6 Tips For Success When Taking Over A Google Ads Account

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Here at Esper Inbound, we nerd out on all the things marketers love to see: low cost per acquisitions, high return on ad spend, and bomb memes.

While coming across a zesty meme to share with our team is always exciting, taking over a new ad account is even better.

And you don’t want your account takeover to be like this...

When taking over a new Google Ads account, there are a few big ticket items to take care of first -- making sure conversion tracking is set up, Google Analytics is linked, your MCC access is dialed in, etc.

If you’re already doing these initial steps, then you’re off to a good start -- but there’s more you can do! Today we’ll share some additional tips to ensure you create a strong foundation so that you can get optimal results from your launch!

1. N-gram

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the account and to farm keywords. And it only applies to Google Ad accounts with historical data.

We love our fancy keyword research tools, but let's take a step back before using them and analyze past data in the account. Regardless of how the account previously performed, it’s important to examine the old data to get a sense of which keywords converted well in the past and which ones wasted money. Not only will you find keywords with a lot of potential, you’ll also quickly familiarize yourself with the account!

Accounts can accumulate a large quantity of keyword and search term data over time, which makes it difficult to decipher what data is useful or not. This is when the N-Gram script comes in handy. It works by creating a spreadsheet of 1, 2, and 3-word “grams”, that breakdown the account’s search terms with their clicks, impressions, cost, total conversions, conversion value, CTR, CPC, conversion rate, cost per conversion, conversion value/cost, etc…

Here is a copy of the N Gram Script which you can run on your account today, courtesy of our friends over at Brain Labs!

As demonstrated in the GIF below, all we have to change in the script is the:

  1. Start/ end date
  2. Google sheet URL

Ensure your dates are set and you have a google sheet ready to receive the Ngram data!

Once you have the data in a google sheet, add a filter to the headings of the columns to make it easier to analyze prioritized data.

Starting off with this type of analysis will save you big time cash by making it clear what’s working and what needs to be added as negative keywords. We recommend this step before planning the breakdown and campaign structure for your account!

2. Campaign Restructure

There’s a good chance that you are going to want to do a full restructure when it comes time to build out your campaigns.

At our agency, we are firm believers in granular targeting, aka SKAG (Single Keyword AdGroup) or A/B campaign structure. SKAGs are implemented using a single keyword with three match types (“phrase”, [exact] and +modified +broad +match) for every single AdGroup. It’s meant to give you more control over your keywords and ultimately achieve a 1:1 ratio between keyword and search term, resulting in a better click-through-rate, higher quality score, and most importantly, lower cost-per-acquisition.

When it comes to building out your new campaigns, you’re going to want to take your time and think of every possible way you can angle a keyword in terms of user intent. Split your campaigns into a comfortable amount of different SKAG campaigns by the root keyword for your product/service. You may also want to divide up campaigns if you are targeting multiple product/services, different geographic locations, ad schedules, etc. The more campaigns and SKAGs you build out, the more granular data you will have to make accurate decisions as you continue to optimize the campaigns over time.

If you have a smaller monthly budget, it’s not always best to divide your campaigns into as many SKAGs as possible. The reason for this exception is that the volume of data in each of these granulated metrics will not be enough to make accurate optimizations. Additionally, if you see that broader SKAGs are depleting a healthy chunk of your budget, move the lower traffic / higher intent keywords into a “B” campaign, which should serve those higher intent keywords to a predetermined budget.

On top of the restructure, ensure you have the full suite of ad extensions that are applicable to your product or service. Site link, callout, structured snippet, and call extensions are a good start for taking up search result real estate, which will have a noticeable impact on click-through rate.

Tip: Make sure ad rotation is set to “rotate indefinitely” so each of your ads has a fair chance and you can optimize accordingly.

3. Negative Keyword List

We can’t stress how essential negative keywords are to a successful PPC campaign. Far too often, we see accounts using negative keywords scattered all throughout campaigns or having incorrect match types, which allows all sorts of unwanted search queries to come in.

All Google ads accounts need a universal keyword list to be their wall and act as the first line of defense against undesirable search terms.

Starting off, this universal list can be comprised of a couple of sources:

  • Any effective negative keywords farmed from the previous account (this is when we can look at the N-Gram Script from above)
  • A basic negative universal list with words that lead to poor search terms and inappropriate words that you would laugh at when you were 9. (HERE is one to get started)

However, any Game Of Thrones Fan will know that walls will eventually fall and bad search terms will make it through.

This is what bad traffic does to your budget without negative keywords...

This is expected, which is why it’s important to be consistently looking through your search terms report to discover new negatives to add to your list. Google ads allows up to 20 negative keyword lists per account, so we are able to take it a step further by strategically adding campaign and ad group specific negative keyword lists as well.

It’s also important to add this list to your display ads so that they exclude sites that involve copy with your negatives on them. In addition to this, you sure ensure that you have all apps excluded from your targeting for display ad campaigns. App traffic is notoriously bad and ends up wasting a majority of your budget if it's left to run wild. Google even makes it hard to exclude all apps from targeting within the dashboard itself! In order to quickly exclude all apps from your targeting, you need to use Google Ads Editor.

Find "Mobile App Categories, Negative" and add "All Apps" to your excluded targeting

Tip: Negative match types….. Order from widest to narrow

  • 1. Broad match - Careful with this, it can exclude terms that are not meant to be excluded
  • 2. Phrase - What we recommend for most
  • 3  Exact - Also good, progressively becoming similar to Phrase

4. Call Tracking

Everyone and their Grandmother has a smartphone these days, and consumers are beginning to spend more time surfing the web on their mobile devices than their desktop computer.

With the ability to track calls made from call-only ads, phone extensions, and phone numbers on landing pages, tracking calls is more important than ever, especially for local businesses. Google has native call tracking that’s efficient for tracking calls on the surface, however the only lead qualifier option is the duration of the call. We find that this isn’t enough information to base a lead off of or to make proper optimizations in the account.

That’s where our third-party call tracking integration comes in. We prefer using CallRail, which not only tracks call duration, but the time of day, location, and has call recording capabilities to ensure it truly is a qualified lead. You can read more about our other favorite PPC & CRO tools in our recent blog post.

Tip: If your phone is ringing off the hook from leads, we recommend setting up automated call scoring on your third-party call tracking. This will automatically score the quality of the phone lead based on machine learning models that have been built, created, and tested for accuracy. You can even get fancier and set up “keyword spotting” which ranks call quality based on the conversation over the phone!

5. Connecting Google Ads to Google Analytics (And Importing Site Metrics)

It’s no secret that having Google Analytics set up is an essential part of every business website -- whether or not they are running ads. But having the tag on your website is only half the set up required to unleash its true potential.

Some of our favorite metrics such as bounce rate, pages/session, avg. session duration (seconds), and % new sessions, can only be unlocked to view in Google Ads with proper account linkage. And believe it or not, it’s something that’s often missed!

We've found that having these site metrics in the Google Ads platform can be a huge advantage for analyzing data when added to your custom columns and compared with your ad/keyword data directly.

As a reminder:

  • Bounce rate - the percentage of single-page visits, or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.
  • Page/Session - Average number of website pages viewed per session
  • Avg. session duration (seconds) - total duration of all sessions divided by the number of sessions
  • % New Session - The percentage of first-time sessions from people who had never visited your site before

To have these metrics available in your columns, start by making sure your google analytics tag is properly set up. This can be done by simply checking the tag on your site using Google Tag Assistant.

Once that’s verified, go into the account and click on Tools > Linked Accounts > Google Analytics (Details) > Follow the Gif below.

And get ready to dive into all that extra data

6. Auto-Tagging and UTM Parameters

Auto-tagging is a powerful feature for effectively reporting data in google analytics. It serves as a communication path between Google Ads and Google Analytics. Without auto-tagging set up, your paid traffic data will attribute improperly within your Google Analytics account, likely coming through as “direct” traffic. Auto-tagging applies when an ad is clicked and a parameter called a GCLID (Google Click Identifier) is added to the URL. This GCLID parameter carries info about the visitor into Google Analytics so you can make informed, data-based decisions!

Auto-tagging can be turned on by going into your account and clicking on - All campaigns > Settings > Auto-tagging > Check box and save.

While auto-tagging is crucial, we also recommend using a UTM tracking template with Value Track parameters, because GCLIDs only play well with other Google systems. Let’s say you want to pull this user data into a CRM as well -- using Value Track UTMs allows you to track a lead back to the device, campaign, keyword etc..  It works similarly to auto-tagging by automatically applying to an ad’s URL at the time an ad is clicked. This is an essential process for tracking lead quality with data that can be stored in your CRM.

The tracking template that we use can be found below, but keep in mind these are totally customizable. Many organizations create their own system for UTM tracking, with their own unique naming conventions. The setup below takes advantage of Google’s “Value Track” parameters to help automate this process. Typically UTMs are static, but with Value Track UTM parameters you are able to set this tracking template at the account-wide level, recording all traffic with ease. Please also keep in mind that pulling this data into a CRM requires mirrored UTM parameters on your page form and in your CRM itself.

To implement it, go into your account and click on - All campaigns > Settings > Tracking > Copy & paste the template > Click test to make sure it works > Save.


There are many other settings and tasks that should be taken care of before launching your new campaigns, but we’ve found these to be the most useful in achieving the best results out of your new launch. Starting out your account on the right foot is what’s going to lead to initial launch success and scalability for the future.

If you are planning on launching new campaigns or aren't satisfied with the results of your current ones, reach out to use here for a free audit where we can look over your account and identify opportunities for improvement or growth!

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