PPC checklistPPC is a complicated business. Even a relatively simple task like setting up a basic brand campaign involves a whole bunch of choices – just editing campaign settings means making up to 20 decisions (maybe more).

That’s 20 chances to make a mistake before we’ve even really got started. That’s a whole lotta risk.

So how do you take the risk out of PPC? Use a checklist.

There are a lot of PPC checklists readily available from other PPC pros online – ranging from account audits to campaign set ups, from general task overviews to weekly checklists.

While these are all great starting points, I’d strongly suggest that you make a checklist that works specifically for you and your organisation. After all, as Todd explained regarding  PPC Associates’ process:

“… to the uninitiated, it could look like a chaotic blizzard of unfamiliarity. However, what appears to be entropic is actually an extremely orderly procedure that ultimately leads to much greater ROI for the client’s business …”

So what do you need checklists for?

1. New Client Processes*

Every agency will have a different way of working and winning business, but I’d suggest that every agency will need to ensure that they do a few basic things for every new client. You know the drill: gaining access to accounts, ascertaining needs and goals, benchmarking current performance.

*While in-house PPCers don’t need a new client process, they may find it helps to have a checklist relating to goals and expectations, so that all departments are on the same page from day one.

2. Campaign Setup

I’d suggest creating a checklist that is common to all campaigns, e.g. create either a search or a display campaign, select appropriate networks, etc.

It may seem ridiculous to dig into that level of detail in a checklist, but when Peter Pronovost listed every step necessary to avoid line infections, he reduced infection rates from 11% to zero.

Wouldn’t it be great to think that your risk of major mistakes was zero? Especially when budget mistakes are arguably the easiest – and most catastrophic – mistakes you can make.

3. Ad Testing

Ad testing should be conducted in a scientific manner – importantly one that stands up to outside scrutiny and that all team members use. Exactly how you choose to carry out ad tests isn’t important (for example, I use ad labels as part of my process) – as long as you do it consistently.

4. Routine Tasks

Many of the checklists you’ll find online are for just this: establishing a set of routine tasks that are essential to ensure account health.

When accounts are performing consistently, it’s all too easy to forget to carry out these basic tasks that can stave off future problems – or take a mediocre account from “good to great.”

5. Diagnosing Account Problems/Account Audits

I’ve put auditing and diagnosing problems under the same section – essentially the steps you are likely to need to go through are more or less the same. So consider including sections on reviewing your settings, structure, ads, landing pages, and so on.

Do you use checklists to help limit mistakes in your PPC management? Are there any useful resources that help you keep both your mental state and your accounts healthy? If so, let me know in the comments!

– Katie Saxon

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Katie Walton is Head of PPC at Boom Online Marketing. She works with all major PPC platforms, loves Excel and never met a cake she didn’t like. When she’s not at work you’ll find her walking her miniature schnauzer.