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How-To: Migrate Traffic from an Existing AdWords Account

Published: September 27, 2016

Author: Winnie Tsai

Having to migrate traffic from an existing account to a brand new one is a marketer’s worst nightmare. By having to start fresh, you lose all account and precious performance history, re-setting quality scores as well as past performance data for keywords, making it difficult to optimize. However, if you keep the following steps in mind, it may make this process a little less painless.
traffic migration

Port over the most current Max CPC in place for your keywords or ad groups

This ensures that at the moment when you begin migrating volume, the bids are at the most current and the account is optimized to the best of your ability. It’s your best guess at where Max CPCs should be for the next few days as you start collecting more performance data. You want to hit the ground running and set the account up for success from the start.

Determine a timeline for your transition

Over how long of a period of time do you to fully migrate traffic over from the old account to the new one? If you try to do it too quickly, it may be too abrupt of a transition, and the new account may not have yet had the opportunity to establish a strong enough performance history. The time period you establish also helps set expectations, as performance will most likely be affected negatively until the new account has the chance to catch up.

Accomplish the transition in tiers

You don’t want to cut off volume all at once; rather, you want to slowly shift volume over bit by bit. Perhaps the first week of the transition, you cut budgets and Max CPC by 20% throughout the account, the next week by 50%, etc., until you fully pause the old account. This ensures that the new account has time to optimize and perform rather than pushing the volume all at once, which could prove to be a shock to the new account.

Set expectations

During the transitional time period, you’ll see spend increase significantly as you run two accounts simultaneously. At the same time, CPA may also increase for a few weeks as the new account gathers performance data. This is due to the relationship between Quality Score, CTR, and Avg. Position.
An ad with a high Quality Score means that Google has deemed it both extremely relevant to a search query and a good quality ad with a strong expected CTR. This means that you can pay less to hold a higher average position compared to a competitor who may have a weaker average position. However, with a brand new account where there is no previous history to help indicate the expected CTR, Google will naturally penalize the account as they don’t know the expected CTR just yet, meaning that CPCs and CPAs may be higher as Google continues to learn and observe performance. This higher spend at a high CPA may be discouraging, but performance should level out and begin trending towards previous levels.

Factor in volume density

In a small account with low budgets and low volume, it can take a lot longer for Google to adjust Quality Score as well as gather enough data to be able to optimize. It may take a lot longer to transition over compared to a large account, so make sure to factor this in when setting expectations and making changes.
Transitioning traffic from an old account to a brand new one is no easy task and requires careful planning as well as keeping a very close eye. Happy volume migrating!

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