Ad campaigns have enough moving parts to make your head spin. A PPC audit tool can ensure every detail is optimized and revved up for revenue.
Here, you’ll find:
- What PPC (pay-per-click) audit tools are
- Examples of paid and free PPC audit software
- Why these audit tools are important
- How PPC audit tools can optimize your PPC campaigns
Picture it: Your marketing team or agency partner spends hours every week tweaking and adjusting your PPC campaigns. They work tirelessly to reduce wasted spend, reach new audiences, and optimize your brand’s PPC strategy.
Average keyword cost per click (CPC) ranges from $2-$6, depending on your industry, which can quickly add up. That’s why PPC campaign optimization is crucial.
But as diligent as your team is, they can’t catch everything. What happens if a negative keyword goes unnoticed or conversion tracking is set up improperly?
Every business using PPC ads can benefit from a Google ad audit. The good news: you don’t need a ton of resources to conduct one. With the right PPC audit tools, your campaigns will be fully optimized for maximum results.
What is a PPC audit tool?
A PPC audit tool is a system or platform used to audit a company’s paid search program performance. These tools make the audit process more efficient through features like automated steps, an easy-to-follow process, or a streamlined way to combine and sync data from multiple channels.
Read on for our roundup of the eight best PPC audit tools available.
- HawkSEM Free PPC Audit
- Wordstream PPC Audit Tool
- Helium10 PPC Audit Tool
- PPC Ninja Free PPC Audit Tool
1. HawkSEM Free PPC audit
If you want a thorough, in-depth look at your current PPC strategy, you’re in the right place. At HawkSEM, we’re proud to be in the top 3% of PPC agencies, with results to prove it.
Our PPC account audits are extensive, with more features and benefits than your average PPC auditing tool. Why do we stand out from the rest? Our PPC audit blends two key components for data-driven auditing and a humanized approach.
- Discovery call and goal discussion with our team
- Free 10-point PPC audit
- Year-over-year performance projections
- In-depth review of audit and projections
We’re focused on results and generating revenue for your business. When you partner with us for a custom PPC audit, we dissect thousands of data points to dive into your PPC campaign performance. Not only that, but our proprietary marketing tech tool ConversionIQ™ features predictive software, actionable insights, and robust reporting to pace budgets, track conversions, free up siloed data, and help businesses scale.
Our PPC management services involve a comprehensive deep dive into your PPC landscape, isolating problem areas with proven solutions to quickly fix them. Toss the reins to us and we’ll dispatch our team of experts, alongside our proprietary tech, to optimize your campaigns and set you up for long-term success.
Free trial: Free 10-point PPC audit in lieu of a free trial. Try it out!
Adalysis has supported small businesses, marketing agencies, and in-house PPC teams since 2012. While this software features automation and reporting capabilities, its auditing feature is notably extensive compared to other tools.
The tool’s audit covers every aspect of keywords, from repetitive match types and poor ad relevance to negative keyword conflicts and expensive keywords. Furthermore, the tool catches issues and inconsistencies with landing pages, search terms, ad groups, network settings, and more.
A powerful feature is Adalysis’s custom PPC audit checklist, which lets you plug in everything you want to analyze for each Google Ads account. You’ll receive triggers and alerts if the tool catches something amiss.
Overall, user reviews are positive, with marketing agencies and small businesses praising Adalysis’s ability to calculate statistical probabilities to inform their strategy. It also highlights Quality Score, a massive asset for optimized landing pages.
The software comes with tutorials and documentation, though most users find it easily accessible.
PPC audit tool features:
- Ad extensions
- Search terms
- Landing pages
- Custom audits
Price: Monthly, based on ad spend.
- $99 for up to $50K spend
- $199 for up to $150K spend
- $249 for up to $250K spend
- $349 for up to $350K spend
- $499 for up to $500K spend
- Custom pricing for $500K+ spend
Free trial: 14 days
Auditing is a comparatively smaller-scale offering than the rest of Opteo’s oeuvre — but it still packs a punch. The tool’s “detect errors” and “alerts” features will ping you if it notices any performance or budget issues.
Have you ever caught a typo after an ad’s been up for a week? We feel your pain — OPTEO alerts you immediately so you won’t risk long-term errors. Another notable feature is its performance alerts. Opteo will catch performance metric changes and provide “comments” (explanations) for why they occur, such as unexpected cost increases.
And if you need to communicate findings to stakeholders or investors? Opteo offers various templates removing the jargon of the average complex PPC dashboard. The UK-based company has impressively high-ticket clients like DoorDash and Spotify.
- Budget alerts for when you’re over, under, and far over budget
- Performance alerts and cost increases
- Flatline alerts for payment errors, web errors, and worst-case scenarios
- Common errors such as broken links, spelling, keyword conflicts, negative lists
Pricing: Monthly tiers
- Basic: $99 for $50K spend
- Professional: $199 for $150K spend
- Agency: $399 for $500K spend
- Enterprise: $700 for $1M spend
Free trial: 30 days
Tired of monitoring bids? Acquisio is the PPC audit tool for you. Its machine-learning optimization works 24/7 to manage your bids for better conversions and lower CPCs. Marketers simply select a checkbox and toggle a few filters to customize the tool’s budget priorities. Every day, Acquisio optimizes your bids and budgets, constantly seeking better campaign results.
Plus, reporting features are spick-and-span. You can easily view key performance indicators (KPIs) on a dedicated dashboard while calculating ROI for different campaigns.
- Bids and bid management
- Cross-channel budget distribution
- Inventory-based campaigns
- Campaign audit reports
- Search query actionable insights
- KPI monitoring and tracking
Pricing: Inquire for pricing
Free trial: No
Optmyzr sends real-time budget and KPI alerts to your preferred communication channel. The company has managed $4 billion in ad spend, achieving praise from the majority of users on review sites.
You might notice one of your accounts underperforming. Optmyzer’s PPC Investigator will highlight this and comment on potential causes for the poor performance. It also provides user-friendly charts to help you make improvements. Account health warnings make it easy to quickly identify which accounts are in trouble based on KPIs.
The company’s client roster includes notable agencies like Rakuten Advertising and Hanapin Marketing.
- Metrics dashboard
- Anomaly detector for impressions, costs, clicks, and conversions
- Account health warnings
- Cross-channel reporting (social media, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Yahoo)
Pricing: Inquire for pricing
Free trial: 14 days
6. Wordstream PPC Audit Tool
If you’re just dipping your toes into auditing tools, a great starting point is Wordstream’s free PPC Audit Tool, the Google Ads Performance Grader. It’s simple yet powerful, offering a unique PPC grade for every Google Ads account. Based on key PPC performance stats from Google experts, Wordstream gives you percentage grades in vital areas including wasted spend, quality scores, and more.
The tool displays your overall score compared to industry benchmarks, helping you better assess your performance. Below your grade, you’ll see a short analysis of the issues with your PPC account.
But it’s important to note that you can only use this tool for Google ads. If you’re an Amazon PPC advertiser or include Microsoft (Bing) in your PPC strategy, you’ll need a separate audit tool for those.
Additionally, keep in mind that Wordstream’s free tool doesn’t offer a strategy for improving your scores. Instead, it’s more of a problem identifier, with insights you can use to inform your strategies.
Why do we like it? It’s fast, accurate, and a fantastic bird’s eye view of the state of your PPC accounts. And, it’s free!
Try the tool to get an idea about what’s missing in your PPC campaigns. Then, bring those insights to your next marketing meeting or share them with a PPC management agency to improve your ads.
- Percentage-based scoring and short analysis
- Wasted spend
- Best practices
- Quality score
- Impression share
- Mobile advertising
- Click-through rate
- Display ads
- Shopping ads
7. Helium10 Amazon PPC Audit Tool
Helium10 is an all-in-one software for Amazon PPC sellers comprising multiple tools. They have a full suite of tools for optimization and auditing Amazon PPC campaigns. Try the “misspellinator,” which isn’t actually for your ad copy typos. Instead, it helps you leverage commonly misspelled keywords to capture potential customers.
While Helium10’s full suite has a monthly cost, its basic PPC audit tool is free and assesses your existing Amazon PPC campaigns based on five factors:
- Campaign analysis
- Search term analysis
- Duplicate keyword analysis
- Keyword analysis
- Advertising cost of sales (ACoS) scores
8. PPC Ninja Free PPC Audit Tool
Excel aficionados, this one’s for you. PPC Ninja’s answered your call for a Microsoft Excel-based PPC audit — and it’s free. This no-frills tool shows you percentages of keywords that convert, don’t convert, and poorly convert — all separated by match type.
It generates Excel-based reports that help you quickly pinpoint wasted ad spend and ineffective match types. Finally, it offers recommendations for improvements, albeit at a high level.
An Amazon Ads partner, PPC Ninja offers a variety of automation tools for PPC managers at Walmart, Google, and Amazon Japan.
- Wasted ad spend
- Keyword ratings based on conversions
- Strategic recommendations
- Excel-based reports
By now, you’ve got a few solid options for tools to kickstart your PPC audits, but is an audit essential?
Why PPC audits matter
If you’ve ever led a PPC campaign, you know how much work they require. Imagine remembering every single bid update, market trend, or normal CPC for each account. Bottom line? It’s a lot to keep up with.
Of course, you might rely on Google Analytics — but you still need to make sense of the data, and it’s impossible to perfect it every time. You might notice an ad with an uncharacteristically sky-high CPC, or worse, a completely flatlined account. Yikes.
PPC audits step in to bulletproof your strategy and ensure no errors or dwindling campaigns slip through the cracks.
A PPC auditing tool helps you:
- Identify how your PPC accounts have changed over various date ranges
- Catch any alarming details, like overspent budgets or non-converting landing pages
- Strategize how to fix any issues with your PPC ads and increase revenue by up to 70%
- Predict your revenue, traffic, and other KPIs
Your team might have the most impressive track record. But when you combine their proficiency with an auditing tool? Your campaigns only enhance.
What to look for in a PPC audit
The PPC tools we covered all have unique selling points, each appealing to some PPC managers more than others. But how do you distinguish the right one for your business? Our advice is to seek an audit that allows for as much customization as possible, like our custom PPC audit.
But what’s the baseline? Here are some things to look for:
A vital component of every PPC ad and campaign, keywords should be top of mind in your audit. Check each tool’s features to see whether they catch misspelled keywords, negative keywords, or relevance.
Your budget matters, and ad spend could jump without any notice. Look for a tool that sends alerts and notifications on a channel you’ll check such as email or Slack.
Some tools only cover a set few items, especially the free ones. Still, your PPC campaign is unique to your audience and business, and your PPC audit should mold to accommodate both.
You don’t always have time to sift through the data (but that’s important, too). Your PPC audit should give you key insights in a user-friendly dashboard. Look for tools with a visually appealing interface that communicates data easily and quickly.
Many of the tools on our list offer analyses and recommendations for improvement. But every PPC manager knows there are a thousand different strategies you could take. The best audits will help you visualize each course of action’s potential risks and benefits. Bonus if they can offer predictions in easy-to-consume charts and graphs.
You might not have access to a dedicated PPC expert with some of the free tools on our list. But what if you’re having trouble interpreting the results? Tech shouldn’t be soulless. Choose tools that offer customer support from real humans that can walk you through troubleshooting common problems.
Even the most proficient PPC experts make mistakes, from negative keywords and broad bids to irrelevant landing pages.
Will PPC audit tools perfect your ad campaigns indefinitely? Not necessarily, but they certainly help sharpen your campaigns and highlight areas for improvement. Best case scenario? A PPC audit stops a minor mistake from growing into an ad-spend-draining disaster.
A free PPC tool isn’t dynamic enough to offer every possible insight and strategic nugget to improve your revenue. If you’re looking for a tool that can foster your business’s specific goals, the audit should be customized, and that level of efficiency requires synergy between tech and human expertise.
HawkSEM’s specialized and in-depth PPC audit gives you a thorough analysis of every PPC campaign on your roster. We’re committed to learning everything about your business, audience, goals, and industry before we get started. Then, we get granular with KPI tracking, keyword suggestions, channel advice, content gaps, and ad optimization. The result: flawlessly molded PPC campaigns that hit the mark and help you scale.
Ready for a next-level PPC campaign revamp? Chat with one of our PPC experts about a custom PPC audit.
This post has been updated and was originally published December 15, 2022.