If you’re like many businesses, Google Ads is your best opportunity to generate leads.

Yet, for many companies, it can be frustrating if you’re paying a bill each month but seeing little to no return on investment. This is especially true if you entrusted someone in your company or an outside agency to run the campaign. You have to wonder, are they doing their job?

It’s not being paranoid for you to worry if your Google Ads campaign is being run correctly. After all your businesses success could depend on it.

Is your Google Ads Campaign being neglected?

How to tell if your Google ads campaign is being neglected.
Is your Google Ads Campaign being neglected?

Whether it’s being done in-house or by a pay per click agency, you should know what’s going on with it.

When I’m approached by a business looking for help with their AdWords campaign, I first ask to connect to their account.

Often, I only need a few minutes to review it and know immediately if it’s being handled correctly or not.

First of all, if you don’t have access to your account to check it, then this is a major red flag. Some legitimate agencies do retain control of accounts, but they still provide some sort of access for a business. The majority, however, do as Google wants and have the accounts set up in the client’s name. If you don’t have access and have some concerns, then it might be time to move on to someone new.

Provided you do have access to your account, then there are things you can check to make sure whoever is running it is putting time and effort into it.

This review won't take much longer than it takes to read this article and it's not meant to judge the quality of the work, but simply whether it's being actively managed or neglected.

Check Change History

The nice thing about Google Ads is that they let you know what's being done on your campaign when its being done and by whom. This is found in the change history tab. By default, your campaign should be showing activity over the last 30 days, which is enough to get a feel for the work being done. You can change the time frame by clicking on the drop-down in the upper right-hand corner.

Read the Google Ads change history report to see what has been done to your campaign
Change history report

In the change history, you should see regular activity with your account, whether its adding new keywords, creating new ads or adding negative keywords. If you find that only a couple of actions have been taken over the last month, then you need to address it. I’ve seen accounts where an agency billed a client a steep fee each month then did less and less work over time. Even if you think your campaign is successful, they should still be taking steps to improve it.

One of the tricks a bad agency does is to modify bids, raising them slightly, then lowering them later. It looks as if they’ve been active, but if that is all they’re doing it might be done for effect.

With an active account, you should see among other things:

• Expanded text ads created

• Expanded text ads paused

• Keywords added

• Negative keywords added

Hopefully, you’ll see other work being done such as ad group created, bids being modified, etc. At least with these four, you know steps are being taken to improve your campaign.

As I'll mention later if you don't find any instance of negative keyword being added over the last month, it could be especially troublesome.

Change history report

If you go into the change history and find no actions have been taken over the last 30 days, you really don't have to proceed. Even the most successful campaigns are constantly being tweaked and monitored to ensure their continued success. There is no excuse for nothing having been done.

To find change history, look for it along the left hand side in the main column.

Check Search Terms Report and Negative Keywords

The search terms are the actual phrases that people used that triggered your ad. Simply because you put a two or three-word phrase into your campaign doesn’t mean those are the words being used by the people who click on your ads.

For example, your keyword phrase is “plumbing repair” but someone has typed in plumbing repair school and unless you’ve taken actions to prevent this your ad shows. If that person then clicks on your ad, its wasted spend. And if nothing is done to prevent it, it could keep happening.

Do your ads appear for the wrong words?

Of all the things being done for your campaign, this especially should be reviewed regularly. This is because this is where you can find areas of wasted spend. Which you can then prevent from happening again, by adding negative keywords.

Read the search term report to find what words your prospects used to find your ads.
Do your ads appear for the wrong words?

If you notice no mention of negative keywords being added in your recent change history, then there is a strong chance your money is being wasted. If in reviewing the search term report, you find a lot of phrases that doesn’t apply to your business, then try to remember or jot down a few of these.

Knowing some of the phrases that don't apply go to the negative keywords tab and see if some of these phrases have been added to your list. For example, in the previous example of plumbers, school should have been added to the negative list to prevent it from happening again. To find the search terms click the keywords tab and you will find it along with your keywords.

On this same page you’ll also find negative keywords. Yet, this isn’t the only place keywords could be. Your manager might have also created a list of negative keywords. You’ll find this by clicking the wrench at the top of your screen.

One side note here related to the search term report.

Even if you find that your campaign is in good hands, I’d still recommend you taking the time to review the search term report regularly. Often you can find phrases that don’t apply that might been overlooked, simply because you know the business better. It’s why I send the report regularly to many of my clients to review.

They Don’t Provide Any Monthly Reports Or Updates

For some of my clients I provide monthly reports and others just a summary of the account over the last month. And some I speak to directly. It really depends on what my clients want and how much time they have to review information.

The point is that you should be getting reports each month and they shouldn’t just be vague updates. This is why the managers should also have access to your Google analytics account. So they’re reviewing not just what happens with your keywords and ads, but also what happens after the click.

Doing A Deep Dive Into Your Account

These steps are meant to give you an indication work is being done on your account. It doesn't really indicate the quality of the work.

If you want to do a deeper dive into your account to gauge its effectiveness, then there are a number of things you can review such as:

Quality Scores of Your Keywords - should be 7 or higher

Click through rate of your ads - depending on your products or services anywhere from 2 to 12%.

• Number of keyword phrases in each ad group - ideally 10 or fewer. The lower the number the better.

• Are all relevant ad extensions being used - Google has dozens and while not all will apply to your business, at least a half dozen likely will.

These are only a few suggestions of what you can do. It really depends on how much time you want to devote.

If there are problems with how your campaign is being run, you'll soon find evidence of it so you shouldn't have to continue much longer. Instead, consider bringing in another agency or consultant or assigning it to a different staff person.

A successful Google AdWords campaign is like a salesperson who is constantly bringing in quality business. If your campaign isn't accomplishing this and has been allowed to go unchecked, then it’s time for you to take action.

If you’re concerned about your account or realize you need help, then contact me. As a Google Ads consultant, I might be able to briefly review your campaign. Contact me today to learn more.