Imagine wasting almost $700,000 on PPC in 6 years? Firstly, you probably can’t envision that and secondly, you definitely don’t want to. It is estimated by Search Engine Journal that over 61% of Google Ads budgets are wasted. And that statistic I can vouch for as more times than not this is the case. Not to mention, I was the one to break the news to the agency owner that he wasted this much money on Google PPC. Furthermore, these horror stories also make complete sense seeing how, 71% of advertisers on Google don’t properly track their conversions, meaning they don’t even know if their ads are driving the result they expect.
As more insurance agencies begin to explore digital marketing strategies, primarily through Google PPC, it is becoming increasingly important that they understand not only how these platforms apply to their agency, but how to make them continually work for you.
Pay-per-click marketing, whether it be through Google or Bing, is a dynamic space. As technology advances and competition on these networks increase, the strategies that brought you success in the past, simply won’t work anymore. If you intend on dominating the digital space, resting on your laurels isn’t going to cut it! The clear and simple manner of staying atop your game is by way of a PPC audit.
Why You Need A PPC Ad Audit?
A Google Ads account audit is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of your account and coming up with an action plan to make sure that your results remain consistent. An audit reveals exactly what’s working and where things aren’t going so great. Therefore, you typically want to audit your account on two occasions. Annually and when your account performance has significantly decreased.
The key to a good audit is to:
- Realign your campaign strategy with your agency’s growth objectives
- Identify areas of wasted spend
- Identify new areas of opportunity within your advertising
The outcomes of a good audit will help your agency stop wasting money so you can reallocate it to producing areas, generate more inbound leads, and identify new ways to grow your agency.
7 Steps to Auditing Your PPC Campaigns
Whether you have a campaign that is lacking or currently smashing your lead generation goals, auditing your campaigns is a must. An audit of your account can be deep and comprehensive or done from a 30,000-foot view. Either way, here are 7 areas to focus on when auditing your campaign, and I’ll share the most common mistake that I see agencies making in that particular area.
1. Review Your Goals
The first step you should take before even starting your audit is reviewing your business goals and your account goals. Without understanding your performance outcomes, you won’t have an idea of what you’re looking to identify and improve upon. The two most important questions to consider when reviewing your goals are:
- Who are my ideal clients?
- How many leads and new clients are you expecting to attract?
The most common issue is agency marketers fail to understand is their client acquisition costs, or how much will it cost on the PPC networks to attract new clients. Before you start auditing your account, get a general sense of how much your agency spends to acquire a new client.
2. Review Your Account Structure & Settings
How you decide to set up your account from the start can make or break any campaign. Typically your account structure is going to center around your overall business objectives, persona targets like language and locations, and bidding and budget strategy. While there’s not necessarily a “right” way to structure your account, you want to do so in a way that aligns with your company. The most important aspects of account structure are:
- Do my campaigns target the right languages, personas, and locations?
- Are my bidding strategies appropriate for my budget?
A big problem I see here regarding the insurance space is the bidding strategy. Because of the nature and competitiveness of insurance keywords on Google, proper budget allocation is key. Many agents spread their budgets too thin or are not realistic in their max bids, thus throwing off their budget allocations and killing their overall performance.
3. Ad Groups
Your ad groups are essentially the “themes” that separate and organize your keywords and ad across any given campaign. Ad groups are what allow you to deliver personalized and relevant ads to the right searchers. Based on the particular theme of your ad group, determines how you want to allocate your funds and is the driver for your keyword research. Here’s what to consider when auditing your ad groups:
- Are my ad groups tightly themed around a small subset of keywords?
- Are my budgets being allocated towards my best ad groups?
The biggest mistake I see insurance companies making here is TOO MANY KEYWORDS PER AD GROUP! This generally comes from a failure to look at the “theme” of a particular searcher’s “search intent”. This again results in budgets not effectively being spread around your campaigns, and thus, wasted funds.
4. Review Your Keyword Selection
Your keywords are comprised of the actual keywords you want to target, the match types that you set, the search queries that your keywords generate, and the negative keywords that you include. Looking back at your overall goals for your campaigns, you can better evaluate the specific intent and forecast the performance of keywords that you select. From there, you must group your keywords according to your ad groups. The biggest factors to consider in auditing your keywords are:
- Do you have enough negative keywords?
- Are you looking at your search query report?
- Are you removing poor and underperforming performing keywords?
Insurance keywords are expensive. However, insurance keywords that don’t convert are more expensive. Many agents are reluctant to bid higher in order to get better placements and higher rankings. Therefore, despite having quality keywords, they don’t convert because they are generating clicks outside of the top 3 spots, or worse, at the bottom of the search results listings.
When conducting an audit of your ads, you have to have a good offer. That offer could be related to benefits like the timeliness of quote delivery, pricing, quality of carriers. In addition, every PPC ad should include a call to action, important keywords, and stand out from the competitors. Most importantly, you have to run a variety of ad types against one another. You can audit your ads by asking the following questions:
- Do you include multiple ad variations (expanded text and responsive) in each ad group?
- Do you consistently remove ads and test ad copy against one another (A/B test)?
- Do you use all relevant ad extensions?
Ad extensions are an absolute necessity to your ads because they allow you campaigns to take up more real estate on the search engine results page (SERP). The most important extension I see missing is the location extension, or in other words, your Google My Business extension. Without this integrated, your ads won’t show up in the map pack, and you’ll miss out on local, ready-to-buy prospects.
6. Review Your Landing Pages & CRO Processes
Landing pages are external to your PPC campaigns but have a huge impact on the performance of how your campaigns perform. Personalized and tailored landing pages with clear calls to action and positive user experiences are all key to raising your quality score and convincing visitors to become leads. When looking at your landing pages, consider the following:
- Does the page contain elements like call tracking numbers, submission forms, and thank you pages?
- Are you A/B testing your page designs, headlines, and calls to action?
The issue with most insurance agencies is they drive their PPC traffic directly to their websites, not a landing page at all. The problem with not having a landing page at all ultimately means you will get dinged in PPC. Why? Because you aren’t providing a personalized and tailored search experience for the user.
7. Review Your Tracking & Reporting
How will you know if you’re hitting your goals if you aren’t tracking and reporting your performance? Without the proper conversion tracking and reporting, it will be hard to get an accurate sense of what’s occurring in your campaigns. Understanding where your budgets are going, which campaigns, keywords, and ads are generating leads, and which aren’t are absolutely essential to performing ppc campaigns. Ask yourself this when evaluating your tracking and reporting mechanisms:
- Do i clearly understand which campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads are performing best?
- Do I clearly understand which campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads are underperforming?
- Am I able to better allocate my budget based on my performance goals?
As mentioned above, when it comes to PPC, proper conversion tracking and/or code placement is likely the thorn in your agency’s side. Without conversion tracking, you are simply spending money on PPC ads and hoping for the best. With a clearly defined definition of a conversion and proper tracking, you can begin to understand down to the exact ad, which areas are performing and underperforming.
Your real work begins after you’ve documented each item and any issues you need to address. Now the action plan can come together, get scheduled, and be put into motion. Whether you’re going to tackle everything at once or work into longer ongoing efforts, now you know exactly what to do to start improving your performance. Don’t forget, these platforms are dynamic and continually changing, which means an audit can’t just be a one-time thing. At a minimum, an annual audit will be required on your accounts and campaigns. As more agents increase their ad budgets and presence on Google, you can use this free downloadable checklist to help you squeeze more leads from your current marketing budgets and become more competitive on Google.
Free PPC Audit Checklist Download
FREE PPC Audit Offer
Do your Google campaigns need a performance boost? I’m offering new subscribers a free Google audit for your agency! On this call, I will share with you the exact keywords and campaign strategy I used to attract over 3,000 insurance prospects and rank in the top 3 spots like the big guys. Find out more here.