We have inherited a couple PPC accounts recently that had some odd campaign structures. Within Google AdWords these accounts had the various match types (broad, phrase, exact) segregated into separate campaigns. Since I’ve now seen this a couple times, I think this campaign structure is worth commenting upon and discussing why it’s a bad idea.

First, let’s explore the different match types within Google AdWords:

Broad match: This is the default option for keywords within AdWords. This match type reaches the widest audience. By using broad match, your ad may appear whenever a user queries any word in your keyword phrase.

Broad match example: If you have the keyword ‘tennis shoes’ your ads could appear when a user’s query contains either or both words (‘tennis’ and/or ‘shoes’) and in any order. Google may match these phrases to other terms including singular/plural forms, synonyms or other queries it deems relevant to your keyword.

Phrase match: Phrase match is the middle child when it comes to match types. This is because phrase matches provides a higher level of control, but your ads can still show for additional search queries. Your ads may appear when a user’s search query contains your keyword in the exact order you have entered them.

Phrase match example: If your phrase match keyword is “tennis shoes” then your ad may show for other search queries such as “red tennis shoes,” “buy tennis shoes,” and “tennis shoes reviews.” However, your ads will not appear if the search query does not match the order of your keyword, so your ad would not appear for, “shoes for tennis,” “tennis woman shoe,” or “tennis sport shoe.”

Exact match: This is the most tightly targeted and specific match type. By using exact match your ads will appear only when a user’s query matches your keyword exactly.

Exact match example: If your keyword is [tennis shoes] then your ads will not appear for any other search other than “tennis shoes.”

There are other keyword match types within Google AdWords such as negative match and embedded match, but for the sake of this article, I’ll just focus on the three match types listed above.

The accounts that we inherited had each broad, exact, and phrase match keywords separated into their own campaigns. This account structure is a bad idea for a few reasons:

Complicated PPC reporting

Each of these match types will have different results, however they are still the same core keyword. If you want to get an idea as to how your “tennis shoes” keyword is performing, you would have to look within at least 3 different campaigns, and three different ad groups. This makes reporting complicated.

Wastes a lot time

This is the major reason not to separate match types into their own campaigns. Creating this structure will take a lot of time, and then anytime you do keyword research, run keyword-level reporting, you are will have to deal with three different campaigns. This will waste a ton of time when you are trying to manage your PPC account efficiently.

Ad text confusion

When you are split testing ads, you will have to keep track of which ad texts are working best with each match type. Anytime you launch a new ad text for testing, you’ll have to insert this ad into three different campaigns. How can you keep all of this straight?!

Optimization difficulties

Account/ad group optimization never ends. As time goes on, you’ll see that there are always opportunities to make your ad groups more focused and tightly grouped. If you have all of these match types broken into their own campaigns, this means you’ll have to do three times the amount of keyword moving/re-grouping. This will make optimization very difficult.

For keywords that generate a large quantity of traffic, it can be beneficial to separate your match types into different ad groups within the same campaign. You should do this for your most important keywords. However, creating entire campaigns has so many negatives that any positives will be heavily outweighed.

I would suggest having all three match types for the same keyword within the same group. This will provide easier management and reporting.

If your account is structured so that your broad, phrase, and exact match keywords each have their own campaigns, you should rethink this strategy and give some thought to restructuring your account.