Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
(703) 828-5811‬
Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing How to Run Your PPC Accounts Like a Project

How to Run Your PPC Accounts Like a Project


Managing PPC accounts can be overwhelming. There is so much todo, and no one ever has enough time.

This leads most people to just make huge todo lists of items they either should be doing, or want to eventually do inside their account.

The problem with todo lists is that they are easy to ignore. There are still items on my todo list from last decade. Of course, I don’t delete them as someday I might get to them. We all know that’s not true – but we keep telling ourselves it could happen.

When your PPC accounts are run like todo lists what happens is that every few weeks you scamper around like crazy for two straight days trying to figure out what went wrong, what you should be doing, how to fix it all, then you do not touch the account again for another few weeks.

The other problem of todo lists is there is rarely that feeling of accomplishment that your day is done as there is always something else to take its place. It’s a depressing, never-ending list of items where you have to spend your precious time.

Most accounts (and by no means all of them) can be managed in just a simple hour a day of attention – if you know what to do – and you actually do it.

The problem is getting organized. Many people either spend too much time getting organized and not actually doing anything or they chase their tail all day instead of taking a step back to get organized.

If you are running your AdWords account like a todo list, we’ll look at two simple ways to change your style. One is useful if you are the only one running the account and another is useful for companies who have multiple analysts or agencies that have multiple clients.

Determine What You Must Do Every Month

The first step to getting organized is to determine what must be done every single month. Write down what you would like to do each month (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Change search bids on Tuesday and Thursday
  • Change placement bids on Monday and Wednesday
  • Add new keywords the first week of every month
  • Examine search queries for negative keywords every other week
  • Test new ads every other week
  • Test a new landing page every other week
  • Create monthly reports the first week of each month
  • Do quarterly reviews of geographic data
  • Do quarterly reviews of time based data
  • And the list goes on. Based upon your account and team size, you may do these items, and others, less or more frequently

Choose an Organizational System

The next step is to choose where you will be organized. If you are managing a team, are part of an agency, want a centralized place to keep and store data, or others may want insight into what is being done, what has not been done, and what’s next – then use a project management system.

If you are running the account by yourself and no one needs any insight, then use a calendar.

Turning Your PPC Account into an Ongoing Project

If you are a project manager, you probably hate this headline. There is no such thing as an ongoing project. Projects have start dates, end dates, and milestones and tasks in-between. However, for those who do not live in the world of project management, this is the easiest way to think about managing PPC accounts – a month-to-month project.

Next you will want to choose a project management system to input your data so you can easily track it. I find there are two types of project management systems:

  • Those that have reoccurring tasks and are used as both project management and business management
  • Those that do not have reoccurring tasks and try to be pure project management software

If you choose software that does support reoccurring tasks (such as Deskaway or Podio) then input your tasks and mark them as reoccurring so the tasks show up on the appropriate dates.

If you choose a software that does not support reoccurring tasks (such as Basecamp) then your only choice is to make sure it supports templates. This is not as good as software that does support reoccurring tasks, as most project management software does not allow you to have a project go live on the first of each month automatically. Therefore, you often create a template, manually set it up, and might have to manually fix some due dates. It is still better than living in todo lists, but not as eloquent as software that supports reoccurring tasks.

If you have multiple clients, set each one up as a different project. If you have multiple team members, then assign the tasks as necessary to the various team members. If new items come up; you can add them as a new task list for that month if they are one time issues  or as a new reoccurring item if they need to be done over and over again.

Once you are set up on a project management system, then you can see what needs to be done each day, do it – and when you do it you will have a sense of accomplishment as you can actually be done for a day. That is a satisfaction that todo lists cannot give you as there are always more items to take the place of what has been accomplished.

Now, your boss can see what you’re doing and have done. If you are a very transparent agency, you can even let your clients login and see all the work you are doing for them so they no longer question your work.

Using a Simple Calendar to Track Your PPC ToDos

If you are managing a single account, you are the business owner, or PPC is not your life – it’s that other task you were stuck with, then project management software is often overkill. Just use a calendar instead.

The upside to a calendar is most people already use a calendar on a regular basis so there is no need to have yet another place where you are logging into on a regular basis. In addition, calendars are built to have recurring tasks so there’s no need to evaluate project management systems to find what options it supports. The downside of a calendar is that it is difficult to keep notes of previous activity or give others insight into your work.

If you wish to use a calendar, take your lists of items and place them into your calendar. When you put the items into your calendar, estimate how much time a task should take and block off your calendar for the allotted amount of time so that you can accomplish your tasks.




If you aren’t careful, your PPC accounts can either consume your entire day, or they never get better because you never spend the proper amount of time to nurture and grow them.

By finding an organization structure that works for you and your company, you can manage and grow your PPC accounts in a reasonable amount of time so that they can be profitable, you can feel productive, and everything you want to do actually gets accomplished.

Learn More About AdWords

Did you like that calendar? You can learn how to create your own or take those same items and put them into your own project management software, with our easy step-by-step lessons inside your own Certified Knowledge Account. Members can view video lessons to learn all of the nuances of AdWords as well as access time saving tools.

Getting started is easy and risk-free. Just signup for a 7 day free trial to gain unlimited access the full suite of lessons and tools. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can cancel at any time. Start Your Free Trial.


  1. hannahy
    March 13, 2012 at 10:46 am · Reply

    This is good advice for managing multiple PPC accounts. It definitely requires discipline and structure in order to ensure everything is carried out on a regular basis.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. dashley
    March 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm · Reply

    Very interesting article. Currently I use toodledo to manage my accounts but like you i’ve recently found it’s getting ugly. It has reocurring tasks but I still end up with a pile of things at the top of my list. I tried sub-tasks but they didn’t seem to work that well. One question I had is that if your managing multiple accounts, all as separate projects, is their a main interface where you can see all the things that have to be done today or do you need to go into each project on every day? Also do you still use a todo list for non-project related tasks such as, learn about remarketing or write proposal for X, or do you manage that within another project?

  3. brad
    March 15, 2012 at 7:02 am · Reply

    I find you need a dashboard that lists just what needs to be done that day across all projects. It’s too much additional work to check on each project manually when a simple view will save you lots of time.

    I put each client as their own project. As sometimes I give clients access to their own projects I want to make sure there’s no other data in there.

    Then, I have another project listed as ‘corporate’ that is billing, invoices, etc.

    I also have another project that is my ‘need to learn, check-on, etc’ stuff that might not be time critical but I don’t want to forget it. They are usually organized into ‘Priority’; ‘Next’; ‘Someday’; etc.. I do have a list called ‘quick entry’ to just toss down notes to be categorized later.

    Then if I have extra time I look at those lists to see what I want to do. At least once per week I look at the lists to assign priorities to them.

    Now, what I find is that if you start making lists of blog articles to read, videos to watch, etc that the list can be overwhemlingly long. If the list is too long then it can become either intimidating or depressing to look at how much there is to do. So, what I’ll do is capture everything in evernote with the appropriate tags. Then, I’ll put in my todo list ‘learn remarketing’ and that means read the remarketing items in my evernote files or see the list of resources from evernote (if its videos to watch, etc).

    I find the services like ‘readitlater’, evernote, etc are great for keeping huge lists of articles, etc. But do not put them into the PM system as they make it so you feel you have a lot more todo then you need too.

    Keep the PM system listed with the stuff you really need to accomplish; and then *maybe* a list of things you want to learn – but keep that huge list of things somewhere else.

    Your PM system should help you track your day and move through it faster. You should want to work inside it. If you find that you don’t want to look at it because there is too much todo; then you need to either hire someone else, say ‘no’ on occasion, or just keep the ‘want-tos’ somewhere else.

  4. dashley
    March 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm · Reply

    thanks brad that makes sense. I’m playing with podio right now and although it seems a bit daunting to move my massive todo list over they seem to have a really cool service and until I get over 5 people its free. Considering it’s just me and a bunch of outsourced services/clients my hope is that I can work within their system and continue to get it for free or at the most $8 for me. I’m a bit spoiled in this give it for free web but looking forward to grabbing your new book and i’ll probably scratch together the monthly membership for CK soon as you’re always top notch.

  5. brad
    March 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm · Reply

    I have a lot of hope for Podio as it really seems to have a lot of potential – especially since its so customizable. However, I find its slow and sometimes feels non-intuitive. My other issue (and this might have been fixed) is that it only supports tasks by workspace and it does’t have task lists. I really like task lists for organizational purposes.

    However, if it meets your price point and helps you get things done – that’s what really matters.

  6. dashley
    March 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm · Reply

    after spending a few hours today with padio and deskaway I can definitely see what you are saying. I find padio interface to be hard to get my head around although I am impressed with its flexibility. With deskaway the interface just seems to make sense. What really worries me is if I bring my content writer into padio then will she be able to figure it out. Unfortunately the tasks are still only linked to workspaces and you can’t assign time spent on tasks(or a least I don’t know how). Time logging seems much easier in deskaway which has a timer and very easy to use. It’s a simple feature but saves me from opening my other timer app and copying the time over. I’m not jumping into either before a lot more review but do you, or anyone else out there, have other favourite project management solutions that work well with PPC?

  7. brad
    March 16, 2012 at 7:08 am · Reply

    Take a look at The interface is similar to basecamp yet it support recurring projects.

    It has less 3rd party integrations than basecamp (such as invoicing) and it’s still building out a lot of features that other PM systems have; but for a simple just-get-stuff done approach – its one of the better ones out there.

    The secret of the system is that if you goto > everything > all active tasks
    then you can set multi-project views so you can see what you, someone else, etc needs to do in all your projects. It’s dashboards like that which really make a difference. It’s not perfect and polished yet; but its probably the best one out there if you need recurring tasks and don’t need 3rd party integrations.

  8. Ranjan Jena
    July 27, 2014 at 11:59 am · Reply

    Thanks Brad for sharing this article. I could collect lot of points to implement in my daily ppc routine.

  9. Ranjan Jena
    February 26, 2018 at 3:55 am · Reply

    Thanks Brad to share this ideas around PPC AdWords campaign management. For sure, would get this implemented and also keep a reference to share with my fellowmates.

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply