Name Your Campaigns Like a Pro

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014 in How-Tos | 13 Comments
Name Your Campaigns Like a Pro





campaign name fieldComing up with a name for your campaign isn’t that difficult, but you can always tell an advanced advertiser from a novice by the way they name their campaigns. In this post, I’ll show you how to future-proof and organize your campaigns by utilizing clear naming conventions… just like a pro.

Who it’s for: This advice is applicable to campaigns on all networks, including Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, Outbrain, etc.

Why You Should Care

You may be wondering why anyone should care what their campaigns are called. After all, it’s not like your campaign names are exposed to the world. But even though you could get away with naming your campaign as simply as “payroll software” without it hurting  your campaign performance, you’ll be making future collaboration and optimization much more difficult than it needs to be.

To illustrate this point, let take a look a couple different approaches to ad campaign names:

Approach 1: The Lazy Way

campaign name

If you name your campaigns the lazy way, you’ll start with a name like “payroll software,” then you build additional campaigns as your account expands with a handful of other ambiguous names. They may make sense to you at first, but you’ll soon forget how these campaigns differ.

  1. Payroll software
  2. March 2013
  3. New display campaign
  4. Payroll software – canada
  5. Home page

Only people intimately involved with the account will understand how it is structured. Add another 10 campaigns and even you, the account’s creator, will be lost.

Approach 2: The Disciplined Way

campaign names

Alternatively, you could include some descriptive info in your campaign name consistently. This way you can learn all you need to know about an account’s structure from a quick scan of the campaign name column.  For example, the following campaigns include the Ad Network, Targeted Geo, Network Type and targeting directly in the name.

  1. Google – US – Search – Brand
  2. Google – US – Search – Nonbrand
  3. Google – CA – Search – Nonbrand
  4. Google – US – Display – Topics Targeting
  5. Google – US – Display – Retargeting – Home Page

Every single campaign in this account provides the same detail in the same order within the name . It’s neat, it’s clean and it’s easy to understand exactly what these campaigns consist of and they differ.

Benefits of Using a Naming Convention

Being disciplined about how you name your campaigns has several notable benefits:

  • Filtering - You can also search for, or filter by, parts of the campaign name (e.g., You can filter by campaigns that target the US by search for campaign names that contain “US -”).
    campaign name filter
  • Group Similar Campaigns - Once your naming convention is in place, you can group similar campaigns together quickly and easily. All it takes is a quick click on the campaign name header to sort the names alphabetically.
    • Pro tip: Sorting similar campaigns works best if you start your naming structure with the most common settings first and then move on to the more unique settings (e.g., start with “network type” and end with the “main keyword”).
  • High-level Reporting - When similar campaigns are easily sorted and filtered by name, spotting trends becomes easy. With just a few clicks, you may discover that your display campaigns suffered a similar drop in CTR, leading you to discover a trend.
  • Future-proof Your Account - Even if your account grows to include hundreds of campaigns, a consistent naming convention ensures the it remains easy to manage. You’ll be able to find existing campaigns easily and identify opportunities for new campaigns quickly. For example, you’d know immediately if there’s a retargeting campaign targeting visitors to your pricing page.
  • Shareable - Using a clear naming structure also makes your account structure easily understandable by others that may work on your account in the future. Collaboration becomes easy because colleagues will know exactly what a campaign is meant to do.

Implementing a Naming Convention

To implement a naming convention for your account, think about the account’s structure and what separates each campaign from others you’ll create in the future.

Here are some possible variables you can consider including in your name:

  • Ad Network - For when you have campaigns across different ad networks (e.g., Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc)
  • Geo – For when your campaigns target different locations (e.g., US, APAC, CA, etc)
  • Network Type - For when your campaigns target different network types (e.g., Search, Display, etc)
  • Targeting Type – For when your campaigns utilize different targeting methods (e.g., Managed Placements, Interests, Topics, etc)
  • Goal – For when your campaigns have different conversion goals (e.g., Signups, Leads, etc)
  • Time Zone – For when your campaigns target different time zones (e.g., PT, ET, etc)
  • Match Type – For when your search campaigns are split up by match type (e.g., BMM, Phrase, etc)
  • Promoted Product/Service – For when your campaigns promote different products or services (e.g., Red Widgets, Enterprise, Estate Planning, etc)
  • Retargeting Audience – For when your retargeting campaigns target different audiences (e.g., Home Page, Newsletter, etc)

Do It Right the First Time

While you can change your campaign name in the future, changing your campaign name could cause trouble in your web analytics reports. Your historical data might be split when you change your name.

google-analytics-graph

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any other tips for creating effective naming conventions? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Sam Mazaheri

Sam is the Director of Marketing & Product at AdStage. Previously, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, serving as the in-house AdWords expert and advisor to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house digital marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.


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