Any SEM or PPC professional typically has the same goal – To get more conversions at a lower cost.

Let’s face it – There are a ton of things that can influence conversion (ad copy, landing page creative, competitive environment, and time of year, to name just a few). While we as SEM professionals can’t control what we can’t control (i.e. if your client has an uncompetitive product at an uncompetitive price, no bid strategy will save it in the marketplace), there are some things we definitely CAN control to hopefully drive more conversions. Just as a bridge needs to have the proper engineering to make it structurally sound and safe, your PPC campaigns also need the right structure.

Typical PPC Campaign Structure

When most of us structure a PPC account, we’ll typically look at our client’s mix of products and services, and define campaigns off of these products and services, with ad groups typically representing each category or subcategory (or sub-service). While this certainly makes sense from an organizational perspective, it’s actually suboptimal from a PPC perspective.

Why, you might ask? Well the reason is that it makes it hard to analyze which ad groups and keywords are using up your daily budget, and which ones aren’t reaching their true potential. While you do have impression share metrics to look at, with a typical PPC campaign structure, you’re not able to dictate exactly where the budget dollars are going.

A Better Way

Our approach is to split out each major group of keywords into their own campaigns, with separate budgets and separate bid strategies. This makes it easy to precisely allocate budget dollars to the campaigns that are doing the best (to max them out), while allowing us to pull back dollars from the laggards. As an example, let’s say your client is selling sneakers.

A typical campaign might look like this:

Sneakers (campaign)
- Nike sneakers
- Nike air jordans
- Nike tennis sneakers
- Nike running sneakers

A better approach would be:

Nike Sneakers
- Nike sneakers
Nike Air Jordans
- Nike Air Jordans
Nike Tennis Sneakers
- Nike Tennis Sneakers
Nike Running Sneakers
- Nike Running Sneakers

So while we have many more campaigns than we otherwise might have, with this approach, you can granularly budget to maximize conversions.

Aside from the ability to more intelligently allocate budget with this approach, there are a few other benefits that you can realize with this type of a structure:

  • Better splits by match type – For most of us, broad match tends to convert at a lower clip than phrase or exact match variations. By splitting out your campaigns granularly and even by match type, you can limit the spend on broad match terms while keeping them running for new KW ideas and max out better-performing phrase and exact match variations
  • Aggregated statistics – The fact of the matter is that most keyword phrases in a PPC account don’t really have enough volume to make statistically significant decisions on. By defining your ad groups and campaigns so granularly, you can easily aggregate up statistics within a campaign to set ad group or even campaign-level bids more intelligently.

So there you have it… A very different way of structuring your campaigns. Pull this off properly, and you’ll be bridging the gap between clicks and conversions.