What is an ideal AdWords account structure? How granular should you make your campaigns? These are questions that often plague PPC managers. The answer is (which Susan Wenograd likes to say is the favorite PPC answer) “it depends.” After all, every business is unique so why would their account structure be the same? The size of the account, the volume of searches, the industry, locations, these all play important roles.
However, there is a generally accepted idea of what a good account structure should do. As James Svoboda describes, a company’s paid search traffic is like a river and account structure is like a number of waterfalls that divert the river into specific pools. The goal of this is, as Justin Freid states, to get users to the specific pool they want to go to as quickly and efficiently as possible (i.e. a search for red basketball shoes should trigger an ad for red basketball shoes and go to a page for red basketball shoes). By getting users where they want to go with the correct targeting and ads, you will improve your performance. We can’t actually control whether or not users click on our ads among other things, but one of the few things we can control completely is account structure.
Freid’s most important takeaway is to remember that your campaigns are for 2 audiences, searchers and the search engine, so you want to employ strategies for both what Google wants and what humans want. Speaking to the human element, it is important to remember that ad groups are groups of ads not groups of keywords. It seems obvious, but PPC managers often think of the keywords because that is what they are targeting. People, however, do not see the keywords, they see the ads. So what is really important is how well the ad matches their search, not how well the keyword matches their search.
In his section, James Svoboda introduces a number of concepts and specific practices. One of these concepts is confidence as it relates to match type and how that affects bidding. With exact match keywords, you are fully confident that the query will match your high-intent keyword. With phrase match, you are less confident because additional words in the query may change the intent. So you want to bid less for those and even less for broad match modified because the risk of different intent is even higher. Pure broad match you should not even be using because there is too much flexibility in what searches can match to your keywords that your ads are far too likely to be irrelevant (i.e. loaner cars are not the same as auto loans). Another concept is that this confidence increases as the word count in your keywords goes up. The more words in your keyword, the more you are qualifying your traffic, so you can bid more confidently or target a broader geographic area. To see an example for calculating bids this way, plus other real examples, check out the slides here.
Susan Wenograd finished off this session by discussing structure strategy when it comes to taking over existing accounts. Her advice is to not reorganize accounts just for the sake of doing it because you could lose the benefits of historical performance. Instead, identify issues with the account and see if they can be resolved with a reorganization. When reorganizing, roll it out slowly, alongside the previous structure. This will prevent drastic changes to the account, and eventually, the better structure will cannibalize the worse one and you can shut that one off.
Coming full circle to “it depends,” by far the most asked question was whether or not it is necessary to break up ad groups by match type. It depends based on a number of factors, perhaps the most important being the amount of traffic. For lower traffic keywords, this may not be necessary since benefits may not be worth the additional management/setup burden, until performance dictates they need to be split up. It is important to remember when doing ad group by match type, you need to use negative keywords to make sure no exact match queries are triggering phrase match keywords and so on. But remember, ad groups are groups of ads, so how relevant the ads are to users’ queries will inform what level of granularity is needed.
About the Speakers
Justin Freid, VP of Emerging Media, CMI Media
James Svoboda, CEO, WebRanking
Susan Wenograd, Partner & SEM Manager, Five Mill Inc.
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