As SEMs, we’ve all experienced having to take over a new account from time to time. Whether you’re building it from scratch or taking it over from another agency, here are some tips for a smooth, successful transition.

Tip 1: Build an 8-week (give or take) timeline.

As ambitious and excited as you might be about an account, no one wants to do too much at once. For one thing, It’ll be impossible to monitor everything. Besides, it’s best to start with one focus, then apply those learnings to new initiatives you launch.


Your timeline, or roadmap, will vary based on the type of the account and whether or not there’s any history vs. it being a first-time launch. A good sample roadmap for the launch of a new account would look something like this:

Sample Roadmap

For a brand-new-to-paid-search account, you’ll want to space out launching Google, Bing, and the Google Display Network (GDN). I would recommend starting with Google search. Depending on the size of the account, the budget, the amount of product offerings, and the competition on branded terms, you might want to break things up a little further (such as launching brand & non-brand on separate weeks).

For an account that’s already up and running and being taken over, the roadmap will look a little different. The strategic initiatives will probably focus on restructuring the campaigns if necessary (probably to alpha/beta structure), expanding to social & display, doing a creative review, etc.

Tip 2: Check your keyword coverage.

If your account is brand new, you probably have a plan for your keyword build strategy. If you’re taking over the account, there are, most likely, already a good amount of keywords in the account, but it doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to what’s already there. Some good places to look for keywords are:

– the landing pages

– the Google keyword planner

– the search query report (if it’s an old account)

Tip 3: Brainstorm ad copy.

If it’s a brand-new account, you will probably want to launch 2-3 new text ads as an A/B or A/B/C ad test. For ad copy ideas, look over the landing pages, keep in mind the main unique selling points of your client, and check out what selling points the competition is pushing (a quick search on some main non-branded terms could be helpful in this case).

If it’s not a brand-new account, I would recommend determining the winner of the current ad copy, then treating it like a control and coming up with one or maybe two new variations.

Tip 4: Do important checks in the first weeks of launch.

There will be a lot to look out for, in addition to rolling out all of your new initiatives, but my main recommendations would be to watch for the following:

Bleeder Keywords

Keep an eye on any keywords (especially single-token broad match keywords) that might have the potential to accumulate spend quickly. Keep a close eye on anything racking up impressions and clicks quickly, and don’t be afraid to adjust bids accordingly.

Negative Keywords

Kind of a similar concept here – in the first week of launch, I’d recommend checking the search query report daily in case anything irrelevant or, worse, completely inappropriate is triggering your ads. (For example, if you have an engagement store, you probably don’t want the query ‘blood diamonds’ triggering your ads.)


If you are running GDN or retargeting in your first week, same as above – check your placement reports just to be sure you are not showing up on any sites you don’t want to be associated with.

Competitor ads

Even though you probably have your own ad copy strategy and aren’t looking to poach off competitors, it’s a good idea to search on both your branded terms and main non-brand terms just to see that your ads show up properly (watch for details, such as punctuation looking right) and to keep a watch that no competitor is plagiarizing your ads word-for-word, or violating your trademark, etc. Regardless of these kind of concerns, it’s always good to keep on top of what competitors are doing, just to know the market.

There you have it! You’re off and running. Good luck!

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Jaime Sikora
Jaime Sikora is a PPC & Display Specialist at Nadex. Jaime graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Advertising. Prior to joining 3Q Digital, she worked in the newspaper industry at the Chicago Sun-Times. In her spare time, Jaime enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time at the Chicago lakefront.