Organizing PPC Efforts

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Organizing PPC Efforts.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you ensure that all your clients’ unique PPC platforms get the attention they need?

  • I have a rotation schedule that ensures all clients and platforms get looked at on a regular basis. Intervals depend on size. – Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
  • Depending on budget and optimization capabilities/limitations, I’ll set a schedule to review. – Matt Umbro
  • Since it’s just me, I just use a combination of frequent account checks & free task mgmt options to keep up on all clients. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I’m always over-organized. Probably more calendar reminders , notices and lists then needed, but it works for me. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Schedule tasks in advance to help prioritize, regular account check-ins to determine needs & automate reports for ease of review. – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
  • I’m in house, but I try and have a rotation schedule. Though I try & hit higher priorities more often. – Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)
  • By building a dashboard that summarizes performance for each PPC platform, then checking it daily for anomalies. – Bogdan Chertes (@bogdanch)
  • It all depends on the budget as to what gets the most attention. We use Acquisio and AdStage to view everything in one place. – Melissa Mackey (@mel66)
  • Spreadsheet with all platforms w data for each client. Then marking time on calendar for optimization and updating that sheet. – Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
  • Having some type of regular process as a foundation is key. Then tailor based on size of account. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Best way is to always check them manually but other than that mngmt software really streamlines the process. – Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
  • I combine this with a series of automated alerts to notify me if anything urgent pops up. – Andrew McCarthy (@AmccartPPC)
  • Weekly dashboards ensure we are paying attention to everything we need to. – Melissa Mackey
  • Beyond a rotation schedule, I use Analytics Alerts to notify me of large changes that need reviewed. – Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
  • Prioritize by budget and traffic, and schedule in some once in awhile checks for the ultra low hanging fruit. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • I have a sweet Excel calendar that helps keep me on task. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Organized chaos. One by one- high priority first- put any fires, then low priority. – Erin Remsen (@Rinzies)
  • Agree w/ setting schedule to a review. Simple, regular reminders work well. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Also use basecamp for larger clients so I can create tasks, assign a date I’d like to have it completed with email reminders. – Joe Martinez
  • I allocate a certain amount of time for each platform and use a timer when I stop/start working on each platform. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • We all tend to prioritize the bigger spenders/KPI drivers. But I try to build in quarterly deeper audits across all platforms. – Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
  • In-house but I manage “all my clients” platforms w/ the ToDoist app; scheduling, optimizations, etc. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
  • I use Asana – great project management tool and can create limitless projects based on platform. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Reports Calendar for Small/Medium Accounts integrated w/Google Calendar. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • I use Basecamp milestones + Google Calendar to keep track of things. – Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)

Q2: For those that manage teams, how do you ensure all accounts and clients are getting the attention they need?

  • Similar to managing my own time, schedule tasks in advance and have periodic check-ins to discuss performance & ideas. – Amy Bishop
  • KPI tracking tools/reporting works great for short check-ins. – Gil Hong
  • I don’t manage teams, but multiple high-traffic brands. I base attention on the biggest revenue drivers and opportunities. Setting a schedule ahead of time on what brands need the attention on certain days. Schedule routine “maintenance” weekly. – Brooke Townsend
  • Weekly or bimonthly check ins w/ benchmarks and goals based on scope of account. Also Analytics Alerts. – Bryce Liggins
  • Again we have an Excel spreadsheet outlining all tasks. We will also do stand up meetings every morning. – JD Prater
  • Short, weekly touchbases work for us. No need to waste too much time and deep dive, but confirm love is spread to all clients. – Joe Martinez
  • I don’t manage teams yet, but I agree w/ this. Setting goals, scheduling tasks & communication is key! – Erika Schmidt
  • Auditing other accounts, I’ll always start with the change history log. Where is the manager spending the bulk of their time? – Andrew McCarthy
  • The buck has to ultimately stop on someone’s desk, so making sure you know what is (or is not) happening is critical. – Julie Bacchini
    • Absolutely! Has to be a failsafe in place to ensure clients are getting the love they need. – Matt Umbro
  • We use Clarizen as our project management system and it helps with workflow, workloads and task ownership. – Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)
  • Love my weekly schedules… Know what day it is and what you’re supposed to be delivering. – Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
  • As an aside, it is also important to set proper attention expectations for clients. They don’t all get the same amt. – Julie Bacchini
  • We do weekly meetings with the team and set goals, also calls w/ clients on a weekly basis. – Adriana Alvarez (@AdrianamaeCR)
  • Make sure time spent on “big” clients doesn’t eat into time spent on other client accounts. – Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)

Q3: When trying new features (ie: remarketing, GSP, etc), do you tend to set a launch schedule or begin at once? Why?

  • Depends on what’s being tried and how involved it is to launch. If it’s something like ad extension, then quick to launch. If it’s new campaign type or ad format like shopping, then longer. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Launch schedule prioritized by expected impact. Don’t want to muddle up the test data! – Gil Hong
  • Launch schedule. We want to make sure all ducks are in a row before it goes live. – JD Prater
  • Depends on client goals & expectations. Remarketing involves code install so may depend on 3rd party. – Laura Thieme (@bizwatchlaura)
  • Depends on the situation but typically launch sooner than later with more of a goal data collection date vs goal start date. – Amy Bishop
  • Depends on how much effort it takes to launch something new. I also like to launch new features during peak product season. – Brooke Townsend
  • Set a schedule. Give yourself time to prioritize with current client goals and set client expectations. – Bryce Liggins
  • Agreed, it all depends on the scale. Callout Extensions? Nope. RLSA? Definitely. – Andrew McCarthy
  • Giving yourself a (flexible) launch schedules gives you time to set up relevant goals and expectations from it. – Brooke Townsend
  • As with everything that is not urgent, we try to schedule it in order to maintain a good focus. – Bogdan Chertes
  • Launch when it makes sense – more important to have plan fully thought out than to do it fast. Unless a forced change. – Julie Bacchini
  • I set a time where there isn’t a bunch of tests or big changes going on so I can get a better idea of the feature’s results. – Erika Schmidt
  • If it makes sense for the client right away, then I dig in. If touchier account or needs more attention then will build strategy. – Kirk Williams
  • Create a launch schedule with the caveat that factors may delay the schedule – awaiting creative, pixel placement, etc. – Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
    • Don’t forget to add client side compliance and legal! – Gil Hong
  • If it’s something that seems smaller I’ll launch right away. But if it seems larger and we need more lined up we’ll schedule it. – Matthew Lloyd
  • Usually just do it if the budget is there. If it’s more complex, built a revenue model out. – Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)

Q4: What program/software/etc do you use to manage your passwords? Why?

  • Google Docs. Google is very secure with it’s 2-factor authentication. So I use that. – Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
  • Lastpass. Easy to manage and confidential. – Kristina Hughes (@KhughesCosta)
  • LastPass. Because I have no choice. The functionality of it is great. But I run in to glitches. It’s fantastic for agencies to control employees who leave. – Joe Martinez
  • Google 2-Step Authentication should be practically required for Adwords accounts. – Kirk Williams
  • We use LastPass because of the sharing functionality. Would like it if they had support for desktop apps (like AE). – Bogdan Chertes
  • 2 factor authentication when available. – Jonathan Ng
  • We Team Password. The boss picked it. – JD Prater
  • I’m old school – so I use a spreadsheet on my local system. Backed up securely in the cloud & hard copy. – Julie Bacchini
  • I use LastPass. Great encryption, solid interface, low cost. – Coy Robison
  • Google Docs. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Brain power! And Google Docs or Excel. – Kim Thomas
  • 1Password! It’s flat-out AMAZING! Store the login info, search for the client program, click the login you want & you’re in. – Erika Schmidt
  • Now that you can log into multiple google accounts across different chrome tabs it’s been super helpful! – Gil Hong

Q5: How do you personally organize and prioritize your PPC efforts?

  • Most important thing you can do is schedule for the unscheduled daily. SOMETHING will happen that needs you now. Be ready. – Julie Bacchini
  • We use a custom in-house solution for most projects, but I’m still a big fan of my trusty ever-note checklists! – Andrew McCarthy
  • I like the 80-20 idea. Focus my time on the 20% that matters most on each client. – Kirk Williams
    • 80/20 is good… I like to sprinkle in a few quick & easy fixes w/ high impact when possible. – Maria Corcoran
  • Similar to how I manage accounts – work on most impactful items first and then move down the line. – Matt Umbro
  • Time management is key. I block time for key tasks like reporting & optimization, otherwise my whole day would be meetings. – Melissa Mackey
  • Shared to-do lists for accountability and hand-written daily lists for my own priority. – Gil Hong
  • I really try to schedule out my tasks so that they are spread pretty evenly throughout the week. That said, if it’s a crazy day: Urgent /High Impact Tasks/Accounts in Pain 1st, Big or young accounts 2nd & mature/stable accts 3rd- Amy Bishop
    • Agreed! It’s definitely about prioritizing based on urgenc & immediacy, not first in, first out. – Kim Thomas
  • Organize to spread some time out for a client so there isn’t a lot of gaps of accounts being ignored. – Joe Martinez
  • I am hyper organized & use system of Outlook folders, inbox categories, color-coded meetings & calendar reminders & Excel. – Kim Thomas
  • Start of month: bulk of tasks scheduled, plus extra time for things bound to go over. Throughout month: schedule filler tasks. – Erika Schmidt
  • Sort by highest impact to revenue, while factoring in high visibility requests from C-level. Inbox zero methodology helps here. – Maria Corcoran
  • Prioritizing is an incredibly important skill. Many clients think their requests are urgent, when many times they are not really. – Julie Bacchini
  • Q’s to ask self – Can I do this in ~10 min, can I delegate, level of impact, is it urgent, am I informed or driver of this. – Maria Corcoran

Q6: In general (and I know it can depend), how many internal touchpoints should PPC accounts have? Why? In other words, how many people should be touching accounts at once?

  • IMHO no more than 2 should be managing actively. And usually 1 is enough. – Melissa Mackey
  • Another “it depends”. Depends on size & depends on jurisdiction. 2 people shouldn’t be making conflicting changes at once. – Amy Bishop
  • Touching? maybe 2-3, but internal review? as many as have the time. – Gil Hong
  • 1-2 per network (search, display, shopping), otherwise there’s just too much time wasted bringing everyone up to speed. – Andrew McCarthy
  • There is definitely value in having more than 1 person at least looking at accts – in an organized fashion, of course! – Julie Bacchini
  • With any account, someone needs to be the lead – multiple people can manage, but 1 needs to have the end say. – Matt Umbro
  • Auditing / checking is a diff story, can’t hurt to have multiple eyes. – Melissa Mackey
  • One primary. One backup. One overseer for periodic review only. – Matt Lukens (@tunadonut)
  • Not sure that the number of ppl in the acct matters. The number of chiefs vs indians matters. – Amy Bishop
  • 1 if the manager is very experienced. 2 or more if checks need to be done. – James Svoboda
  • On very small accounts 1 is enough. Avoid the risks of changes being undone. Larger accounts are a different story. – Joe Martinez
  • 1 as lead strategist, 1-3 for execution. But assign roles where they own different parts of the account so there’s no overlap. – Kim Thomas
  • Depends on the size of the account, but 1 main lead with others on the team to help with build out and implementation. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Like everything, there must be absolute accountability. Without that, accounts are chaos. – Julie Bacchini
  • Ideally, one. Otherwise, as few as possible. Minimize the possibility of ppl undoing each others’ changes. – Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
  • Limit # actually making changes; too many hands in the pot never ends well.. Communication is key. & strategy is a diff story. – Amanda Sides
  • Definitely a team lead & try to keep the team as small as possible, so maybe a team of 1 or 2. So grand total of 3 at most. – Erika Schmidt

Q7: What is your most important organizational tip/piece of advice for PPC management? Why?

  • Just because you can automate it, doesn’t mean you can ignore it. – Joe Martinez
  • Prioritize. Understand which clients/campaigns are most important. Budget your time for efficiency. – Melissa Mackey
  • Don’t get stuck on autopilot. Great PPC management requires active creative thinking. – Julie Bacchini
  • Plan your week in advance. Keeping in mind that fires may pop up, of course. – Amy Bishop
  • Optimize, audit, and reevaluate frequently. – Kimberly Wingo
  • Find the tasks that are a time suck and/or don’t have a huge impact and figure how to automate/eliminate all together. – Matt Umbro
  • Be consistent. Changing account structure too frequently just makes a mess of everything. – Matt Lukens
  • Prioritization and Expectations need to go hand in hand internally & externally! – Gil Hong
  • Name Your Campaigns Well. Super easy to do, and will reap untold future rewards in easy filtering/reporting, etc. – Kirk Williams
    • Nailing your naming convention is Key! Makes life so much easier in the long run. – Maria Corcoran
  • Name Your Ad Groups after their Tight Keyword Theme. Will greatly help orginizational management and build-out later. – James Svoboda
  • Less is more. Million+ keywords doesn’t matter when -20% drive conversions. Focus most your time on what makes you money. – Maria Corcoran
  • Find/create the system that works best for you – but HAVE one or things will slip through the cracks. – Kim Thomas
  • Be confident in your decisions & your process. If you’re not, change how you’re doing it. – Julie Bacchini
  • Strategize, collect data, analyze, rinse & repeat. You never know what PPC diamonds you will find if you don’t test. – Erika Schmidt
  • Do yourself a favor & delete keywords with zero impressions after 30-60 days. Still amazes me how clean this keeps my accts. – Matt Vaillancourt

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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)
• Adriana Alvarez (@AdrianamaeCR)
• Amanda Sides (@amanda_sides)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Andrew McCarthy (@AmccartPPC)
• Bogdan Chertes (@bogdanch)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Erin Remsen (@Rinzies)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
• Jesse Semchuck (@jessesem)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kim Thomas (@PPCkimpossible)
• Kimberly Wingo (@wimmiekingo)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kristina Hughes (@KhughesCosta)
• Laura Thieme (@bizwatchlaura)
• Lawrence Jones (@HomeOfJones)
• Maddie Cary (@MaddieMarketer)
• Maria Corcoran (@mariacorcoran)
• Matt Lukens (@tunadonut)
• Matt Vaillancourt (@SEM_PPC_MattV)
• Matthew Lloyd (@MaLloyd20)
• Melissa Mackey (@mel66)
• Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Organizing PPCChat 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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