How to Make a PPC Account Transition Smoother

Inheriting a PPC account is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes the account transition is as smooth as caramel, but more often than not it’s a rocky road (and not the flavor).

Ideally, a departing account manager will answer questions and provide data to help ease the transfer process. Unfortunately, that’s a rarity. An account manager will usually suddenly leave putting the PPC account’s campaigns in limbo until it’s dumped on a new guy.

The new guy finds himself with an account that has no data records, and no one to answer questions. Add to the mix the account’s disgruntled client, and well, it looks like you ended up with a milk dud. Whomp! Whomp!

However, consider this: inherited PPC accounts are like Sour Patch Kids, and who doesn’t like candy even when it’s sour? Here are some tips for making those sour PPC accounts sweet.

Play Data Detective

First, before you even talk to the client, do your research! In all seriousness, it’s okay to be a bit of a stalker (or as PPC Hero calls it: ‘playing data detective’). Here, it’s important to get as much information as possible.

  • For an internal inheritance try to pin down a meeting time (if possible) with the departing account manager so you can get as many questions as possible answered.
  • If it’s an external inheritance, you’ll need to gain access to the preexisting campaign. Hopefully the former firm will provide access. But if not, you can get administrative access as long as you have the client’s payment and billing information.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone who may have had any interaction with the client. Ask them to share their info (including goals, strategies, and challenges).

After “investigating,” try digging around the PPC account yourself and see what data you can find, too. Review the flow of the site and the landscape, and focus on the landing pages and the flow of the pay per click process. This will help you get an idea of the client’s PPC expectations.

Check (and Test) Everything Thoroughly

Before making any account changes, slow your roll, and first consider these best practices. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s important to check everything thoroughly to get the optimal results your client wants. Therefore, you’ll need to know what’s going on with the account’s existing:

  • Account Structure. Poorly structured accounts will fail because you can’t efficiently perform optimizations or expansions. Make sure your account doesn’t have these pitfalls.
  • CTR. Perform A/B Testing to see how the current CTR is doing.
  • Mobile Traffic Performance. If mobile performance isn’t strong, and it should be, you’ll need to adjust bid modifiers until metrics improve.

Taking the time to check each of these will help you target which areas need to be fixed or simply left alone.

And while you’re digging, take note of potential new areas for growth, as well. For instance, if there’s no remarketing program or ad extensions in place (both tools that will improve your ROI), you can add those to your to-do list, too.

How to Handle a ‘Healthy’ PPC Account

So you luck out and score a healthy PPC account. Good for you, but don’t get lax like Leonardo DiCaprio’s abs in between movies. PPCChat founder Matt Umbro recommends you still do an account research and audit because even good PPC accounts have inefficiencies to cut (sort of like Beyonce ditching Destiny’s Child for Beyonce).

Umbro also recommends:

  • Running the broken link script.
  • Looking at the account history and making sure Google Analytics is set up properly to match goals.
  • Getting to know the business and performing a test conversion to understand the visitor experience.
  • Understanding the conversion tracking and funnel.
  • Refrain from adding rules until everything is running smoothly manually.

This is all applicable to poorly performing accounts, too.

Meet with Client(s)

Once you have your info (or all the info that you’re going to get), arrange for a call or in-person meeting with the client to discuss the transition process.

Prior to meeting with a client, keep in mind the typical client relation dos and don’ts:

PPC Client Dos and Don

If your client is disgruntled, be sure to take the time to inquire if there were communication issues or issues with goals not being hit or understood. Assure the client that won’t happen again now that you’re handling their account.

Create a Timeline

Clients love results and there’s no better way to prove PPC account improvement than with a timeline. Make sure your timeline includes:

Client Timeline

It’s also helpful to provide a timeframe. In a previous PPCChat, Umbro shared his general rule of thumb: clients can expect things to start moving in the right direction after 30-days. However, other folks prefer a 90-day timeframe. Depending on your client, the timeframe should range between 30 and 90 days.


One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and the same can be said for inheriting PPC accounts. Whether you’re handed a smooth transition or a rough one, by using these tools you can better the situation and make some moolah, too.