We frequently discuss PPC account structure and with good reason: your account structure can greatly affect the performance of your campaign. Honestly, I believe that account structure is one of the most important (if not the most important) elements of your PPC campaign.

Recently, we acquired a new client who had been using another firm to manage their PPC. Our client hired us because he wasn’t seeing the results that he thought were attainable. Once we dug into the account we found that it was in very poor shape and we want to make sure no one else is making these mistakes.

Campaign/Ad group: The account had only one campaign and within this campaign there were a good number of ad groups that were poorly themed. You should always have your account segmented into high-level campaigns with tightly-themed ad groups. Having only one campaign does not allow you to be as specific with your ad groups, and it makes the account very difficult to manage and optimize properly.

The second major offense, and this strategy puzzles us, is that they had match types separated into different ad groups. For example, one keyword would appear in three different ad groups; one for broad, one for exact and one for phrase. Using match types can help determine user intent and you can use this data to focus on the match type that works best for your audience. But separating the match types doesn’t make much sense.

Negative keywords:This was the element of the account that really puzzled us. In the campaigns that were utilizing broad match, they had inserted negative exact match keywords of the same keywords.

For example, if they had the broad match keyword “red tennis shoe” they also had the negative exact match of that keyword [red tennis shoe] in the same ad group. This means they were essentially canceling this keyword and displaying for every other variation of the same keyword. Does your brain hurt? Yes, we found this confusing as well!

Ad text testing: Each of the poorly constructed ad groups had only one ad text running. You should be constantly testing your ad texts in order to increase your click-through rate. And it didn’t appear as if they were running with their best ads; it looked as if they had only inserted one ad.

Bidding strategy: All of their keywords were set at the ad group level, at $0.36. We aren’t certain where this bid came from or why it was applied to every keyword but obviously, this is not a good strategy. You should have individual bids set up for most of your keywords, especially those keywords that drive the most traffic.

Here are the mistakes to avoid that were made in this account:

  • Your account structure is crucial. A well-planned structure will make for easier campaign management on all fronts: keywords, budget, ad texts, bids. Basically a good account structure will make your life easier and your campaign more successful.
  • Always be split testing your ad texts.
  • Set individual bids for your keywords as you optimize to increase your click-through rate and conversion rate.
  • Utilize your match types properly and use your negative keywords wisely.