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A 3-point approach to planning a new account

Published: July 11, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Does your account look like this to you? Let’s map out something cleaner.
Today’s post is by Account Associate Aaron Woolway.
If you work for an agency, you know the joy of planning for new, unfamiliar accounts. We all love the tinkering of the optimization stage, turning dials and trying the latest new features to get more conversions and pare down CPA.
But how do you get from “new” to “optimize”? I like to break down new-account planning in three steps:
–     Do your research
–     Implement your research
–     Build volume (cautiously)
After you get the volume coming in, you’ll have data, glorious data that’ll send you on your way to optimization. But let’s break down how to get there.

1) Do your research

When you are in the preliminary planning stages of your account and beginning to formulate your strategy, it’s important to have an in-depth understanding of the products or services being offered. To do this effectively, you’ve got to get to know your consumer base.
Most people will get actionable information about the product and service from the company website of the company being advertised. This will get you a basic understanding, but I encourage you to go beyond the website and do outside research of your product or service to understand what is going on in the consumer’s mind.
The more niche the industry, the more terminology you won’t fully digest just by reading a website. Blogs and publications about the product or service are imperative for keyword research ideas. Read product/service reviews to understand the pain points and needs of the consumer – as well as what they more appreciate (features, ad copy, hello!).

2) Implement your research

Once you’ve done your research, there are many tools at your disposal to help you translate the knowledge into effective SEM keywords, topics, and interests that will drive the core of your account.
Google’s new keyword planner has more than the ability to give you keyword ideas; it also sets your keywords into a build template that will allow you build out your account rather quickly (rather than having to build out an upload sheet from scratch). It will also provide you with: suggested ad group names based on the keywords that it delivers; and competitive metrics such as impression share, competition level, predicted avg. CPCs, etc. These metrics will give you great context when you’re assessing where you want to begin with your keyword set.
Which brings us to the next step:

3) Build volume

If you are trying to get off to a hot start with your account, and the vertical is somewhat of a niche, I suggest that you open your funnel up by sticking with one to two token keywords in BMM. (Remember this applies to verticals where the keywords that you are using most definitely signify intent of the consumer searching your product).
Now look at those 1-2 keywords closely. If you suspect that they might bring you significant irrelevant traffic, don’t start your account with them. Having one or two token keywords absolutely gathers a wider net of users with the product or service that you are introducing, so you should expect some stray clicks, but try to minimize.
So set up your keywords and let them run for a bit…after data has had some time to accrue, scour your SQR and adjust your keywords per the results and the SQR’s longer-tail queries.
A note on GDN: If you decide to build traffic with GDN campaigns, you should definitely reference the placement tool, ad planner, and contextual targeting tool. But I suggest that you dive down past what they provide and literally go through the topics and interest manually and use your research learnings to select the most relevant topics for your new account.
By doing this, you cut out some of the fluff that Google’s tool might produce; you’ll also add topics you normally wouldn’t see in the tools.  A common practice in GDN is to start out with a controlled budget to allow yourself to assess your research and not let spend pile up. After you assess performance, increase spend accordingly.
Overall, I think all SEMs should take their time when compiling their research. It can become a mess to correct if the account has irrelevant keywords, topics, placements, etc., and would totally bog down CTR and conversion (and produce a rough first impression).
I am not discouraging you to take a chance with under-the-radar, tangentially relevant keywords, but I’d recommend you try them once the account begins to mature a bit.
Do you have any planning tips to add? Leave a comment!
– Aaron Woolway, Account Associate – Search

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Chicago, IL 60602(650) 539-4124


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