Here are the Most Popular Google Ad Account Structures
November 2, 2023
PPC managers have religiously held on to the SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) structure for a couple of years now. However, with all the missing search terms, loose match types, and Google’s suggestion to give broad match another chance, I feel that there need to be more structures that could work. To find out, we have done the research and asked PPC managers what structures they use most often.
1. Connect your data source (could be your eCommerce platform - like Shopify store, a Google spreadsheet, or another type of file that holds information about your products or services)
2. The DataFeedWatch automated search ads software will pull the input data and use it to:
create unique keywords per each product / position,
generate a separate ad group for every product (with a single keyword or multiple keywords per ad group - up to you),
build specific and relevant ads,
update your campaigns on a regular basis (eg. turn off ads for unavailable products)
You remain in full control throughout the process - from deciding which data will be utilized for keywords, to ad patterns, to dynamic bidding strategy.
3. Once ready, your Google Search Campaign(s) get automatically created in your Google Ads account and DataFeedWatch performs regular updates according to the logic you assigned in the creation process.
2. Single Keyword Multi-match Type Ad Groups
In this Google Ads structure you don’t use Alpha/Beta structure. Instead, you only set up 1 campaign. Here is an example:
The amount of match types depends on how broad you want to go. Some advertisers use only 2 match types per ad group, some use broad and exact match. The combination depends entirely on how confident the advertiser is.
Here are PROs and CONs for this structure.
PROs of Single Keyword Multi-match Type Structure
Leaner structure. The account would have fewer campaigns
More data on the campaign and also ad group level makes it easier to optimize and also use smart bidding
CONs of Single Keyword Multi-match Type Structure
No keyword-level control when using smart bidding
Match types compete between themselves in the auction
Cross-ad group negatives can take up some time
3. Broad Match Campaign with Smart Bidding
I would not suggest starting out with this campaign structure, but use it on top of the existing setup. For many years broad match was avoided by PPC managers because of how broad search terms it is capturing.
The biggest reason advertisers are starting to use this Google Ads campaign structure is because of loose close match variants. It has made the SKAG structure harder to control.
With this structure, it is up to you how granular you want to split the themes. However, the keywords in the ad group have to match the theme.
Here are two examples of theme splits:
As you can see you can split the themes as you want. But here are the PROs and CONs of this structure:
PROs of Theme-based Ad Groups:
Leaner structure with fewer ad groups
More data on ad group level
Easy for smart bidding due to more data
CONs of Theme-based Ad Groups:
Not the best ad copy relevance even with keyword insertion
Time-consuming to define themes
Time-consuming to do search term negatives and harvesting
Lose control on keyword-level when using smart bidding.
5. Campaigns Split by Age with Smart Bidding
Speaking of going too detailed, some advertisers have also said that they split the campaigns by age.
I discussed this with a PPC manager who does this. His company is in a subscription industry where customer lifetime value is a very important metric.
What they noticed is that different age groups have different lifetime values. That means they cannot spend on 18–24-year-olds the same as they spend on 45-54-year-olds. As they are sending back the conversion value to Google, they decided that the best way to control this is by splitting campaigns per age group.
Keep in mind, that they also split the campaign because they use smart bidding, and you can’t use bid adjustments when using smart bidding.
In my opinion, this is a very complex and advanced Google Ads campaign structure, and the account has to have enough data to be able to do such a split.
However, if you see that, for your business, age groups have different LTV or churn, this might be a good way to maximize your ad spend.
Here are the pros and cons of using this structure:
PROs of Campaigns Split by Age Group
Leveraging different customer lifetime values
Better control over traffic when using smart bidding
CONs of Campaigns Split by Age Group
Very time-consuming negative keyword exclusions
Very heavy accounts
Very time-consuming to add new keywords
6. Campaigns Split Based on Keyword Performance with Smart Bidding
The first step here is to define which performance metric will be used to base the grouping. You can group based on CPC, conversion rates, ROAS, and cost per acquisition (CPA).
Mostly, when smart bidding is applied there will be ad groups or keywords which will over-perform and under-perform because they have different CPC levels or conversion rates. However, the bid strategy will hit the target.
The reason why some advertisers use this Google Ads campaign structure is to maximize the performance of the keywords so that the over-performing keyword doesn’t compensate for the under-performing one.
This is a similar approach to splitting campaigns by age. However, this is the least popular approach.
Here are the PROs and CONs for this structure.
PROs of Keyword Performance-Based Split
Good performing keywords don’t compensate bad performing ones
CONs of Keyword Performance-Based Split
Too many campaigns
Performance of the keyword can change
Nightmare with search terms
7. Dynamic Search Ads Campaigns
Let’s first understand what is dynamic search ad (DSA). It’s an ad type that instead of using keywords uses your actual website and the contents of it. Usually, marketers create a separate campaign for them, so it is easier to manage.
You can split the ad groups based on website pages. For example, if you have a separate page for each service. Google would then scrape the content of the page and match it with search queries.
When it comes to actual ads, you only have to write description lines. The rest will be dynamically populated by Google.
From my experience, DSA campaigns can easily be the biggest campaigns by traffic and revenue in some markets.
DSA campaign can be your main driver in the account or used as a supplement for capturing extra searches which you otherwise wouldn’t get.
Here are the pros and cons of using DSAs.
PROs of DSAs
Getting extra search traffic
Easy to create ads
Headlines of the DSA can be longer than your normal 30 characters which increases CTR
CONs of DSAs
No control over the headlines of the ads
No control over search queries
Can be time-consuming to add negative search terms
Errors if you change the page structure
Very difficult to use if having a lot of updates on the pages like daily deals
8. Hagakure Method
The name of this structure comes from a Japanese tradition and it is a title of a piece written by a Japanese samurai.
All fanciness aside, the idea is to make the most simplistic Google Ads campaign structure which maximizes the collection of data on the campaign level. Also, on top of it, it’s necessary to use smart bidding to completely leverage this structure.
Google suggests 3000 weekly impressions per ad group for this structure. So there are 3 ways to be able to reach such a threshold:
using broader match types
basing the structure on the URLs instead of keywords
With this structure, you are giving Google all the control. All you are left with is trusting that the powerful algorithms will work in your favor.
Which is the best Google Ads structure and when to use one?
I have to conclude by saying that there isn’t one winning structure that trumps them all. All of the structures have pros and cons.
In the past, I’ve worked with accounts where I had 4 different structures running. The same products and services but different structures in some countries and languages. Meaning that there was not a specific pattern that can be applied.
There isn’t a structure that works better in one industry or another. However, you can try picking a structure by answering these questions:
Which campaign structure can I use with the amount of traffic I have?
Which structure is best with my amount of traffic in order to use smart bidding?
How much time do I have to optimize campaigns?
This can help you to understand a bit better which structure you need to start with. However, the best way to figure out which is the best structure is by testing them out!
PPC managers have religiously held on to the SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) structure for a couple of years now.
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