The PPC Account Checklist for New Clients


I love checklists. Sometimes my checklists have checklists and I add things to my list that I already did for the pure satisfaction of checking the item off. I make them for work and my personal life because they’re the best way for me to stay organized. Thanks to my love of lists, I created this checklist for new accounts. It can be a lot to get up to speed when you inherit a new account and I have found the best way to tackle that learning curve is with a handy checklist. Looking at all of this new information can be a vortex that takes up your entire afternoon, so I try to start with tasks that help me to know the most about the account in the least amount of time. This list mostly includes tips for AdWords, but much of it can also be applied to accounts in Bing, as well.

Campaign & Ad Group Organization

Different managers organize their campaigns and ad groups differently. At some point, you have probably managed an account that was organized differently than you would have personally chosen and that’s okay. However, if it’s now your account, making sure that you understand what’s going on is key.

  • Are the ad groups broken out by match type?
  • Does the naming convention of the campaigns and ad groups follow a pattern?

You’ll want to make sure you’re either familiar with how things are organized, otherwise you’ll end up spending a lot of time hunting for things like keywords when you could be completing tasks. Bottom line: I would suggest renaming things to meet your liking if you’re working on the account long-term. If you work on this process in AdWords or Bing Ads Editor, you can save the file and implement later if you’re unsure about making the changes right away.

Ads – Old & Current

One of the first things I look at when I get a new account is the ads. I like to check to see if there are labels active and if there appears to be an A/B ad test running. Looking back at previous variations of ad copy also helps me to get to know the business — if they like to advertise specials during certain times of the year and what may or may not have worked previously.

  • Does there appear to be updated labels on current ad copy?
  • Is there an A/B test running?
  • Are there any ads that include offers, specials, etc., that may need to be updated regularly?
  • Are there any disapprovals?


Sometimes as accounts get older, keywords get added but not all desired match types get added, things get paused and aren’t ever reactivated, etc. I like to look back at all the keywords over a large period of time — reviewing at least a year’s worth of data tends to help me get an idea of what’s gone on. You can download active keywords and compare those to previously active keywords using a VLOOKUP in Excel to easily discover what you might be missing out on. Here’s a great article on VLOOKUPs if you need it.

  • Are all match types covered of each keyword?
  • Are any keywords paused that should be active?


Getting to know this portion of an account gives me some of the best insight into what I can expect from the account because of one word – traffic.

Things to ask as you look at this portion of the account:


  • Is the geo area very limited? Very broad?
  • Do the locations have any bid modifiers?
  • How many targeting layers are active?
  • Are there negative locations?

Ad Schedule:

  • Is there an ad schedule? Bid modifiers?


  • Are there device bid modifiers?
  • How have mobile devices performed previously?

Network Settings:

  • What are the network settings (ad rotation, delivery method, Search Partners, campaign type, bid strategy, etc.)?
  • Are there any suggestions on the Opportunities tab?

All of these different situations can have different outcomes that can seriously change the way the campaigns perform. The Dimensions tab is full of useful reports that can give you more insight if you don’t find what you are looking for in the Settings tab.


While all extensions are useful, I’m always most concerned with call extensions and making sure the phone number is only active during their business hours. In addition, you can check out the rest of the extensions to see what’s in place. Don’t forget the This Extension vs. Other report in the Segment drop down if you’re looking to see what has been working best.

  • Are all extensions that make sense for this client active?
  • Are there any disapprovals?
  • Are there extended and regular sitelinks?
  • Is the phone number on the call extension correct? Does it have a schedule?


If you have time, the following reports can be helpful when inheriting a new account (I also included links to posts with tips about getting the most from these reports):

If this account has been around a while, it’s likely that at some point other types of campaigns ran that are no longer active. Take a look back at any of the YouTube, Display, Call-Only, RLSA or Shopping campaigns to get an idea of what happened. Of course, there’s much more ground to cover than just the items above, but this is a great start.

What are your must-dos with new accounts? Tell us in the comments!