Launching a new website? Tips for successfully handling an Adwords migration

 

An SEM client of ours is in the final stages of preparation for launching their new website. Online sales are a major part of their revenue stream, which means they’ll need to have their Adwords campaigns updated and “going live” at the same time as the new site. Sooner or later, many of us in SEM are going to be tasked with moving an Adwords campaign from an old website to a new one. While at first this may seem like a hefty undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things all search engine marketers should be aware of when migrating an Adwords campaign to a new website:

Plan ahead

Don’t let this sneak up on you — a web migration can mean some serious downtime for your Adwords campaign if you aren’t prepared. Give yourself a couple weeks to think through every aspect of your campaign and identify time-consuming processes in advance. Have a plan in place for how to attack this thing, and…

Communicate with your client (both about their expectations and yours)

Quite simply, keep your clients in the loop — let them know what your plan is for this migration. Inform them of the steps in this process, potential hang-ups or risk of down time, and where they’ll need to be involved. Just make sure your client knows what to expect. If your agency isn’t handling the programming for the new website, let your client know what you’ll need on their end and what you’ll need them to give the site’s programmers (such as conversion/goal tracking codes).

Also, make sure you understand the impetus for your client’s updating their website in the first place. Talk to your client about their expectations for the new website and if the change in website direction also means a change in Adwords expectations. Then, verify that your Adwords campaigns are aligned to support those goals.

Don’t overlook conversion tracking

Don’t forget about moving over your conversion tracking or Analytics goal tracking codes! While it seems like another no-brainer tip, forgetting or neglecting to take care of this crucial detail until the last minute could lead to some serious downtime for your conversion tracking. Try to get tracking code(s) to programmers with time to spare before the site goes live. Remember, it can take over 24 hours for newly placed conversion tracking codes to start reporting conversions.

Utilize Adwords Editor

If your Adwords campaigns are remotely sizeable, there’s a good chance a new website means you’ll have roughly a gazillion URLs to replace. Adwords Editor is an oft-overlooked tool that makes bulk edits a breeze.

Try to make all your bulk edits first — which will help avoid as much potential downtime as possible. This is especially relevant if you’re up against a time crunch or you’re not able to update your campaigns until the new site goes live. After you’ve ensured all of your campaign’s ads are serving with a working, relevant link, then move on to the smaller details.

Save details for last (destination URLs)

Since it’s a more time-consuming process, don’t worry about replacing individual keyword destination URLs until you’ve made your bulk edits first. Tending to specific keywords can come after the campaigns at-large have been taken care of.

Now, I’m certainly not saying these are the only things to focus on when moving an Adwords campaign from an old site to a new one (far from it), or that this is *the* way to go about executing such a move. Just keep these common-sense tips in mind if you’re faced with this potentially-daunting challenge, and you’ll see how easy an Adwords campaign migration can be.

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