Figuring out the Campaign Structure of any account is most likely one of the most important tactics in PPC. It represents the overall strategy from a high level as well an "in the weeds" perspective. However, there are many different expert opinions on what makes up an effective campaign and Adgroup structure, and the purpose of this post is to present an independent view on the "blocking and tackling" tactics approach to this. Let's discuss.

Following a Hierarchy Mirroring Model:

One of best practices I always follow is looking at the website's navigational structure to ensure consistency. Many websites have multiple levels of categories that need to be "effectively" transitioned to PPC campaigns. Another important aspect of this Hierarchy model is that each category level will have different performance expectations. Here's a Visual Example: Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 9.16.38 AMBenefits of "Hierarchical Mirroring"

  • Hmmn. Quality Score
  • Manage inventory levels & discontinued products
  • Management of seasonality trends
  • Better budget allocation for top selling products/services
  • Improved "User experience" with higher relevant landing page options
  • More efficiently create additional campaigns and Adgroups for new products/services

Drawbacks of  "Hierarchical Mirroring"

  • Takes longer to develop the structure, instead of the "production line" style.
  • Quality of the client’s website
    • Navigation
    • Product selection
  • Budgetary Issues preventing tight categorical breakdowns

Where do I start?

The hierarchy can have many different sources. Either the (1) navigational structure, (2) breadcrumbs at the top of your page from your shopping cart or even (3) your site map can provide a good basis for a campaign structure. Try and create as many campaigns and Adgroups as possible to obtain a good quality score as well as monitor which campaigns are performing and which ones are not. This breakdown is especially important because it allows the search marketer to easily identify which Adgroup need attention or simply needs to be shut off due to poor performance.

Gradually Expansion

I would recommend building out the complete 12 month strategy/plan first. Once this have been reviewed and approved, then start planning out the different phases of the lunch. Furthermore, when it's time to execute, build out the campaigns slowly and not "over-do it" all at once, because it could have a detrimental effect on the account's click history.

For example, if one of your Adgroups is highly competitive and rather (CPC) expensive, your CTR% will suffer and hence your account history will take much longer to reach that "GOOD" status with Google. Basically, you want to give Google a chance to digest the good performers with click history as well as Editorial to become familiar with the Ad/Creative messaging. Once you notice the CTR% increasing, and CPC's drop in price, then continue with the rest of the campaigns.

In Conclusion:

One of the most important aspects of a paid search campaign is understanding the product of services that are being offered. Once that is achieved, then organizing them in relevant and sustainable format. In order to do this effectively, having a functional and a "usability friendly" website makes it much easier to create an intelligent paid search strategy/plan. Making use of the websites existing navigation, Sitemap, etc.. is the easiest and quickest way to cover all aspects of the client's online business. As in life, the answer is usually right "under your nose."