Prior to setting up your PPC account, you must strategize what type of structure works best for management and the direction you and the company will take the account moving forward. So much work goes into keyword research, ad copy messaging, bidding strategies and more, but one of the most crucial decisions is identifying the best structure for your account.

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You should consider setting up a PPC account like you would a database, by laying out everything in a structured, organized way to help you manage and optimize performance. This isn’t necessarily about splitting out different match types (which I almost always do) but more about how the PPC account structure mirrors the company business model while forecasting the direction of the PPC account in the future.

How you lay out the account structure takes planning, strategy and foresight into the company or client’s plans. If you’re just starting out but plan to grow the account exponentially, you’ll want to figure out what structure makes growth and continued optimization easier from a management standpoint.

In this article, we’ll dive into some of the items you may want to consider prior to structuring the layout of your PPC account.

Determining Campaign vs. Ad Group Level Breakout

Depending on the nature of the business you’re working with and the goals of the account, you’ll be faced with the decision of where to split out different themes. This breakout will come at either the campaign or ad group level. Below I’ll go into specific account settings and how they influence the breakout.

Geographic Targeting

Having geo-specific needs within the account is one reason to consider splitting themes out at the campaign level. Since geographic settings can only be set at the campaign level and not the ad group, you’ll need to consider your structure.

For example, say you work for a company that has a product or service that is delivered across the entire continental United States. Each geographic region has a unique product delivered to only that area and has a unique URL for each region. In an instance like this, you have to consider the geographic settings. Given the fact that your geographic settings are at the campaign level, you may want to consider splitting up your campaigns by each set geographic region and targeting appropriately. With this set up, you’ll be able to set up each geographic region with a set budget, target the region of need and track performance by location.

Below you’ll see a snapshot of the locations settings.

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Custom Ad Scheduling

Another reason for potentially splitting themes out at the campaign level is the ability to take advantage of custom ad scheduling. If you have an account where products or services are heavily reliant on specific times of day, you may want to consider splitting these out at the campaign level and tailoring your ad scheduling accordingly.

For example, say your company offers a specific product or service that is only available to customers at specific times during the day. It may even be a product or service that needs direct interaction with the consumer, which would need a custom ad schedule based on the hours of the office/call center. In this situation you’ll want to have that product or service split into it’s own campaign to set an appropriate schedule to ensure you aren’t wasting any money.

Below is an example of what custom ad scheduling looks like within the settings tab of the Google Interface.

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When To Split Themes Out At The Ad Group Level

So it seems as if everything works better when it’s split out at the campaign level, right? Well, not necessarily. Splitting themes out at the campaign level works great to take advantage of the campaign level settings, which should not be discounted. But what if you don’t need geo-specific targeting in your account or custom ad scheduling? In this case, you may want to consider using the ad group level to split out themes, making your account more consolidated into less campaigns, thus making account management less confusing and easier to track.

This logic may lead to a great option for you and the account, but is still a debatable topic. You may want to provide yourself and the account flexibility for the future at the campaign level, even if you don’t need those settings currently. Of course, you could always restructure within the account, but again, this is about forecasting the direction of the account. If you foresee the account taking advantage of these things in the near future, save yourself the time and headache of a restructure by doing it now.


How you structure and set up your account in PPC is a major factor in driving successful performance. Be sure to take some time prior to building out your PPC account to sit down and strategize the direction of PPC in the near future, as well as the necessary settings you’ll be taking advantage of within the engines. While nothing is completely permanent and can be changed as your marketing plan evolves, you can save yourself a great deal of time by forecasting the direction of the account and structuring items appropriately now.