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Google Ads: A Diagnostic Checklist

Whether you’ve just taken over a Google Ads Account from someone else or you’ve been running your own for some time, reviewing your account is a great way to find new opportunities to perform better. Ask yourself the following diagnostic questions to understand how your organisation is managing this vital area of your digital strategy.

Before you start

  • Do you have access to Google Analytics?
    • Google Analytics is a platform which lets you measure user traffic and behaviour on your website. Make sure you have access so you can check that it is sharing data with Google Ads.
  • Do you have a list of all the conversions on your site?
    • A conversion is any valuable action on your site. It could be anything from watching a video to buying a ticket. Having a list will make sure you know what your campaigns are trying to achieve.

Tracking and Integrations

  • Is Google Analytics linked to Google Ads?
    • Google Analytics can share vital information with Google Ads. This lets you monitor user activity after any clicks on your ad. You can then use this information to inform your strategy for planning your campaigns.
  • Are you tracking conversions on your website?
    • Using the list of conversions you have, you can make sure you’re tracking each one on your account. You can check this by going to the conversions page in the settings section of Google Ads.
  • Have you excluded your internal IP address from tracking?
    • One of the quickest ways to stop unwanted clicks and stop your data becoming skewed is to prevent your internal teams from seeing your ads. You can exclude specific IP addresses from being eligible to see your ads.

To see existing IP exclusions:

  1. Navigate to the account you’re auditing in the Google Ads interface.
  2. Click ‘settings’ on the left-hand side navigation menu.
  3. Click the campaign from which you’d like to exclude IP addresses.
  4. Click ‘additional settings’ and then ‘IP exclusions’.

Campaign Structure

  • Do you have a standardised naming convention?
    • By setting a logical naming convention you can enable better transparency and better reporting. You can also make it easy for someone else to understand your structure.
  • Have you named your campaigns?
    • Your campaign name should describe the main elements of your campaign setup. For example, it may follow the structure of:
    • So if you were creating a campaign to target Theatre Shows in Norfolk, you might name the campaign:
    • A nationwide brand campaign might look like:
    • Do remember that these naming conventions are entirely personal and will be different depending on what differentiates the campaign types for you.
  • Have you named your ad groups?
    • Like campaigns, make sure that you are giving your ad groups descriptive names. This could be as simple as the main keyword. For example, the ad group may be called “What’s On”.
  • Are your campaigns set up by theme?
    • Each campaign should be separated by theme. For example, you could have a branded and generic campaign, or themes could be separated by location. This allows you to easily differentiate between campaigns and will improve your analytics.
  • Do you have the right number of keywords in each ad group?
    • Google recommends you have no more than 20 keywords per ad group. If you have more than this will make it more difficult to get insight into your performance, as well as dilute your spend.
    • That being said, it is common to see ad groups with fewer than five keywords in them, sometimes with just a single keyword: this is absolutely fine and you will still be able to gain insight.


  • · Could your Quality Score be better?
    • Each keyword is assigned a Quality Score by Google. It’s an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Your keywords will be scored on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
    • Quality Score is made up of three metrics:
      1. Expected click-through rate
      2. Ad relevance
      3. Landing page experience
    • A good Quality Score can contribute to:
      • Lower cost-per-click
      • Higher visibility
      • Higher rankings
    • You can check your Quality Score by following these steps:
      1. Click on ‘Keywords’ in the left-hand menu
      2. On the right, you’ll see a column selection button
      3. Here, navigate to Quality Score and enable:
        • Quality Score
        • Expected CTR
        • Ad Relevance
        • Landing Page Experience

How to read these metrics Metric Scenario Insights

  • Expected Click Through Rate “Average” or “Above Average” No issues around this metric on this keyword.
  • Expected Click Through Rate “Below Average” It could be that the ad isn’t relevant to the targeted keyword, or that the keyword itself isn’t relevant. You might also benefit from adding more ad extensions, or checking the formatting of your ads.
  • Ad Relevance “Average” or “Above Average” No issues around this metric on this keyword
  • Ad Relevance “Below Average” This indicates that the ad might not be specific enough or your ad group might be too broad. Check that your ads contain your target keywords, and that your keyword is relevant to your ad group.
  • Landing Page
  • Experience “Average” or “Above Average” No issues around this metric on this keyword
  • Landing Page
  • Experience “Above Average” This might be caused by a landing page experience which can be improved. Google’s guide to Landing Page Experience is a great resource.

What next?

This diagnostic checklist has shown you how to begin an appraisal of your organisation’s performance on Google Ads. Once you’ve completed this mini-audit, you’ll be ready to start putting fixes and optimisations in place. To learn more, you can read one of the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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