Perfect PPC Account Structure & Patents

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by Tony Guo

It’s 2:45am CST. I’m an owl. I’m writing this “piece” as a break from more urgent responsibilities. Having worked with several PPC managers, I’ve learned personality affects account structure. To make an overly broad generalization, unorganized managers create messy structures; meticulous managers create organized structures; lazy managers don’t log in (luckily there is “change history”); inexperienced managers create too many ad groups in the hopes that something works; overly confident managers create too few ad groups since they are mired in pass successes.

19 months ago, I never heard of AdWords or PPC. I had recently left a corporate job (suits and ties everyday) to join startuplife at an agency. I fell in love with #startuplife. You work incredibly late to create more work in the morning. I was introduced to PPC by accident. The PPC Manager (who was working from home) tasked me with sending a client report. The entire document needed to be redone. To do this, I had to learn CTR, Bounce Rate, CPC, View Through Conversion, ROI, and CPM in a few hours.

I ordered 4 PPC books (they are staring at me right now). After a rough day of legal and finance, learning about analytics and account structures was fun. It was yoga for math nerds. My first AdWords account was for an old website. The structure was bulky; it featured dozens of unnecessary ad groups and thousands of unnecessary keywords. The Click Through Rate was dismal and it is unlikely I will ever see a bounce rate that high again. I didn’t know about extensions, targeting.

My first client account was left by the previous PPC manager who mysteriously left without notice. I was assigned to maintain and monitor the account. It seemed simple. However, maintaining and monitoring someone else’s account is not easy. The account structure made no sense to me. After a few months the account stopped converting and I designed a new structure which still converts well today. The next month, I added 14 accounts and a 7 figure yearly spend. I was at the office until 11 or midnight most nights learning PPC.

The next part is fascinating. I learned the perfect account structure requires your client’s experience and help. Similar to patents, the client pays you to the be the expert. Initially, inventions often are not marketable, profitable, or fully developed. As a patent attorney, your job is to figure out what needs to be protected and what the actual invention is. To do this you have to understand the invention better than even the inventor. PPC account structures are the same. With the client’s help, you have to learn the industry and see what competitors are doing. The automobile sector is different from the legal sector. Patents are different from Personal Injury. And no two Personal Injury law firms are the same.

The perfect account does not depend on extensions, call tracking, or even analytics. The perfect account is an account where your client feels comfortable experimenting themselves. I set aside an experimental ad group for each client to put their ideas into. They text, email, and call me whenever they get an idea. I translated the idea into a PPC ad group. Most of the highest converting ad groups were developed with the help of clients. Stemming a client’s expertise is unwise. I worked as a patent agent at the largest Chinese IP law firm. Then I went to law school to become a patent attorney. My clients are still the inventors. They just care more about ROI then royalties.