the impact of automated bidding strategies on the campaign performance. Ensure that the chosen bidding strategy aligns with the campaign objectives and is driving the desired results. Monitor the performance closely and make adjustments as needed to improve the effectiveness of automated bidding.  For example, strategies such as Target CPA, Target ROAS, or Enhanced CPC can help optimize bids based on specific goals. However, it is imperative to review the performance regularly.  And, make adjustments to bidding strategies to ensure the best possible results.

Measuring Conversion Tracking and Analytics

Ensuring Proper Conversion Tracking Setup

Setup is crucial when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your campaign. Therefore, ensuring proper conversion tracking setup is the first step in assessing the performance of your ads. Without the correct setup, you may not be capturing all valuable data that can help optimize your campaign.

Analyzing Conversion Data for Insights

Auditing Google Ad campaigns involve a thorough analysis of conversion data for insights. By examining conversion data, you can gain valuable insights into which keywords, ads, and targeting methods are driving the most conversions. This information is crucial for making data-driven decisions to improve campaign performance.  Insights gained can reveal patterns and trends that can help optimize campaigns for better results. By understanding which aspects of the campaign are leading to conversions and which ones are not, you can make informed decisions on where to allocate budget.

Diagnosing Possible Compliance Issues

Understanding Ad Policies and Violations

Many issues with Google Ads campaigns can arise from unknowingly violating ad policies set by Google. It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of these policies to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. Common violations include misleading content, deceptive claims, and unauthorized use of trademarked terms. For a successful audit, it is necessary to review Google’s advertising policies and make necessary adjustments to align with their guidelines.

Identifying Potential Red Flags and Warnings

Any signs of non-compliance, such as disapproved ads or suspended accounts, should be considered red flags during the audit process. These warnings signal potential issues that need immediate attention to prevent further complications. It is imperative to address these red flags promptly by investigating the root cause.  Furthermore, taking corrective actions to bring the campaign back into compliance.  This step is critical in safeguarding the campaign’s performance. By proactively identifying and resolving compliance issues, advertisers can maintain a positive relationship with Google and prevent future disruptions to their campaigns.

Making the Most of Testing and Experimentation

After auditing a campaign, it’s crucial to focus on testing and experimentation to optimize performance. For a comprehensive guide on how to conduct a Google Ads audit, check out How to Do a Google Ads Audit: Step-by-Step Guide – Inflow for detailed steps and insights.

Leveraging A/B Testing for Ads and Landing Pages

Testing different ad creatives, copy, and landing page layouts through A/B testing can provide insights into what resonates best with your target audience. By running controlled experiments, you can identify which elements drive better click-through rates and conversions. Therefore, make sure to test one variable at a time to attribute changes in performance accurately.

Employing Campaign Experiments and Drafts

The use of Campaign Experiments and Drafts in Google Ads allows you to test changes to your campaigns before fully implementing them. This feature enables you to measure the impact of adjustments without disrupting your current campaign performance. As a result, you can assess the potential outcomes of modifications without affecting your live ads.  Landing on the right combination of ad creatives, keywords, and landing pages can impact the success of your ad campaign. Constantly testing and refining your approach based on data-driven insights will help drive better results.

Reporting and Communication Strategies

Creating Meaningful Reports

Strategies for creating meaningful reports involve focusing on key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the campaign objectives. Highlighting metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per acquisition (CPA), and return on ad spend (ROAS) can provide an overview of the campaign’s performance. Visual representations such as charts and graphs can make the data more digestible for stakeholders.  As a result, allowing them to quickly grasp the key insights.

Best Practices in Communicating Audit Findings

This section emphasizes the importance of effective communication in the audit process. This helps build trust with stakeholders and demonstrates a commitment to driving results. It is imperative to tailor the communication style to the audience.  Therefore, ensuring that the information is easily understandable and relevant to their role in the campaign management process. By fostering open dialogue, auditors can facilitate constructive discussions that lead to impactful changes in the campaign strategy.

Understanding the context in which the audit findings are presented is crucial for fostering a collaborative environment. Clearly explaining the rationale behind the recommendations and illustrating their potential benefits can help stakeholders grasp the significance of the suggested actions. By aligning audit findings, auditors can effectively convey the need for strategic adjustments to enhance campaign performance.

To wrap up

On the whole, auditing Google Ad campaigns that are not performing well involves a thorough analysis of various elements.  For example, targeting, keywords, ad copy, landing pages, and overall account structure. By conducting an audit, marketers can identify areas that need improvement.  In addition, develop a strategic plan to optimize the campaign for better results. It is crucial to regularly monitor and analyze the performance of the campaign to ensure that it aligns with the overall marketing goals.  Additionally, Implementing best practices, testing different strategies, and utilizing available tools can help marketers make informed decisions. By staying proactive, responsive, and adaptive to changes, marketers can overcome challenges and drive better performance from their campaigns.


Q: Why is it important auditing Google Ad campaigns when things are not going well?

A: Auditing a Google Ads campaign helps identify issues and  pinpoint areas for improvement.  In addition, they ensure that the campaign is optimized for better performance.

Q: What are the key aspects to consider during a Google Ads campaign audit?

A: Key aspects to consider during a Google Ads audit include account structure, ad relevance, targeting settings, keyword performance, ad extensions, and conversion tracking.

Q: How can account structure impact the performance of a Google Ads campaign?

A: A well-organized account structure with relevant ad groups and targeted keywords helps improve Quality Score.  In addition, ad relevance, and overall campaign performance.

Q: What role does keyword performance play in auditing Google Ad campaigns?

A: Monitoring keyword performance helps identify underperforming keywords and negative keywords.  Also, it creates opportunities for expanding or refining the keyword list to improve campaign results.

Q: How can conversion tracking help in optimizing a Google Ads campaign during an audit?

A: Setting up and tracking conversions allows advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.  In addition, optimize for better ROI, and make data-driven decisions to improve overall campaign performance.


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