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Back to the PPC Classroom | Building Effective Campaign Structures

In my second post on the "Back to the Classroom" series, I will discuss the importance of understanding and implementing the Campaign Structure Phase of the PPC strategy. This phase is  actually one of the most important ones because it's the end result of all of the hard work done in the research and analysis phase. 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 to you my view on the "blocking and tackling" tactics on how to approach this. Let's discuss.

It's All About The Hierarchy:
It’s important to “mirror” the navigational structure of the website because the last thing you want is a confused visitor who clicked on a specific ad promoting a specific product or service and not giving them the ability to easily browse other similar products or services. This method is also valid when continuing the best practice of Quality Score with very tight keyword groups, text ads and landing pages.

Many Tactics To Create A Hierarchy
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. It's a good strategy/plan to create as many campaigns and Adgroups as possible to both 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.

Start With The Winners First:
This tactic that has always proven to be successful. The first campaigns and adgroups, should always contain the Brand name, and the client's historically top performing product categories/services, product/brand specific or even product make and model. These top performers do not always have to have a good "online" history. In fact, if a client just launches a website, but had been in business and has identified the best products/services, it's a good idea for the PPC marketer to treat them as #1 priority online. By starting with the proven winners first, it enables the account to build a reputable click history, high CTR% and opportunity to get the benchmark'd ROI off to a good start.

Start Slow and Gradually Expand:
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.

Here's a small example of a PPC Hierarchy


In Conclusion:
The most important part of a paid search campaign is the WHAT and the HOW. What products/services that will be advertised and how they will be executed. 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". In PPC, it's usually a mouse click away.

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