The only PPC audit checklist you need

Whether you’re auditing an account to win new business or taking a deep dive into existing clients, PPC audits will always be an essential part of your role. Without an audit, you could be missing out on vital information, which has the potential to improve your account performance considerably.

Here at Embryo, our PPC team is multi-award winning and specialises in identifying key areas within your account which are holding back performance. However, it’s no good to be told your account is a sinking ship without having the information at hand to turn things around.

In this blog, I’ll be detailing the top 5 areas within an audit that I find to be the most impactful when it comes to uplifting current performance and winning new business.

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Defining Your Targets

Defining what your own, or your client’s targets are is essential to auditing a PPC account. Without knowing what the account is trying to achieve, the rest of the audit becomes very difficult. Below are a few points which may help:

  • Is the account focusing on leads or sales?
  • Lead Gen – What is the target cost per lead?
  • Lead Gen – Is the account struggling to get lead volume?
  • Lead Gen – Has the client specified that it’s lead quality which is the issue?
  • Lead Gen – Does the client have a CRM?
  • Lead Gen – Is offline conversion tracking in place?
  • Lead Gen – What is your AOV?
  • ECOM – What are your client’s revenue goals?
  • ECOM – What are your client’s ROAS goals?
  • ECOM – Does your client have a target cost of sale?
  • ECOM – What are your client’s profit margins & does this differ across the board?
  • ECOM – Is visibility & scaling an issue? Do you have an optimised product feed?
  • ECOM – What is your AOV?
  • ECOM – Do you know your customer’s lifetime value?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you then have a solid foundation to begin your audit, like a cheat sheet. You now have the bottom line reasons as to what the client is struggling with, and what to focus your attention on throughout the PPC audit.

Account Structure

Campaigns should be somewhat structured in line with the goals you’re trying to achieve. As a starting point, a website is always an efficient way to structure your account. Whether it’s lead gen or e-commerce, a website will provide you with the various arms to the client’s business, whether that be by product category or service type.

If you find that the account you are auditing isn’t streamlined in a way which provides maximum data to all campaigns, then straight away you’ve identified a key area which will help improve the account’s overall efficiency.


Within Google Ads, there are now more avenues than ever when it comes to targeting. Ensuring your client’s accounts are going after the correct target audience, whether that be by age, gender, interests or device preference, It’s a crucial part of maximising performance.

For example; If you find that your client sells high-value products like beds, dining tables etc then it’s most likely that you won’t have a high volume of repeat customers for those products. Therefore it’s important that those campaigns focus primarily on new customers and not existing ones.

Below is a list of things to check when analysing your account targeting;

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Keyword relevance
  • Language
  • Device
  • Interests
  • Display placements
  • In-market & affinity audiences
  • Customer match lists
  • New vs returning customers

Conversion Tracking

With the volume of spending running through a variety of channels, campaign types & networks, robust tracking is arguably the most important factor in any online marketing activity.

Believe it or not, incorrect use or faulty tracking is the most common thing which is highlighted when doing a PPC account audit. Here are a few points which can help you identify if the tracking setup is accurate;

  • Are the correct tags visible on the website? (Use Google tag assistant)
  • Is the revenue being pulled in Google lining up with the client’s revenue within the CRM?
  • Are you using the most up-to-date attribution models? (Data-driven)
  • Is GA4 set up correctly?
  • Have you tried implementing GTAG tracking with enhanced conversions?
  • Has consent mode impacted your conversion data?
  • Are the most valuable conversion actions being set as primary?
  • Are the least valuable conversion actions being set as secondary?

Once you have the answers to these questions you will be in a position to clean up all things tracking.

From experience, GTAG with enhanced conversions is the most accurate tracking option available to date. With its ability to ensure that the ever-changing cookieless landscape has little to no impact on Google ads PPC tracking. If you combine that with data-driven attribution, you’ll be able to make sure that all of your campaigns are getting the credit they deserve for the part they play in conversion journeys.

Creatives & Optimisation

This section is where the bulk of the audit will take place. Analysing the finer details within the account is what will really make a difference when it comes to putting together the new strategy, in the hope of turning performance around.

Ad copy

  • Do the headlines match the product or service being advertised?
  • Do the ads include keywords in order to maximise quality score?
  • Are you making the most of the character count, thus increasing visibility on the search network?
  • Can ad strength be improved in order to decrease CPCs and increase visibility?

Ad formats

  • Is a variety of formats being used throughout the account?
  • Do the PMAX campaigns have branded marketing imagery with CTA’s & USP’s?
  • Have you tested various RSA’s for the same ad group?
  • Have you tested single image vs carousel ads within demand gen?


  • Are all keywords relevant to the campaign, ad group & ad?
  • Have negative keywords been added to the correct campaigns?
  • Do negative keywords have the correct match types?
  • Are more keywords needed in order to avoid campaigns being limited by search volume?
  • Are you testing various match types depending on keyword search volume?
  • Is there a mix of high intent exact match keywords & high volume phrase match?

Quality Score

  • Are the ads & keywords relevant to each other
  • Does the landing page have keyword-rich content which is relevant to the campaign?
  • What is the expected CTR?
  • What is the landing page experience rating?
  • Have the landing pages endured CRO analysis?

Engagement Metrics

  • Are the ads getting enough clicks?
  • Has the CTR decreased or increased in the last 90 days?
  • Are there any keywords with high CTR and low conversion rates? Or vice versa?
  • Are all calls to action and USPs visible enough on creative assets?
  • How does the conversion rate differ between match types, campaigns & landing pages?

Ad Extensions

  • Do you have message extensions?
  • Are image extensions active?
  • Is a phone call extension live?
  • Are the ad extensions relevant & up to date with the most accurate landing page?
  • Do you have any offer-based site links?
  • Have you implemented structured snippets?


Running PPC audits can be very time-consuming, especially when you’re dealing with a large account which has a very high volume of campaigns. However, audits are absolutely essential to ensuring a long and successful PPC lifespan. There are many updates across Google ads each year, that’s why it would be recommended to carry out an audit at least once or twice a year.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of running a PPC audit, then you can always consider hiring a specialist PPC agency to do a free audit for you. They can help by carrying out an in-depth PPC audit, as well as a bespoke strategy which will help turn your account from a money-churning headache to an award-winning marketing campaign.

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