Google Ads case: advertising account audit and campaign optimization


20 min


Today we will talk about importance of auditing and correcting errors in your Google Ads account. Using the example of an online store for confectioners, we will analyze where to look, how to identify problematic areas, how to put things in order in a new client’s account, and how to build the right campaign structure and optimize bid management.

It will be interesting — make yourself comfortable!

Introduction about the client

The client came to the Penguin-team. It is a Russian online store for professional confectioners. The assortment includes goods and electronics for decoration, packaging for finished products, molds, ingredients for baking, food coloring, etc. – a paradise for confectioners!

The products belong to the category of consumables: something that ends quickly or loses its functional properties and is constantly needed. Most of the products in the catalog are intended for professionals, but amateurs can get to the website for some requests (“dyes”, “moulds”, “sprinkling”). At the same time, the price of the goods often exceeds the average “amateur”, which leads to frequent failures.

The main request of the client is to minimize advertising costs and get more traffic by optimizing existing advertising campaigns and putting things in order in the account for easy results tracking.

The Penguin-team set itself the task of not only reducing costs and increasing traffic, but also reaching positive ROI.

Results of the advertising campaigns BEFORE working with Penguin-team

The client came to us in August 2019 with the following results for July:

  • costs of advertising — 45,819 rubles;
  • total advertising revenue — 133,490 rubles;
  • transactions — 81;
  • conversion cost — 565 rubles (the amount exceeds the cost of many products on the website!);
  • conversion rate — 0.53% (while the normal rate for eCommerce is 2-3%).
Results of the advertising campaigns

In Analytics revenue is displayed without the margin of goods. And it can be 3%, or maybe all 60 in some niches. Therefore, to say that campaigns are working in a plus is very light-heartedly. If you ignore the margin, then the analysis of effectiveness of the campaigns can be considered as incorrect. Therefore, we calculated:

  • not only return on investment in advertising: ROAS – 291% …
  • …but also net income with a margin of 20% using our Panda software: ROI -41%.

*At the audit stage, when we do not have accurate data, we take a margin of 20%.

The indicators show the unprofitability of the advertising campaigns.

Such preliminary analysis of the account allows us to understand how the campaigns work, but does not help to understand why. Therefore, we go deeper and find out the true reasons for the problems.

Search campaigns audit

There are 25 mixed-type campaigns (search + display) configured in the account; at the same time, the search campaigns performed better. There were almost no clicks from the Display Network, and for the entire time the account was active, the campaigns did not bring a single conversion. Search partners also performed worse than organic search (13 conversions compared to 1161 on the Google Network over the course of their lifetime).

Search campaigns audit

Non-working networks eat up the budget, we recommend turning them off. You can check the configured networks in your Google Ads account → Campaign → Segments → Network:

Disconnecting non-workingnetworks

The campaigns were segmented optimally for the client: product category + division by region. But there were no negative keywords in these campaigns. This led to 2 things: 

a) leads to  irrelevant traffic → the budget is spent nowhere;

b) the campaigns competing with each other (if they have the same keys and they are set to the same area) → the number of impressions drops (the impressions of one or several campaigns are minimized or even stopped).

Therefore, we recommend collecting not only negative keywords, but also making a cross-listing negative keywords.

In addition, there were problems with keywords. Broad match words or broad match modifiers have been added to the account. Because of this, campaigns lost the auction for exact and phrase match keys. The result is a lack of traffic. The search network impression rate at the time of the audit was 19.03% (70+% can be considered the norm).

Each group ran 5 ads with 2 headings and 1 description.

Client's ad

We recommend using 3 ads per group for proper A/B/C testing. Otherwise, you will have to wait a long time for statistics to be collected in order to understand which one still works better. And also write all 3 headings and 2 descriptions to give potential customers more information and increase the relevance of the offer.

The trick is that the more information you give immediately in the ad, the more people will drop out even before they click on this very ad. Then the maximum target audience will go to your page. What does that mean? And this means maximum savings, because PPC is pay per click. Fewer clicks – less spending, more targeted clicks with subsequent conversion – higher efficiency.

We wrote in detail about compiling ads in part 9 of the Google Ads guide: How to write ads.

Display campaigns Audit 

There were 5 campaigns set up in the account that didn’t bring conversions. Some didn’t even show.

Display campaigns Audit 

Because all the campaigns:

  • configured for custom audiences that were too small, and in two campaigns (including the remarketing campaign) there was no audience was configured at all;
  • contained only expanded text ads: in the auction they lose to display ads and do not receive impressions.

Google Shopping campaign audit 

There is running one Google Shopping campaign with a group that includes all products. This is very inefficient.

Google Shopping campaign audit 

In such a situation, less efficient products “knock down” the budget from more efficient products. Such a racket. Often in the campaign with one product group, a general bid is set, but the products differ in price, margin, and profit. You can’t set the same rate for them.

Here you can also remember the 80/20 principle: for example, 20% of the goods will bring 80% of the profit. In the rest of the “unprofitable” goods, there are a lot of those that pull the budget over. There may be more demand in the market, get a lot of clicks, but the profit is close to zero. So they are “racketeers”.

We can’t optimize campaigns because we don’t know the impressions number, cost per click, and revenue for each product.

Google Shopping for online stores is a must-have. Therefore, the best way out in this situation is to create a new shopping campaign with the correct structure and a set of products.

Advertising campaign optimization strategy

Based on the audit data, we decided to focus on optimizing and changing the structure of the advertising account. This should help reduce your CPA and increase your conversion rate.

But you need to start small: conversion tracking, account hygiene, and only then optimization.

About everything below.

Conversion Tracking

To begin with, we put the conversion tracking in order, otherwise it is impossible to correctly analyze, develop strategies, and implement an automatic bidding strategy. What we did:

  • connected the import of transactions to Google Ads, which later allowed the use of automatic bidding strategies;
  • installed GTM to make it easier to set up microconversion tracking;
  • set up microconversion tracking — buy by button in 1 click, order a callback.

Account cleaning

The next step is to clear the account:

  • disabled ineffective campaigns, because they only spent the budget;
  • collected negative keywords for search and shopping campaigns to show up for the most relevant queries;
  • added keys in exact and phrase match; tested the effectiveness of keywords with different match types (analysis of impressions, cost, conversions);
  • changed advertisements: filled in all three headings and two descriptions, added advantages and benefits for the client, USP/

Campaigns structure and setup

And only now we can start advertising campaigns optimizing the structure and adjusting setting:

  • created Google Shopping campaigns for 5 categories → analyzed the results → created separate campaigns for all product categories;
  • set up ads for separate sets of products (previously, the client had one group for all products);
  • wrote announcements for each group and correctly designed them;
  • correctly set up audiences in Google Analytics, imported them into Google Ads;
  • created a Smart Shopping campaign for the best-selling products;
  • created a standard remarketing campaign for the “abandoned carts” audience.

Don’t forget about the standard work to maintain the cleanliness of campaigns: constantly reviewing search queries and adding new negative keywords and phrases.

Development of a script to disable and enable search campaigns 

In our work, we faced a problem: there were a lot of goods, and the balance changed very quickly. The search campaign doesn’t understand whether the product is in stock or not. Checking manually is only for the very brave. Therefore, we adapted the script to find 404 and 500 errors to disable and enable search campaigns.

To display relevant ads, the script parsed the feed that we used for shopping campaigns → compared the url → checked if there was such a product in the ad → and if it was not available, it stopped the group. And vice versa, if the product is in stock, and the group is disabled, then the script included the group. The check was carried out every day.

The script not only facilitated the work. Constant updating of information made it possible not to drain the budget for advertising goods that are not available. After all, if users followed the ad to a page where they could not buy anything, then most likely they would leave. And we would still pay for advertising.

Results for 2 months of work


Initial results

Results after the work

Absolute change

Relative changes

Costs of advertising

45 819 rub

44 259 rub

-1 560 rub

-3 %

Total ad revenue (Google Analytics)

133 490 rub

199 487 rub

65 997 rub

+49 %





+135 %

Conversion cost

565 rub

233 rub

-332 rub

-59 %

Conversion rate

0,53 %

0,89 %

0,36 %

+68 %


291 %

1103 %

812 %

+279 %


-41 %

125 %

166 %

+205 %

Net profit

-19 121 rub

(margin 20 %) 

55 484 rub

(margin 50 %) 

74 605 rub

+190 %

There were 136 associated conversions (transactions) received for paid traffic in the amount of 167,389 rubles.

Results for 2 months of work

We got such interesting results thanks to deepening into the analysis of the account and correcting errors.

Check out other cases on our blog⤵

You can order setting up advertising campaigns from us ↷

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