It’s very rare in the rapid moving world of Digital that you’re going to spend your whole career in one AdWords account. If you’re a growing agency acquiring new clients or if you happen upon a new job opportunity in a new company, you’ll be faced with the dilemma of what to do when presented with an inherited PPC account.

The reasons to maintain the status quo are plentiful. Ripping up an account and starting again, can in many cases be a luxury that companies can not afford from both a time and money perspective. Particularly in smaller companies, the monthly Google bill can be their largest or second largest outgoing after staff and any unbudgeted spend increases can lead to an ear-bashing from the financial controller!

Another point to consider is the trading pattern of the account you’ve acquired, always look at last year’s data before you take the decision to restructure. Even the best planned restructures will cause a modicum of turbulence.

One of the key pros of imposing your own account structure is that the minutes saved each day by instinctively knowing where all of your big keywords sit can quickly add up to hours. If you’re in charge of multiple accounts, the cognitive capacity it takes to memorise the layouts of several different accounts can be put to much better use in the grand scheme of things.

Experienced PPC hands will have their own instincts to follow, but if you’re new to this, I like to follow this handy checklist:

    • Is it that way for a reason? People inheriting my old accounts will see what appears to be some odd quirks, however they’re necessary pieces of a much larger jigsaw, which leads on to…

 

    • Do you have a handover period? Ask all the questions! If you have the account creator available for any amount of time, make sure you ask your questions whilst you still can. Structural decisions in accounts are made for a reason; how senior management like things reporting, helping to automate reporting through third party tools or to automate actions in the accounts through AdWords Scripts. If you don’t ask, you could be losing the benefit of something that took months to set up and could save you several hours a week.

 

    • Are there any signs of downright bad practice? This will be a key factor in deciding how urgent your restructure is; are they using 3 ads per ad group? Are the ad groups tightly themed? Is the clickshare of Exact:Phrase:Broad looking sensible? Are there any huge search queries costing a fortune that could be killed off with a simple negative?

 

    • How far away is peak trading? Your decision needs to be sensible, there’s no point ripping up everything and starting again a week before the biggest retail period of the year, this will depend massively on the account you’ve taken over, the all time button on the account history is your best friend in this instance. If you’re on the cusp of a big trading period, it’s often better to muddle through with a sub-optimal structure than succumb to the turbulence associated with a full-scale restructure.

     

    Overall, there is no right or wrong answer of what to do when you take over an account, the long term I, personally always prefer to switch into a structure that I’m familiar and comfortable with, and that meets the needs of the business. The key is to take your time and ensure that you have enough information about the business to make the decision before you take the plunge.