How To Structure & Setup PPC Campaigns

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Advertising
How To Structure & Setup PPC Campaigns

Have you ever compared a mature PPC campaign with one from a new advertiser? The most striking difference is typically the campaign’s focus and its role in the overall account structure. That’s because an account’s structure becomes more and more complex as you take steps to optimize your accounts. Focused ad groups and campaigns give you tighter control over your spend and ads and go a long way to help you maximize your ROI. Advanced advertisers, in their infinite wisdom, don’t wait to build out focused campaigns and neither should you. In this post, I’ll walk you through some simple steps to help you plan out your account structure and setup high-performing PPC campaigns.

Advanced advertisers don’t wait to build out focused campaigns. Neither should you.

Note: While I’m writing with paid search campaigns across Google AdWords & Bing Ads in mind, many of these tips will still apply to Facebook Ads & LinkedIn Ads as well.

Splitting Up Campaigns

This chart below shows the basic structure of an account:

  • Accounts contain campaigns and account-specific settings.
  • Campaigns contain ad groups and campaign-specific settings.
  • Ad groups contain ads, keywords (or other targeting) and ad group-specific settings.
PPC Account Structure

PPC account structure. Source: AdWords Help

Tip: The more specific and fine-grain you make your account structure, the more relevant your ads will be and the better your quality scores will be. The better your quality scores, the greater the discount you receive on your advertising. High spend, high volume campaigns should especially have tight ad groups with focused keyword themes so ads can be relevant.

Split Campaigns by Goal

New advertisers often try to do it all with their first campaign. They create a simple campaign with one general ad about the business, allocate a small (but not insignificant) budget, and launch it with unrealistically high expectations. But let’s be real here: it takes more thought to build out an account with effective campaigns. It’s not necessarily difficult or time-intensive, but it does take some thought and planning.

Tip: It’s good to have a singular goal in mind for your campaign because it helps you craft your ads and landing pages to reach your goal. Here are some possible goals:

  • Do you want to generate awareness about your brand?
  • Are you trying to get traffic to your website?
  • Are you trying to sell products on your website?
  • Are you trying to generate calls to your call center?
  • Are you trying to drive traffic to your brick & mortar store?

Pick a goal for your campaign. If you have multiple goals, you may want to create a campaign for each. This also helps you measure that campaign’s success and allocate additional budget if it does well.

Split Campaigns by Category

An e-commerce website could structure their campaign by following their website navigation as a template. Simply create a campaign for each product category and an ad group for each sub category.

In the example below, the Plasma TV ad group will only contain plasma TV related keywords and plasma TV specific ads. So if someone searches Google for “Samsung plasma TV price,” your relevant and specific ad about plasma TVs will appear, rather than a vague ad about your online store.

The only way to create such specific ads is with tightly themed ad groups.

Tip: Specific ads that address the searcher’s intent will have dramatically higher click-through rates. More advanced advertisers could create a specific ad group for “Samsung plasma TV price” related keywords and populate it with ads that send searchers direct to their product catalog page for Samsung plasma TVs. The only way to create such specific ads is with tightly themed ad groups.

PPC Account Structure Example

PPC account structure example. Source: AdWords Help

Split Campaigns by Campaign Type

Another important reason to split up campaigns is to separate by campaign type. If you want to serve banner ads or advertise on blogs and niche sites, create a dedicated Google AdWords campaign that is set to serve on the Display Network Only.

Tip: You never want to create an AdWords campaign that’s set to serve on both the Search Network and Display Network because that makes the campaign difficult to optimize.

Split Campaigns by Budget

Finally, think through how you would like your budget to be distributed amongst your ad efforts. If you have a dedicated budget you’d like to put towards a specific promotion, create a separate campaign so it will have its own campaign so it has its own budget. This will ensure your money goes towards the right effort and isn’t cannibalized by another campaign. For more on this, read our post How To Set Your Campaign Budgets.

Tip: Splitting out campaigns also lets you allocate a set budget towards your best performing keywords and high margin products. If a keyword is making you a lot of money, split it up and give it a dedicated budget.

For more tips on getting started with search campaigns, check out our guides to Google AdWords & Bing Ads.

Sam Mazaheri

Sam is the Director of Online Marketing at InVision and former Director of Marketing at AdStage. Prior to AdStage, 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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