When working on a PPC account, what contributes to the success or failure relies on us as the experts. How you organize the account, the layout of campaigns, keyword research, ad copy writing, and the list goes on and on. What often gets lost in this shuffle is the actual product, the client and how it fits or doesn’t fit in the realm of PPC. Are we setting ourselves up for failure?

With experience in the industry comes an understanding of what fits and doesn’t fit well in the PPC world. For example, when we’re getting an assignment to work on a for-profit college or law firm’s account, we have a sense of confidence knowing if the account is done correctly. Obviously there are many other industries and products that fit well with PPC but we must always look for some of the red flags that could potentially set us up for failure.

If a potential client has several red flags in early discussions about working together, it’s best to be completely honest by telling them how you feel. They’ll appreciate you saving them the time and money and you’ll avoid looking like you don’t know what you’re doing. In this article, we’ll be discussing a few examples of what to look for when contemplating whether to take on a new account or not.


In some cases, a potential client will come to you with a limited budget looking to dip their toe in the PPC waters. If it’s a highly competitive area within PPC, such as the insurance industry, than you may want to explore this further prior to committing to help. Sure, you could stay very targeted with your keywords or geo-target to only specific areas that work. You could also test different ad scheduling that may help to maximize overall performance. These are all potentially successful strategies, but is it all too much to overcome?

Image of budget restraint
is the account limited by budget?

You’ll want to know just how tight their budget is, especially for those first few weeks where you’re collecting data and learning how their target market is reacting to ad copy messaging and landing pages. In many small business cases where budget is very limited, they just can’t stomach the cost of PPC and the potential negative ROI that may occur in a new account while things are getting sorted out.

The best thing to do in this situation is to be open about your experiences with PPC and what they should expect in those initial months after the account is launched. Have a roadmap in place and talk to them about the different strategies you think could bring them success in this highly competitive, high CPC area of PPC. They’ll appreciate the honesty from you and won’t be so alarmed if those first few weeks aren’t delivering the results they’re looking for. It’ll also buy you more time to sort through any issues and get the account moving in the right direction. If they decide that given the circumstances maybe PPC isn’t a good idea, then chances are they wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.

Analyzing CPC vs Revenue

For ecommerce accounts, as you begin to get past those initial conversations and start to dive into more specifics, you’ll want to begin doing some research on the industry prior to taking the next step in the onboarding process. You’ll want to research how competitive the market is within Google Adwords and get a good idea of what to expect from a CPC perspective.

Image of an AdWords graph
Analyzing CPC vs. revenue

If they’re completely new to PPC, one thing you’ll want to ask yourself during this process is “does this make business sense for them?” After you’ve started to research, begin looking at the expected CPC compared to the actual revenue they’ll be receiving on average with each conversion. For example, if you’re projecting a $2.50 CPC in the account yet the average revenue for each conversion is only $10.00, is a conversion rate of 25% realistic? In the vast majority of cases, it won’t be and that’s just to break even on their PPC investment.

If the numbers just don’t add up for a potential client to have success within PPC, it’s best to talk through the challenges they face and some potential alternative options that are less costly (Bing Ads, Display Network, etc.).

Post-Click Issues

We’re so focused on making sure the front-end metrics will be successful, we sometimes lose sight of researching the post-click experience prior to taking on a new client. Where we’re driving traffic to in the world of PPC plays a very significant role in the outcome. Sure, we could potentially use landing page optimization tools such as Optimizely to help boost conversion rates, but if the landing pages are obsolete, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Not only will the account struggle to drive an acceptable conversion rate but our quality score within the engines will suffer, further damaging the situation.

If you run into an issue like this with a potential client, talk to them about their process in creating landing pages. Ask questions such as:

  • Is the process in-house or outsourced?
  • What is the turnaround time?
  • How open are you to creating new landing pages for the PPC account?

The last thing you want is to take on a new client who has landing pages that do not convert and don’t t have the ability to rectify the issue.


Putting in a little bit of time researching a potential client’s industry, their competition in PPC and their website can go a long way to help avoid unsuccessful partnerships. While so much of what determines the success of a PPC account is the work done within the engines, you’ll want to be sure the product and company you’re marketing has the necessary framework for a successful working relationship.