Small vs Large PPC Account Best Practices
There are a lot of great articles written about paid search and best practices. However, almost all these articles ignore one important aspect of paid search: account size.
For instance, it is a best practice to bid at the keyword level, and every large account should be doing that on most of their keywords. However, that is an unrealistic expectation for a small account that does not generate enough keyword level data to set keyword bids. Small accounts must bid at the ad group level based upon combined stats of all the keywords within an ad group.
This difference goes beyond just data points and even gets into account creation differences. Distilled put together a nice linkbait chart for one of their clients on preparing, creating, and managing your paid search account. It’s a pretty good chart titled Small Business Guide to Google AdWords.
Distilled emailed me about the chart and asked my opinion. Overall, I thought it was good but there was one single major difference in our methods: Campaign Planning.
I always map out my campaigns before I get into serious keyword research. I might do some research to get an idea of the landscape; but then I create a map of the campaigns and their settings (products, services, location, goals , networks, devices, etc) before I start putting together ad groups. This initial planning stage is exceptionally important to a large account as it can take weeks to create a massive account and you don’t want to redo any of that work because you didn’t think through the targeting.[updated]Distilled email me to clarify some of their comments. They didn’t include the campaign planning stage in the infogrpahic becuase it was targeted towards small accounts. They do work with both small and large accounts.[/updated]
For small accounts, you will often only have 2 campaigns, and thus mapping them out can be a waste of time as you know you’ll have search and display. If you get into a lot of location targeting, even a small account should create a map.
There are a lot more differences between small and large accounts, such as bidding, match types, success measurements, etc.
My latest Search Engine Land article focuses on some of the differences between small and large accounts, as well as tries to put some definition around what is a small vs massive account. You can see the latest article here: Best Practices Differences in Small vs Large Accounts.