In this week’s search blog post, I provide a glimpse into six of the most important steps account managers should take to seamlessly onboard new clients. While this post may seem to be geared towards account managers, as an advertiser, it would behoove you to read this so you are armed with the knowledge to ensure your program is successful from launch!

You are getting a new client. They are coming from a different agency. They are eager to launch, implement new best practices, and of course, reap the benefits of the stellar performance that comes along with your management!

From an account manager’s perspective, there are quite a few thoughts and emotions that come with adding a new client to your portfolio; am I going to have to restructure this entire account? I have all these great ideas for optimizing! I want to do everything NOW but that is unrealistic. Ok, deep breath – where to start?

Working agency-side, I’ve had quite a bit of experience onboarding clients, many of which have transitioned agencies. There are certainly many things to consider during this process so below I’ve provided you with six very important checks and balances, a starting point per se, that will set you up for success, but will also save you from any grief in the long run.

The Magnificent Six

  1. Conversion type
    Establish what types of conversion actions your client is interested in tracking. You’ll then want to find out what conversion types are currently being tracked in AdWords and which of those are being aggregated into the conversion column. Ensure that the same conversion types are tracked across all engines and bid management tools.

    • Why?
      • You will be optimizing to the conversion types your client is most concerned with.
      • You won’t see huge variances in conversions between the engines and your bidding platform.
    • How?
      • ‘Conversions’ can be found in AdWords under the ‘Tools’ tab.
  2. Cookie window
    Know the cookie window your client uses to measure performance site wide and ensure this is the cookie window being used in AdWords. Keep this consistent across all engines and bid management tools.

    • Why?
      • You have the best chance of reducing variances between analytics platforms, engines and/or bid management tools.
    • How?
      • You’ll need to go to ‘Conversions’ under the Tools tab in AdWords and reference the ‘conversion window’ column for each conversion type.
  3. Bidding strategy 
    Check to see if there are any bidding algorithms already in place that may be driving current performance.

    • Why?
      • If active, they would make any manual bidding null and void.
      • They may interfere with an algorithm from a bidding platform.
    • How?
      • In AdWords access the shared library then click into ‘bidding strategies’. This will allow you to view all active bidding strategies and their impact. If you want to change these strategies click the ‘bid strategy’ button on your campaigns, ad group or keyword tabs.
  4. Negative keywords 
    Make sure you check negative keyword lists in the shared library.

    • Why?
      • There could be a TON of negative keywords set at the campaign or account level that may keep you from showing for queries that you may deem relevant.
    • How?
      • Under ‘shared library,’ click into ‘campaign negative keywords.’
  5. Device 
    Decide whether you will manage device at the campaign level or the ad-group level, then make sure to check the current strategy.

    • Why?
      • If you are changing modifiers at the campaign level and the previous agency was managing at the ad-group level, your campaign level modifiers will be trumped.
    • How?
      • Click into a campaign and navigate to settings then click the ‘device’ tab; there is a ‘view by’ drop down that will allow you to toggle between campaign and ad group.
  6. Automated rules
    If automated rules are in place from the previous agency you will want to evaluate how these will affect your strategies moving forward.

    • Why?
      • These may negatively interact with new rules you create or they may just be rules that don’t make sense under your management style, etc.
    • How?
      • Double check this in the ‘automated rules’ tab under ‘bulk operations.’

Not only do these six steps ensure a fresh foundation for your new strategies, but they will hopefully provide color around performance prior to your management. We can all relate to the hardships of trying to decipher performance with no real understanding of the what, how or why.

Best of luck with your new clients fellow PPC heroes and may the odds be ever in your favor!