6 Best Practices for PPC Naming Conventions to Make Your Life Easier

namegameNaming convention certainly isn’t the sexiest part of PPC, but in my opinion it’s one of the most overlooked areas of efficiency in account management. Having proper naming convention can make it easy to segment your reporting, filter your account for performance, and even create new ad copy. Below is a list of best practices to follow when naming your account to set you up for efficiency success.

Dividing Campaign Groups

Let’s start at the highest level. Campaign names are a great way to distinguish one from another. But you can get far more creative than Campaign #1 and Campaign #2. Find the areas of account management that are important for you. So you want to look at a group of campaigns and know what network they’re targeting, what location, what types of keywords they’re targeting, and any other subset of targeting, your campaigns might look something like this:

Search – US – Widgets

Display – US – Keywords & Topics – Widgets

Easy peasy. Now you’ve got a high level understanding of each of your campaigns.

Choosing Your Descriptors

When deciding what to name your campaigns, give as much detail as you need, but don’t go overboard. One of my rules is to only use descriptors that very little to no chance of changing. In the campaign examples above, there few descriptors that would change. Were you to expand targeting or change targeting type, more often than not you would make a new campaign. For example, creating Search – CA – Widgets and Display – US – Interest Categories – Widgets rather than adding to the existing campaigns. Stable account pieces like this are great for campaign names.

Moving pieces or easily changed pieces such as bidding types, mobile preferences, or bid modifiers tend to be poor naming choices. Those are things that will changes based on recent stats and would have to be altered at the campaign level. One time of forgetting to do that and your naming convention means squat. Be sure to only use those pieces necessary and stable when naming your campaigns.

Visual Separaters

As a subset of the previous point, using easy to identify symbols to separate descriptors can make at a glance analysis much easier. Quiz time: which line is easiest to quickly understand the campaign’s purpose?

Display US Keyword & Topics Widgets

Display – US – Keyword & Topics – Widgets

If you said the first, I’ve failed you. The second line uses “-” to break apart each campaign descriptor, making it easier to identify each piece. The symbol you choose is completely up to you. You can even use different symbols to mean different things if you want. I’ve seen +, _, >, |, even ~ is the best choice for some. The main goal is just to make campaign identification easier on you.

Start Big & Stay Consistent

I’ve found it’s best to start with your biggest descriptor and then work down in order of importance. To me, network usually comes first (display or search), followed by geo-targeting if necessary, then targeting descriptor (display network options), then product or group of keywords. Others find geo-targeting to be the most important followed by what budget is being shared then onto further targeting options. If you’re targeting multiple brands within the same account, that might be your biggest descriptor. Luck for you, this part is completely customizable. Find what your priorities are, then name your campaigns accordingly.

Capitalization Considerations

Correctly capitalizing pieces of your account can help in future actions. My favorite is ad copy creation. If you’ve selected your keywords carefully in an ad group, the title of that ad group can essentially be one of the keywords. And more often that not, keywords make great ad copy titles. Follow ad copy capitalization standards when making your ad groups. For example, name your ad group “Buy Red Shoes Online” rather than “buy red shoes online”. In excel, you can copy and paste the ad group column into the headline column, save yourself some typing, and then alter headlines as needed.

Multiple Account Uses

Every once in a while you get one of those clients that has multiple accounts active. Naming convention at the campaign level can be really helpful here. By giving each campaign a descriptor that identifies which account it’s in, I’ve found it very easy to create portfolio level reports then break down performance by account, then by campaigns in the individual accounts using the same set of data in an Excel file. Also, once you’ve finished organizing your data, it’s really easy to do a find and replace on that descriptor to make things look a little cleaner.

AHS Name Game gifAnd that’s the name game! Bonus points to those of you who get the gif reference. Also, we should hang out.

Do you pay attention to naming convention? What do you find to be the best way to segment your accounts?