Summing Up the SMN Webinar – Taking Over an Existing PPC Account: Best Practices

By Avelyn Austin | Dec 10, 2009
More Articles by Avelyn


Today Search Marketing Now hosted the webinar “Taking Over an Existing PPC Account: Best Practices”. The webinar was sponsored by Marin Software and presented by Josh Dreller of Fuor Digital. This webinar was wonderful as it was one of the first webinars I’ve watched that spoke directly to agencies!

After Dreller warned his attendees to not get stuck in the existing PPC account’s current way of thinking, he presented his “Best Tip…

Don’t Assume Anything”! Dreller said that when you take over an existing PPC account you need to first think about:

“Why Was the Account Moved?”

  • Business Reasons:
    • Fees
    • Partners changing (on either side)
  • Deeper than that?
    • Poor account relationship
    • Bad Blood
      *Most often it’s due to bad results – not meeting business objectives

After determining and understanding why the account was moved it’s time for the “Quick Audit”. Dreller’s quick audit includes answering the following questions:

  • What’s the current budget?
  • What’s paused/ active?
  • What are the most recent KPIs?
    • CPCs?
    • CTRs?
    • Conversion rates?
  • Where is the month going?
  • Basic M-o-M, Y-o-Y history
  • When did this account begin?
  • Recent change history?
  • Are any 3rd party tools being used?

After giving the PPC account the quick audit, Dreller recommends asking “The Big Question: Should you start a new account?” Because every account is different, Dreller didn’t give a yes or no answer, but instead listed the pros and cons of starting a new account which included:

  • Pros
    • Fresh start
    • No clutter
    • New chance at Quality Score
    • Won’t be misled by previous missteps
  • Cons
    • Lose historical data
    • Lose good quality score
    • Editorial issues to resolve
    • Change of 3rd party tool syncs
    • New logins and other minor logistics

Once you’ve decided the answer to the Big Question, Dreller suggests that it’s time for “The Deep Dive”. This is when you should deeply analyze:

  • Creative
    • Keyword anlaysis
      • Match types
      • Negatives
    • Ads
  • Logistics
    • Campaign/ Ad group structure (is it segmented correctly)
    • Campaign settings
      • Geotargeting (Where)
      • Dayparting (When)
      • Budget Caps (How much)
  • History
    • Seasonality
    • Long tail

Once the PPC account has been carefully analyzed Dreller said you’re ready to “Gather the Rest of the Info” by determining:

  • Client Expectations
  • Time Frame
  • Resources and finally
  • Meet with Teams

Then Dreller told his attendees to “Create Your Action Plan” by following the “Paid Search Account Phases”:

  • Immersion
  • Research
  • Building
  • Launching
  • Stewardship
  • Reporting
  • Testing
  • Optimization

And finally Dreller listed his “Best Practices” when taking over an existing PPC Account which included:

  • Build out a large keyword list… you can always parse down
  • Have tight ad groups with highly relevant ads
  • Send users to the best landing pages
  • Utilize match types effectively including negatives
  • Leverage the campaign settings such as geotargeting and dayparting
  • Try A/B or even multi-variate testing
  • Continuously optimize
  • Use 3rd party systems for centralized reporting, management efficiency, and bid optimization
  • Watch your quality scores but don’t obsess over them
  • Understand what works from a keyword position standpoint

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