Search marketing software and service company WordStream recently announced updates to its free PPC auditing tool, the AdWords Performance Grader, which rates the current state of your AdWords account.
Originally released in 2011, the new version has updated performance benchmarks, the ability to track an AdWords account automatically every 30 days, and a feature that analyzes the account’s mobile performance.
“PPC audits are incredibly important, because search marketing is incredibly competitive. There can only be one person in the top spot,” said Larry Kim, co-founder of WordStream.
Kim said he created the tool to answer key questions PPC managers have, like, How am I doing? Where do I need to focus my efforts to improve?
“Think of it like a report card for your AdWords account,” Kim said. The grade you see is similar to that of an SAT score, he said, where you’re given a percentile grade that measures your performance against a set of AdWords accounts in your industry.
The tool also looks at the size of ad spend in order to create benchmarks.
“You know how in boxing there are different weight classes?” Kim asked. Well you wouldn’t want to compare the heavyweights with the lightweights, he said. The AdWords grader keeps this in mind by creating buckets for advertising accounts based on spend to compare one another against.
If you’re unfamiliar with the AdWords Grader, the application connects with your Google AdWords account, downloads specific reports, and analyzes them to provide insight into the following:
- Wasted ad spend through negative keyword management.
- The quality score of your AdWords campaigns.
- The impression share your ads garner.
- The click-through rate, and if they are above or below average.
- Account activity, specifically how much effort is put into optimizing and managing it.
- Long-tail keyword opportunities.
- Ad messaging optimization.
- Identifying landing page opportunities.
- Mobile advertising, with a focus on best practices.
In a demo of the tool, Kim showed an instance where 54 percent of the advertiser’s spend was on the mobile device, yet the campaign did not have call extensions, mobile-optimized ads or any other mobile feature that is available to advertisers in AdWords.
Here's an example of what a portion of the AdWords grader report looks like:
Kim said PPC managers across the board use the AdWords Grader, including agencies. “It’s a conversation starter. It points people in the right direction in terms of what metrics they should be focusing on.”
And it also validates progress, he said. “Sometimes people feel insecure about their accounts, even though they’re doing really well.” And this tool lends a little more credibility to those accounts with high performance levels, he added.
The new “performance tracker” feature is one way to continuously stay on top of AdWords performance. If you opt in to this feature, the tool will automatically grade the account every 30 days and will send a report card.
“You can track an old report from a year ago and compare it to a more recent report,” Kim said. This can show drastic changes over time. Plus, there are items in these reports that Kim said you won’t find AdWords reporting on month over month.
For more on the AdWords Grader, check out WordStream’s page here.