The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads Account Structure

Brian Bojan Dordevic
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Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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Hello, guys. In the past couple of months, we have been getting a lot of questions about the best way to structure a Google Ads account. This is why our Chicago PPC agency decided to dedicate today’s post to that question and compose this ultimate guide in which you will find everything you need to know about the Google Ads account structure.

google ads account structure

We will approach the account structure from 5 levels and explain each so that by the end of this guide, you will have an account that will serve as a strong foundation for all of your current and future campaigns:

The campaign level

To lay a solid foundation for the rest of your account, you need to start by choosing the campaign type. The best way to do that is to ask yourself the question: What is my advertising goal? The answer to that question will tell you which campaign type supports your efforts the best. Let’s see how:

Answer: To find customers looking for my product (service).

Campaign type: Search network.

Answer: To generate phone calls for my business.

Campaign type: Call.

Answer: To build brand awareness.

Campaign type: Display network.

Answer: To re-engage previous site visitors.

Campaign type: Remarketing.

Businesses usually start with search campaigns, but it is not necessarily the best choice for every type of business. Sometimes the best option is to create multiple campaign types to satisfy the different goals you have.

Depending on the way your business is structured, you may want to consider the following campaign settings:

  • Location targeting
  • Language targeting
  • Bid strategy (automatic or manual)
  • Budget

For Google not to overspend your advertising money, you need to determine your daily budget. The calculation itself is easy, you just divide your monthly budget by 30.4, but it is extremely important to know how many clicks a day your budget can support (based on your estimated cost per click).

The ad group level

The next level of your Google Ads account structure consists of your ad groups. They are organized by theme, create the structure within each campaign, and control keyword-to-ad association.

If you have any dilemmas about the size of an ad group, these are the guidelines to follow:

  • no more than 7 to 10 ad groups per campaign.
  • 20 (approximately) keywords per ad group.
  • 2 or 3 ads per ad group.

As every campaign is different, you don’t need to follow these guidelines strictly. These are only our suggestions of optimal numbers, so your ad groups don’t get bloated and become difficult to manage.

Keyword selection

The next step is defining your keywords. Keep in mind that no matter how savvy you are, this is not where you should rely on your instincts. The best practice is to use keyword tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner to do your research to ensure that you are bidding on keywords with enough search volume.

When it comes to profitable keyword research, the most important thing to keep in mind is to choose keywords that have clear commercial intent. This means that people who search using those terms are looking to buy something. Keywords with intent often include:

  • Qualifying terms such as specific product details, brand names, the word cost, etc.
  • Location terms

It is essential to narrow down your audience as much as possible since very broad terms don’t show much intent, have low click-through and conversion rates, and have high CPAs.

Keyword match types

Keyword match types define how the keywords in your campaigns match up with the queries people search on search engines. Google provides four match types to choose from:

  • Broad match – This is the least restrictive match type. Your ad will match any generally related search terms, including synonyms.
  • Modified broad match – This is a little more restrictive match type since your ad will only match if the search term includes words that you specify with a plus sign, although they can show in any order.
  • Phrase match – The keyword must include the terms you are bidding on uninterrupted, and in the order you specify. However, it may include other terms before or after.
  • Exact match – Exact and precise are synonyms, but not according to Google. Therefore, this match type deserves more attention than the previous three. Let me explain.

There has been quite a while since Google introduced changes to how exact match keywords work. The consequences of these changes are that your ad may show when the terms in your keyword are reordered, or the function words change. This has shown to be better for low-volume terms and niche-oriented industries, but not so much for branded campaigns.

There is no simple answer to define the best match type. Choosing the keyword match type that would be the best fit for your campaign depends primarily on your account goals.

Max CPC bids

The next thing you need to do is set max CPC bids. This is your way of telling Google how much you are willing to pay for a click. Google will then determine your Ad Rank by multiplying your max CPC with your Quality Score, determining your ad position and cost per click. 

When it comes to new campaigns, there are a couple of ways to determine your max CPC bids:

  • Automatic bidding – We at Alpha Efficiency lean toward Manual bidding over Automatic; since we prefer to have full control over our bids rather than leaving it up to Google. However, starting a new campaign is one of the few good uses of Automatic bidding. You can let Google determine your max CPC until you get enough data to figure out the cost of a click. Once you get the feeling you can manage on your own, you can switch back to Manual bidding. When using Automatic bidding, make sure to:
    • Use the Maximize Clicks strategy so Google would try to get as many clicks as possible out of your daily budget.
    • Set an overall limit that you don’t want Google to exceed (max CPC bid limit).
  • Manual CPC – For full control, use the Manual CPC bidding strategy. There are a couple of metrics that can help determine your max CPC:
    • Page #1 CPC
    • Top of page CPC

These metrics are estimates that Google provides for each keyword so you can have an idea of how much it will cost you to rank on the first page of search results and at the top of that page.

Ad Copy

Your Ad Copy is the part of your account that other people interact with. It is how you reach out to your potential clients, and it needs to reflect your brand or business. A few years ago, Google made Expanded Text ad their default ad type, maximizing your presence and performance with a bigger headline and an extra-long description.

A/B testing

Running tests on your ads is critical for finding the copy that resonates the most with your audience. Ideally, it should drive as many clicks and conversions as possible for lower costs. Here are some of the tests that we usually run:

  • Keywords vs creativity – The idea is to run two tests. The first version of your ad should be keyword-centric, while the other should be more creative and attention-grabbing. Look at the data you collect to determine which version is better for you.
  • Price vs no price – While specific numbers often drive clicks, they may also help you qualify your audience.

How to write ad copy with conversions in mind

If you are looking to set the table for conversions with your ad copy, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Use self-selecting ad copy – Including pricing info in your ad copy will help you reach the exact audience you target and avoid paying for clicks from people that have no intent to buy your product.
  • Match your CTA to your landing page – The same call to action needs to appear both in your ad and on your landing page. This way, you are making sure that your visitors are in the right mindset to convert.

Ad extensions

Ad extensions are a great way to make your ads more enticing since they bring high CTR’s at no added costs. While there are tons of ad extensions for you to choose from, with new ones appearing constantly, not all of them will prove useful for your account. Here are some of our top choices:

  • Sitelinks
  • Callout extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions

Sitelinks are clickable links to other pages on your website. They are pretty useful as they offer more options to your visitors than just one landing page. However, if you are using landing pages designed only to capture links, it is smarter to avoid sitelinks.

Callouts are additional, non-clickable snippets of text that form an extra line of copy.

Call extensions are designed with mobile users in mind providing them with the option to call you directly from SERP, skipping the landing page.

Location extensions are great for local businesses because they offer your physical business information.

Final thoughts

As you can see, structuring a Google Ads account is no rocket science. But it does involve some contemplation about the goals you wish to achieve with your campaigns. Whether you are starting from scratch or want to overhaul an existing account, this is what you need to keep in mind:

  • Give your campaign structure and settings based on your goals.
  • Ad groups work for you, controlling keyword and ad associations.
  • Make your keywords work for you. We prefer to use a phrase match in our campaigns since it gives us the necessary precision when it comes to keyword match types. However, if you are just starting, we suggest a modified broad match with 2 or 3 terms in each keyword that show clear intent.
  • Write an ad copy with conversions in mind.
  • Use ad extensions.
  • Always test everything.

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