The BIG List: Recurring Account Maintenance Tasks

Every great pay-per-click campaign manager knows that ‘set it and forget it’ is never the way to go when responsibly managing a PPC campaign. PPC campaigns require regular TLC and regular maintenance in order to continue moving the needle in the right direction.

However, there are many factors that can work against you when carving out time to complete these regular maintenance tasks: maybe you’re currently shorthanded of team members due to a high-growth period in your company so your workload has temporarily increased, or maybe your client is wanting to roll out a bunch of new campaigns in a bunch of new channels so you’re in launch mode instead of opt mode for a couple weeks, or maybe you just don’t have a good system in place to stay organized and on top of knocking out routine tasks.

Regardless of your reason for letting regular account maintenance slip, you can use this task checklist below to help you get back on track!

PPC Recurring Tasks Checklist

Keyword Level

  • Bid Changes — Make adjustments based on account goals (CPA, impression share, etc).
  • Search Query Report Review — Mine for negatives and additions and ad group level negatives for mapping.
  • Quality Score Analysis — The highest CPA Quality Score number is a great place to start for this analysis.
  • Low CTR Analysis — Use this process to help bucket and analyze your low click-through rate keywords.

Ad Level

  • Ad Review & New Ad Copy — Check out our free ad review tool to help make your ad reviews more efficient.
  • Top vs. Other Review — Analyze where performance is best based on ad placement and adjust your keyword bids accordingly.

Campaign Level

  • Ad Extension Performance Review — This might be at a different level depending on where you have the extensions placed.
  • Bid Modifier Review & Adjustments — Geo locations/day parting/device.
  • Search & Display Demographics Performance Review — Analyze performance by age, gender or parental status.
  • Audience Review — If you’ve added Bid Only Audience layers be sure to check back regularly and implement bid modifiers as needed based on performance.

Network Level

  • Display Campaign Placement Performance Review — Exclude site placements or add bid modifiers.
  • Search vs. Search Partner Review — If you’re running Bing campaigns you can also review specific search partner performance and exclude if needed.
  • Native Performance Review — This can be analyzed in Bing or Yahoo.

Account Level

  • Competitive Analysis — There are lots of great tools out there to conduct an effective competitive analysis.
  • Account Alerts/Notifications Check — This one’s quick but important to help ensure you aren’t overlooking any major issues. 
  • Opportunities Tab Review — these aren’t always good suggestions, but sometimes there are ones worth implementing, and AdWords and Bing make it easy to do so.

Task Frequency

The frequency you should perform these maintenance tasks is up to you. A good rule of thumb is to use a combination of factors such as traffic levels, if the campaigns are new or legacy and if the campaigns are currently hitting the client’s goals to help determine how often you do these tasks.  For example, this could be a good recurring task frequency for a high volume client:


Bid Changes

Bi-Weekly (every 2 weeks):

Ad Review & New Ad Copy

Display Campaign Placement Performance Review

Search Query Report Review

Account Alerts/Notifications Check


Bid Modifier Review & Adjustments

Ad Extension Performance Review

Search vs. Search Partner Review

Top vs. Other Review

Search & Display Demographics Performance Review

Opportunities Tab Review

Bi-Monthly (every 60 days):

Low CTR Analysis

Audience Review

Native Performance Review


Quality Score Analysis

Competitive Analysis

Again, this is just an example. You should use your best judgment to determine how often maintenance tasks should be performed for your accounts. Ultimately, you want to find the balance of not running these tasks so often that you’re wasting time that could be better spent and running these tasks often enough to help move the needle for your accounts as much as possible.

We love Big Lists! If you’re looking for some more handy resources, check out this image ad size list, this AdWords scripts list and this stock image sourcing listWe also love efficiency — check out our latest series full of tips on how to save time on account tasks. 

Here are a few more resources to help you with account auditing and planning: the high CPL audit checklistthree PPC task prioritization models, the spring cleaning list and tips for getting through an off-season slump.