If you’re investing in digital marketing for your business, then you need to ensure your budget is being used to its maximum potential. Regular digital audits are vital to your success if you want to get your digital marketing right. This blog post tells you what to look for.
Just like every other investment you make, it is imperative to check everything is on track to hit the goals that are in place. A digital marketing strategy should never be launched with a “set and leave” mentality.
With changes and enhancements regularly occurring across all digital marketing platforms, you must ensure you are up to speed.
Whether you are marketing on Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any of the many other platforms available, it is imperative that you invest your time as well as your money.
Digital marketing can bring massive success to your business, but it is not as simple as creating an account with some ads and targeting, entering your payment details and then Bob’s your uncle. Data needs to be utilised, and all digital marketing platforms provide a plethora of excellent data,
As the Director of Marketing at Factory and a former Googler, I know only too well how many advertisers are wasting their digital marketing budget. Very rarely do we see ad accounts where all bolts have been tightened to minimise the wasted budget.
Over 80% of our clients who came to us from other agencies or have run their own ad accounts have found their marketing efforts have been wasting a significant amount of their budget. This is why we carry out regular digital marketing audits on all the accounts we manage.
A wasted budget could be due to several reasons. The main reasons we see are
- Unclear marketing goals
- Incorrectly setup account structure
- Irregular optimisations/no optimisations
- Incorrect settings selected
- Failing to refresh ad copy
- Lack of digital marketing audits and many more.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to digital marketing, so each strategy should be different and constantly evolving. That being said, there are certain elements of each platform that require ongoing attention and should form part of your digital strategy audit.
So, you’ve committed to online marketing – How do you ensure your digital marketing account is up to date and performing to the maximum potential with limited wasted spend? Read on to discover the benefits of a marketing audit.
What should your online marketing audit include?
This is our audit checklist of areas we focus on when carrying out a regular digital marketing strategy audit:
1 – Set the right data timeframe for your digital marketing audit
When optimising your ad account and analysing the data, we would recommend focusing on the last 30 days. A 30 day period will provide the right level of recent data for a digital marketing audit.
Compare your data set to the previous period so you can see any trends, increases and decreases in performance.
It is also advisable to compare with alternate time periods of the same length to see trends against other times of the year.
2 – Analyse your account structure – is it still relevant?
An excellent digital marketing campaign structure will follow the same layout as your website.
For example, if you are selling goods, your Campaigns should be for each overriding product category, with Ad Groups forming your subcategories – Picture your drop-down menus or product filters.
A well-structured account provides a higher degree of performance information and provides a more manageable focus on specific product areas.
3 – Are you using the right marketing campaigns for your goals?
Consider what would work best to target your ideal audience. Are you or your marketing team using Google Seach, Google Display, YouTube, or social media marketing platforms like Facebook Lead Generation Forms, LinkedIn Sponsored Content? Every platform has it’s strengths and weaknesses.
Do you anticipate a better return by advertising on search engines over display networks? Is it time for your business to jump into the big pond?
As part of your digital marketing plan, research which tools give you the best opportunity to achieve your goals and maximise your return on investment. there are a number of free tools you can use as well as paid ones.
4 – Analyse the performance of your Ad Groups / Ad Sets
Depending on the platform you are using, your next level will usually be titled either Ad Group or Ad Set. These are the subcategories for your marketing campaigns.
Key areas to focus on when conducting a marketing audit are your keywords, audiences, quality scores, ads (text and/or image) and whether they still match your website layout.
Key elements to check are, for example, your keywords:
Are they relevant? Are any missing? Do you have negative keywords? Do any have a status other than eligible/approved? What are your quality scores and ad relevance ratings?
On platforms other than Google Ads, it is always worth assessing whether or not the audiences within your Ad Sets are still relevant or if they require amending.
5 – Do you have the right volume of ads within each Ad Group/Ad Set?
For Google Search, the recommendation is to have a minimum of 3 ads per ad group. If using Responsive Search Ads, it is still highly advisable to have Expanded Text Ads running alongside them. These can be optimised based on the best performing Responsive Search Ad headlines and descriptions.
With Facebook, you can have up to 50 ads per Ad Set. When creating ads within each set, ensure you are not creating too many for your budget.
Consider how many times you want each ad to be displayed and how much you pay for you impressions/clicks – Then work out how many you can feasibly run within your budget.
Each platform has varying recommended ad numbers, so ensure part of your digital marketing audit is to research what the current recommendations are.
6 – Ad refreshing – Keep it up to date and relevant
When checking out the performance of your Ad Groups, it is always advisable to spend some time analysing your ads. Take the time to look at the performance and status of each ad – any issues you spot will require time spent fixing them.
On top of analysing each ad against performance metrics such as CTR, Conversion Rate, CPC, Interactions etc… you should also be checking the wording as part of your digital marketing audit – Does this require an update?
Do some competitor analysis and check what they are doing to see if they give you any inspiration or any pointers on what not to write.
Ultimately, nobody wants to see the same ad over and over again, so a quick refresh every so often can go a long way. Ensure you are using your keyword and landing page terms within the ad text on Google, on Facebook use enticing words and on LinkedIn, be descriptive etc.
7 – Google Ad Extensions
Ad extensions can increase your CTR on Google Search by an average of 10-15%, so it is worthwhile spending some time here too. Ad extensions can also have a positive impact on your overall ad rank, meaning you can get higher up the results by having the right extensions in place.
Ad extensions provide an opportunity to own more Google search result “real estate” by serving more information with your text ad.
Key ad extensions to ensure you are utilising are Sitelinks, Callout, Structured Snippets, Location and Call. There are many more ad extensions that can be implemented, providing they are relevant to your business.
Like everything in your digital marketing audit, it is vital to allocate time during your account optimisation to asses the extension’s performance, wording, status and URL – amend anything that requires an update.
8 – Check out your settings
Getting your settings right can be a complete puzzle in itself. Get it wrong and you could lose out, get it right and everything can fall into place!
The selected settings can make or break your digital marketing success. For example, incorrectly selecting a single option within Google Ads could mean you are wasting money by serving ads all over the world (regardless of whether or not you have already stipulated specific locations to target).
Spend the time to work your way through the ad account settings so you can be confident that you are minimising your lost budget.
Have you told the Google Ads system what your goal is? Are you happy that your bidding strategy is right for your account? What networks have you selected (e.g. are Google Search Partners having a positive or negative impact)? Is your ad rotation correct?
9 – Is the “where, when, who and on what” correct for your goals?
When you are looking to minimise your wasted ad budget, consider who your audience is, where they are, what device they use, and when they are likely to be online. Across all digital ad platforms, there is the capability to target specific locations, at certain times and to your ideal age groups.
Once you have the where, when, what and who nailed down, you also have the option on Google Ads to place bid adjustments to increase and lower your ad bid.
You might choose to boost your bids to a particular age group between certain times of the day or lower bids on specific devices due to performance data.
Ensure you view how your ads are performing for the specific groups during your digital marketing audit. You can do this within each tab and also by segmenting your overall data within the platform.
10 – Is your budget right for the size of your account and goal(s)?
There are two areas to consider during your digital marketing audit here:
- Number one, is your budget being used up too quickly due to the size of your ad account and target areas?
- Number two, is your budget not being fully utilised, meaning you can expand your targeting to further afield?
A speedy way is to view how well your budget is performing is by looking at impression share. Impression share gives you a percentage indication of how many times your ads show against the maximum available opportunities.
A low impression share means your budget is not high enough for your targeting. The solutions are to either increase the budget or tighten your targeting.
A low impression share can also be a sign that there is an extremely high number of competitors targeting similar terms/audiences. Consider other platforms that are not saturated.
A high impression share means you are serving ads on more occasions when your target audience(s) are online. If this coincides with your budget not being entirely spent daily, you can look to either allocate some budget to other campaigns/platforms or reduce and keep it in the business.
11 – Compare your overall data!
Always check the comparison data that you have selected. At each stage, see what your increases and decreases have been and dig further into the numbers. Check against a different time period other than “previous period” to see if there is a pattern.
Look at alternative years or even a longer period than 30 days. If you generally have a long path to purchase, a longer timeframe can be useful for your digital marketing audit.
12 – Is your website performing to its full potential?
If you are looking through your data and seeing strong CTRs and impression shares, but very low on conversions, maybe your website needs some conversion rate optimisation. The slightest technical issue could derail all the hard work that has been put into your digital marketing campaigns.
There are a number of digital marketing audit tools available to check how well your website is performing. Google TestMySite, Pingdom Website Speed Test, GT Metrix and many more. With website speed being a key factor in gaining the conversions you desire, this is a vital element of your digital marketing audit.
For example, Google’s TestMySite can give you an indication of how their bots view the speed and usability of your website and landing pages – Landing page quality forms part of the overall ad rank, so it is important that your website scores highly with Google. TestMySite can also provide you with a free report to show what needs to be fixed.
It is also worth analysing the data in your Google Analytics. BY deep diving into the data you can see stats such as landing page bounce rate, load time, time spent on the page/website, % of new users and much more.
What are the results of your digital marketing audit? Are you getting it right?
Ultimately, digital marketing can provide your business with exponential growth. Always ensure your strategy is relevant and that your goal(s) and budget are both realistic. A well-built ad account also requires ongoing time commitment and exceptional management.
Ignore these questions, and you risk leaving your budget in the hands of machines which will not fully understand what the marketing goal is.
Setting the right strategy:
When considering if your strategy is correct during your digital marketing audit, regularly consider these two factors:
1 – Have a clear, reasonable and relevant marketing goal.
Your targeting and ad copy should reflect your main goal and any sub-goals you create. Your digital marketing goal(s) should be in line with your business goals.
A reliable way to create your marketing goal is to use the SMART techniques. SMART means ensuring your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
By having a SMART Goal, you can decide what success looks like for your digital marketing investment. Too many digital marketing accounts are created with a simple aim of “get more sales/leads” – SMART Goals ensure your objective is clear and realistic.
Once you have created your SMART Goal, regular consideration needs to be given to ensure it is still relevant – If your business changes in any way, then so should your digital marketing strategy.
2 – Choose the right marketing platform
You know what you want to achieve, so you also need to check that you are still using the right platform for your goal(s) and target audience(s).
Just because you started by marketing online with Google, it’s always worth considering if your audience and sales path has changed – Would Facebook or LinkedIn now generate a better return?
Each platform offers its own benefits. Google Search generally provides the best chance of intent. However, some industries are becoming saturated on this platform.
If you are currently advertising on Google Search and now want to see what return you could generate through another platform, we would always recommend maintaining a presence on your original platform at the same time.
Be that a presence of the same size, so you are adding a platform to boost sales further. Or a smaller presence if you have a limited budget and need to move some to the new platform. A good digital marketer will be able to advise you on the best steps based on your intentions and budget.
Developing, implementing and managing a digital marketing strategy is like spinning many plates all at once.
Commit time and effort to your digital marketing strategy and campaigns and your business will see the benefit. If it is left untouched for even just a short time, plates can start to tumble, and your budget could be lost.
Don’t be a stranger, contact us if you would like a digital marketing audit on your Google Ads account or to discuss your Digital Strategy. Our expert team are on hand to help with exceptional ongoing Pay Per Click account management and optimisations.
As a Google Partner agency, Factory is ideally placed to get the most bang for your buck. Our marketing is headed up by an ex-Googler, so we have the expertise to know what works in digital marketing strategy and planning.
Want A Free Audit?
Please feel free to reach out for a preliminary free digital marketing audit and have a chat with us about your digital marketing needs or simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page!