Monitoring paid search accounts can be an overwhelming task. There are so many numbers in there that sometimes you just don’t even know where to start. Below I’m going to point out 3 paid search basics that you should be reviewing constantly.

1. Wasted Spend

Paid search is all about paying for keywords. The number one thing you should focus on is paying for keywords that are actually relevant. There is nothing worse than wasting your hard earned money on search queries that don’t make sense for your business. You’d be surprised the types of companies that share similar brand names. The best way to combat this wasted spend is through negative keyword research. Become very familiar with the search query report section of your account. You should be mining this report on a monthly basis at a minimum. Depending on the size of your account you may need to do it bi-weekly or weekly.

paid search wasted spend

Above is an example of the search query report. To get there click on the keywords tab on the left and then click the search terms button in the top middle. Make sure you choose the appropriate date range and then start excluding search queries that don’t make sense for your business. I’ve taken over campaigns that were spending as much as 70% of their budget on irrelevant search queries! Don’t let the same thing happen to you, monitor for wasted spend constantly.

2. Budget

Staying with the money theme here, budget is another paid search basic that you should be constantly monitoring. Most clients that I work with have very strict monthly budgets. It is critical not to overspend, so I always keep my eye on the total spend in the account and how it’s trending towards the overall budget. I monitor this on a daily basis with some spreadsheets, but you can certainly keep an eye on it right in your account.

paid search budget

Right in the overview section of the AdWords platform is a line graph that tracks spend. If you see a huge dip on a certain day, there might be something wrong in the account. This is an easy indicator that you need to dig deeper into a potential issue. Staying on top of spend trending will help prevent you from severely over or under delivering against the budget.

3. CTR

Click through rate is probably the second most basic paid search metric behind ad spend. It’s simple to understand, it’s calculated by taking the number of clicks on your ads by the number of impressions they generated. Even though it is basic, it is a very important key indicator of account performance. It is an important factor in determining your quality score and it also shows whether or not your ads are relevant to searchers. Many different factors go into determining what CTR number you should use as a benchmark. They include, but are not limited to, the industry you are in, they type of campaign you are running and whether or not the keywords are branded or not. That being said the average CTR in AdWords search campaigns is right around 2%. If your campaigns are trending below that number than you know you might need to dig in and do some work to bring that number up.

paid search CTR

Start your PPC account analysis with these three basic metrics and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy and successful account.