This is the final installment of our April Showers Bring May PPC Flowers series for this month. For the purpose of today’s post, we will discuss a few ways to nurture a new or inherited PPC account.

Now that we’ve covered the structuring of new and existing accounts, it’s time to start thinking about nurturing the account itself. We typically refer to this concept as optimization, but the goal remains the same nonetheless; delivering the best results to your client. Since PPC management is an ongoing process, it becomes particularly important to pay close attention to performance trends initially and look for ways to achieve incremental gains for your client over time.

Projecting Performance

Awhile back, Bethany wrote a great post about projecting account performance in Excel. This is without a doubt one of the most important tools that PPC managers have in their arsenal because it provides an idea of what the account metrics will look like at the end of the month in relation to the client’s goals. More importantly, projections allow you to analyze the performance effects of any optimizations made to the account. Utilizing a strategized approach like this makes it much easier to achieve those incremental gains. If you haven’t already done so, I would highly recommend checking out Bethany’s post for more info on how to create an effective projection worksheet.

Competitive Analysis

Analyzing your competitors is another great way to familiarize yourself with the advertising landscape for a new or inherited PPC account. One of the first things I like to do is scan the SERPs. These pages are packed with information that can be quite useful for developing an effective strategy. For example, you could start identifying the names of my competitors to get a feel for who is bidding in the same space as your brand. You could also take a look at the ad copies and landing pages to get an idea for how your competitors are influencing conversions as well. Regardless of how you decide to go about your competitive analysis, this process should not be overlooked because it ultimately provides the opportunity to gain an advantage over your opponents.

Nurturing New Accounts

Aside from performance projections and competitive analysis, here are a few additional tasks that I have found to be particularly valuable for growing new accounts:

  • Search Query Reports – SQRs are a great way to improve the overall health and quality of your search traffic. This report shows the performance data for the individual search queries that triggered your ads. As a result, SQRs can reveal new profitable keywords to add to your account. They are also very helpful for finding negative keywords to block out irrelevant searches that aren’t profitable for your brand.
  • Expansion Into New Networks – Are you opted into the Display Network? Have you considered advertising with adCenter? Third-tier engines? These all provide good opportunities to grow an account. Although results tend to vary, account managers should always be exploring new networks and opportunities that have the potential to drive low-cost conversions.

Nurturing Inherited Accounts

  • Keyword Analysis – This should be obvious, but I felt compelled to include it. You should always start by familiarizing yourself with the keywords when dealing with an inherited account. How are they organized? What are their average CPCs? Which ones perform the best? This process is helpful because it reveals opportunities to grow and improve the account. People tend to manage their accounts in different ways, so it’s important to understand the previous strategy and be able to integrate it into your own.
  • Negative Keyword Audit – Negative keyword audits are important because they act as a way of ensuring that you aren’t blocking any qualified traffic and missing out on any conversions you would have had otherwise. For example, when working for an agency, client accounts are often passed down through several managers, which can make it difficult to keep track of all the negative keywords added previously. Or worse, it could also be something as simple as accidentally using the wrong match type, which would end up restricting more than you had originally intended. As a result, negative keyword audits can prove to be time well spent when taking over an inherited account.
  • Dimensions Tab – Overlooked by some, the AdWords Dimension tab can be an extremely useful place to analyze performance trends and generate new ideas for inherited accounts. Here you can view segmented data by time, demographics, geo-locations and more. For example, you could use the time segment to develop an effective day-parting strategy. Perhaps you use the demographic information to influence your keywords and ad copies. There are many ways to manipulate this data and it can certainly help you achieve incremental gains.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list of the ways to nurture new and inherited accounts, these provide some good starting places nonetheless. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave any commentary below.