There is no denying that account structure is super important. There are many accounts that I have worked on where an account restructure has dramatically increased performance. How? Good account structure improves an account in 2 ways.

First, it clearly defines to the advertising platform (Adwords, Bing, etc.) where you want your ads to show. This means that your ads should be serving how you expect them to and your keywords are not competing with each other in the auction. This ultimately should result in showing the right ads to the right people.

Second, it makes it easier to manage. You know where things are and the organization allows you to know what your account optimizations will actually do.

Is there one Secret Recipe for Good Account structure?

The short answer is no. There are many strategies out there. If you understand what you are doing and you are seeing good performance it is probably wise to stick to your strategy. You can find what works for you and your account. When you do find it your account will sing, figuratively. However, there is always room to improve.

Here is were I give you, free of charge, some tips and tricks that I have learned for structuring Adwords accounts, specifically on organizing campaigns. May it help your account sing.

Pay-Per-Click Campaign Build Tips:

1. Think of Campaigns as Audiences

Audience = your target market.

Creating Adwords Campaigns around this idea can really help determine What your campaign structure should look like. Major or distinct audiences need to be segmented at the campaign level because there are many important settings needed to specifically target your audience that you can only set at the campaign level. Also, it creates a really nice high level account organization.

An Example of Adwords Campaigns as Audiences

Lets say that I am building a campaign for an online office supply store and I am considering how to structure their campaigns for printers. I could just make one campaign for printers and call it good. However, there are several different types of people who could possibly buy this company’s printers.

Lets say these types are: business’s buying industrial printers, people buying desktop printers for their home, and photographers looking for high DPI gloss printers. With this in mind I will now build a campaign for the business audience, which has its bids adjusted up during business hours when the majority of business searches occur. I will focus this campaign around “business class”, fully featured printers. I’ll likely include general business class terms and specific business class products.

The campaign for home desktop printers will focus on lower cost printers designed for home use. I will likely include general desktop printer terms and specific brands within this Adwords campaign.

Finally, I would then build a campaign for the photographers which will focus on photo printers and included keywords targeting this market that I wouldn’t want in the business campaign.This campaign may end up being broken into two separate campaigns after I see what kind of traffic I’m getting. My initial research has shown me that there are hobbyists looking for photography printers and then there are professional designers, in and out of an office, looking for large scale photography printers. If these two groups end up behaving differently I will create a campaign for each of them.

This is all hypothetical of course but you should be able to see that by designing Adwords account structure around an audience, and not just the product, you can market more efficiently. If all of these printer campaigns were lumped together we would be missing out on some powerful optimizations. We could be leaving money on the table by not specifically targeting, valuable niche markets we would miss without campaign level settings.

Benefits of Creating Campaigns by Audience

  1. You can leverage campaign level only settings to target a specific audience: ad serving schedule, location settings, languages, etc.
  2. It gives you better control over budget spend
  3. It creates a better account organization

2. More Campaigns are better than not enough

Disclaimer: This may not be right for low budget accounts and don’t go too crazy with building campaigns. The purpose is to separate out major audiences for better control not create chaos!

More campaigns can make it easier to see what is going on at a high level. When a campaign contains adgroups and keywords that target too many audiences you’ll have a problem with the statistics that we all use to measure a campaign’s success. The real performance of each audience you’re targeting with the campaign becomes buried within the average. It is likely that a campaign that looks to be doing awful on the surface may have parts that are performing well and you’d find that only by digging deeper. If those audiences were removed and managed on their own then you would be able to more easily see whether that campaign really was doing as well as, or worse than you thought.

Being able to quickly see a more accurate view of an audience’s performance will lead to quicker and potentially better account management.

This can really make managing account easier, even if the idea of having more Adwords campaigns to deal with sounds counter intuitive at first.

Find The Right Account Structure Balance

Account structure is really more of an art than a science, given the number of variables that are involved. As we all know, identifying all of a business’ target audiences can take months of research. Even when you think you have found all the major business audiences the addition of a new product and service can add completely new audiences you’ll need to consider. Sometimes as time goes on and markets change audiences naturally morph as well. In all things Google, Adwords, and internet: change and adaptation is inevitable.

After building and rebuilding many, many accounts I have not used the exact same account structure twice. The thing that remains the same is that you must consider who you are advertising to first, and try don’t take anything to the extreme. Moderation in all things, please. It can be hard to know what is happening in an Adwords account with only 1 campaign just the same as with an account with 100 campaigns. Build for your audiences but also build for your PPC management style.

If you liked this article please leave a comment below or check out my series of posts on the Google Display Network here.