The 20-Minute PPC Work Week: Weekly Checklist [Download]


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.



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Richard Kraneis
Jul 11, 2012

Somewhere, Vilfredo Pareto is SmilingPareto's Law or Principle creeps into most of our life.So, most likely, 20% of participating advertisers are having 80% of the problems in the group.Thanks Elisa.  Time to work on my Google AdWords account.

Leo Silva
Jul 12, 2012

This 20-minute steps are more productive than one hour working without goals...

Jeff P
Jul 12, 2012

Keyword research in 4 minutes? Split ad groups and create a new landing page in 3 minutes? That's a lot of indepth work in an extremely short amount of time. I find that each of these tasks usually takes me 20 minutes. Am I the world's slowest worker?

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 12, 2012

That's why we suggest using this as a minimum, not a maximum! Depending on how you work and what software you use (if any) these tasks could take a lot longer, but the more you automate, the easier it's going to be.

Jul 14, 2012

Great Checklist. Thanks a lot! But is it really possible to do keyword research in 5 minutes?

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 16, 2012

Five minutes is better than nothing, which is what most people do! It's often a matter of just adding some terms from your search query report, for example (either as new keywords or negatives).

Aug 10, 2012

Indeed. It is important to continue optimizing a campaign, not only set it up and let it run its course. And your Infographic is a nice reminder on that, one that I may even show some clients, just so they can see, what the absolute minimum is.

Sep 18, 2012

This is great. It's not being presented as an all-encompassing tool for PPC management, but a quick and handy approach to dipping into your account once a week rather than avoiding it because you feel overwhealmed with the size of the task. I'd recommend this to anyone with a mature campaign who doesn't usually take the time to look after it. Thanks for sharing!

Elisa Gabbert
Sep 18, 2012

Thanks, Lorry, glad to hear you like it!

Oct 02, 2012

Having a check list is way helpful, even if it takes me much longer to do each of the tasks. I suppose that if you follow the same format each time you log in, eventually, even I would get faster at it ;)  Thanks for making the list - now if I could just work on checking it twice (or once a week).

Elisa Gabbert
Oct 03, 2012

Awesome! And yes, getting faster is always the goal. :) Good luck!

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Todd Mittleman
May 28, 2015

That's good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with the 19 Minute PPC Work Week. Then you're in trouble, huh? :)

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