6 Critical Areas To Monitor In Paid Search Accounts

Monitoring

by Amanda Butler

September 6, 2021

No matter how well set up it is, things can, and will, go wrong in an account. You can count on that as surely as taxes, an account optimization recommendation of “add more budget”, or me racing you for the last square of chocolate.

It can happen for a myriad of reasons, some of which are new impacts on the account and some of which are because you’ve skipped checking for them for a while. We all know how time-consuming they can be and how tempting it is to skip them when your inbox is on fire and you’re busy holding the firehose.

No matter the cause, you need to know about them quickly so you can rectify them before that dreaded “I’ve seen this in my account” call from a client.

We’re all proud of what we do and want to do our best, so below is a checklist of areas you should monitor on a daily basis, and what to do if you find one of them has gone awry.

1. Account impressions have dropped significantly, or to zero

If there’s an unexpected problem in the account and you haven’t been checking it daily, you may not know about it for a few days or until you get THAT call from your client.

What to look for:

On a daily basis, check the account impressions to ensure that they haven’t unexpectedly dropped either by a large percentage (i.e. 80%) or to zero.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

  1. Billing settings looking for failed payments
  2. Mass disapprovals or policy violations. Was there a seasonal ad changeover but the new ads didn’t actually go live?

How PPC Samurai Helps:

Our auto-insights scan your account daily to alert you to ad disapprovals and unexpected impression drops. We also have customizable workflows that are dedicated to looking for impression drops in an account and can email you for a quick resolution.

2. New campaigns aren’t getting impressions

Sometimes new campaigns have hidden settings or issues that might stop them from getting started, such as a budget accidentally left at $0.01 or ads not enabled.

What to look for:

Look for new campaigns that are not generating impressions despite being enabled.

Pro Tip: Add a label to new campaigns when you set them up so that it’s easy to filter for them when you go in to check.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

  1. Ensure ad groups, keywords and ads are all live
  2. Check that bids are set to a level where you’ll be capturing traffic

How PPC Samurai Helps:

Our workflows use labels to check for new campaigns that should have had impressions and alerts you when none are served.

3. Conversions have unexpectedly fallen quite significantly

Being able to understand what is converting in an account is vital to optimisation and success.
Not only does it give you an understanding about how to optimise, conversions form an essential building block for any smart bidding or smart campaign strategy.

What to look for:

On a daily basis, check that your account is continuing to report conversions and that there hasn’t been a large and unexpected drop off.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

  1. Anything that might be wrong with conversion tracking for the account
      • Check the conversion tracking settings in Google Ads; are they correct?
      • Check conversion tracking code on the website; is it still there and implemented correctly? Sometimes it can fall off a page or website if changes are being made.
  2. Broken landing pages. Clicks to broken landing pages cost you money for zero return and can result in a significant drop in conversions.
      • Check the landing page report in Google Ads and look for landing pages that have had steady impressions and clicks, but zero or significantly reduced conversions.

How PPC Samurai Helps:

Similar to account impressions, we have customisable workflows that are dedicated to looking for unexpected and large drops in the number of conversions and will email you for quick identification and resolution.

4. Ads or keywords are disapproved

Ad or keyword disapprovals mean that you are violating a policy of some kind. It can mean that you’re not showing in the search results for a key term or not displaying the best messaging possible. Multiple disapprovals in an account can result in account suspension, depending on the extent and severity of the disapprovals.

What to look for:

On a daily basis, filter the status column for ads and keywords in Google Ads to find any that are disapproved.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

  1. Why is the ad or keyword disapproved?  Google provides an explanation for the disapproval.
  2. Fix the policy violation where possible.  If you’re not able to fix the issue immediately, pause the keyword or ad while you work through the fix.

How PPC Samurai Helps:

Our auto-insights scan your account every day looking for disapproved ads and keywords and will alert you in the Insights dashboard if any are found.

5. Spend is at, or close to, target

If you have an account that must stick to its budget, it’s critical to keep a close eye on the spend for the account, especially as you reach the middle and end of the budget period.

What to look for:

Check your overall spend for the period to ensure it’s still in line with your budget. Make sure to include all campaigns and any that were potentially paused earlier in the budget period. Then check your average daily spend – are you spending more each day than the budget allows? This can result in an overspent budget if campaign budgets aren’t modified.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

  1. If you’re on track to overspend, reduce your daily spend across campaigns. Depending on your strategy, you may want to reduce budget for the lower converting campaigns, or those that are spending the most each day.
  2. Set up a monitoring system to alert you when spend reaches or is close to reaching budget. There are many tools out there for this: Scripts, rules, and a variety of reporting tools and PPC Samurai does a spectacular job of this for you.

How PPC Samurai Helps:

We make budget tracking effortless! Input your one-time or recurring budget and PPC Samurai will automatically tell you how an account is pacing in a simple to view dashboard. You can also get the system to pause campaigns when they reach 100% of the budget, or you can use a custom percentage, so that you never go over budget again.

6. Shopping feed has stopped working

Often it’s not obvious when a feed stops working, so it’s important to watch for product disapprovals or large impression-level drops in your shopping campaigns.

What to look for:

Check Google Ads shopping campaign impressions for any unexpected and significant decreases. Then check the product status in the Shopping campaign and filter for disapproved.

Things to check if you do find this issue:

Check Google Merchant Center diagnostics to find out more information about the product disapprovals and how you can resolve them.

How PPC Samurai Helps:

Similar to account-level impression drops, our workflows can also monitor and report on unexpected changes to impressions for specific campaigns or campaign types, like Shopping.

In Summary

Of course, this isn’t necessarily an exhaustive list, but it IS a summary of the areas that we see go wrong most frequently for the agencies and managers we work with here at PPC Samurai. If you’d like to explore a more exhaustive list of quality-control checks, then you can download our Definitive Checklist for Automating Paid Search

And if you’re not currently a PPC Samurai user, you can jump right into a free trial of PPC Samurai, where you can automate many checks and balances, budget pacing, and campaign management processes. We live and breathe ads automation, so you can reach out for help or just to nerd out on paid search with us :).

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