360Partners was proud to participate in Hero Conf Philadelphia this year. Hero Conf is the world’s largest all PPC conference and is known to be a platform for innovative ideas, creative discussions, and passion for paid search.

Donna Lagow, a Senior Account Manager at 360Partners, joined Paid Media Manager Krista Witt from PFSweb for a presentation on “10 Easy Tips for the Most Successful PPC Forecasts & Audits”. Donna’s portion of the presentation specifically focused on The Top 5 Things We See as an Agency When Auditing an Account:

Mistake #1: Not Auditing at All, or Not Auditing on a Regular Frequency

They say ignorance is bliss, but choosing not to audit an account or not taking a deeper dive on a regular basis can misguide your efforts. In short, if you don’t audit, you are leaving money on the table. What we’ve seen within our auditing process is that there are three basics to any good audit.

First off, it’s conducting the audit regularly. Doing an audit is not something you can get away with doing every three years. That’s not good enough. We typically recommend doing audits either quarterly or twice a year, depending on the amount of traffic the account receives.

The second principle of a good audit is clearly defining the objections. When we do audits, we typically have four different objectives:

  1. Evaluate performance of the account against the larger objectives of the business
  2. Identify fast wins and immediate opportunities
  3. Isolate sources of wasted spend
  4. Identify long-term opportunities to scale and grow

The third and final principle of a good audit is that they can and will provide fodder for new ideas.

Mistake #2: Auditing What Doesn’t Matter

If you think about how your account spends money, or the different channel budgets you maintain, one of the things we see people doing is spending the majority of their time auditing smaller spend portions of the account. The bulk of auditing time should be spent analyzing the largest sources of spend, and potentially wasted spend and opportunity, and then peel the account apart from there.

Mistake #3: Not Performing an In-Depth Audit

If you don’t go deep enough, you are not going to get what you want out of the auditing process. This is a mistake that we often see people make in that they believe they can get an audit done within their account in 15 minutes. It is simply not possible. On average, a typical audit takes our agency 20 hours to complete. In analyzing every component of the account, from ads to keywords to account structure to bid management to display performance (and the list goes on), we provide definitive recommendations for performance opportunities.

Mistake #4: Having an Insider Do the Audit

Anyone with a high degree of competency within the company can perform an audit. However, the person who does the day-to-day account management should not be the one to do it. In the world of development, you should never let your developers QA their own code or work. Similarly, a designer would not be in their own user testing group. The reason why is perspective. A day-to-day account team knows how the account is supposed to function and why strategic or tactical decisions were made. An audit should look at the big picture and trends, examine both data and best practices and challenge why those decisions were made.

By being further away from the data, a third-party audit should give you:

  • An analytical view of the data that is free from preconceived notions of the industry or company
  • A unique perspective that can help reinvigorate a stagnant account with fresh ideas and new considerations and opportunities

Mistake #5: Stopping the Audit at the Click

As you likely know, Google Analytics is set up to give credit to the last action the user took before a conversion and AdWords credit is given to the first click that led to that conversion. Despite constant advances within the search industry, click attribution and corresponding performance evaluation has functioned mostly the same way since inception. The problem with this is that it assumes people are far less complicated than they really are. People are comparison shoppers, and few of them buy after just one interaction with a brand.

Donna Lagow

Donna Lagow

Because of this, we have to change the way we measure channel success. It’s important to evaluate the full search experience, including cross device assists, high funnel keyword contribution, and the search-to-website experience.

Want even more information on PPC audits? Download our PDF of the Top 5 Mistakes in PPC Audits.

This post was authored by Donna Lagow. If you need help with auditing, strategy or your online marketing accounts in general, contact us to find out if 360Partners is the right SEM partner for you!