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Friday, February 23, 2024

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3-2-1: Launch! Uploading Your Paid Search Account

You’ve done the research. You’ve done the build. Now it’s time to launch!

Step #1: Get an engine account

If you don’t already have one, the first thing you’re going to need is an engine account. It’s fast and easy to sign up with any of the three major engine platforms via these pages:

Use the self-service option with a credit card if your accounts are going to spending less than five thousand dollars each month. If you’re going to be spending more than that, contact the engines directly via the contact info listed on those pages as there is a chance that they might assign you an account executive that will help you throughout the process. Either way (self-service or full-service) you will end up with an account. This main account can handle multiple sub-accounts and will become Grand Central Station for your paid search efforts. If at any time an advertiser wants to take their account, the engines can help you transition it from your main account to theirs.

Step #2: Download the engine desktop editor

You can upload your keywords and ads directly inside the platform interface, but it’s a slow process as each campaign must be added, then each ad group, etc. and there’s a better way to accomplish this. All three of the major search engines offer free software that allows you to quickly load your accounts into desktop editors and then press a button to upload the entire set into your engine account. These tools are very intuitive and easy to use once you get the hang of them.

Here are the download links to the three tools:

For brevity’s sake, we’ll just discuss Google’s AdWords Editor today as it’s the blueprint for Yahoo’s and Microsoft’s software—once you learn AdWords Editor, you’ll be able to quickly navigate through the other two.

Some of the benefits that Google says to using AdWords Editor are that you can:

  • Work offline on your Mac or PC
  • Upload changes to AdWords any time
  • Store and navigate one or more accounts
  • Add, edit, and delete campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords, and placements
  • Make large-scale changes quickly
  • Perform advanced searches and edits
  • Add comments for your changes
  • Sort and view performance statistics
  • Copy or move items between campaigns, ad groups, and accounts
  • Export a snapshot of your account for archiving or sharing
  • Import an archive or share file and review the proposed changes

Here’s a screenshot that shows how the tool is laid out:

As you can see, the main window holds the various elements of your account in a spreadsheet-like interface. Each column corresponds to data fields inside the engine platform. Some fields are optional and some are mandatory. The tool won’t let you upload your accounts until your data meets the required validation, so don’t worry about messing anything up. Also, each of the tools has a robust help section, and in some cases, on-demand video training. I recommend that you go through the knowledge base and get a good sense of the tool before even starting.

Step #3: Build your bulk sheet

In Excel (or whatever spreadsheet you use), you’re going to want to organize your account in the structure of whichever desktop editor that you’re using. You can start by downloading an empty bulk sheet from the tool which will have all of the column headings that you need. Generally, you’ll have two sheets: one for your keywords and one for your ads. The keyword bulk sheet will have you list each keyword along with the campaign and ad group associated with it. You’ll also need to list your desired max bid and you can even list a destination URL that is specific to that keyword. For the ad bulk sheet, your headline and descriptor lines will be in different columns.

When you’re finished, you can simply copy the entire spreadsheet and paste it into the appropriate screen in the desktop tool. Click the option to post to your account and watch as the tool uploads everything to the engine. There’s a good chance you may have missed something somewhere and the upload won’t be able to complete until you take care of those issues. However, the tools make it very easy for you to identify the problem areas and even offer suggestions to you on how to fix them. When you’re done, go into the engine account directly and make sure everything uploaded successfully.

Congratulations! You’ve just uploaded your first search advertising account!

A note on granularity and how that affects your settings

While uploading your account, you may have seen certain settings appear in multiple places. For example, you can set your max bids either at the ad group level or the keyword level. The same applies for destination URL. When it comes to working inside PPC platforms, the rule is that the most granular setting will trump the others. So, for example, if you set a max bid at the ad group level, all of the keywords in that ad group will have that bid. However, if you go into that ad group and set a keyword level bid for one of your terms, it will overwrite the ad group bid.

That’s it for uploading. Next week, we’ll dive into the various campaign and ad group settings that you have at your disposal. You’ll need to carefully decide upon these settings before launching your account.

PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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