PPC Basics #5 - Account Structure

Accounts need to be structured carefully to show users the most relevant ad, and landing page, for their search. Having a well structured account means your ad engagement is high, and Google will “reward” you accordingly with better Quality Scores and, ultimately, lower CPCs.


Top level. This should be broken down by campaign type (Search, Display, Shopping, etc), and then try to match your website structure to your campaigns, ideally by product.

If you cannot do this (i.e. if your site is quite simple or you have a small number of products/services), try breaking your campaigns down by user intent or value/revenue – given that budget is added at the campaign level, this will allow you to filter your spend to the products/services that are more likely to make you money.

2. Ad Group

Campaigns contain one or more ad groups, and each contains targeting criteria (keywords for Search, audience, keywords, demographics and placements for Display, and shopping feeds for Shopping) and ads.

For Search, break your ad groups down by types of keywords, bearing in mind that you will need to write ads that apply to every keyword in that ad group. Generally, you want to have each campaign covering a product/service/etc., and then each ad group within it will break down the keywords further into subcategories. For example, if you were selling men’s coats you could have a campaign for each type of coat (bomber, parka, trench, etc.) and then the ad groups could cover different colours and sizes.

For Display, break your ad groups down by different user types so that you can tailor your image ads to each one. For example, if you were selling travel packages, you could have one ad group for users interested in travel to Europe and another for those interested in North America.

For Shopping, break your ad group down by product group (product type, brand, etc.) or priority (such as high ROI items or those you have lots of stock of). You also have the option of displaying one product per ad or an ad showcasing multiple products, and this is decided at ad group level, so bear this in mind during your set-up.


Targeting – Keyword (Search)

Ad groups in Search campaigns each need at least one keyword to trigger our ad(s). Once you’ve got your list of keywords, decide on the match types you’re going to use, and then break them down into ad groups. Each ad group should contain a list of tightly themed keywords.

For example, if you were selling women’s shoes you might have a campaign for heels, an ad group within it for red heels, and the keywords within that could be “red heels”, burgundy heels”, “crimson womens heels”.

Targeting – Audience, Keyword, Demographic, Placement (Display)

Targeting options for Display are varied. You can choose:

  • In-Market Audience – a group of users interested in a particular thing (gardening, music, luxury shopping etc.). Remarketing & Similar Audiences – Users who have visited your site or a specific part of your site, or automatically created “similar user” lists that Google create from your remarketing lists.
  • Keyword – a list of keywords that your users will be interested in or sites relating to those keywords
  • Demographic – specifics about your target users: age, gender, income, marital status, parental status, education, etc.
  • Placement – websites you want your ads to appear on.

For each ad group, decide on the kind of user you want to reach and how you want to reach them. You can combine different targeting methods in one ad group to refine your target audience. For example, you could target men under 25 who are interested in music festivals, and you could advertise to them while they are looking at sites relating to dance music.

Targeting – Shopping Feed (Shopping)

Shopping campaign set-up is slightly different in that your feed determines how your ads target users, you don’t get to choose directly (although you can obviously consider that when creating your feed).

The only changes you can make to targeting past the ad group level for this campaign type are product groups and bidding. So you can break down your feed into product groups (e.g. brand or even individual item) and bid separately for each one.

4. Ad

Ads can be text- (for Search) or image-based (for Display). Shopping ads are automatically generated based on your shopping feed and Merchant Centre settings.

Make sure your ad is relevant to the targeting you have used in that ad group so that it appeals to the users you reach, with both ad content and the landing page you choose. Highlight what it is you are offering, why the user should come to you, and include a Call To Action to drive users to purchase/contact you.

Each ad type has rules and specifications you must adhere to – for example, character count for text ads, ad sizes for image ads. If you break these rules or Google’s advertising policies, your ads can be disapproved and won’t be displayed.


Additions to the basic structure


Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be used to stop irrelevant search terms from triggering an ad.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are additions to Search ads which provide more information and/or encourage the user to take action.

Campaign Settings

Settings determine how/when/where your ads are delivered.


Contact Huxley if you need some advice or help with your PPC. We offer a free 30 minute phone call consultation to find out if we can help.