- Structure is crucial.
Don’t even think about running with a monster budget on an account that’s as organised as a hoarder house. Picture a small business with a simple AdWords account with no pay per click consulting. One day the business hits it big and suddenly they need an account that’s 100x bigger to accommodate a budget of similar increase. Instead of building sideways, they build upwards, piling tons of new keywords, ad groups and junk onto their existing couple of campaigns. What happens? It’s a mess; it’s bloated, illogical, and more importantly, inefficient. This is more common than you think.
Best practice: In an ideal world you want to build for the highest granularity whilst maintaining a simple, logical structure to ensure management is as easy as possible. Unfortunately, granular and simple don’t often go hand-in-hand, so dragging the imaginary slider too far in one direction will sacrifice the opposite principle. Don’t forget to name things sensibly either; not everyone can understand your obscure taxonomy.
- Use bulk editing tools.
AdWords Editor. It’s buggy, clunky and outdated but get it because it’s great for bulk edits. Need to update prices on a humungous number of ads? Use the search, find and replace functions to get it done in seconds. Any online advertising agency will know the shortcomings of AdWords Editor but they will still use it anyway as it complements the limitations of the browser interface. Don’t overlook Excel either; it’s hard to beat for building account structures at speed, which you can upload via AdWords Editor or directly into the browser interface. Don’t even think about building a mammoth Google ads account just via your browser.
Best practice: Learn the right tools for the job and use them. The browser interface is too slow for many large tasks and serves well only for small tweaks or as an account dashboard. Any decent internet advertising agency will use a combination of the browser interface, AdWords Editor, maybe 3rd party account management software, Google Analytics and Excel to run multiple large accounts.
- Stay on top of budgets and optimisation.
A caveat of running with a large pay per click budget is higher wastage. You will waste money and there is no getting around it. Your AdWords account is a bucket and your budget is the water. The bucket is full of holes that represent your account’s inefficiencies. Your job is to plug the holes and retain as much of the water as possible. If you have big, gaping holes then increasing water flow is going to waste a heck of a lot of water. Fixing the holes is called optimisation and we’re going to need to do it more than usual if we have a larger account.
Best practice: Watch your campaign budgets on a daily basis. Check what ones are underspending and, if any are limited by budget, consider shifting the spend caps to ensure that they are more appropriate. If you have many campaigns and you’re finding it draining to keep balancing their budgets, consider using an account-level budget instead, which can be configured in the Shared Library. Look out for keywords that drink your budget and don’t give much return. Watch your search terms in the keyword-detail report and ensure to block irrelevant searches with negative keywords. Plug the leaks!
- Know about features that will make your life easier.
How do you think huge online retailers like Amazon manage to display a Google PPC ad for each of their millions of products? You’re right if you’re thinking there’s some automated process at work here because the amount of man hours necessary to keep their mammoth accounts updated is inconceivable. Specifically, the answer is a combination of Dynamic Search Ads and Product Listing Ads. Dynamic Search Ads automatically generate text ads for all pages within a specific range of URLs: perfect if you have an ever-changing catalogue of products. Product Listing Ads perform a similar task but will display your products on the AdWords Google Shopping feed instead of as text ads.
Best practice: Learn about every different advertising feature and don’t let a complex account run you instead of vice versa. There are plenty of features available to cater for even the most daunting of product catalogues. Even job sites can make use of Dynamic Search Ads to source candidates for rapidly changing job ads. Set up custom alerts on your high-spend keywords to warn you about sudden performance dips.
- Be cautious about applying account-wide changes.
One of your ads has emerged as a clear winner in an A/B test! Great, now to pause the loser in one bulk edit across the whole account. Many people jump the gun here and make this mistake, which is usually going to negatively impact the account in one way or another. Just because ad A beat ad B in all ad groups of one campaign doesn’t mean that it’s better on an account-wide basis. Another campaign targeted to a different demographic might favour ad B more so you wouldn’t want to roll ad A out to that audience. Larger accounts are more susceptible to bulk editing mistakes because there’s simply more to go wrong. Any lazy agency advertising on a client’s behalf can hit this pitfall if they don’t bother checking through the data properly.
Best practice: If you’re feeling brave read the Wikipedia entry for Simpson’s Paradox and learn why it’s bad practice to make decisions based off of aggregate data. It’s pretty mind-melting stuff but it’s really useful to understand why you should drill down into ad groups and keywords to make optimisation assessments rather than just skimming over the campaign and account-level metrics.
Are you about to go from small and simple to big and complicated? Don’t go alone, get a professional SEM from a pay per click company to give your account a free audit. Many will do it with no obligation to sign up.