Shopify Ecosystem

Conducting Marketing Audits For ECommerce: Complete Guide

conducting-marketing-audits-for-ecommerce:-complete-guide

Today, we get to hear the expert opinion of Mike Belasco, a digital marketing problem-solver and founder of agency Inflow. He tells us all we need to know about running audits for your eCommerce business. 

Before you can create a forward path for your online business, you need to know where you’re coming from.

That’s where a marketing audit comes into play.

By taking the time to audit your various digital marketing channels and infrastructure, you’re better set to let those insights inform your strategic digital marketing roundup. That means more traffic, more customers, and more revenue for your eCommerce business.

But, with the time and effort required, how do you choose the right audit for your brand — and when should you perform it?

At Inflow, we run a variety of digital marketing audits for our eCommerce clients. Today, we’ll briefly explore each type, when we use them, and which resources we recommend to get started.

Table of Contents

  • Analytics Audit
  • SEO Audit
    • Content Audit
    • Technical SEO Audit
  • Site Migration Audit
  • Paid Search Audit
  • Paid Social Audit
  • Conversion Optimization Audits

Analytics Audit

Description:

This is perhaps the most important digital marketing audit in our checklist. By auditing your analytics setup, you will make sure your website data is being captured accurately and completely — and identify additional data collection opportunities that exist but are currently being missed by your marketing team.

This process involves auditing your tracking and account setup for important platforms like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

The more data you have (and the more accurate it is), the better your strategy pivots and adjustments will be.

When to Use:

At Inflow, we conduct an analytics audit whenever we begin work with a new client. This process is also integral during a website migration process (more on that below).

After initial audits, we recommend that eCommerce brands conduct annual analytics audits — to stay up to date on current platform offerings.

Note: Because Google is phasing out Universal Analytics, every eCommerce website should plan for an audit as part of their transition to Google Analytics 4.

Resources to Get Started:

Technical SEO Audit

Description:

A technical SEO audit reviews some (or, even better, all) of the technical factors of a website that can impact search engine optimization. 

This audit can be split into multiple parts or expanded into deeper dives of areas such as:

  • Page speed
  • JavaScript
  • XML sitemap
  • Schema markup
  • And more

Unlike a content audit (see below), a technical audit involves the coding and more complex details of a website. Because this audit process can be complicated, we recommend eCommerce brands hire this service out to a technical SEO agency, which can provide the most accurate and efficient strategies for improvement.

When to Use:

We typically employ a basic technical SEO audit when starting with a new client or as part of a website migration. We also recommend running a basic technical audit annually. 

If high-level issues arise during your basic tech audit, use a more complex, deep-dive audit to analyze and solve those issues.

Resources to Get Started:

SEO Content Audit

Description:

In contrast to the technical audit, an SEO content audit (mostly) involves the on-page elements of a site. Use this process to evaluate strategic content like product pages, landing pages, blog pages, and more.

By pulling data for each of these pages and comparing them against your goals (growth of revenue, traffic, etc.), you can create a content marketing plan from your audit results.

While a technical audit’s goal is to improve the technical performance of your site, an SEO content audit will help you improve your site’s authority and deliver thought-leadership content.

When to Use:

We complete an initial SEO content audit whenever we begin work with a new client. (You can download the same tool we use in the resources below.)

SEO content audits can also be performed during a migration, to improve the quality of any and all migrated site content.

Otherwise, we recommend running a content audit annually (when budget and time allow) to keep your content marketing strategy on the right track.

Resources to Get Started:

Site Migration Audit

Description: 

When you’re migrating your site, you need to complete an audit during the process. It’s a non-negotiable step. 

Even the best-executed site migrations can lead to a loss in traffic, conversions, and revenue. With a proper audit, you can minimize that risk and confirm that everything that should have been migrated from site to site actually did.

You can read about every step in the migration audit in our eCommerce migration checklist (also linked below). If you’re not managing an eCommerce site, you can still adjust the checklist to your own needs and goals.

When to Use:

As the name suggests, use a website migration audit when you are migrating your site — whether that’s to a new platform, a new URL, or a new design.

Resources to Get Started:

Paid Search Audit

Description: 

A paid search audit evaluates whether your Google Ads (and, where applicable, Bing Ads) accounts are running as profitably as they can — and, if not, reveal some opportunities for improvement.

This audit reviews factors like:

Tools and automated platforms can help you begin your audit but, for the most comprehensive analysis, we cannot overstate the importance of human review. An experienced paid search strategist can identify issues Google overlooks and find new opportunities for campaign refinement.

When to Use:

We always conduct a paid search advertising audit when we begin a work engagement with a new client. 

This audit is also incredibly useful when you are changing account managers. Fresh eyes often catch what your previous manager overlooked!

As with the rest of these audits, we also recommend an annual review for optimized performance, because Google is always redefining metrics and adjusting its algorithms.

Resources to Get Started:

Paid Social Audit

Description: 

A paid social audit is a review of your paid marketing efforts on channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. In many ways, it’s similar to a paid search marketing audit, in that you review factors like ad spend, copy, and more. However, this audit should also include a review of your ad creative (images and videos). 

You may choose to expand this audit for a comprehensive look at all of your social media efforts, organic and paid. However, separating the two channels can provide a clearer analysis and opportunities for improvement.

When to Use: 

Similar to a paid search audit, we conduct a paid social audit when we begin an engagement with a new client, when the account changes hands, or on an annual basis.

Resources to Get Started:

Conversion Optimization Audit

Description: 

A conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit typically involves a review of every page type on your website, evaluating it for design, user experience, and more. A well-run audit should identify many opportunities for A/B testing and incremental improvements — that, when combined, should incrementally lift conversion optimization rates.

A CRO audit is usually an initial, one-time step to understand your website’s performance. From there, it can evolve into a continuous testing program with smaller audits conducted along the way.

As mentioned above, an analytics audit must be conducted at the same time at this CRO audit, so you can be confident that your results are accurate.

When to Use: 

We always conduct conversion optimization audits when we are contracted for CRO work with a new client. We also recommend an annual audit to keep up with changing customer behavior and trends.

Resources to Get Started:

Conducting an Audit: Agency or DIY?

Knowing about the eCommerce marketing audits available to you is only half the battle.

Choosing one with which to proceed — and deciding who will manage it — is much harder.

Starting with a smaller, in-house audit is a possibility for many eCommerce brands. But, if you don’t have the right resources and can’t devote the time and energy an audit requires, your results may not be comprehensive enough to inform a successful strategy. 

In our opinion, hiring an outside agency to complete your audit is one of the best ways to get detailed, actionable insights and suggested improvements. Many agencies offer audits as a la carte services, while others will implement your strategy changes for you.

If you’re looking for an eCommerce agency to audit your site, our team at Inflow is always happy to help.

Special thanks to our friends at Recart for their insights on this topic.
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