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TPE #12: how to audit Google Ads accounts (3-step templatized auditing process)

Oct 10, 2022

Read time: 5 minutes


A Google Ads audit is the best and fastest way to find out how to improve your performance.


However, most people don't know how to audit properly: 


❌ They look at the wrong metrics

❌ They don't use a template and waste too much time

❌ They don't prepare well, and give wrong recommendations


(which results in an unhappy client).


Over the past 5 years, we have done hundreds of big and small account audits.


Audits can be extremely profitable, but can also take a lot of time when done without a clear system.


Therefore, we've created our own system. A 3-step templatized auditing process:


  1. Prepare: brief the client and ask a ton of questions
  2. Audit: check the account with a template/checklist
  3. Advise: give advice on how to improve results (with a clear action plan based on impact/complexity)


For every step in our action plan, we use templates and checklists. This helps to:


👉 Save time

👉 Get better results

👉 Never miss a growth opportunity

👉 Make your clients very happy with advanced advice

👉 Solidify your position as an authority in the Google Ads field


Let’s dive into our 3-step templatized auditing process, and how we use our templates and checklists!


1: Prepare: brief the client and ask a ton of questions


We love the saying: “well begun is half done”. The biggest mistake we see specialists make is that they start auditing right away. They ask no questions beforehand, which results in mediocre or even unwanted advice on how to improve results.


We always start off by sending our client a detailed briefing document with questions about:


  • Their business and goals
  • Their customers, competitors and market insights
  • Their products and services
  • Their marketing efforts
  • Their specific Google ads goals, KPIs, challenges etc.


You might notice that we only ask about Google Ads AFTER we understand their business, goals, customers, market and marketing efforts. 


By asking the right questions, you set yourself up for success. You make a great first impression because you show your client you truly care. And you showcase your expertise (you’re willing to go beyond just Google Ads), which ultimately reinforces your position as the authority in your field.


Your clients will love you for it!


Quick bonus tip: always ask your client specifically WHY they requested an audit and what they’re hoping to get out of it. This will dramatically improve the quality of your output and how you frame your advice.


Moving on to the actual audit.



2: Audit: check the account with a template/checklist


Once you get the answers to your questions, it’s time to do the actual audit and dig up any growth opportunities you can find.


We use a template (that’s basically a big checklist) to quickly find out what’s working and what isn’t. We structure it based on 15 categories like goals & targets, performance insights, general (account) settings, connections, Search campaigns, Performance Max campaigns, bid management, budget, conversion tracking, audience data, remarketing, Google Merchant Center and more.


(if you want the full template check out the link at the bottom of this email)


And then we have another one, specifically for Google Shopping feeds (for ecom clients).


In all those categories, we have over 200 checks that we go through one by one.


We invested over 100 hours to create a document that fit all our needs. It looks like this:

Detailed explanation below


Line 1: predefined question that needs to be answered

We don’t randomly go through the account and hope we find something. We ask ourselves these questions over and over so we go through the account in a structured way.


Line 2: predefined column that ranks the impact of the check and fix

When you do an audit, you could find dozens of things to optimize. Not everything needs to be done right away. We rank the impact of the check and fix with high, mid or low, so it’s easier to sort our advice based on the eventual impact it will have on the results.


Line 3: predefined column that ranks the complexity of the check and fix

Another metric we’ve added to show how complex a certain check/fix is (ranked as complex, neutral or simple). This is very powerful when combined with impact: it allows us to rank our advice based on impact/complexity. 


Line 4: give a score to a check (through the predefined drop-down menu)

When going through the checklist, we give scores to the checks (excellent, good, bad or n/a). It’s set to “to do” by default, so we know we still need to do this specific check.


Line 5: room for any notes on this specific finding

For example: “Google Ads purchase conversion tag not configured correctly”.


Line 6: room for any screenshots to back up findings

It’s extremely important to back advice up with data and screenshots of your findings. This helps prove a certain point, and takes any doubts away. That’s why we added some space to add the screenshots (which we can then easily integrate in our audit presentation deck template).

That's it for the audit itself. On to the final part: how to give the best advice.


3: Advise: give advice on how to improve results (with a clear action plan based on impact/complexity)

Then, once we finish the audit, we gather all of our learnings into an overview that we present to the client. Again, this is highly templatized to save a ton of time.


We start by listing everything that needs to be optimized. Then, we assign a score to priority (high, mid, low), impact (high, mid, low) and complexity (simple, neutral, complex). This helps us to determine what needs to be prioritized. 


Generally speaking, we like to start off with a few quick wins (the low-hanging fruit) to get the momentum going. Then, we move on to more complex optimizations.


An example of what the optimizations could look like. Normally, this list will be much longer, of course.

The final step is to present the findings to the client. We always schedule a call/meeting because we think it’s important to have a proper debrief and give context to the advice we’re giving.


We take all our findings and put them into our audit presentation slides template. The screenshots that we took earlier during the audit come in really handy here. We personalize it by replacing the placeholder images with images of the client’s brand.


This is what it looks like:



This is how we structure the audit presentation:


  1. Quick introduction: we like to mention that we’re not here to take over an account but are merely giving advice on how to improve (this is important especially if other agencies are involved)
  2. Overview of today’s talking points (= everything we found while doing the audit)
  3. Short debrief of why they requested an audit and how the advice will be presented
  4. Start off with a few things that they’re doing well (this helps to create a positive, reinforcing environment)
  5. Give our initial thoughts: what do we see on an overall level
  6. Move on to the meat of the findings and advice
  7. Concluding thoughts: bringing it all together and summarizing what they need to do to improve performance


TLDR recap


So that’s it! This is how we audit accounts. Completely templatized to save time, give better advice and ultimately make our clients very happy:


  1. Prepare: brief the client and ask a ton of questions
  2. Audit: check the account with a template/checklist
  3. Advise: give advice on how to improve results (with a clear action plan based on impact/complexity)


We hope it was useful!


See you again next week.


Bob & Miles



P.S. for the first time ever, we’re sharing our audit templates and checklists with the PPC community.


If you want to make your own Google Ads audits faster, better and more profitable, or if you simply want to add them to your product stack, then head over to this link to grab our white-label, ready to use templates.

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