As we approach the 20 year anniversary of the first Shrek film, it might be difficult to remember that the film was quite acclaimed in its time. Now remembered for ushering in a trend of animated films prioritizing crass pop culture references over genuine pathos, Shrek actually competed for the Palm d’Or and won the first-ever Oscar for Best Animated Feature. And while the film’s luster may have faded over the years after a string of sub-par sequels and spin-offs, there’s no doubt that it has left an indelible mark on our culture. 

Evidence of that mark can be seen in the memorability of select lines from the film. Who can forget the titular ogre Shrek chiding his donkey sidekick by saying  “Ogres are like onions…Ogres have layers. Onions have layers”.  And while this quote became iconic for poetically stating a fundamental truth about the complexity of personhood, it is also applicable to many advertisers that run paid search campaigns. Whether it be because a business has multiple brands, multiple locations, or multiple franchises, sometimes the complexity of a business necessitates that they split their Google Ads campaigns into multiple accounts. This article will provide some introductory tips for how to efficiently and effectively manage multiple accounts for the same entity, and when to pursue that strategy.

When To Utilize Multiple Accounts

There are two major reasons to split an advertiser’s campaign across multiple accounts:

  1. Internal Competition Is Inherent To The Advertiser’s Business: As I’ve previously written on “Tips for Managing PPC Campaigns for Franchise Companies”, there are times when internal competition is unavoidable. The reality is that sometimes different franchises (or brands, or locations) compete against each other for the same keywords. In those cases, splitting those different entities into their own accounts allows for ads from each entity to show in the same auctions.
  2. Separate Billing Setups Are Required: If an advertiser has campaigns that need to draw from different payment sources, sometimes the easiest way to accomplish that can be to create multiple accounts.

I would recommend thinking carefully about whether or not an advertiser really needs to be split between different accounts before pursuing such a strategy. There are advantages that come with keeping things as simple as possible. “Keeping things organized” is often not a sufficient reason to break campaigns across multiple accounts, as proper utilization of labels and naming conventions can duplicate the organizational advantages of utilizing multiple accounts. That said, for the cases where a multi-account strategy truly is a must, the tips below will help make such a strategy manageable.

Three Tips To Manage Multiple Accounts

  1. Utilize MCC Level Rules: Automated rules can be run at the MCC level, and are surprisingly powerful and easy to use. Matt Umbro wrote extensively about specific rules in his post, “4 Google Ads Automated Rules To Try”. I wanted to highlight a few more uses that I’ve found to be especially impactful to run across multiple accounts:
    1. Pause ads that contain a specific string of text.
    2. Enable/pause ads based on labels (this is especially helpful for running sales across multiple accounts).
    3. Enable/pause campaigns based on labels.

  2. Utilize Scripts: I am no scripting expert, but luckily, I work with someone who is! Jacob Fairclough writes about this topic articulately in his post “Taking Advantage of MCC Scripts for Multi-Account PPC Efficiency”. His article provides some of the technical how-tos for implementation, and I wanted to highlight a few of the actions that are possible through MCC-level scripting. Those actions include pausing campaigns when a budget threshold is met, implementing price extensions from a business data feed, and doing mass updates of ad copy. Without script solutions for these tasks, they would have been infeasible for our clients that are spread across hundreds of CIDs.

  3. Utilize Automated Strategies: In almost every split test I’ve run, automated bid strategies like optimized ad rotations and automated bidding outperform the manual strategies, so I don’t need a lot of convincing when it comes to utilizing automation. In the case of managing an advertiser with multiple accounts, automated strategies take on the additional advantage of saving significant time. Depending on the human resources available and size/complexity of the advertiser, it may be next to impossible to optimize manual strategies across multiple accounts. If that’s the case, utilizing automated strategies is a necessity.


Managing the campaigns for any advertiser can be a complex affair, and that’s all the more true when the advertiser must run their campaigns across a multitude of CIDs. If that situation can be avoided, I would recommend doing so: minimizing complexity where possible reduces the chances for error and increases the ease of management. If, though, you find yourself in a situation where multiple accounts are truly needed, never fear – the tips above are a good start to make that task manageable. Follow those tips and before long you’ll be singing from Smash Mouth’s “All Star” a song further popularized by Shrek’s quintessential opening credits sequence:

Hey now

You’re an allstar (at managing campaigns for a single advertiser across multiple accounts)

Get your game on

Go play

-Smash Mouth (sorta)