If there’s a box that can be checked, I’m in! I have a checklist for just about everything, including a checklist for my checklists. There’s something very satisfying about ticking off all of the boxes and knowing you’ve covered all your bases. If you can’t already tell, we here at Hanapin love a good checklist. We also love a well-built search campaign. So here to give you the warm, gooey feeling of a completed checklist and make sure your search campaigns are up to snuff is the definitive search campaign QA checklist:
Are you testing ad copy? Maybe ad rotation should be set to rotate indefinitely. Want the best ad to show every time? Set your rotation to optimize.
Be sure to disable display for search campaigns. If you feel it’s appropriate for your account, enable search partners, even if it’s just to see how it performs.
Are your budgets appropriate for your campaign? Make sure your budget is allocated efficiently and makes sense in comparison to your other campaigns. If you have monthly spend goals, do your campaign budgets align with that goal? In general, we like to play by the 70/20/10 rule. 70% of your budget should go toward strategies you know will work, 20% to strategies you’re pretty sure will work, and 10% to trying something completely new.
What’s your bidding strategy? Are you bidding manually or are you using an automated bidding strategy? If you’re using an automated bidding strategy, ensure it aligns with your campaign goals. Use this guide if you’re not sure how to decide.
Conversion Settings and Tracking
Choose the conversion actions that align best with your campaign’s goals. You can set conversions at either the account level or the campaign level. To ensure that your conversions are set up and your Google tag is firing correctly, navigate to the page where your Google tag should be attached, open and enable your Google tag assistant, and refresh the page. If you need more help setting up and trouble-shooting conversion tracking, check out our whitepaper.
Set up automated rules to avoid overspending or to pause promotional ads.
Does your ad schedule make sense for your account? If you’re limited by budget, you might want to confine ads only to times when you know users are more likely to convert.
Are you speaking the same language as your customers? If you provide products or services to people across different countries or multiple languages, create separate campaigns for each language.
If you’re not selling it there, don’t advertise there. Make sure your location settings align with your campaign strategy.
What kind of users should be seeing your ads? You can choose to target and bid on specific audiences or simply set audiences to observation to see how they perform before setting bid modifiers. Audiences can be set at either the campaign or ad group level, so double-check that they’re set up in a way that aligns with your goals for the campaign. Don’t forget to set “all visitors” as an observation audience in case you want to set up remarketing later.
Demographics & Device
If you feel confident you know what kind of users and devices are most valuable to you, make sure you have bid modifiers in place. If you’re not quite sure, leave out the modifiers for now and come back later to see how things are performing.
Does a campaign, by any other naming convention, smell as sweet? Make sure your naming conventions align with the rest of your account, and if you don’t have a consistent naming convention across your account, for shame! Learn why they’re so important here and then implement them!
Does your ad group structure make sense in this campaign? If appropriate, have you broken them out by match type?
Are the keywords within each ad group tightly themed and relevant? Ensure the match types of the keywords fits with your ad group and that any modified broad keywords have the necessary “+”.
Make sure you add any relevant negative keyword lists to the campaign. If you think there might be cross-pollination between campaigns, add the appropriate negatives to ensure you’re funneling users to the correct place. Don’t forget about embedded negatives if ad groups are segmented by match type.
Ads & Creative
Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck! It’s so easy to push that little button but oh so common to see typos in ad copy. And don’t forget about good grammar. Make your former English teachers proud.
We recommend at least 2-3 ETAs and 1 RSA in each ad group. Take this opportunity to test different ad variations and see which performs better.
Ad URLs & Tracking
Verify that your URLs are working properly, direct users to the correct landing page, and have relevant tracking codes attached. Ensure the correct UTM or 3rd-party parameters are attached if you’re not using auto-tagging.
Add a calendar reminder to come back and ensure your ads have been approved. If you’ve added labels to your ads, you can create automated rules to enable or pause ads on a desired date. (Labels also help you to pull quick reports).
Sitelink extensions allow you to take up more space on the SERP and highlight different sections of your website. Google requires a minimum of 2 sitelink extensions but can show up to a maximum of 8.
Structured snippets allow you to highlight specific products, brands, and services. We recommend adding multiple sets of structured snippets to allow you to highlight more aspects of your business and increase the likelihood that the relevant snippet appears alongside your ad.
Callout extensions promote specific benefits for shoppers, like 24/7 customer service or free shipping & returns. We recommend 4 per ad group and ensuring they’re not repeating the same information contained in your ads and other extensions.
Call extensions allow users to easily contact your business. If call extensions are relevant for your account, keep in mind that vanity numbers, premium numbers, and fax numbers won’t be approved for call extensions. Don’t forget to set call extensions to show only when your business can take calls.
Location extensions can help you drive foot traffic to your business. These extensions can include the distance to the user’s location, the business’s street address, a clickable call button, and access to a details page for information like business hours. Keep in mind that location extensions can shoe on Google Maps, Google Display Network, or Youtube Ads.
Price extensions are a great way to highlight the prices of your products and services. Price extensions can be updated without resetting their performance statistics, but you will need to ensure you keep them up to date.
Promotion extensions are great for highlighting special offers. Be sure to double-check that you’ve correctly set the start and end dates for both the display and extension scheduling sections.