Segment and Conquer: the Ideal PPC Campaign Structure
Want to grow with Google Search Ads but don’t know where to start? This article will help you to understand and implement the basic steps to be able to create and structure PPC Search Ad campaigns that are perfectly aligned to the needs of your business. It will be useful for those new to Google Ads, and for anyone who wants to improve their results.
A well-structured Search campaign can be a goldmine: an endless source of leads from near to 100% of your potential audience: the people who are searching for the exact products or services that your business is providing. But depending on how you create the ads and what keywords you bid for, you can end up with very different results; ignore some basic principles and you risk throwing away money on expensive clicks that mean nothing for your business.
Here I will cover everything that needs to happen for these ads to appear and how you can create a structure to ensure that your campaigns provide the best possible results for your investment.
*This is a summary of a presentation that I gave to the attendees of Spaceboost and Google’s Google Ads Masterclass in Barcelona, in March 2019.
What are Google Search Ads and how do they work?
Google Ads is an online advertising platform on which Google auctions clickable search results that appear when internet users search for different keywords (specific phrases, terms, or words) to advertisers. Below is an example of how these ads appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The cost of each ad depends on the competition for the keyword, the quality of the ad, and the relevance that Google determines that ad will have for the searcher.
Which Google Ads appear, where, and why?
There are currently two sections for paid Google Search Ads on the SERP. One that comes above the organic results and another at the bottom of the page. We can see in this example that the keyword “van hire barcelona” triggers a series of different ads at the top of the page:
In order to understand how to get your ads to appear in these valuable top spots, there is a simple but essential formula that you will need to internalize. If you are going to get the best possible results from your investment in Google Ads, you should be seeing this in your sleep. Ready? Here it is:
Ranking = Quality Score x Max CPC (the bid you are prepared to pay for a click)
What does this ranking mean? It determines the position that your ad will have on the SERP, whether that is 1 or 2 (good) or lower than 5 (not so good). In other words, it is important. If you are a van hire company operating in Barcelona trying to capture customers, for example, it is the difference between ready-to-drive clients contacting your closest competitors, or you. So, while your CPC is of course significant, it is not the only element that defines your final position. You need to consider your Quality Score – which is how Google determines the relevance and quality that your ad is likely to provide to the user. If you want to know more about how to get high Quality Scores, check our full article here.
Quality Scores are an essential piece of the Google Search Ads puzzle.
How to structure your campaigns for optimal performance
Now you know the ingredients of what powers Google Search Ads appearance, you need to know how to organize your campaigns to make sure that this combination of variables ends up providing an overall positive value for your business. To that end, I want to pick apart the make-up of every working Search campaign. These are the different elements that you have at your disposal when creating a campaign.
Create a full range of keywords
The next step is to organize these elements towards a final, overall objective. The first tip I give to anyone, whether they are starting out with Google Ads or looking to improve results, is to begin by working on the keywords that you want your campaign to target. This will be the base from which the rest of your campaign will function.
The most effective way to reach the entirety of your audience is to systematically separate all the possible universe of keywords related with your company into individual elements – Brand, Category, Product, Competition, etc. – and to combine them to ensure you reach as close to 100% of your potential audience as possible. Here is a helpful structure for keyword creation that can help ensure that you will be prepared for any search at any stage of the conversion funnel with an ad with the appropriate message:
Imagine you have an ecommerce dedicated to selling shoes. The ideal campaign will include keywords that will cover the full range of the Customer Journey of a potential customer, from extremely generic keywords, say – “Running shoes”, to much more long-tail keywords – “Buy Women’s Nike Air Max”.
Each type of keyword has a different value and plays a different role in a comprehensive campaign structure. Long tail, niche search terms are likely to have less traffic but also higher conversion rates and much lower CPCs – there is no reason not to include them! A more generic keyword on the other hand can help you drive awareness and, though they are generally more expensive and less likely to directly lead to a conversion – they are an essential part of any strategy (without Generic keywords it is often not possible to drive a potential customer towards those longer tail, more valuable searches) and should not be ignored.
Segment and conquer!
The key is to have a structure that covers the entirety of your potential audience. It means you can separate your client base into segments according to their stage in the customer journey, and deliver personalized ads that are much more aligned to the intent of each searcher. See where I am going with this?
The more extensive your campaign, the more you will be able to identify highly profitable audience segments and distribute your budget in a way that will prioritize and ensure increased return and allow you to scale your investment in a way that is intelligent, profitable, and effective for your business.
Automate ad creation, optimize your investment
Here’s the catch – evidently we can’t treat the entire conversion funnel in the same way. You need to take into account the fact that the results you will see from our generic keywords – “Luxury hotel” – will be entirely different from more long tail keywords, i.e: “Luxury hotel tokyo ginza”. That’s why it’s essential to establish different metrics of profitability (ROI, CPA) for each part of the customer conversion funnel. And don’t forget that, for best results, you will need a different ad for each of the keywords in your campaign.
You could do this manually. But the time it would take to define objectives for each type of ad and measure how much to invest in each one, without ever losing sight of the overall bigger picture – return on your overall investment – is not realistic for most businesses. Or it is, but the process is not scalable, and you will spend a lot of time manually updating Excel files to discover actionable insights or react to changes in your product catalogue. The answer to this problem?
Try Spaceboost free!
The good news is, lots of these process can be intelligently automated, from the combination (and updating) of different elements of your business into keywords and the full range of ads they will trigger to, crucially, applying and measuring the individual performance of your different ads towards your overall objectives.
With the Spaceboost Structure Generator, you can create, edit, and update ad structures in very little time and, cruciallly, by connecting the Spaceboost Optimizer to your new ultra-segmented ad campaign, you can input the amount you want to spend and specify the exact objectives that you want to achieve. From that point our machine learning algorithms will go to work, identifying those ads that are going to achieve the objectives you set and dedicating more ad spend to them, while pausing those ads that aren’t performing.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’ve got a whole team dedicated to spreading PPC expertise across the world and we’d be extremely happy to respond to any questions you may have. Alternatively, check out more ‘How to’ articles on our Blog, or sign up to our PPC Academy!