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How to Structure Your Google Ads Account in the Age of SMART Bidding

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


Structuring your account in the age of smart bidding

PPC Account structure is crucial for successful results. It is one of the first things we learn when we jump into the ‘PPC world’. Your account structure is the skeleton that supports your account performance and how you manage it. A good structure can save you lots of time in management and ensure efficient results.


While there are thousands of ways to structure your account, here are some links to help you understand more about account structure in 2023. So SMART Bidding is sifting the criteria to consider while creating it. If segmentation and granularity were the best practices a few years ago, we are now talking about consolidation - as our brilliant speaker Carolina Torres mentioned in our last PPC Live UK, ‘Less is More; Consolidation is Key



How did an effective PPC account structure look like


Old-school PPC experts may need help to digest this new approach. We have been working for years on the idea that the tighter our keywords are, the easier it will be to gauge performance, write specific ad copy, and make adjustments.


There were compelling reasons for this way of structuring PPC accounts:

  • Keyword segmentation into tightly themed groups and match types was key to controlling our budgets and working with customer intent.

  • Quality Score was key to ensure efficiency and grouping our keywords into tight themes would help to write relevant ad copy to our keywords.


SKAG structures (sorry for mentioning this overwhelming word!) were the way to go. Most of us have seen considerable improvements in our accounts when implementing this approach - increases in quality scores, decreases in CPC and smashing CPAs.


As it happens in this continuously changing industry, SMART bidding came into our lives to change the rules. That's why we asked our experts if we should believe in Smart bidding. The algorithm is not focused on match types anymore and is instead focused on user intent, and granular campaign/ad group segmentation is no longer needed.


It is time to review your Google Ads campaigns structure



Due to the advanced machine learning, bidding takes place at auction-time and query level, and evaluates a combination of thousands of signals (beyond keywords and query) per auction to set the best bid, then optimizes results based on data from all of the advertiser’s campaigns. There are no longer reasons to spread out data across different keyword matches but rather to maximise the volume of data by consolidating and expanding to broader match types.


Consolidation is now the ‘best practice’ that will help us to maximise the efficiency of our campaigns. We should focus on simplifying our campaigns and ad groups so machine learning can do its job.


Tips for a good SMART Bidding account structure in Google Ads


Your PPC structure should mirror your business goals


If aspects such as your website structure were the main criteria to set up the skeleton of your accounts a few years ago, your goals and how you will report on them are going to determine the structure in this new “SMART Bidding’ world.


By structuring your campaigns based on your business goals, you can easily align each campaign with the right bidding strategy and achieve those goals. You may want to set up campaigns targeting different purchase intent, business offerings or customer value. The key is to map out a structure that maps to your goals and business objectives.


How did your PPC structure look like....

Campaign 1

Campaign 2

Campaign 3

Campaign 4

​Trainers

Heels

Boots

Sandals

How should it look like for SMART bidding....

​Campaign 1 – ROAS = 500

Campaign 1 – ROAS = 900

Trainers

Heels

Boots

Sandals



Do your PPC campaigns have enough data?



When setting up campaigns, PPCers should always have the following two questions in mind - ‘Will this campaign gather enough data?’ and ‘Do I have enough budget?’. SMART bidding strategies need data and budget to learn and perform and more data means greater confidence and faster results.


Our structure should leverage the number of signals that the machine needs to determine intent and bid accordingly. The correct attribution mode is crucial to determine this intent. Whenever possible use Data-Driven attribution. This model assigns credit to all touchpoints that occur on the Search Network so the machine can have a more holistic picture of your user’s journey.


Efficient budgeting is also imperative for SMART bidding success. When thinking about your campaigns, consider your budget. You don’t want to restrict the amount of data the machine needs to learn and optimize from. Fewer campaigns, budget reallocation or pausing underperforming ones can be key to your success.


The role of your ad groups in the SMART Bidding world


Choose your ad groups by keyword theme to maintain relevance for ad copy and landing page testing. Match types and same-meaning keywords can be consolidated to increase the volume of data, which will also improve the speed and efficiency of machine learning. Some great news here - conflicting or redundant keywords and misspellings/plurals are no longer needed.


Expert Carolina Torres emphasises the relevance of keyword mapping when choosing our ad groups. We need to understand our customer behaviour so we can structure based on high/medium and low customer intent keywords. And intent is key here. Google bids based on intent so we want to help the machine to determine intent for proper bid optimisation. The better we map the intent, the more efficient our structure will be. In that regard, understanding our audiences is mandatory.



Structuring your account in the age of smart bidding.


Remember: Test, test, test

As Anu Adegbola mentioned in our first PPC Live UK when talking about How Not To Approach Automation: don’t set it and forget it! A structure that enhances SMART bidding potentials needs continuous testing to hit and surpass expectations. As the machine needs data, start by choosing those campaigns with the highest volume and test your approach.



Conclusion


SMART bidding allows us to simplify our PPC account structures, making them easier to manage and improving their efficiencies. Multiple campaigns can be consolidated into single campaigns that generate more traffic and create additional signals to Google, feeding more data to every aspect of machine learning campaigns. However, we need to ensure that our campaigns align with our business goals and provide enough data and budget for the machine to learn. Testing is key here to confirm that this is the case and that we are maximising of our efforts.


If you want to learn more about the future of Search, don't miss the next PPC Live UK event in London on the 2nd of February 2023; ensure you get your £16 ticket before they run out!




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