We all hate mess. It blurs our ability to think. Do you ever look at your desk and say ‘I’m not doing any more work until I sort this chaos out!’ That’s often how I feel about Adwords accounts people want us to look at.
Any account with a bit of history has usually had upmteen PPC managers, each with their own ideas about how campaigns should be organised. Some are good, some are unorthodox and some are just plain wrong (no, one-keyword Ad Groups across all of your campaigns isn’t the way to get high CTRs). What gets me as well, are the weird and wonderful naming conventions used. Funnily enough, when the builder is long gone and you’re trying to make sense of the campaign ‘JQ – Generic LDN LTKWs’ you’re not going to have a sodding clue what it means.
So, despite there being different ideas on Adwords account structure among PPC people, there are in fact best practices we all should stick to.
The 3 main best practices for structuring your Adwords account
1) Mirror your website
You probably put a great deal of thought into the navigation of your website; especially if you sell a variety of products or services. Obviously you want visitors to be able to find what they want quickly and easily. The same applies to your account structure. You need to be able to locate top performing or problem areas fast. Want to compare whether Arsenal shirts sell better than Tottenham shirts? (obviously they do). You don’t want to be naffing around at Ad Group level in a ‘Football Shirt’ generic campaign. You want two separate ones you can easily compare. Your website has a blueprint; follow it.
2) This isn’t school, Geography matters!
Firstly if you target more than one country, make sure you create campaigns for each location. You can easily duplicate them in Adwords so this isn’t a big job. Customer behaviour varies considerably from country to country, meaning your conversion rate in the UK is likely to be different to that of the US. With the right structure, you’ll be able to make strategic decisions far quicker.
Now, if you only target one location (such as the UK), it doesn’t make sense to create dozens of campaigns for all the major cities. This would just over-complicate your account. Plus, you can still make strategic decisions using ‘geographic’ data on the dimensions tab.
However, if you only want to target a selection of cities or areas it does make sense to split out your campaigns. Perhaps you have a chain of retail stores across the country or maybe you’re a taxi service covering a handful of areas. Insight into which locations perform best is crucial to your business, therefore you want to see this info quickly at campaign level.
3) Isolate your top performing keywords
This last practice is probably the most important and is based on the well-known 80/20 principle. For example, 20% of your keywords generate 80% of your sales. However, PPC legend Perry Marshall takes this universal law even further in his new book ‘80/20 of Sales and Marketing‘. He developed the theory stating the 80/20 principle has multiple layers. This means in your top 20% keywords, there’s another 80/20. Interesting right?! Therefore 4% of your keywords generate 96% of your sales. Now you might think this can’t be true, but look at your account. I guarantee you’ll find a mere handful of keywords generating the vast majority of your sales. So what do we do with this information?
Well, in terms of Adwords account structure, you want to isolate top performing keywords. These are usually the ones with the most traffic, ad spend and conversions. This means creating what’s called a ‘Tier 1 campaign’ and literally having 1 keyword within it. As Perry says, this keyword is the hinge and it swings the big door. Therefore, if you isolate it, you can easily monitor and influence its performance.
Lastly, a brief word on campaign naming. You’re looking for a bit of SSS; short, sweet and simple!
Here are a few good examples:
- iPhone 6
- UK – London Heathrow to Amsterdam
- London – Minicab
- T1 – Buy Laptop (T1 stands for Tier 1)
Ultimately, these best practices all come down to saving you time and focusing your optimisation efforts in the right places.
Right, I’m off to sort out my desk.