Click Here & Buy ZATO Owner, Kirk Williams' newest book on Google Ads - Ponderings of a PPCer: Revised & Expanded.
Kirk Williams

Naming PPC Campaigns - It's More Important Than You Think

Naming PPC Campaigns - It's More Important Than You Think

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

What's In a Name?

naming a baby

Hi, I'm 10549678. What's your number? Or perhaps people call you by your barcode?  "Attention customers, I have an order ready for BEEEEEP-boop-boop-BOP-beep-BEEP"

These notions are silly to you because shortly before or after you were born, you were given a name.  That name may be completely unique or it may be shared with 100 million other people, but it still belongs to you.  

When those who know you hear your name, they immediately associate you with (for better or for worse) those characteristics that uniquely make you, YOU.

It's why this scene from Wall-E still touches our hearts.

I believe a name means something.  When I build or take over a PPC account, the name is not something I ignore.  I change it, every single time.

It is often one of the first things I do or change in an account for a campaign (with the rest of the campaign settings).  

I believe it is of similar importance, the name of a campaign is what communicates what is in that campaign, what context that campaign should be in, what defines that campaign.  I hope by the end of this post, to convince you that what you name your PPC campaigns can help determine how you manage your accounts.

2 Reasons I Change My PPC Campaign Names

1 - Naming Helps Organize Your Account, Saving You Optimization Time.

One of the reasons organization is so important for PPC campaigns, is because it saves you valuable time.  It allows quicker access to account high/low points because you can more easily find the issue.

If you smell smoke in a room with crap everywhere, you're going to have a hard time identifying the source of it without some major digging. In a room where everything is organized and in its proper place, its far easier to determine the source of the smoke and put out the fire.

It's difficult to communicate how naming a campaign well helps optimize better without walking you through my daily optimization processes, but it's amazing how much easier it is to whip up a quick filter in Adwords based upon the targeting criteria you want because you have the campaign name to utilize.  Here's just an example of the many ways changing your campaign name can help you filter data, and thus optimize better.  This same campaign naming principle also applies to downloading your data and filtering in Excel.

EXAMPLEHere's one example of a way good Campaign names can help you speed up a process.  Let's say you run multiple brand campaigns and you want to rapidly see if there are unrelated terms jumping up in the SQR for your brand campaigns and decreasing quality.  Just filter for your campaign name with "Brand" term in the name and boom.  Data.  Targeted data.

google adwords filter for campaign name

2 - Naming Allows for Better/Quicker Insights in Google Analytics

Easy FilteringFilters, like in Adwords, can be used in Analytics to better target your data for more informed/accurate decisions.  Naming your campaigns something consistent can help you quickly filter in a specific Analytics view to get that much more of an accurate look at your data.  It's probably not the only way to see your data, but it sure can simplify the process of pulling it up!


Let's say you want to see all your Dynamic Remarketing visits split out by city to determine if there are any cities you want filtered from all Dynamic Remarketing campaigns.  Since you have awesome names for your campaigns, just set up an advanced filter for that part of the name and "voila".

google adwords traffic in advanced filter in google analytics

Advanced SegmentsI used Google Analytics for about a year before I "discovered" advanced segments.  It was probably on Avinash's blog.  Now I'm so hooked.  

Advanced Segments are awesome because they allow you to see all Analytics data for the specific parameters you supply. To get an idea of their power, check out this post on Search Engine Watch: 16 Secret Google Analytics Advanced Segments Worth Their Weight in Gold.

Now that you are renaming all your campaigns to be awesomely synchronized, you can unleash the full power of Adwords Advanced Segments on your Google Analytics data.  

Here's just one example.

EXAMPLELet's say you want to see which cities are sending the lowest quality traffic for all your Display Campaigns.  If you have named your campaigns well, you can easily create an Advanced Segment like this that allows you to see all traffic for your Display Campaigns in Google Analytics.  

Google Analytics advanced Segment for adwords Display traffic

My Naming StrategySo, now that we've looked at the why, let's look at the how.  Here's an example of the way I like to name my campaigns.  It would be improper for me to not give credit to Joe Kerschbaum, Michelle Morehouse, and Heather Cooan, all of who had a part in teaching me the importance of campaign naming!Here's generally what my strategy looks like.  No perfect strategy, so take this and tweak it to fit your needs.

(1) Campaign Type

  • Search
  • Display
  • Shopping

(2) Campaign Subtype

  • Display - Remarketing
  • Display - Dynamic Remarketing

(3) Core Name

  • Shopping - Top Profit Laptops
  • Search - Brand Names
  • Display - Remarketing - Laptops

(4) Geolocation

  • Shopping - Top Profit Laptops - US
  • Search - Brand Names - US
  • Search - Brand Names - California
  • Search - Brand Names - UK
  • Display - Remarketing - Laptops - US

(5) Device

If you break out some Bing campaigns into separate devices (shout out to Bing Ads for the ability to still do this!), it can be helpful to see those campaigns specifically filtered by name.

  • Search - Brand Names - US - Mobile
  • Search - Brand Names - US - Tablet
  • Search - Brand Names - US - Computer

Admittedly, this is a "guideline" way of doing things and you probably have your own vocab and focuses that would tweak this.  However, hopefully this has given you some food for thought in naming campaigns and why I think it's a great thing to do, especially in a campaign you inherit or a new build!What are your thoughts?  Anything you would add or disagree with?  Tweet them to me here:

New post based upon a #ppcchat convo: Naming #PPC Campaigns - It’s More Important Than You Think #bingads #adwords

— Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk) May 27, 2014

Appendix 1 - Common Objection

The concern in the past has been that changing your Adwords campaign names means you will have to keep track of a million different campaign names in Analytics.  As Ginny Marvin skillfully pointed out last summer, Analytics and Adwords integration makes this no longer a problem for basic name changes: New Adwords Integration for Analytics Changes Campaign Reporting.  I'm actually not 100% sure on Bing Ads, but I believe it does not currently with Analytics in this same way.

Appendix 2 - Random Name Coolness

This has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but as I was doing some naming research, I ran across these GIFs.  Are they not cool???

girl names in US since 1960
boy names in US since 1960
Want more free content like this delivered directly to your inbox?
Subscribe Here
Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

Continue reading

Find what you're looking for here: