It’s Time to Audit Your AdWords Account
Ryan Moothart Feb 1 2017
Ah January, another revolution around the sun complete. Yearly budgets are set, resolutions made, and the holidays are still recent enough you can taste the eggnog. I hate to be the guy who brings up that one thing, which causes you to go into a brand-new-year-and-I-already-forgot-about… panic, but: when’s the last time you took a deep dive into your AdWords account?
I’m not talking about the last time you added a handful of keywords or when you last added a new campaign. When’s the last time you went through your account top-to-bottom and checked everything? If you didn’t get to this as part of your 2017 planning, no matter if you got the full checkup at the beginning of 2016, it’s time to audit your AdWords account again.
Even if your account performed well all year, there are several things that changed in Google AdWords in 2016. Here are five things you should be sure to review during your next AdWords audit.
1. Expanded Text Ads
Google introduced expanded text ads earlier in 2016, which has quickly become the new standard text ad format in AdWords. As of January 31, 2017, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit any text ads in the previous format.
These expanded ads have 2 headlines of 25 characters each and one body description line of 80 characters. In total, they’re about 50% larger than the previous text ad format. If you’re not using these in your account by now, you’re absolutely missing out on impressions and clicks.
2. Bid Modifiers for All Devices
Mobile bid modifiers have been around since Google first introduced enhanced campaigns in 2013. These modifiers allow you bid up or down for mobile traffic by a percentage you set. However, did you know you can now set bid modifiers by all device types?
Check your campaign data segmenting conversion metrics by device. It’s common to see mobile clicks having lower conversion rates, but you might notice some campaigns where desktop traffic lags behind, or where tablet traffic outperforms both mobile and desktop. Set device bid modifiers accordingly on the campaign level based on these metrics.
3. RLSA Options
Here are a couple of remarketing lists for search ad (RLSA) developments you might not have heard yet:
- Similar audiences, which are automatically generated by Google based on your existing remarketing audiences, are now available for use in search campaigns.
- Customer match (e-mail list) audiences are now available for use in shopping campaigns.
Many advertisers got access to these functionalities in just Q4 of 2016. If you’re eligible to use either (or both) of these features and you’re not yet using them, you should absolutely develop a plan and test them out in 2017.
4. New Ad Extensions
Have you heard of price extensions? How about message extensions? Promotion extensions? For quick reference:
- Price extensions allow you to show short descriptions and prices of products or services you offer.
- Message extensions allow a user to text your business directly from a mobile SERP.
- Promotion extensions allow you to highlight discounts alongside your text ad.
These are three new ad extension types Google introduced in 2016, and if your account is appropriate and eligible you should definitely be using them.
In the tools section of your account, go through your conversions and ensure all settings are up-to-date and that no goals are obsolete. AdWords removed the Converted Clicks functionality (although you can still see the metric itself available in your account) and enhanced its Conversion metric. You can now manually set your conversion(s) to count each click (i.e. each sale) or each unique click (i.e. each user).
If you don’t remember adjusting any of your AdWords conversion settings this year, make sure to check this piece sooner rather than later.
The PPC Fundamentals and Your Next Steps
These are just some of the new things to take into consideration when auditing your AdWords account. There are still the vitally-important, traditional elements to review as well, such as campaign structure, ad group structure, keyword selection, and so forth.
If you feel like you may be overlooking or under-using any of the new tools or best practices here, make time to take that big step back from daily optimization to truly audit your AdWords account before we get too far into the year. Alternatively, you can get a few tips from us at no cost by requesting a free PPC audit from Portent. Just sayin’.
Senior PPC Strategist
Ryan is a PPC Architect and has been with Portent, Inc. since 2010. He has over seven years of hands-on PPC experience including large-scale e-commerce, international B2B lead gen, and everything in between. Graduating from Willamette University with a BA in Rhetoric and Media Studies, he became a published author in 2016 with the release of his book, Towards Cascadia, which is a non-fiction exploration of Pacific Northwest identity, bioregionalism, and nationhood. He and his husband, Paul, enjoy traveling and are avid followers of Sounders FC, Seattle’s Major League Soccer club. Read More