Managing Enterprise Level PPC Accounts

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Managing Enterprise Level PPC Accounts.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you define an “enterprise” PPC account?

  • Complexity and/or spend. – Ed Leake (@EdLeake)
  • I was about to say something about high complexity and tough competition, but even SMB deals with that. Its mostly budget. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • An account that takes up 80% of your time with optimization and strategy. Any account that necessitates “headspace” music for optimization. – J. Prentice Parton (@tracknicholson)
  • Bigger than a breadbox. Lg # of campaigns, multiple accounts, significant spend, multiple stakeholders, usually uses platforms. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • I don’t know if there is any all-encompassing definition, but I would say at least $30K a month in spend. – Matt Umbro
    • That low? I’d have bet $50k at a minimum, and $30-$50k to be mid-sized. – Katie Mullins
  • Level of reporting metrics, depth, frequency and complexity. – Ed Leake
  • An enterprise account would mainly contain a broader umbrella of several campaigns. – Kapil Mudholkar (@s4socialmedia)
  • Any account is going to be dynamic in nature/have its own issues, I think spend is where we have to define it. – Matt Umbro
  • I would say spending over $100k per month. – Brooke Townsend
  • Not a scientific answer, but if 1 person can’t manage it alone I’d call that enterprise. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • Enterprise accounts tend to have higher budgets, larger companies to go through, and more campaigns to scale. – Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
  • Enterprise=Wide geographic targeting, multiple customer personas, complex funnel, enough $$ to test your lil PPC heart out. – Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
  • When you have a 12-month contract and you know they won’t pause it next month to “see how it goes." – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
  • Maybe I’m old-school, but to me “enterprise” meant size of company. In this context spend & complexity is prob a better index. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Agreed it’s mostly a budget question. Complexity plays into it as well, but like Chris said, even SMB can be complex. – Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson
  • Because big brands can have simple goals and simple complexity (ie Brand-based & SOV goals) I’ll say a minimum of $100K/month. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • Honestly, I don’t see a lot of accounts spending less than $80K that are real players in their space. That said, plenty of accounts with “enterprise” complexity spending less. – Michael Wiegan (@mwiegand)
  • I suggest the complexity of the team, not just the account – how many people are involved in decisions. – Kyle Crocker
  • Companies who aim to target around the globe and have managers for each area and separate budgets. – Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
  • Also, some gigantic companies are scared of digital & decide to test a $1K a month budget.Client should buy in/spend like a boss. – Mary Hartman
  • I’ve seen many smaller complex accounts, even with solid PPC structures, so I’m going to say that complexity is not the key. – Katie Mullins
  • I’d also define an enterprise client as what they are willing to pay you. Perhaps you deem an enterprise client to spend at least $5K a month in management. – Matt Umbro
    • I’ve had far more complex situations trying to figure out how to spend $1k per month than I have with $10k. – J. Prentice Parton
  • Probably however the agency sales team defines it. – Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
  • For the companies I’ve worked for, enterprise is determined by spend levels. Some SMB can take up way more time. – Josh Kelson
  • I define enterprise by size of budget and scope of account. – Christi Olson
  • I’ve heard other agencies define it as low as $10k+ per month. Everyone wants to say they do “enterprise level management." – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • Scope of the account as in is it a single brand vs multiple. Online only vs Brick & Mortar, # of stores & geo locations. – Christi Olson

Q2: Talk about how you delegate/manage enterprise accounts with your internal team?

  • We try to focus on industry specialization so we can have a head start with business context. – Chris Haleua
  • People full time on the account, multiple AMs, pay for management tools. – Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)
  • It would be a divide based on the different activities across the account. – Kapil Mudholkar
  • Head AM drives strategy and delegates tasks to team (AM does tasks as well). – Matt Umbro
  • Account/client side, platform optimiser(s), analyst(s), UX/CRO separate. – Ed Leake
  • We usually don’t have multiple people on individual accounts. But we have AE teams at our agency to handle AE tasks. – Melissa Mackey
  • 1 Senior level manager with a number of more junior/entry level people. This gives your younger members more chance to learn. – Mark Irvine
  • In-house answer: report to GM, I’m in charge of strategy and day to day changes, utilize tools. I basically am PPC Jesus. – Brooke Townsend
  • If it’s a single account, I’d like someone on keyword-level bid opt., another on dimensions opt., and another on ad opt., etc. Also, a solid account exec., and SEO strategist. – J. Prentice Parton
    • Agreed – need the QB of the team to drive strategy and assign tasks. – Matt Umbro
  • It would be based on the spend + scope of complexity. There will always be base work and it scales up based on need/complexity. I like the structure of 1 person as the lead and main POC, who has a team to work with & delegate. – Christi Olson
  • If we’ve landed a huge fish, and there are several large budgets for dif ongoing initiatives, we make accts for each & divy ’em. – Katie Mullins
  • Acct teams w/mix of skill levels – client relationship/strategy, opt, reporting. Depends on client & how they are structured. – Lisa Sanner
  • Team members have specific tasks based on areas of expertise and can be brought in based on needs. – Christi Olson
  • Watch that sales doesn’t oversell & promise the moon to begin with, esp if the current budget doesn’t justify it. – Christi Olson
  • Analytics is also handled by our analytics team. – Melissa Mackey
  • Didn’t use to like account manager (no touching) roles, but do value them now to manage relations/expectations/targets. – Ed Leake
  • Digital for us is divided between three people, myself included. One is an AE and is dual-role. Accts divvied by workload. – Caleb Rule (@CRuleSportsGuy)

Q3: When taking on an enterprise account, have you ever had to learn a bid automation system? Describe the experience?

  • I have, make sure you set proper expectations with client that you will need to learn the system. – Matt Umbro
  • We use Acquisio and it’s so easy. Great support when setting up. – Melissa Mackey
  • I’ve inherited accounts from agencies that used bid management software. Every time, the software did a terrible job. – Steve Gibson
  • Blessed to have some bid automation baked into our company’s software. – Mark Irvine
  • I utilize OptiMine now for daily keyword-level opt. I love it, and it allows time for deeper-level opt. on my part. – J. Prentice Parton
  • Haven’t had to learn a new automation system, but I’ve needed to learn all the funky math & variables in the ecosystem & KPIs. – Nate Knox
  • My issue with bid automation is that it can sometimes fundamentally change you manage an account. For example, uploading keywords with final URLs instead of at the ad level. – Matt Umbro
  • Learning rules systems = control but must keep tightening bolts. Learning portfolio systems = more focus on prediction accuracy. – Chris Haleua
  • Yes, worked directly with their staff. Somewhat difficult to set up but need to be clear about campaign objectives up front. – Brooke Townsend
  • Automation takes many forms – be they rules, scripts or software. Do what keeps you out of the weeds but still gives you control. – Mark Irvine
  • Used Acquisio back in the day. Other portfolio bid management solutions seemed rigid to me. I’m sure they’ve all changed. – Michael Wiegan

Q4: What scripts/rules do you generally set up in enterprise accounts? Why?

  • Automating ad changes is such a huge time saver with using labels. – Brooke Townsend
  • Bad link (404) checkers … because the client changes stuff! – Ed Leake
  • Honestly, we let Acquisio BBM handle most everything. Eliminates the need for scripts & rules. – Melissa Mackey
  • Part of learning a bid mgmt software is understanding nuances dif than UI & editors-Some have annoying quirks related to uploads. – Katie Mullins
  • I like quality score tracking/archiving (tbh for all accounts). – Ed Leake
  • Typically nothing more than time-sensitive elements. Rather set filters for shortcuts to managing bid adj. for locations, etc. – J. Prentice Parton
  • These accounts can get ginormous Scripts can help find all kinds of small things that add up to bigger optimizations and wins. – Lisa Sanner

Q5: How do you avoid feeling overwhelmed in enterprise accounts?

  • Know how to prioritize! Work on the items that will have the biggest impact first! – Matt Umbro
  • Stay focused on the big picture and let the little things go. You can’t micromanage every campaign/bid. – Melissa Mackey
  • Organization and planning is HUGE! Also, delegation when possible with a team. Learn how to prioritize and push back on client. – Josh Kelson
  • I use a spreadsheet to keep track of different parts of the account/optimization areas. – Mike Crimmins
  • Delegation and time-management. – J. Prentice Parton
  • Boring but checklists and process, process, process… oh and communication too of course. – Ed Leake
  • Avoid feeling overwhelmed in enterprise accounts by leveraging strong naming conventions, labels, and strong account structure.
  • I use Asana for project management and it works wonders for me to keep me sane. – Brooke Townsend
  • Like anything, the law of the “vital few and the trivial many” applies. – Steve Gibson
  • It’s unconventional, but we use Google Keep notes to jot optimization areas, then reorder & tackle. – Glenn Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
  • Internal project software goes a long way too. – Ed Leake
  • We have client dashboards w/ scripts that highlight actions to take. No need to drive the fire truck around looking for fires. – Mary Hartman
  • Find big wins and run with them. When they become overwhelming, shift focus away from minutia. – Mark Irvine
  • Managing client expectations and communication. If their priorities shift, we reprioritize our task sheets as well. – Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
  • Focus on what makes biggest impact on KPIs. Run tests, learn new features. Not overwhelming, it’s exciting, always changing! – Lisa Sanner
  • Budget spend curve prediction is pretty critical too. – Ed Leake
  • If you have a strong foundation you won’t feel overwhelmed in your accounts that’s why when taking over new accounts I generally try and shift all campaigns to my management style. – Matt Umbro
  • Don’t scale until you work out initital kinks. I had an old client that scaled before fixing conversion tracking issues. – Katie Mullins
  • Keep pulling the biggest levers until pulling them produces lesser return than pulling smaller levers. Then move down a level. – Steve Gibson
  • Communication between team members is key. The goal =never ask, “why are we testing this?” you should know. – Mary Hartman

Q6: What are some strategies you use to build ad copy at scale?

  • Question, as office copywriter (among other hats, of course)…how do you create many ads at once w/great copy? Tough to do? – Caleb Rule
  • Crowd sourcing to get a variety of ads! – Chrysah (@Chrysah_P)
  • Anything built at scale is done in Excel. Whether C&P, F&R or functions (i.e. concatenate), it’s just easier. – Emma Franks

Q7: As a PPC manager, what is the most important piece of advice you would give to enterprise clients?

  • Stop touching the buttons, you hired us for a reason. – Ed Leake
  • Under-promise, over-deliver. Everyday, all day. – Mark Irvine
  • Balance investment in people (train & promote before recruit &hire), process (kill meetings), and technology (integrated value). – Chris Haleua
  • Quality PPC is a PROCESS. To do well must respect that & be an active partner w/ your PPC team (agency or in-house). – Julie Bacchini 
  • Be patient, be a partner, be transparent about needs and goals. It takes time to steer a cruise ship, it’s not a speedboat. – Lisa Sanner
  • Search and data run like the stock market. Don’t make rash decisions. Let the account invest and build wealth w/ opt.& strategy. – J. Prentice Parton
  • An 8 week strategy plan, is an 8 week strategy plan. Not 4 weeks. – Ed Leake
  • Keeping a solid captain’s log is the key if your accounts are to live long and prosper. – Sam Owen

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Caleb Rule (@CRuleSportsGuy)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Chrysah (@Chrysah_P)
• Ed Leake (@EdLeake)
• Emma Franks (@akaEmmaLouise)
• Glenn Schmelzle (@heyglenns)
• J. Prentice Parton (@tracknicholson)
• Josh Kelson (@JoshKelson)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kapil Mudholkar (@s4socialmedia)
• Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
• Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
• Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
• Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
• Michael Wiegan (@mwiegand)
• Nate Knox (@nateknox)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Sam Owen (@SamOwenPPC)

Managing Enterprise Level Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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