ONE OF THE key factors in building a paid search campaign for success literally begins with a logically planned and executed campaign and ad group structure. It’s amazing how many poorly organized paid search campaign structures I have assessed over the last few years. It is especially surprising since it has been well documented that relevancy is one of the main ingredients of Google’s Quality Score. Smaller sets of like keywords with ad creatives specific to those keywords makes a more sound and targeted ad group ultimately driving more effective traffic at a lower cost.
I suppose that either lack of resources, lack of understanding or just plain carelessness are some of the root-causes of poorly organized campaigns. The interesting thing is that it’s not terribly difficult to design a campaign structure for Quality Score. It’s actually much harder to reverse engineer an several hundred ad groups each with 1000′s of keywords that are dissimilar. How anyone can effectively measure user behavior and work toward efficiency in such a state is beyond me.
Paid Search Campaign Criteria
When thinking about how to set up your paid search campaign structure it is critical to think about each of your products, categories or services as separate entities. In the 2007 Norman Bodek translation of Dr Shigeo Shingo’s Kaizen and the Art of Creative Thinking – The Scientific Thinking Mechanism (1959), Shingo opens the first chapter with explaining the Principles of Analytical Thinking. In his explanation of this type of thinking Shingo defines the Principles of Division which is a very basic way of defining group criteria. The Principle of Division itself helps to divide groups into to segments – contrasting or continuous. Contrasting groups ‘can be separated clearly, as in A or not A’. Examples of contrasting groups would include Male and Female, Dr and Nurse, Beer and Wine, PPC and SEO and so on. Continuous groups are ‘not as easy to discern’. Examples here include Adult and youth, Tall and Short, Medium-rare and Medium-well etc.
Of the two types of grouping criteria – contrasting and continuous – ‘it is essential for dividing criteria to be as clear and distinct as possible’. With that in mind, continuous groups make poor candidates for campaigns and are better suited as ad groups. Ensuring that your campaigns are as contrasting as possible is ideal for setting up a structure that is logical, easy to report on and makes optimization and expansion more effective.
As an example, if you are building a campaign for a clothing retailer that sells mens and womens clothing (pants, shirts, jeans, shoes, coats, etc) it is more effective to divide the campaigns by gender rather than by product:
CAMPAIGN >Ad Group
MENS >Pants >Shirts >Jeans…
WOMENS >Pants >Shirts >Jeans…
PANTS >Mens >Womens
SHIRTS >Mens >Womens
In this case, division by gender allows the ad groups to become more granular and more relevant over time. This is also essential in helping you to decide how to allocate budget towards your higher performing categories or brands, gives you better understanding into buyer behavior and prioritizes testing, expansion and optimization.