Ad Group Creation Strategies

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “Ad Group Creation Strategies.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you believe an ad group should be structured? Why?

  • I don’t put a limit on keywords as long as they’re all variations of the same word. – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
  • With a few, targeted keywords that match the ad copy. Sometimes 1, sometimes a handful. For analysis, so you know what’s in the ad group, so your keyword intent matches ad copy, etc. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • Go granular to start but don’t overdo it until you get search volume, which dictates more granularity & segmentation. – Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
    • Great point. You can always break out more later. Don’t granulate yourself to death. – Jeremy Brown
    • In fact too granular can sometimes hurt by being tagged with low volume keywords. – Matt Umbro
    • Low Search Volume kills Granularity way too often. – James Svoboda
    • It stinks because you are trying to be as segmented as possible, but it ends up hurting you. – Matt Umbro
  • Tightly themed by keyword segments that match the LP/site content. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • A general rule I follow is that DKI should work in 99% of cases (not that I generally use DKI, but it’s a good barometer). – Matt Umbro
  • I often have one ad group per campaign – because I like the campaign level settings. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
    • How many campaings? 100, 300, more? – James Svoboda
  • 10-20 related keywords (30 MAX!), relevant to the campaign theme, direct to relevant ad/landing page. – Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
  • (1) All KW modifiers get new AG. (2) match types get separated as much as possible so can add mirrored Negs to direct traffic. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Small targeted group of keywords accompanied by (ideally) 2 ads customised to answer the searches the adgroup will address. – Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
  • Adgroups should house closely related terms, and relevant adcopy to obtain a high QS. – Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
  • I try to keep my ad groups tightly themed. Sometimes they grow over time and you find opportunity to divide out new ones. – Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
    • You’re completely right Amy, you can dissect them even further depending on their performance. – Juan Restrepo
  • SKAGs (single keyword ad groups) are my fav with the Alpha-Beta campaign structure but not always the easiest to scale. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
  • No set rule. SKAG’s for high volume keywords, but some misspelling AG’s can reach 100s. Whatever makes sense for ad copy. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Don’t forget potential for ad group-level extensions, bid modifiers, etc. Not just KWs & ads. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
    • Agreed! Ad extensions are a must. I also like using a mix of match types. – Margot da Cunha
  • At least 3 Ads and a group of closely related keywords sharing a common theme. – Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
  • To start Similar kw matched together with synonmous goals while making good use of phrase and broad match modified keywords. – Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
  • I totally don’t separate match types until the data tells me to. – Heather Cooan
  • Just repeating the general theme. Granular enough to write tailored ad copy for the keyword set. – Amanda Brown (@AmandaBrown_SEM)
  • Two things to consider: 1. Ad text/query match 2. Time taken to manage. – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
  • Essentially, what everybody else said. No more than 10 keywords rolled around literal similarities. *Please* don’t separate Ad Groups by Match Types. Do it at the campaign level. – Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
    • Don’t completely agree, but I would not have an ad group for every match type. Let volume lead. – Jeremy Brown
  • Query mis-matches, happen too. Might need to pull certain keywords into a sep ad group so you can add a negative to another. – Amy Bishop
    • Would argue that your negative keyword strategy is even more important than your ad group structure. A proper structure is necessary, but need to implement negatives for queries to trigger correct ads. – Matt Umbro
  • The usage of negative keywords per adgroup will also allow the account to better serve ads to search queries. – Juan Restrepo
  • For eComm, ad groups that follow nav structure of site – going from general and brand terms to prod names and long tail. – Katherine Romero (@KatherineRomero)
  • I like making highly targeted ad groups and breaking them out into broad, phrase & exact once there is enough data. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Think about ad group performance & ad copy mgmt. Don’t create a hundred ad groups just for the sake of it. Make it actionable! – Kim Thomas (@PPCkim)

Q2: In what scenarios would you break out keywords into their own ad groups? Why?

  • When they hog the budget and need to go to solitary. – Heather Cooan
  • Only when there is tons of traffic for the KW, or very diff performance from other KWs. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Only when performance dictates…and brand core. – Amanda Brown
  • If a term has a fundamentally diff meaning, it gets fundamentally diff copy. Color, size, timing etc. That and performance. – Aaron Levy
  • This doesn’t appear to be popular. But I nearly always break out Match Types. IMO future bidding gets too screwed up otherwise. – Kirk Williams
  • Performance and volume dictates segmentation – better conversion rates, CPAs, CTRs by even more specific copy & LPs. – Andy Groller
  • Testing & volume although this is also another great example of why negatives are so important. – Cassandra McClure (@imcassy)
  • You want to test the keywords with a different match type + negative keyword strategy. – Mike Gardo (@MikeGardo)
  • Low ctr. Low conv rate. Very different bid required. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • Volume. Performance. Control. – Jeremy Brown
  • Once the adgroup grows through additions from search term report that 2 more specific groups can be made. – Bryce Liggins
  • When you are experiencing high traffic volumes and you want to better restrain impressions. or keywords with much higher CTRs. – Juan Restrepo
  • In any scenario that gives me a bigger QS, more control or any other reason that increases my ROI. – Roxana Hassel
  • DSAs and Shopping campaigns are great for finding new campaigns and groups! – Matt Umbro
  • When they get a lot of clicks but not a lot of conversions and they’re still highly relevant. – Heather Cooan
  • Mainly performance base. Viewing data by several segmentations can make that decision easier. – Joe Martinez
  • For eComm, head terms w vastly varying Conv rates and/or CTRs. Usually bread & butter of revenue so test test test each element. – Katherine Romero
  • Break out ad groups for relevancy, by match type, profitability, in order to funnel traffic better & create specific messaging. – Kim Thomas
  • Very rarely break out keywords into separate ad groups, they’d need to be using up a lot of budget. – Jason James
  • If performance is substantially different but worth keeping active I would probably put it in a separate campaign entirely. – Amy Bishop
  • When they are high volume converters with low margins. – Heather Cooan
  • Also when certain keywords end up serving a different goal then others. – Margot da Cunha
  • If you’re doing your job right, you’re going to learn new things about your KWs/client that will dictate ad group changes. – Mike Gardo
  • Keywords have volume / not LSV, and Intent is different or current text ads can better match query if broken up. – Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcelll)
  • My Strat, segment Ad Groups by messaging, by Rev or CPA targets/potential, and negative keyword targeting. – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)

Q3: Do you break out your Shopping campaigns by ad group? Why or why not?

  • No don’t do this. Keep everything in one place and avoid the granularity/control you get with segmentation. – Richard Fergie
  • Yes. By using priority settings, embedded negatives and tiered bidding you can gain control over mathcing queries. – James Svoboda
  • Yes. Cuz traffic sculpting and data clarity. – Heather Cooan
  • Sometimes. To use negatives to show only certain product types. – Amanda Brown
  • Yes, if the volume dictates it. Also, it’s great to have a separate All Products campaign for most accounts. – Jeremy Brown
  • Yes: (1) To organize account for easier mgmt (2) to logically separate product groups so can use neg KWs for traffic control. – Kirk Williams
  • Yes it offers clarity and control. – Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
  • Yes, gives more control over priority bidding, negatives, etc. – Andy Groller
  • And for the Shopping RLSA beta (sshhhhh!!) ad group segmentation is preferred for better audience segmentation. – Matt Umbro
  • YES! By product for bidding, ROI, and brand positioning reasons. – Katherine Romero
  • Yes, better high-level view of health along w/ helps me to make quicker decisions around high & low performing product groups. – Cassandra McClure
  • Haven’t really found much need to break out Ad Groups in shopping campaigns with Product Groups available here. – Jason James
  • Yes mainly to also compare performance. Different creative for different keywords. – Geoffrey Colon (@djgeoffe)

Q4: Why should advertisers break out their ad groups by match type? Why shouldn’t they?

  • I rec breaking out by match type if you need a negative keyword strategy (for brand/products) at the ad group level. Otherwise it can be cumbersome to breakout for the sake of breaking out. Only do it if needed for control. – Christi Olson
  • When volume dictates. Let volume guide you. Same rule for when creating exact-only campaigns. – Jeremy Brown
  • I’ve only done match type breakouts for very high traffic campaigns. Easier to control bids, saved time on negative KW research. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Query mapping! Exact should be your good stuff, broad should be research stuff. Breaking it out = easier control. – Aaron Levy
  • Can be helpful in accounts where mapping is an issue, so to strengthen the negative strategy. – Amy Bishop
  • I tend to do it because broad usually has a different ROI. – Steve Gibson
  • Google “should” always default to the most restrictive match type… not sure if this happens. – Steve Cameron
  • By breaking the in match type they can better serve ads to each individual search,it will also allow them to better control bids. – Juan Restrepo
  • I have never seen the need to segment ad groups by match type, and I review SQRs CONSTANTLY. Having said that, I’m also very strict about ad group and campaign level negatives and generally only use exact and mod broad. – Matt Umbro
  • Queries w/ different levels of specificity have different ROI’s. Breaking out ad groups by match type helps you find the ROIs. – Mike Gardo
  • I’m typically on the negative side of this – increases mgmt time w/o as much of benefit so negative ROI for us folks. That said, I have used in very specific situations where I absolutely need control because of stray impressions / clicks. – Andy Groller
  • Broad mapping can be crazy but I still want to mine for new keywords. – Amanda Brown
  • I use when I want to funnel traffic better (using neg. kws), or use bid adjustments that might not work at a blanketed approach. – Kim Thomas
  • I usually don’t do this b/c bid management tools will manage bids accordingly. Can be good for high volume though. – Melissa Mackey
  • And finding the ROIs helps you determine which types of customers to go after. – Mike Gardo
  • Break out for control. High converting/volume KWs should be grouped in a highly relevant exact match group. – Bryce Liggins
  • Yes. Bid most on exact, then phrase, lowest on broad. Force ads to show on exact. Use other 2 for kw prospecting. – Katherine Romero
  • Most already know my answer to this I use SKAGS when I really want to try & affect QS/CTR on specific queries w/ competition. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Outside vol mgmt & testing, haven’t found match type segs more insightful that my tightly-themed ad groups don’t already cover. – Cassandra McClure
  • Positives: Segmentation can lead to higher conv rates at lower CPAs. E & P groups for conversions. B groups for testing. – Erika Schmidt
  • Breaking down ad groups by match type just seems like work. Bid higher the more restrictive you get, and set negatives. – Margot da Cunha
  • Oh, having a B group for testing is also good for finding converting search queries to add to your P & E groups. – Erika Schmidt
  • Don’t see the need to break out by Match Type when intent is the same. – Tyler Purcell
  • Segment at campaign, ad group, and kw level by match type = killer ROAS (great CPCs, CTRs, CRs). But resource intensive. – Katherine Romero
  • Only reason I can think to seperate ad groups by match type is if you don’t trust your negative keyword research. – Tyler Purcell
  • I break out by match type for various reasons. Most common one is volume–break out hi-volume to test better ads. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • It’s not all or nothing. Let volume dictate when you do breakouts of any kind (ad group, campaign). – Jeremy Brown

Q5: Does campaign structure define your ad groups or do ad groups define your campaign structure? Why?

  • I think it varies client by client and how they are using search to support their business. – Amanda Brown
  • Client goals definite structure – usually determine campaign segments first and then ad groups within. – Amy Bishop
  • Certain campagins are cleaned up and left alone. Others are built out from scratch. Volume is key. – Jeremy Brown
  • Ad groups define my campaign structure…because I iterate and build out which means constant re-arranging. – Heather Cooan
  • Client verticals define # of camp & ad grps inside them. – Theresa Zook
  • Campaign themes come first, then ad groups fall under those sooo the first option I suppose?- Margot da Cunha
  • Website comes first – what have we got to work with? – Steve Cameron
  • Campaign structure is built around biz goals, so that always comes first for me. – Katherine Romero
  • Ad group performance can define campaign strucutre if need to budget/optimize differently based on performance. – Kim Thomas
  • Campaigns define ad groups based on goals. More important goals = greater budget share. – Bryce Liggins
  • Website, biz goals, budget allocations for campaign structure. – Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
  • I think it has to be a Funnel of sorts. Start with campaign them and segment on down. – Tyler Purcell
  • Client objectives dictate campaign structure, closely related keyword themes dictate ad group structure for me. – Jason James
  • I always determine my campaign themes based on budget allocation, then ad groups relevant to each theme fall under the campaign. – Margot da Cunha
  • Content/Product defines Keywords, which define Ad Groups, which defiine Campaign structure. – James Svoboda

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Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
• Amanda Brown (@AmandaBrown_SEM)
• Amy Bishop (@Hoffman8)
• Andy Groller (@AndyGroller)
• Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
• Bryce Liggins (@BryceLiggins)
• Cassandra McClure (@imcassy)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Geoffrey Colon (@djgeoffe)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jason James (@Jason_A_James)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Jonathan Ng (@ThankYouJon)
• Juan Restrepo (@juanrrestrepo)
• Katherine Romero (@KatherineRomero)
• Kim Thomas (@PPCkim)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Leo Sussan (@lsussan)
• Margot da Cunha (@ChappyMargot)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Knight (@MichaelAKnight)
• Mike Gardo (@MikeGardo)
• Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Roxana Hassel (@RoxanaHassel)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Tyler Purcell (@tylerpurcell)

Streamcap Creation Strategies

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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One Response to Ad Group Creation Strategies

  1. […] If you pay any attention to PPCChat, you probably saw a good debate going on over there last Tuesday: Ad Group Creation Strategies. […]

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