Heroview - PPC Account Structure & Organization

By Megan Stout | @Hanapin | Senior Designer at Hanapin Marketing

Organization in PPC is essential! Today our Heroview focused on just that: PPC account structure & organization. Cassie Allinger (@CassieAllinger), a Sr SEM Strategist at @dealerdotcom, pulled back the curtain on her organization and account structure techniques & showed us how it’s done!

Welcome to today’s Heroview, everyone! Real-time interviews featuring PPC experts from around the industry! As a reminder, we’ll have some time at the end to open up for questions, so hang onto those until the end! Today, Cassie Allinger will discuss her methods for organizing and structuring both new and existing paid search campaigns. We’re really excited to have you with us today, Cassie! Thanks for joining PPC Hero!

Cassie: No thank YOU! I’m extremely stoked, and honored, to be here.

PPC Hero: Why don’t we start with you giving us a little more info about your background in PPC?

Cassie: I’ve been working in digital marketing space for a while, but I’ve specifically been focusing on search for the past 2 years or so. It didn’t take me long to fall head over heels with PPC. I’ve had the pleasure of working with companies of all sizes, shapes, and verticals … I love it all. Right now I’m a Senior SEM Strategist at @DealerDotCom  Here at DDC we focus solely on automotive, which is pretty awesome!

PPC Hero: It’s easy to fall head over heals for #PPC! You’re in good company there!

Cassie: It most certainly is 🙂

PPC Hero: Before structuring an account, what kind of organizational pre-planning do you believe is necessary?

Cassie:  You need to figure out what the backbone of your organizational strategy is going to be. Products, Product Categories, Color, Function, Price, Features, Action Verbs (to name a few) Characterize your target customers. Which strategy best aligns with the way your customers make decisions? Start with that. It’ll take you where you need to be.

PPC Hero: Does the client become involved with your proposed strategies? If so, what are some tips for handling this?

Cassie: To an extent. The key is to lean on the client for insight into his/her business, not direction. Account organization and strategy has to make sense to the person managing that account.

PPC Hero: On average, how many keywords do you like to see in your ad groups? Why?

Cassie: Oh I’d say 4-10? On average. The tighter the adgroups, the stronger the relevancy.

PPC Hero: Makes Perfect sense!

PPC Hero: Additionally, how many ad groups do you like to see in each campaign? Are there any benefits or drawbacks?

Cassie: As many as necessary. In most cases, the more the better, because it [hopefully] means that your adgroups are tight.

PPC Hero: I see! So what are some of the ways in which you have classified your ad groups while maintaining tight themes?

Cassie: It really depends. Do your customers shop by product type, or by color? Or Both? Those patterns should be reflected both in your ad group organization, and your website.  Conversion optimization is totally different ball game, but the questions that you should ask are quite similar. 🙂

PPC Hero: In your experience, what role do campaign settings play in your overall organization and strategy?

Cassie: I’d say the biggest roles here are budgets, geotargeting, and device targeting. You need to separate these out for campaign optimization and data analysis. Aligning budgets with your business goals is extremely important, especially for small businesses. Campaign settings allow you to control this.

PPC Hero: Let’s say your taking on a new client. What are the most important things to consider when starting from scratch?

Cassie: Get a feel for your client’s understanding of PPC and his business objectives. This will drive your overall strategy, which will drive organization. Client & industry research is so important!

PPC Hero: On the other hand, what are some important structural considerations for taking on an existing client?

Cassie: Don’t create extra campaigns just for the hell of it. I see this a lot; a budget spread thin over too many campaigns for no particular reason. If you are not separating out particular settings or budgets, keep it in the same campaign.

PPC Hero: We’ve seen this one too many times too! Can be a bad situation!

Cassie: It most certainly can! It’s probably one of the first things I fix whenever taking over a campaign.

PPC Hero: Does your organization and structure change based on search engine? For example, AdWords vs. adCenter?

Cassie: It’s smart to keep them as consistent as possible, for management purposes. However, given that bidding strategies are likely to vary between the two, it’s not unusual to see the breakdown of adgroups differ slightly.

PPC Hero: Have you ever segmented your campaigns and/or ad groups by match type? If so, what were the advantages?

Cassie: I have. The biggest advantage is definitely ease of management and analysis, but there are others.  With that said, I’ve never been a fan of phrase and broad match keywords. In most cases, you can accomplish what you need with only exact and modified broad match keywords, and save boatloads of time. And negatives!

PPC Hero: PPC is a dynamic industry. Do you think the standard structural hierarchy will ever evolve into something else? 

Cassie: Of course! The release of new features and options will have a huge impact on structure necessities & best practices.

PPC Hero:  Last Question: If there was only one thing you could leave us with today, what would that one thing be?

Cassie:  Don’t get stale! Re-evaluate organization as needed. As the business changes, your account needs to change with it.

 PPC Hero: Great last words! Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

Cassie: Awesome! J This was a blast, and I thank you so much for inviting me to join #Heroview!

PPC Hero: Thanks for joining us today, Cassie! We really appreciate you taking the time to “drop some PPC knowledge” on the Twitter-verse!

Cassie:  Anytime!!