Entering in the PPC world can be intimidating: there’s the terminology to grasp, there’s the formulas to memorize, there’s the clients to manage, there’s the reports to build, there’s the numbers to check and recheck, there’s the client industries to understand… The checklist, notes, and post-it reminders seem endless. Then to take all these introductory tasks a step further to analyzing and strategizing accounts feels like a 1,000+-piece-blurry-picture-of-a-puzzle for a new PPC-er. Each account structure can be different. Each account has its own KPIs and goals it values. Each client has a different personality to manage. By the end of the day, you feel like you have barely pieced together a small fragment of this 1,000+ piece blurry puzzle. It makes me think of Dickins’ novel that begins “It was the best of times…it was the worst of times…” (A Tale of Two Cities).

So, like we would do with a large puzzle, let’s start with the outline of an account. The outline of the account is just a checklist for how to manage an account and what to do on a daily, weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis for your campaigns.

To begin, as you set up your paid search campaign there are some areas to be extra cautious about so here are a few very helpful tips to help prevent errors:

  • Use editor: It is offline, it is easier to navigate than the interface, it lets you revert imports, and it shows you errors.
  • Submit a conversion (if possible). You don’t need to click on the ad, just put in the landing page and take an action on the website. Communicate with your client about it and make sure they see it come through on their end.
  • Be aware of the end date (if there is one) of your campaigns.
  • Be aware that AdWords Editor automatically sets your bids at Enhance Bidding. If you do not want this, be sure to change it to manual bidding.
  • Add labels to your ads.
    • You can do this by going into the shared library. This is an extra way to keep your account organized.
  • Set your location. If you do not, you will target worldwide or the United States.

Daily Checklist

  • Check budgets daily. Make sure you set up some way or report where you can see how you are pacing by the end of the month and what you should be spending each day to hit your goal spend.
  • Check your bids and your bid strategy. If you’ve implemented a new bid strategy (automated bidding, top of page CPC, etc) be sure that you monitor it very closely that day and the next to be sure nothing spikes dramatically.

Weekly Checklist

  • Check your ad URLs weekly. Be sure that tracking is coming through correctly.
    • Beyond checking the URL in the ad report, check what URL is being pulled in through the Dimensions tab and then View the Final URL. This will help to see what URL is being fired when someone does click on a live ad. This is a triple check that everything has been set up correctly.
  • Give another glance at your ad copy. Make sure that there are no typos.
  • Check your settings.
    • Be sure you’re targeting the correct location.
    • Be sure that your ads are set to rotate evenly throughout the day.
      • Unless you want to have accelerated delivery and spend your budget quicker throughout the day.
    • Within location, there are a few options: You can target people within your targeted location or target people just in your target your location. Do whatever is comfortable for you and your client.

Biweekly Checklist

  • Check in with your client about how you’re pacing for the month. Depending on the goals of the campaign, they may have a deadline they need to ramp up spend to get the most traffic or they may need to pull back in spend due to budget cuts. It all depends and it’s good to have communication about it with your client.

Monthly Checklist

  • Take time to talk with your client about how they want to test ads. If they want to do it on a monthly basis, if they are happy with what is being run, or if they want to make minor changes.
  • With the new month, check in about a new budget or if any goals are changing.

Closing Thoughts

Being in the PPC world is no easy task. There are a million moving pieces to keep track of, a million edges to keep smooth, and a million points that need to keep running to get the full picture of a successful account. Be sure to have some sort of checklist you use when you are setting up a campaign for a first time. And be sure that you have continuous reminders about upkeep and optimizations of your account. This will help prevent, as much as possible, errors and fires down the road.