We’re right on the brink of a new month and are about to wrap up the first quarter of 2013. The last couple of weeks have also thrown some new curve balls at the paid search world with the release of Enhanced Campaigns and all. However, this is not the time to forget about the all-important basics to be sure your accounts are growing and continue to perform better month over month. Here’s a quick checklist of the things you need to make sure you’ve got prepped in the next few days this (and every) month to ensure forward account progress:

  • Reset Daily Budgets

More often than not, as a month wraps up, campaign daily budgets are pulled back in varying degrees based on performance or in order to hit goals. This is normal and typical, however setting those daily budgets back to their full-month levels at the beginning of the new month is of obvious importance. Now this doesn’t always mean setting them back to where they were at the beginning of the previous month, because the number of days in the month could be different, goals may have changed, etc. At any rate, take all these factors in to consideration and make sure daily budgets are reset at the top of the month accordingly.

  • Establish Goals

I’ve alluded to this point just a second ago, but given that it’s a new month, there are potentially changes in goals. Dependent on seasonality, budgets, and a slew of other things, you may need to adjust a few dials and pull a couple of levers to make sure the new month goals stay in target from the start. Hopefully any huge changes in budget or goals from internal or external clients were communicated and addressed well before the new month kicking off. If there have been no goal discussions as you read this…go do that now! You’ll be forever chasing your tail if goals are being set mid-month, so do what you can to even outline goals on a quarterly or more long-term basis so that you can plan according to short and long-term goals each month.

  • Update To Do Lists

Based on what’s needed in the new month, goal or maintenance-wise, you need to reset your priority list. If there are promotions coming up that you need ads written for, that may push a Quality Score analysis by a few days. Of course we all try to plan so that things are ready to go as ahead of time as possible, but the truth is that projects come up, things get bumped, and there’s no better time than the beginning of the month to call time out and reset the to do list with what’s left, what’s new and how those things need to be prioritized.

  • Check Tests/Experiments

Many test and experiments are run on 30-day cycles, and month-to-month comparisons can be very valuable. Given those characteristics, the beginning of a new month can be accompanied by tests concluding and data being ready for analysis. Especially in the situation where there is a next leg of the test that requires change based on the accumulated information, you need to make time for this analysis as early in the month as possible. I would also venture to guess there may be clients awaiting these experiment results, so staying prompt will show dedication and could earn you points towards the next time you want to try something a little outside the box. The client will know you’re diligent and consistent with timelines, which will only work in your favor down the road.

  • Start New Tests

This is quite literally just the other side of the previous point. You’ve wrapped up some experiments, and there are new ones to get started. Log the results of the previous test (whether it be related to this one or not), benchmark current performance before starting the next test, and then initiate the new experiment.

  • Expand Something

Vague? Slightly. On purpose? Totes. Look at the last month’s performance and data and find an ad group that performed well. How can you expand it? Check the search query report and see if there are additional keywords you can add, either as a new ad group or to that existing one. Check to see which ad copy performed best for you on the Search network. Is there something about this ad that you could test in additional ad groups? Pull a report on your top performing Display placements. Are there other similar placements you could find for direct targeting? So yes, I was vague with the “expand something” action item, but that’s because it could be anything; just find a top performer, learn something from it, and apply as you can to find expansion opportunities. Expansion = growth = more value for the client.

This is absolutely not an all-inclusive list of everything account managers do at the beginning of each month, so we encourage you to share some of your own first-of-the-month tasks with us! Whether it be for March specifically or a task you are sure to complete for any month of the year, use the comments section below to share your thoughts, ideas and questions!