In our previous Optimization Tips posts, Stephanie L. offered advice on how to assess your industry and audience as well as your website and goals before beginning any optimization. We hope that these tips helped you get into an optimization mindset. Today, Stephanie provides us more tips on how to apply the information you collected through assessment to optimize the structure of your AdWords account.

Deciding between campaigns and ad groups

One of the most important aspects of structuring an account is deciding whether to use campaigns or ad groups to meet your advertising goals. And one of the most common questions asked by new, and sometimes even experienced, AdWords advertisers is 'What is the difference between a campaign and an ad group?' Campaigns and ad groups are different levels of organization within your account, each with different settings. Campaigns allow you to set your daily budget, target languages and locations, start and end dates, and ad distribution preferences (i.e., whether or not to show ads on the Google Network). Ad groups, on the other hand, allow you to set maximum cost-per-click (CPC), specific ad text, keyword list, and landing page destination URLs. Each campaign can contain up to 100 ad groups.

When deciding whether to create a campaign or ad group for a particular product, service, or section of your website, consider how these settings will help you achieve your goals. One of the most common reasons to create separate campaigns in your account is to set different daily budgets. You may decide to devote more budget to some of your best-selling or most profitable products. Separate ad groups, on the other hand, may be created whenever you'd like to set different maximum CPCs for keywords that may be highly competitive or lower converting. Regardless of how you choose to structure your account, it's important to remain flexible in your strategy -- the structure you envision when you begin may need further refining as you continue to optimize.

Deciding how to organize campaigns and ad groups

There is almost an infinite number of ways to configure your campaigns and the ad groups within them, and AdWords allows you to easily customize according to your business needs. Below are some common ways to structure an account:
  • Products and services: If a sporting goods store offers a vast range of products, it may make sense to set up separate campaigns for the different product areas: Camping, Men's Athletic Wear, Hunting, etc. Within the 'Camping' campaign, the advertiser could set up separate ad groups set up for the various items that fall under camping, such as 'Tents,' 'Cookware,' and 'Sleeping Bags.' And within the 'Men's Athletic Wear' campaign, there could be separate ad groups for 'Athletic Socks,' 'Basketball Shorts,' and 'Knee pads.'
  • Brand Names: A website that sells a variety of brand-name products may find that branded keywords convert better than generic product descriptions. To test this, the advertiser may want to designate separate ad groups or even separate campaigns for each brand, depending on the variety of products under a given brand label. If you want to use trademarked brand names of a trademark owner who has filed a complaint with Google, you will need permission from the trademark owner in order to use the trademark in your ad text.
  • Websites: For advertisers promoting a variety of products or services from different companies and websites, such as affiliates or agencies, each company or website should have its own campaign or even a separate account.
  • Geographic Location: Service providers that are geographically-targeted, such as furniture stores, real estate developers or car dealerships, may designate a different campaign for each state and then a different ad group for each city or metropolitan area.
  • Seasonal products and services: Products that are affected by seasonality should be organized into their own campaigns or ad groups so that these can be paused and resumed according to the season. A flower delivery shop may run different campaigns or ad groups for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, graduation season, and so forth.
  • Themes or functions: A company that provides only a few products or services may still want to set up separate campaigns or ad groups because the same product or service may appeal to a variety of needs. A catering company may want to run separate campaigns or ad groups for 'Weddings,' 'Corporate Events,' or 'Birthdays.'
Structuring your account effectively will allow you more flexibility in managing your keywords and ad text, controlling budgets, and setting strategic bids. If you think your account structure could use some changes, you may want to test different configurations until you feel that your account is manageable and helping you achieve your advertising goals.

We hope that you have found Stephanie's Assessment and Account Structure tips helpful. Stay tuned for more advice on selecting keywords and ad text!