How to audit a Google Ads account?

Written by

Irene Moreno

SEM · 02 / 04 / 2020

During our years at Google and other companies we have seen a very large number of accounts with multiple methods of managing AdWords campaigns. This article (part one) aims to show what concepts must be taken into account when auditing an account Google advertising from a technical and operational viewpoint. In this first part we will analyze four fundamental areas of an AdWords account: the structure of campaigns, keywords, ads and extensions and networks used.

1. Audit of the campaign structure of our Google Ads account Campaign

The structure is the critical and main point of a top-quality Adwords campaign. All the time invested in defining, segmenting and configuring an AdWords account will allow us to be more efficient in optimizing the account and obtaining better results. The hyper-segmentation that we carry out in Digital Menta together with other actions, make our account structures maximize the investment of our clients. Utopically, an account must have an ad for each keyword. This was unmanageable with thousands of keywords accounts, but currently thanks to the machine learning provided by Google itself, the task of hypersegmentation is now much easier and helps us get better results.

In addition to hypersegmentation, having a consistent account structure will also help us serve the right ad for the right user. An important point to consider is the balance between a hypersegmented campaign and its operational manageability. We should ask ourselves the following questions to audit the AdWords structure.

Estructura de AdWords

Basic AdWords structure proposed by Google Academies

Targeted ad groups?

Each product / category / subcategory / brand must have a dedicated ad group. There are also other different ways of segmenting by regions, matchtypes, etc …

Targeted keywords

Keyword lists should be tightly grouped around the specific topic of the ad group. If you include new keywords that don’t fit any of the ad groups, we recommend creating a new ad group to group consistently.

Evaluate the number of keywords per ad group

We cannot define a specific number of keywords to keep in an ad group, but we do know that this will vary depending on the strategy we are following. If we are relying on machine learning tools, it is probably better to agglutinate keywords and with them, traffic & data in order to help algorithms to work efficiently. On the other hand, if we want to have absolute control of performance by brand / product / model etc. It will always help us to try to segment as much as possible.

Products / brands / models strictly divided into ad groups / campaigns

Segmentation into products, brands or models will allow us to better control campaigns and their budgets from the business point of view. Another of the dimensions to control with different campaigns would be the geographical one.

Campaigns separated by geographical areas

A campaign for Colombia is not the same as the one for Mexico. In the same way, an ad for Madrid may work in a totally different way than in Galicia. In that case, it would be interesting to differentiate campaigns by geographic segmentation and thus better control budgets. It is another dimension that makes sense to analyze and assess whether to apply it in the structure of our campaigns.

The structure reflects the site

Another factor to take into account is the structure of the website as it will allow us to create campaigns with specific deep links and have control over each specific product such as category / brand, etc.

Logic in the creation of campaigns, advertisements and structure

Applying coherence when creating a structure will make it easier to understand campaigns, execute changes in it and perform performance analysis.

2. Keywords selection Audit in the campaigns of our Google Ads account

A good selection of the keywords, the types of concordance, the grouping of these in the structure created and the selection of negative keywords are crucial points of an appropriate AdWords strategy. This process will make us invest the money in the most efficient way possible from the beginning.

In addition, we have to take into account the updates that Google has introduced  recently on keyword matches. In the next few weeks, we will see how synonyms of our keywords in broad and phrase matching will become searches that will activate the impression of our ad. We recommend taking this update into account when making a new set up for a new account.

Different matchtypes aligned with the objectives

The more specific the type of match, the more efficient the performance will be, but the smaller the target group / volume of impressions / clicks etc. Therefore, you have to have different matchtypes to control the efficiency of the campaign without reducing the volume of impressions.

Are there negative keywords?

Negative keywords should be added to avoid showing ads in search queries that are not relevant . Be careful with the type of agreement, as it is important not to conflict with positive keywords. Cross-negative keywords between different ad groups are important to fine-tune the printing of the right ads. The selection of negative keywords has to be done with logic, since you can include negative keywords that limit the impressions of our ads with suitable searches. An interesting way to manage them is to create lists of negative kws to make the operation easier.

Ejemplo de palabras clave negativas

Example of negative KWs by

Evidence that new negative keywords are included from time to time

Adding negative keywords evidences that the changes that are being made in the account constantly seeking not to show our ads to searches that are not interesting. Adding negative keywords to our account has to be a constant task.

Are there any duplicated keywords?

Check that there are no duplicate keywords. Duplicate keywords in different campaigns / ad groups make statistics analysis distort, not the message to display properly controlled and is Google decide which ad show in each case at their discretion and even making bids more expensive to be competing in your own account.

Brand Exact match Impression Share at 100%

We have to capture all the keywords demand for our brand in the search, if our strategy aims to defend the brand or obtain a different communication with our users that would not allow SEO.

Are there long tail keywords in the account?

These are the words with low search volume but that make the account work more efficiently. Long tail keywords have to have as specific text ads as possible.

Explicación de Keywords de Long Tail

Explanation of the Long Tail Keywords

Are there keywords without impressions or with very few?

We should not confuse long tail words, with keywords with low impression volumes and low performance in campaigns or ad groups, since these keywords generate low CTR (negative in the sense of quality level) and should be deleted (caution with this). 

3. Audit of ads and extensions of our Google Ads

Adtext account

Another critical point in the efficiency of advertising campaigns is ads. Copies must have two fundamental aspects to maximize the efficiency of investments; on the one hand respect the communication line defined by the brand and encourage the user to want to know more and on the other hand the relevance with the keywords defined in each of the different ad groups.

Number of ads per adgroup

It is best to have several ads that are displayed and track the click rate and conversion rate to see which arguments are most appropriate. We can rely on AB type tests and know what has the best impact at the level of advertising on our account.

In addition, we recommend including relevant calls to action to help generate interest in the user.

To continue evaluating the level of improvement of the account, we can check if the ad includes the main keyword of the ad group, as this will help us improve the CTR. On the other hand, if there is use of keyword insertion, we must verify that there are no spelling mistakes in the keywords we are using.

The visible URL of the ad must be aligned with the search being done and provide information related to it. It does not have to be a real URL since it will be the final URL that has to be valid to send users to the appropriate landing page.


We must check if all adgroups have ad extensions relevant and highlight texts according to the campaign. Sitelinks must have an extended description to improve the impact of advertising and the capture of space in the search engine.

Geographic location extensions; These types of extensions are useful for those brands that have establishments in different locations. These extensions are relevant for users who are looking for us through mobile phones and want to know the closest business establishment.

Call extensions; They help us find local businesses and increase the traffic to the store.

Review Extensions; they are useful for building trust in users through comments or ratings from other users in trusted sources

Extensions of featured text; They help us to include relevant information and define the different values ​​contributed by the company (price, customer services etc.)

Extensions of site extracts: we will show in the advertisement part of the range of products that an advertiser has, whether brands, services etc …

Application Extension; We will promote the app of our business.

PS: if you can’t wait, you can download the 50-point audit guide from our audit pop-up.

4. Networks

Possibilities Advertising in AdWords allow you to use multiple formats in different networks (search, Google content network and YouTube). Depending on the needs of each advertiser, one or the other should be used in accordance with the objectives determined in the strategy. However, we must bear in mind that the more functionalities that are used or have been tested, we will know better the possibilities of Google Ads to generate revenue.

Separate search campaigns and GDN

These campaigns should never be united as one. The metrics of the Google Display Network (Google Display Network or GDN) are completely different and generally look for different business or communication goals. There is a type of campaign called Display with Search Selection whose value proposed by Google is to have campaigns in GDN that inherit the efficient configuration of a search campaign. We do not usually use these types of campaigns for efficiency reasons.

Google search vs search partners network

If the Partner Search network is not working properly, the best thing is to remove it from the configuration. This segment can be viewed by selecting your own segment from the Google Ads interface. Unfortunately, Google only allows us to activate or deactivate search partners and not do any optimization.

Auditar Segmento de Partners de Adwords

Audit Sample Analysis Segment AdWordsPartners

Display Ad Banners

Ads on the Display Network are a great way to reach more users and communicating the value proposition while users surf the Internet. Thanks to the segmentation capabilities of the Display network, users can be very efficiently impacted by offering useful advertising.

Frequency limit in GDN campaigns

The frequency limit of Display campaigns allows us to better control the message to users and control the effect that the brand leaves on them. There is no better or worse number in terms of limitation, you just have to take it into account according to the strategy to follow by the brand.

Limitación de frecuencia

Frequency limitation settings for the Display network

Has the Remarketing strategy been defined?

We must analyze if a remarketing strategy is being used in search engines and display networks, since it is a fundamental tool to support the achievement of objectives. To see if it is working properly, we will analyze the definition of the different audience segments and the creation of different ads by segments. Offering the right message to each type of visitor will make us report efficiently on our value proposition.

Display segmentation by gender and age

Controlling campaigns by gender and age is essential to understand the behavior of different segments and to limit our advertising to those people who may really be interested in our services. Therefore, we will analyze if there is a different behavior between ages or sex and we will assess the need to separate campaigns.

Auditoría AdWords por Edad y Sexo

AdWords Audit by Age and Sex

Youtube Video Campaigns

Video campaigns on YouTube are highly effective in terms of cost and also allows us to generate greater brand awareness. Likewise, Youtube Analytics offers us very interesting information about the users who view our videos.

With this checklist you can analyze if your work or your partners work (agency or collaborators) is adequate and if the full potential of your AdWords investment is reached. In addition, if what you want is to analyze more complete details you can review our AdWords articles.

The second part of the AdWords campaign audit is just around the corner, so stay tuned. And those who want to share your point of view on how to audit AdWords campaigns, leave us a comment!


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