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The Beginner’s Guide to Keyword PPC: Part 1- Account Structure September 30, 2007

Posted by Ryan Douglas in Advertising.
Tags: , , , ,

One of the biggest problems I see with most keyword advertising accounts is poor account structure. While it is more commonly found in those starting out in keyword PPC bidding, it can still be a problem in established accounts. While Google AdWords, Yahoo Sponsored Search, and MSN adCenter are unique in details, all three rely on the same underlying account structure; account, campaign, and ad group. Within one account there may be 1 or many campaigns. Within each campaign, there may be 1 or more ad group. Within each ad group, there will be 1 or more keyword. The goal of these accounts is to create a hierarchal structure that groups like keywords as tight as possible respective to their ad group and campaign.

Basic Account Structure

There are several reasons to separate keywords, which reason why may depend on your advertising goals or unique business offering. This is just a basic overview of some tactics and organizational tips for your own PPC accounts.

Take for example a Car Audio and Electronics retailer. They may organize their account by component type at the campaign level, then ad groups by speaker size and have the manufacturers at the keyword level. This advertiser sells CD player which average $200 in sales per conversion. The average speaker keyword conversion results in $75 sales per conversion. The advertiser can effectively spend more on advertising for cd players than speakers, and can adjust campaign budgets and spending targets per product type.

Account Structure 3

Alternatively, the advertiser may choose to organize the account by component type, then by manufacturer, then by product keyword. This method is beneficial because the advertiser can quickly identify the product keywords by manufacturer and adjust the ad groups individually. Sony speakers may have a smaller markup than Pioneer speakers, thus the advertiser needs to ensure their CPA is lower than the ad group Pioneer. Like the above structure, the advertiser can effectively spend more on advertising for cd players than speakers, but also has one more level of control based on manufacturer.

Account Structure 4

While the possibilities are nearly infinite, here are a few other things to consider when structuring your account.

  • Duplicate campaigns to run specifically on Content and Search.
  • Group keywords on a granular level. The more detailed, the more campaigns and ad groups you are likely to have.
  • Use geo-targeting for campaigns if applicable. If you only ship car stereos to Los Angeles, California, you shouldn’t be running ads in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Name your campaigns and ad groups something meaningful. Avoid numerical designations such as “Ad group 1, Ad group 2…”. Give them a name you can quickly identify (should you forget) and this helps a whole lot when running reports.


1. Rose Sylvia - October 2, 2007

Thank you for this visual aid in explaining logically account structure and thorough, concise coverage of this topic. I will add links to this post and share it with clients so that they can more easily understand proper account organization.

Another reason for separate ad groups is the effective use of dynamic keyword insertion – something that I believe should be used only with wisdom and caution. It can be effectively used in SEPARATE ad groups when selling products that have make, model, and model number.

One ad group would have only model numbers in it and the Title should have the make and/or model name outside the {KeyWord: Default Phrase} like this: Brand {KeyWord: Default Phrase}.

The next ad group would have the make/model number or model/model number and use a different keyword inserted title. By doing this you do not end up with ineffective titles and better control what is displayed.

I look forward to reading your previous and future posts and sharing them with others. Thank you.

2. Simon Shull Foust - October 27, 2007

Ryan, great post. Keep em up.

3. Audio Car Pioneer Speaker - January 31, 2008

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4. Mo - October 8, 2009

I am a visual learner I;d like to think,
And you have just earned my respect.
Straight to the point…
And will be back on a sunday šŸ˜‰

5. Edolmen Sviluppo Siti Web - June 1, 2010

I’m Impressed how much you variate the keywords. I have to restructure some of my campaigns right now

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