Developing a great account structure is the key to getting off on the right foot in the PPC game. The first layer of a PPC account is the campaign level.

Google suggests mimicking the structure (or “sitemap”) of your site into an AdWords campaign which I highly agree with as this will be the foundation for your reporting as well. However, I believe in something called EXTREME SEGMENTATION. This is the process of reviewing every single factor related to your business and expanding on this site map in relation to Google settings.

The campaign level is where budgets, network distribution, device targeting,  geo targets, time of day targets, day of week targets, bidding options, ad extensions, and many more important aspects are selected. Therefore, it is incredibly important to take all of these into consideration when developing your campaign structure.

Starting with just this in mind; let’s take a look at a sample account using as an example.

Coffee for Less Sitemap

  • Basics Campaign Structure Sample:
    • Coffee Pods
    • Ground Coffee
    • Coffee Beans
    • Coffee Machines
    • Hot Chocolate
  • Extreme Segmentation Campaign Structure Sample:
    1. Coffee Pods – Desktop – Google Only
    2. Coffee Pods – Mobile – Google Only
    3. Coffee Pods – Tablet – Google Only
    4. Coffee Pods – Desktop – Google & Search Partners
    5. Coffee Pods – Mobile – Google & Search Partners
    6. Coffee Pods – Tablet – Google & Search Partners
    7. Coffee Pods – Desktop – Display Network
    8. Coffee Pods – Mobile – Display Network
    9. Coffee Pods – Tablet – Display Network

AdWords Campaign Segmentation

Without even getting into Multi Variable targeting such as GEO, TOD & DOW targeting, we turned 1 campaign of coffee pods into 9 different coffee pod campaigns.

Some might ask why? Do you think you should bid the same for people on desktops vs. mobile phones vs. tablets? Well, the answer is NO; the competition is different, the users are different, conversion rates are different, and many more reasons. So why would anyone ever lump them into one campaign? You can apply these same principles to network distribution. Google Only, Search Partners & Display Network are all very different and require different budgets, bids & strategy.

As a side note, when I started my SEM career eight years ago, my boss told me the first thing you ever do when creating a campaign is opt out of the Google Display Network (was called the Content Network back then). This type of segmentation has been around since the beginning; however, it has become a lost art.

Segmentation extends further than just Google campaign settings. Any experienced SEM professional will tell you that Broad Match Keywords & Exact Match Keywords ROI varies dramatically with exact match ROI being 10X that of broad match. In my eyes, match type should be a campaign setting because I want to maximize my spend on exact match (10X ROI) and control my spend on broad match while using it to learn about users query behavior.

So now take our example of Coffee Pods that started off as 1 campaign, expanded to 6 search campaigns & 3 display campaigns. If you multiply that by the 4 major match types (Broad, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase & Exact), you now have 24 Coffee Pod Search Campaigns & 3 Coffee Pods Display Campaigns.

It doesn’t stop here, display has many segments to take into account; contextual, placement, Enhanced Online Campaign, Remarketing, Category, Audience, etc.

It’s a good thing Google expanded its campaign limits from 100 campaigns per account to 500 campaigns per account in order to make room for Extreme Segmentation.

While this might sound overwhelming to do manually, Elite SEM uses a propriety campaign management tool in order to streamline this extreme segmentation.

While account structure is the foundation in building a successful PPC account there are many other things that must be done to hit a homerun in the PPC world.

If you were looking for a RONCO “Set It & Forget It” type marketing channel then PPC isn’t for you.

Next Up – Zach Morrison, Vice President Of Elite SEM, tackles Extreme Segmentation at The Ad Group/Keyword/Ad Level To Ensure Conversion Rate Optimization Not Click Through Rate Optimization

Zach Morrison is the Vice President of Elite SEM Inc, a search engine marketing agency based in New York City. Zach is an SEM professional, having been quoted in national publications such as Mashable & Amex Open Forum, appointed as an adjunct professor at NYU, and featured in Expert Series on Grovo.