How to Structure Google Ad Campaigns and Ad Groups

Google Ad campaigns can become very large. If you are running a very small campaign, say one main target market, with 10 to 15 keywords, then this article likely doesn't apply to you. If you are running anything larger than a beginner Google Ad campaign then we will help you understand how properly structuring your campaigns and ad groups can help you control your budget and improve your ad quality which in turn can produce more clicks per dollar. We will be discussing a couple of key concepts:

  • budget management
  • quality scores
  • relevance

In order to help explain this article, we are going to need an example. So lets go with building ad campaigns for a fishing lodge and campground business. At this fishing lodge, they fish for 3 species of fish, Walleye, Northern Pike, and Lake Trout. The campground offers campsites with full service camping (water and electrical hook ups), and campsites without services.

Google Ads Budget Management

If you are familiar with Google Ads, maybe you already see where some of this is headed. First, it's important to know the Google Ads hierarchy. In order from broadest the narrowest, the structure of Google Ads is:

  • Account
  • Campaign
  • Ad Group
  • Ads and Keywords

Budgets are set at the campaign level. A Google Ads account may have multiple campaigns, each with their own budget. Within each campaign, there can be multiple Ad Groups. Ad Groups contain their own list of keywords and associated ads. Using our example, we would create a campaign for the fishing lodge and another for the campground. This way we can allocate the budget separately as well as control increases / decreases and stopping / starting the budget for each campaign.

How you structure campaigns, and how many campaigns, should be based on how different your products or services are and differences in your target market for these products and services.

Create Ad Groups per Topic

Within each campaign, you will want to organize closely related topics of keywords, or themes. You should then set up one ad group per related group of keywords. In our example, in the campground campaign, we would likely set up Ad Groups based on themes such as "full service camp sites", "tenting", "seasonal campsites", "long weekend camping", "family camping". Normally we will want to group together 5 to 15 keywords within each Ad Group. Usually if the list of keywords gets larger than 15, there will be enough variation that we should consider splitting into two Ad Groups. The main reason we want to limit the number of keywords in an Ad Group is to maintain a high level of relevance between our keywords, our ads, and the landing page for the ads. A high amount of relevance between these three components will lead to a higher ad Quality Score which will have big benefits for us. We will discuss improving Quality Scores in another article. It is important to know that all Ad Groups within the same campaign share the budget of that campaign.

Ads per Ad Group

You should plan to create a minimum of 3 ads per Ad Group and we recommend up to 5 ads. The more ads you have, the more assets Google has to work with and that increases the likelihood of a winning combination. Google will optimize the combinations of keywords and ads and will use the ads that perform better more often. When you are writing more ads you can use the top performing ads and make modifications based on a successful ad. In case you need to write many adds, this grammarly review tool.

Cover all your main keywords with at least one ad. If you have have done your keyword research you should know which keywords will be your most important keywords. These top priority keywords should have ads that are specifically built to be of the highest relevance possible.

Google Ads Campaign Development Steps

You can easily follow through this series of steps to build your Google Ads campaigns.

  1. for each line of business, set a budget for ad spend
  2. list all your keywords for a line of business or product/service
  3. group your keywords into similar themes of no more than 15 per theme
  4. choose the top three keywords in each theme
  5. write an ad specifically for each of the top three keywords

You now have all the components for a well structured Google Ads campaign.