We've evaluated thousands of PPC accounts with the AdWords Performance Grader, adding up to almost $1 billion in total PPC spend. Looking at this huge amount of data in aggregate, one of the most salient trends has to do with account activity. Namely, we've noticed a strong correlation between regular activity and relative success. That is to say, the advertisers that get the highest scores (because they're beating everyone else in terms of key metrics like Quality Score, click-through rate, and impression share) usually spend the most time in their accounts.
Disturbingly, about 1 in 5 advertisers who used the Grader haven't even logged into their AdWords account in the past 30 days. We get it – we're busy too! – but if you don't actually work on your account on a regular basis, your ROI is going to crash and burn.
But let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good. We believe that logging into your AdWords account once per week is enough to make a difference (you know, assuming you do some optimization, as opposed to just looking at the numbers and crying). We're advocates of going in, doing your work, and getting out. In fact, we think you can see steady improvement in your PPC performance in just 20 minutes a week.
Now, you can always spend more time in your accounts – this is a minimum, not a maximum – and truth be told this workflow will probably take you longer if you don't use any third-party tools or software (apart from AdWords/AdWords Editor) to help you along. But it's still a great guide as to how to spend your time. So download this checklist , print it out and pin it to the wall by your desk. We encourage you to follow this workflow every week. Then use the AdWords Performance Grader  to see how much your results have improved!
Click the image below to open the checklist as a full-size PDF .