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Should I split a massive multi-country Google Ads account into separate accounts?

I got this question from one of my mentees. They'd just taken on a new client with an elephant of an account. More than 8 000 keywords scattered across 150 plus campaigns.

It was overwhelming.

They'd won the account on the basis that they'd be able to better the current results. They were eager to prove that the client was right in choosing them, but they had no idea of where to start.

They thought that splitting the account into smaller accounts - one per country - would make it easier to optimise.

At first glance it seems like a reasonable assumption. But, there are downsides to splitting a big account into smaller accounts. And, there are ways to make big accounts easier to manage without having to break them up.

The downsides of splitting a big Google Ads account into smaller accounts.

Poor performance.

There is always a risk of fewer conversions and higher CPA. You see, you can't move a campaign to another account. You can copy the campaign's structure - ad groups, keywords, ads etc - from one account to another. But, you can't copy the campaign's history.

The campaign will have to start learning what works from scratch in the new account. Performance can take a hit during the learning phase. And, if you're unlucky, the campaign will never perform as well in the new account as it did in the old. I don't know why this happens but I've seen it more than once.

Conversion tracking gets complicated.

Conversion tracking is easy to get wrong with just one account. Managing separate conversions across multiple accounts increases the chances of an expensive mistake.

Cross account conversion tracking in manager accounts attempts to solve this problem, but it's not bulletproof.

Setup mistakes.

About 130 of the 150 or so campaigns from the existing account would have to be re-created in new accounts.

A lot of this is copy paste in the Ads Editor, but there are some settings that can't be copied. There is a good chance of making at least one embarrassing or expensive mistake somewhere in those 130 campaigns.

You lose access to some shared features.

You can share setings like audiences and negative keyword lists between accounts from a manager account. But (at the time of writing) not all shared features are available.

Everything takes an extra click and a slow page load.

It's ironic because the thinking is that splitting an account will make it easier to manage. Instead, it adds another layer of complexity. And, everything requires an extra (often slow) step to switch between accounts.

Data is fragmented.

The data for the business performance is now spread across several accounts. That makes reporting more complex.

How to make a massive Google Ads account feel like a small account.

A small account feels easier to manage because you can fit the whole account into your brain. You can look at one screen and see all the campaigns. You can dive into a campaign and understand all the ad groups. It's simple and uncomplicated.

A big account might be simple and uncomplicated, but because there is too much to fit into your short-term memory it feels overwhelming. The good news is that there are ways to make a big account feel smaller. Here are some ideas...

Cull unproductive entities.

The 80:20 rule applies to Google Ads accounts: A few campaigns and keywords driving most of the conversions, the rest not very productive.

This can be pronounced in older accounts, especially the keywords. Back in the day you needed lots of long-tail keywords. Now long-tails are forgotten in the back of the cupboard gathering dust.

You can probably get rid of unproductive campaigns and keywords without impacting performance. I like to do this in 2 steps:-

  1. Label and pause the unproductive entities. I use 2 labels: 'Delete' and the month 6 months from now eg 'Delete' and 'July 2024'.
  2. Once a month I search for entities with the 'Delete' label and the current month and remove them from the account.

I set up filters to exclude entities with the 'Delete' label. That way I don't see them today, and by the time I remove them I'm confident that I didn't need them.

Use the tools in the Shared Library.

Your Google account comes with tools to make managing larger accounts easier. You'll find them in the Shared Library. At the time of writing they include:-

Group campaigns.

Campaign groups, (a.k.a. campaign sets), are a way to organize and manage multiple campaigns. You can group campaigns in several ways - by goal, product, targeting location etc.

Use labels.

You can labels campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads and filter your views by label.

Saved filters.

You can filter almost any view by several criteria and then save the filter for the next time you want the same set of campaigns etc on the screen.

Apply a consistent naming convention.

Decoding someone else's campaign names is hard. What the heck does "new-ssp-bmm-loi-final-2" mean anyway?

You can safely rename campaigns without affecting performance.

Need some help with this?

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