How you structure your Google Ads account will have a huge impact on how your campaigns perform.
There are numerous ways to approach this, each with their owns pros and cons. Over time, I’ve managed to hone in on the best account structures that maximize campaign performance, and allow for organized and continual optimization.
To save time, it’s best to plan out your account structure in a spreadsheet before jumping into the platform. If you try to create your account structure in the platform you’re less likely to see the big picture and get distracted. Additionally, keyword and audience target research should be done before you work out your account structure. This way you’ll have a sense of the search volumes, audience sizes, and targeting that you want.
Segmentation is key when it comes to optimizing and analyzing data. You should aim to segment your campaigns, ad groups, audiences, and keywords as much as reasonably possible. By segmenting each of these you can understand how these individual elements perform, and you’ll have clean data to analyze and optimize your account.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to structuring your account:
Do you need to control how much budget is spent on certain marketing efforts?
How do geographic targets differ for your campaigns and audiences?
How much budget are you working with on a daily basis? And does it fluctuate or stay consistent?
If you are working with a limited budget, and your daily budget is $5 but an average CPC for your keywords is $10, you won’t see any clicks.
What products or services are you advertising? Do they need to be separated and managed with their own budgets and strategy?
Do certain strategies have different timing? I.e will you need to end some campaigns while others are still running?
In this guide, I’ll go into detail on how to best structure your Google Ads account.
Google Ads Account Structure
The account structure for Google Ads is ‘three layered’ as follows:
Account Level: Your individual Google Ads account, associated with a unique email address. Generally, unless you’re a very large advertiser you’ll use one account.
Campaign Level: Where you create campaigns, control each campaign budget and where you want your ads to appear (network, and geographic location).
For network targeting, you can choose between these options:
Google Search: Your standard Google Ads search campaign. You select the keywords you want to buy (ads show up on the Google search engine results page only. And it’s optional opt into the Google Search Partner Network).
Google Shopping: Google Shopping Ads show products (image ads) related to keywords. Do a search for a product and you’ll likely see online retailers advertising in this space.
Google Display Network: Display ads appear across the millions of websites that are part of the Google Network.
YouTube: Video ads that appear on YouTube.
Universal App Campaigns: For promoting mobiles app for download and engagement.
Pro-tip: Develop a naming convention for your campaigns. Something like - Brand Name | Campaign Type | Geographic Target. This will make your accounts that much more organized and easy to manage. From there… you can decide how these individual campaigns should be separated.
Options for Segmenting Your Campaigns
Segmentation 1: By Keyword Theme
This is a default for us, we separate keywords at the campaign level by their theme. That might be ‘brand’ (keywords containing your brand name) or non-brand keywords (keywords that are relevant to your business, but aren’t your brand), competitor keywords and so on.
Segmentation 2: By Geographic Target
Needless to say, where you target your ads is going to have a huge impact on how your campaigns perform, making this one a no-brainer. You’ll want to segment here as much as possible as well… otherwise, your larger geographic targets will use up all of your budget.
Segmentation 3: By Keyword Match Type:
Are you familiar with the different keyword match types? Broad, phrase, modified broad, exact. If not, you need to read up and understand the difference, as your choice will have a big impact on your account. Chose the wrong type and you’re spending the budget on irrelevant search queries, too narrow and you’re not getting any traffic.
Pro-tip: You can build a high performing account by using only a modified broad match, and exact match keywords.
Segmentation 4: By Network Targeting:
You have to do this anyway, but this is where you would have different campaigns for things like ‘Display Remarketing’, YouTube advertising, search etc.
There are many other ways to organize your account, but using these 4 types is going to be sufficient for most accounts.
Ad Groups, Keywords and Ads
Within each campaign are your ad groups, and within each ad group is where your keywords and ads are located.
When it comes to ad groups, the most important thing to do is group keywords into ‘themes’. That way, you’ll be able to write custom ads for each keyword theme. An example of this is would be grouping clothing items into men’s and women’s in order to write relevant ads and send them to the correct product page on a website:
Ad group 1 - Men’s Jeans
Keywords - buy men’s jeans, mens jeans sale
Ad - An ad specifically about mens jeans
Landing page - www.shop.com/mens-jeans
Ad group 2 - Women’s Jeans
Keywords - buy womens jeans, womens jeans sale
Ad - An ad specifically about womens jeans
Landing page - www.shop.com/womens-jeans
It’s easy to see why you want to structure your ad groups this way, as it provides maximum relevance for the searcher, and Google will reward you for that with a higher quality score and lower CPC.
This should give you a solid idea of how to structure your Google Ads account, from there, it can get much more complicated.
Advanced Account Structures:
Want to really geek out on this stuff?
Accounts with enough spend and data should look at organizing at a very granular level. To the point where you have a single keyword associated with a set of ads. This allows you to really hone in on ad copy/keyword relevance and improve those metrics over time.
An example of this is called the Alpha/Beta account structure. This is an approach that can work really well, and is what we recommend for many accounts.
You basically set up two types of campaigns (several of these within the account):
‘Beta’ campaigns - used for keyword mining and discovery
‘Alpha’ campaigns - containing winning search queries from your beta campaign.
Using search query data from the beta campaigns, you’ll be able to understand exactly how people search on your chosen keywords. By using this data over time, you feed your top performing keywords into your Alpha campaign.
This is based on using SKAGS (Single Keyword Ad Groups) to control your keyword/ad relevance. More on the technical details of this here. This maximizes relevance, and will drive up CTR’s, drive down CPC’s and CPA’s.
Audience based campaigns:
Did you know that you can target your keywords to specific audiences on Google Ads now? Again this is only relevant for accounts with a decent level of traffic and spend. You can do this by uploading lists, using Google Analytics or Google Ads remarketing audiences. A few examples of this are:
Promote offers to certain audiences: Say you have promotion or a sale that only pertains to existing customers of yours, you can do this by layering in that audience list to your campaign to write more relevant ads and send to different landing pages.
Target to audiences already interested: Google has predefined audiences that you can use to narrow the targeting of your campaign. If you’re wanted to reach a certain subset of an audience, you can layer this into your campaign targeting and increase the relevance of your ads.
Exclude audiences: In the same way that you can target your campaigns to certain audiences, you can also exclude people from seeing your ads. If you have multiple products or services and don’t want to cross-promote, this would come in handy.
This should help you on your way to set up great campaigns on Google that perform well and are easily optimizable. If you have questions about any of this stuff, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!