Oppor­tu­ni­ties often arise for an agency to restruc­ture a client’s campaigns. This often happens when a client switches agen­cies. Search Discovery has restruc­tured dozens of clients at the onset of an engage­ment and, through initial account audits, our team discov­ers oppor­tu­ni­ties to put best prac­tices in place. These stan­dard prac­tices elevate account perfor­mance and increase control over opti­miza­tions, budget­ing and more.

The reason for a restruc­ture may consists of a messy setup due to years of deleted keywords and campaigns. Another reason may be that a Google account may not be using stan­dard best prac­tices like sepa­rat­ing spon­sored text ads and display ads to under­stand perfor­mance between the two networks and to provide more control over budget­ing and opti­miza­tions. Addi­tion­ally have these two networks in a single campaign/ad group will nega­tively affect Quality Score. What­ever the case is, there are signif­i­cant bene­fits to setting up an account accord­ing to the follow­ing best prac­tices.

# Part 1:Campaign Struc­ture


Campaign Settings

The settings that are managed on a campaign level are:
- Budget
— Loca­tions — Target­ing
— Exclu­sions
— Bid Adjust­ments
— Ad Sched­ul­ing — On/Off
— Bid Adjust­ments
— Languages
— Bid Strat­egy
- Device Target­ing — Bid Adjust­ments Only
— Networks — Search vs. Display
— Deliv­ery — Stan­dard vs. Accel­er­ated
— Ad Rota­tion
— Campaign Level Nega­tive Keywords

There are agency and general best prac­tices to follow when making deci­sions about how to break out campaigns; however, clients’ prereq­ui­sites such as budget­ing or target­ing pref­er­ences may set the limits for what options an adver­tiser has.

Match Types

BEST PRACTICE: Sepa­rate campaigns by match type.

To learn more about the differ­ences of match types and see exam­ples visit Google’s AdWords Help website.

As a first step, we want to sepa­rate exact match keywords from all other match types. This will allow us to apply campaign level nega­tive keywords, mirror­ing your exact match terms, for all broad campaigns to prior­i­tize and force the Exact match iter­a­tion to serve and not match out to another match type.

Control is the key goal here. Typi­cally, exact match terms are more consis­tent in their perfor­mance. By isolat­ing exact match terms, you can effec­tively adjust bids to set them in an optimal average posi­tion and ensure each keyword provides the highest return on invest­ment. Since exact match perfor­mance is the most effi­cient, it makes sense to fully fund these (if you have the budget to do so) which is done by singling out within its own campaigns.

It can be bene­fi­cial to sepa­rate phrase, broad and broad match modi­fier terms as well, at least into sepa­rate ad groups, to be able to do the same. Without this struc­ture, you will find that some of your broad­est terms capture traffic on keywords that you have built out else­where in your account.


BEST PRACTICE: Sepa­rate *brand terms from every­thing else.*

An added benefit of having a sepa­rate campaign for exact terms is that you are now able to budget sepa­rately for your exact terms. If you find that exact match terms provide a stable and high ROI, a sepa­rate campaign will allow you to set a budget that will only be spent on those highest perform­ing terms.

The most rele­vant example of this is on branded terms. In this way, an adver­tiser can ensure that they are serving ads for brand terms at all desired times. If brand is not sepa­rated out into its own campaign, brand terms will stop serving as soon as the campaigns budget is exhausted.

For example, an adver­tiser adds a few new terms in a campaign that turn out to be expen­sive and have a high level of volume. By mid-day, the new terms have caused his budget to be exhausted. Since he had brand terms in the same campaign as the new terms, his brand terms have no more budget with which to serve impres­sions.

Geo Targeting

Adver­tis­ers in certain verti­cals such as travel, hospi­tal­ity or retail may have loca­tion based budgets or other goals that will require them to break out campaigns by loca­tion. Google’s enhanced campaigns now allow a user to target and boost bids based on specific loca­tions; however, to effec­tively manage sepa­rate budgets by geograph­i­cal area, sepa­rate campaigns are still required.

BEST PRACTICE: Use Geographic target­ing to cut waste and target your local customers, espe­cially if you’re a local busi­ness.

There are addi­tional, very cool, geo-target­ing capa­bil­i­ties that are out of the scope of this article such as geo-fencing. Stay tuned for addi­tional posts on geo-target­ing.

Display vs. Search

I admit this one is pretty straight-forward, although, you would be surprised by how often we find a new client has combined Search & Display campaigns. There is not a lot of benefit to combin­ing multi­ple networks other than ease of manage­ment. To be honest, I don’t under­stand completely why it is even an option and there­fore strongly recom­mend that all campaigns are either targeted to the Search or Display Network.

There is much more to cover on Display as well. Stay tuned for addi­tional best prac­tices specif­i­cally for display and other non-search campaigns.

BEST PRACTICE: If you have limited budget, stick to Search only to maxi­mize the traffic with higher intent for action.


Another use case for a sepa­rate campaign is for testing. For example, you may want to reduce all vari­ables in a copy test other than the differ­ences in copy. In order to do this you could create a campaign for testing, dupli­cate the ad group that the test will reside in, pause the orig­i­nal and be off to the races. The quality score for the copy will be as fresh as is possi­ble for both the orig­i­nal and new ad to be tested.

BEST PRACTICE: Always test and learn to drive better perfor­mance and under­stand data and trends!

Part 2:

Naming Conventions

Naming Campaigns

The naming of campaigns and ad groups is both personal and, in my own personal opinion, an art form. There are many bene­fits to concise and descrip­tive naming conven­tions.

For example, an account has a broad campaigns consist­ing of broad, phrase and exact terms. The campaigns break down to a brand, competi­tor and non-brand campaign. I person­ally like to use the pipebar “|” so that campaign names might look like this:

  • Brand|Exact
  • Brand|Broad
  • Competitor|Exact
  • Competitor|Broad
  • NB|Exact
  • NB|Broad

You may ask, why “NB” instead of “Non-Brand” and I would say to you… great ques­tion! There are two bene­fits here:

BEST PRACTICE: Reduce the number of char­ac­ters when creat­ing Ad Group and Campaign names.

There is a benefit to reduc­ing name length as much as possi­ble. When you create reports and/or bulk sheets, the shorter the names, the more columns you can view at one time. Granted, this isn’t a problem if your office looks like this:

Multiple Monitor Setup
Image from Life Hacker

Naming Ad Groups

Ad Group naming is by far more impor­tant than campaign naming. The impor­tance of Ad Group naming goes hand in hand with the struc­ture and “tight­ness” of Ad Groups.

BEST PRACTICE: Build­ing tight Ad Groups helps an adver­tiser maxi­mize quality score, improve ad rele­vance and click through rate, make copy updates more effi­cient and more.

**Ad Groups should typi­cally have an average of 10 or less keywords. The name of the Ad Group should closely reflect the keywords within it. An example:

  • Ad Group Name: Nacho Cheese Sticks- Keywords: [nacho cheese sticks], [nacho cheese stick], [nacho cheese stix], [nacho cheeze sticks], [nacho cheeze stick], [nacho cheeze stix] , [nacho cheez sticks], [nacho cheez stick], [nacho cheez stix]

  • Ad Group Name: Nacho Cheese- Keywords:[nacho cheese], [nacho cheeze], [nacho cheez]

By tightly align­ing ad groups, the adver­tiser is able to target each set of keywords with the most rele­vant ad and landing page. This improves click through rate and quality score. In the above example, an adver­tiser may now create the follow­ing targeted ads:

  • Ad Group Name:Nacho Cheese Sticks- Head­line:Buy Nacho Cheese Sticks
  • Descrip­tion Line 1:Our Deli­cious Sticks: Now 20% Off!
  • Descrip­tion Line 2:While Supplies Last, Buy Some Now.
  • Display URL:www.NotYoCheese.com/Sticks

  • Ad Group Name:Nacho Cheese- Head­line:Buy NotYo’s Nacho Cheese

  • Descrip­tion Line 1:Our Deli­cious Cheese: Now 20% Off!
  • Descrip­tion Line 2:While Supplies Last, Buy Some Now.
  • Display URL: www.NotYoCheese.com/Cheese

Since the keyword is basi­cally summa­rized in the Ad Group name, future ad copy updates are much easier and you will not need to dig into each ad group to under­stand what keywords each ad will serve for.

By Omri Levin, Senior Media Manager