AdWords Structure: Accounts, Campaigns & Ad Groups

When you begin a PPC account from scratch, you are presented with a blank slate with which to work. As a beginner, where do you go from here?

Search online and you’ll quickly find blog posts discussing all kinds of terms, such as campaigns, ad groups and match types, as well as information on various ways to structure it all to get the best results. It’s easy for a beginner to get confused if you don’t understand the terminology to begin with!

What Do These Terms Mean?

Account: The account is the top level. It holds your campaigns, ad groups and keywords. You set your billing information at the account-level and also choose the people (they may be colleagues, external consultants, Google employees or agencies) that can access your account information.

Campaign: This hold ad groups and keywords, and you set your daily budgets at this level. Campaigns give you a lot of settings to play around with to get everything working just as you want it – including choosing which country you want to target.

Ad groups: You’ll have multiple ad groups in one campaign. It’s these that store your keywords and ads, and you can assign a default bid for all your keywords inside an ad group here.

ppc account structure

So Where Do You Start?

It’s generally considered best practice to decide on a theme you want to target first – brand terms, product terms or generic related terms for example – then set up campaigns to target those themes. Campaigns can also be split up by country, allowing you to change the budget and bids based on location, too.

Once you have an idea of the terms you want to target, you can start researching keywords that you want to show up for. If you’re looking to launch a brand campaign, you’ll want keywords and phrases relating directly to your brand, while more general themed keywords relating to your type of product would go in a different campaign.

I’ve discussed keywords previously in this post, so check it out if you haven’t already to get a better understanding of the types of keywords you’d select.

So you’ve got your campaign and you’ve collected some keywords that fit what you want to target. Next, you split them into ad groups.

For many reasons I’ll get too later, there may only be slight differences between a keyword in one ad group and a keyword in another ad group within the same campaign. This might only be a single words difference, but could show a completely different intent behind the search.

Here’s an example – let’s say you’re setting up a campaign for a site that sells flag polls. You’ve set up a campaign that’s targeting keywords relating to just ‘flag poles’, so you’ll likely have keywords like ‘Flag poles’, ‘flag pole reviews’, ‘buy flag poles’. You’d split these into different ad groups because the people searching for those keywords are looking for different things and so need different ad copy and maybe even different bids. Your ad groups might end up looking something like this:

Ad group:          Flag poles           Flag pole reviews           Buy Flag poles

Keywords:         flag pole                 review flag pole                    buy flag pole

                               flag poles               flag pole review                    flag pole buy

                               flags pole               flag poles review                  buy flag poles

Organisation Is Vital

You might have seen a pattern emerge while reading this post – organisation. You select the theme for your campaign, then split the keywords into ad groups based on their variations.

There are lots of reasons for this; it’s easier to manage, it’s easier to assign budgets and bids, it’s easier to make sure your ads are showing where you want them to using negative keywords – but possibly the biggest reason is down to quality score.

I’ve spoken about quality score in a previous post, showing the effects it can have on your ad groups and how you can benefit from trying to increase it. Quality score can improve vastly by splitting up your keywords into more specific ad groups, as each ad group will be more closely related to itself and you can write far more relevant ads.

If you’re new to PPC, hopefully this post will have made it a little easier for you to understand where to begin.