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Mike Friedman

Organizing your AdWords ad groups

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So I just spent the better part of the past 2 days working on someone's AdWords account. What a mess it was. I see this same thing all the time though, so I'm sure there are plenty of others that make this mistake. 

The account had 2 ad groups in it. The one group had a little over 200 keywords in it. The other had about 75. They were a mix of broad and exact match in both.

So many advertisers seem to do this. They just toss hundreds of keywords into a single ad group.

Your ad groups should be less than 10 keywords. 

But Mike, then I need like 20 different ad groups!

Yep. That is exactly what you need.

There are several reasons you want to do it this way, but probably the most important is how in the hell do you write relevant ads for 200+ different keywords?

Split them up to 10 or less and you can write hyper-relevant ads. The only time I make an exception to this is if there are variations of very, very closely related keywords. If I had a keyword group targeting 'large blue widgets', I might go over 10 because you can write a lot of variations for that.

  • large blue widgets
  • blue large widgets
  • blue widgets large
  • big blue widgets
  • blue big widgets
  • blue widgets big
  • extra-large blue widgets
  • blue extra-large widgets
  • blue widgets extra-large

Even then, I would probably consider a separate ad group for the 'big' variations, one for the 'large', and one for the 'extra-large'. That allows you to use those exact words in the ads you write, matching exactly what the person was looking for. 

Splitting up keywords into smaller groups like this with hyper-relevant ads will improve your Quality Scores. Often times dramatically. Here is an example where I went with 10 keywords. We just added in 2 new ones to this group to see how they would do.

BsFM19P1TgOb0jJ_SQhzwA.png

The Quality Scores are all 8, 9, or 10 except for the 2 new keywords. They probably are not the best fit in this group, but we were anxious to give them a try before we sat down to write specific ads. They will be moved out tomorrow.

These are what all the ad groups I work on look like though, usually with a few 7's sprinkled here and there too. The high Quality Scores save the advertiser a ton of money on bids and can make AdWords profitable for any niche.

The hyper-relevant ads also help with CTRs. Higher CTRs improve the Quality Scores, but also, obviously, bring you more traffic.

 

Another reason you want to organize things this way is you want to separate broad match and exact match ad groups. There should be no broad match keywords in an exact match ad group and vice versa.

Your broad match ad groups are largely to catch keywords that you never thought of. When you spot a good search term that is generated from on of your broad match ad groups, you add that search term as exact match keyword to an appropriate ad group or create a new one for it. Then add it as a negative keyword into the broad match ad group. You don't want your ad groups bidding against one another. 

Moving a search term like this into a relevant ad group will improve it's Quality Score. You will get the same clicks from it, but most likely pay less for them. 

 

Inside your ad groups you always want to have 2 ads running, and make sure you have your campaign settings set to rotate the ads equally. Periodically, you review the ads in each ad group. Delete the under performing one and write a new one. That might be every week, it might be every 2 weeks or longer. Depends how much traffic your search terms get. 

In this way, you are constantly keeping the winning ads and trying to outperform them with new ads. Besides it improving the performance of your overall campaign, you will also learn a lot about your prospects/customers when you analyze and constantly write new ads this way.

 

That's all I got for now. My brain is shot from staring at AdWords all day.

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I also recently started working on someone's AdWords account that was a complete mess! This one Ad Group had over 700 keywords, no joke. It also contained a lot of different match types (modified broad, exact, and phrase match). Funny thing is they paid a so-called top rated "AdWords Expert" $30/hr to create this campaign. 

Anyways I ended up creating a whole new campaign with multiple ad groups, it's been driving a lot more relevant leads but I am still not satisfied with the campaign one bit. The quality score on a lot of my keywords is only 6/10, apparently due to a lower than expected CTR. I guess I am just going to keep using the peel & stick until I can get a higher CTR, I also will try to add the site link extensions which hopefully will help. 

I think one of the biggest problems with the campaign is that it's a B2B campaign and the client is not giving me the proper time/information to truly 100% understand the different products, what the benefits are. what their USP is. etc. Pretty frustrating, but he is a very busy guy. Then again I may be completely off on the ad copy, I started to look at competitors ads which helped a little bit.

Anyways, do you have any specific AdWords tips for b2b clients?

Thanks,

Ryan

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Edit: self replaced rant with something constructive.

Yeah, I completely agree you need a ton of optimization and organization, or it doesn't really work, since your competition is most likely doing it. You have to understand that it's competitive space and you really need to have as much control over the campaign as you can.

The product groups for PLA are the same situation, you really shouldn't have more then 10 or so products in a group, and you have to control everything with optimization, as best as you can. Honestly, to get the most control, you can just put each product in it's own group.

For PLA, the right way to do it, is to have two separate campaigns based upon search intent (or more), all of the products have to be carefully grouped, and optimized. Since you can't target keywords specifically, which would make way more sense, it's critical to optimize the feeds based upon the search intent and negative keyword everything else away.

So as an example, one group with low buyer intent keywords (more general) and one with high buyer intent keywords (really specific, like "canon eos rebel t6" which is a great place to get started, negative all the general keywords away.)

So something like: Note: this isn't perfect, I just made this up now.

[canon eos]
[canon eos rebel]
review
refurbished
used
[Digital Camera]
[Digital Cameras]

The first two because there are different models (generic), the middle 3 because they don't make sense, and the last two since people who type those generic searches are probably not going to buy a $500 camera, so you get tons of traffic and no sales. The last two are exact because I'm okay with "canon eos rebel t6 digital camera".  The ad will run on "digital cameras" without the negative keyword since it's the taxonomy associated for that product. Unfortunately, you really do need to do this for every product and watch your analytics like a hawk and add more if necessary. Also, once the ad starts running, I recommend you fire off a bunch of test searches and add more if necessary. You wouldn't think that you would need the condition related keywords since there's a field for that in the data feed, but if you check, Google doesn't seem to use it. "canon eos rebel t6 refurbished" the first ad is for a brand new camera.

Even though you can't target keywords, you have to, so you need to understand where the ad will run, and be able to predict the keywords you need to negative, and it would be great, if they gave impression data, which would be good, but they don't, so you just kind of know a head of time, somehow. (I don't feel like explaining the process of circling in an out of the keyword tool, but the keywords it picks for the ads aren't magical. There's a system to it. Knowing this, you can actually target keywords, just not irrelevant ones. The exact data in the feed, including taxonomies, are the keywords, along with semantically similar keywords. Again, it would have been great to know that before I put money into my adwords account.)

As an example here: Google: Hose

Fail. There's 10,000 different kinds of hose... This traffic is junk and somebody is probably paying 50 cents a click for it.

Negative keyword:

[hose]

So for a store with 1,000 products, you end up with at least 20 data points that need optimization, per product. With about 10 products per group, that's 100 groups, each of which need about 5 or more negative keywords, then you have two campaigns per product, so this is big fun stuff, and I'm so happy that the Google reps were so happy to help me get my account open and not really explain how to actually make money PLA ads.

Trust me, from experience, if you just import your product feed and hit go, you will explode money at an astonishing rate, since Google volume ($$$) optimizes your campaign for you. Which is exactly what all small businesses are looking for... To have their business website flooded with low buyer intent traffic at their max CPC bid.

All I was trying to say here is that 20 groups is honestly nothing compared to the optimization required for Google's other wonderful advertising solution. Now that somebody actually explained to me what needs to be done, with out Google's special brand of circle-speak, it's not bad, but wow... Expectations were a little different compared to reality...

Edit: Oh and, to give you an idea how much this stuff matters (since the gurus always throw around numbers that are totally unrealistic.) My real numbers:

Unoptimized:

Daily Spend: $100USD daily. Conversion Rate: < .2% Average CPC: $0.40, very rough estimated CPS: $200

Optimized by doing nothing but negativing all of the taxonomies and generic keywords. (Still not correctly optimized.)

Daily Spend: $5 daily max, honestly usually less, like $3. Conversion Rate: ~.70%. Average CPC: $0.11, very rough estimated CPS: $20

So, I know I've read from some gurus that optimizations can lead to 100% decrease in cost per sale, uh yeah, in reality it's actually more like 2000%+.

So don't think it doesn't matter that much, actually it's mega super important.

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8 hours ago, Ryan_132 said:

I also recently started working on someone's AdWords account that was a complete mess! This one Ad Group had over 700 keywords, no joke. It also contained a lot of different match types (modified broad, exact, and phrase match). Funny thing is they paid a so-called top rated "AdWords Expert" $30/hr to create this campaign. 

Anyways I ended up creating a whole new campaign with multiple ad groups, it's been driving a lot more relevant leads but I am still not satisfied with the campaign one bit. The quality score on a lot of my keywords is only 6/10, apparently due to a lower than expected CTR. I guess I am just going to keep using the peel & stick until I can get a higher CTR, I also will try to add the site link extensions which hopefully will help. 

I think one of the biggest problems with the campaign is that it's a B2B campaign and the client is not giving me the proper time/information to truly 100% understand the different products, what the benefits are. what their USP is. etc. Pretty frustrating, but he is a very busy guy. Then again I may be completely off on the ad copy, I started to look at competitors ads which helped a little bit.

Anyways, do you have any specific AdWords tips for b2b clients?

Thanks,

Ryan

I have sometimes been able to get my CTRs to go up dramatically by lowering my bids. It is weird, and does not always work. Here is the last 7-day data from an ad group in one campaign where we had quality scores of 6 and 7's mostly. You can see the ads are not ranking real highly, but still getting good CTRs.

tWTLAOPPTwWp8z4ZY2ro6Q.png

 

My thoughts on why this might be is ad blindness at the very top of the page. We were bidding to be #1 on most of these keywords and getting CTRs around 2%. This isn't always the case. There is a keyword in a different ad group of the same campaign that is getting a CTR around 15% with an ad position of 1.4. So this phenomena is not niche specific, but seems to be more keyword specific. 

One thing that helps with all campaigns, but I think I have noticed it a little more in some B2B niches is the destination URL that is displayed. In those niches, I think people are more worried about their time. They do not want to waste it having to browse around on website after website. They want to be taken to exactly what they are looking for. 

As an example... I have a client that deals with hazardous waste disposal.  One thing they handle is called "laboratory packing" or "lab pack" for short. If someone is looking for "lab pack disposal", and they see that in the URL, they are more likely to click there than if the URL is just a homepage.

oJwDYTllSF2CiUKb1gs2YA.png

For one thing, not all hazardous waste disposal companies deal with lab pack disposal. By seeing it in the URL, that answers that question right away. Second, they know they are not going to have to look around on the website to find it. They are going to be taken to exactly what they are searching for. 

The ad extensions can definitely help CTRs whether it is B2B or not. 

Those sitelink callouts in that first ad are going to help the CTR.

The callout extensions on the ads will get some notice too. They probably could think of better ones to be honest. Compliance is a big concern for these companies. The first one mentions it, but "Convenient and Compliant" is not that eye catching. Probably a better way to phrase that and get more notice. "No obligation" and "no hidden fees" in the second one is kind of a waste. This industry is not like cell phone companies with a bunch of hidden fees or long-term contracts, so neither of those are really a big concern for most searchers. 

It is basic and sometimes it is overlooked, but I think you really want the primary keyword of the ad group at the beginning of the headline for better CTRs. The first ad doesn't use it until "Request a lab pack consult", but even then it doesn't stand out. In the first, ad, it is the first thing you see. "Lab Pack Services". That is more ideal.

Just a few thoughts. Without knowing the niche of your client, there's not much else to share.

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On 7/9/2017 at 11:52 PM, Ryan_132 said:

I also recently started working on someone's AdWords account that was a complete mess! This one Ad Group had over 700 keywords, no joke. It also contained a lot of different match types (modified broad, exact, and phrase match). Funny thing is they paid a so-called top rated "AdWords Expert" $30/hr to create this campaign. 

Anyways I ended up creating a whole new campaign with multiple ad groups, it's been driving a lot more relevant leads but I am still not satisfied with the campaign one bit. The quality score on a lot of my keywords is only 6/10, apparently due to a lower than expected CTR. I guess I am just going to keep using the peel & stick until I can get a higher CTR, I also will try to add the site link extensions which hopefully will help. 

I think one of the biggest problems with the campaign is that it's a B2B campaign and the client is not giving me the proper time/information to truly 100% understand the different products, what the benefits are. what their USP is. etc. Pretty frustrating, but he is a very busy guy. Then again I may be completely off on the ad copy, I started to look at competitors ads which helped a little bit.

Anyways, do you have any specific AdWords tips for b2b clients?

Thanks,

Ryan

 

I was thinking more about this last night. Another thing to look for to improve the CTR is a unique selling position. What makes your client better than the competition? Or is there a few key features that buyers are often looking for?

In the SEO industry, for example, "white hat" is becoming a big buzz work that many business owners outside of SEO are becoming familiar with, so you are seeing that term pop up in a lot more ads.

Does your client do price matching? Do they have a guarantee? Faster shipping? 24/7 customer service?

All of these things can be highlighted in an ad or in callout extensions. 

 

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On 7/12/2017 at 6:57 AM, Mike Friedman said:

 

I was thinking more about this last night. Another thing to look for to improve the CTR is a unique selling position. What makes your client better than the competition? Or is there a few key features that buyers are often looking for?

In the SEO industry, for example, "white hat" is becoming a big buzz work that many business owners outside of SEO are becoming familiar with, so you are seeing that term pop up in a lot more ads.

Does your client do price matching? Do they have a guarantee? Faster shipping? 24/7 customer service?

All of these things can be highlighted in an ad or in callout extensions. 

 

 

Thanks for all the information, much appreciated!

Right now our campaign Avg position is 2.5, I wonder if decreasing the bids will work for me... definitely worth it to look at the data and see if I can see any trends. We have the display URL's set up to the keywords. As far as the keywords in the title go, we are using a lot of keyword insertion {keyword}. It seems to bring higher CTR's, but I definitely haven't tested it out for long enough yet with this campaign. I think I need to spend some more looking into that. 

I really like your example of how compliance is a big thing in that particular industry. I have a weekly meeting with the owner tomorrow morning and I really think I need to ask a question like that. Maybe something like what is most important to the customers in his industry. Right now I'm running generic copy like Best Quality, Value, & Service. That's just what they seem to advertise on their website... I know it could be a lot better. Another thing that I wanted to mention is that he is running a 30% discount. I always try to highlight that in the ad copy somehow, I think that is valuable. But then again, I don't really know the industry maybe I should take that out maybe it shows a sign of low quality. Just one of the theories I have. 

Anyways, the industry is Industrial Gaskets - specifically for businesses in chemical, pharmaceuticals, energy, food, etc. One problem that I am running into is how hard it is to strain out the consumer traffic. It seems like there are literally gaskets for everything imaginable. I went in and proactively added a ton of negative kw's and I changed most of the match types to phrase match. It has definitely helped, most of the search terms we get now don't really seem all that irrelevant, but we still are getting very low conversion rates. 

I guess I need to find a way to really differentiate the ad copy and make sure the people understand that it is a B2B company, and find some specifications or something to put in my ad copy that only people searching for b2b industrial gaskets will understand and desire. 

Sorry for the long ass reply, haha but if you have any additional thoughts or anything I would really enjoy hearing them.

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39 minutes ago, Ryan_132 said:

Thanks for all the information, much appreciated!

Right now our campaign Avg position is 2.5, I wonder if decreasing the bids will work for me... definitely worth it to look at the data and see if I can see any trends. We have the display URL's set up to the keywords. As far as the keywords in the title go, we are using a lot of keyword insertion {keyword}. It seems to bring higher CTR's, but I definitely haven't tested it out for long enough yet with this campaign. I think I need to spend some more looking into that. 

I really like your example of how compliance is a big thing in that particular industry. I have a weekly meeting with the owner tomorrow morning and I really think I need to ask a question like that. Maybe something like what is most important to the customers in his industry. Right now I'm running generic copy like Best Quality, Value, & Service. That's just what they seem to advertise on their website... I know it could be a lot better. Another thing that I wanted to mention is that he is running a 30% discount. I always try to highlight that in the ad copy somehow, I think that is valuable. But then again, I don't really know the industry maybe I should take that out maybe it shows a sign of low quality. Just one of the theories I have. 

Anyways, the industry is Industrial Gaskets - specifically for businesses in chemical, pharmaceuticals, energy, food, etc. One problem that I am running into is how hard it is to strain out the consumer traffic. It seems like there are literally gaskets for everything imaginable. I went in and proactively added a ton of negative kw's and I changed most of the match types to phrase match. It has definitely helped, most of the search terms we get now don't really seem all that irrelevant, but we still are getting very low conversion rates. 

I guess I need to find a way to really differentiate the ad copy and make sure the people understand that it is a B2B company, and find some specifications or something to put in my ad copy that only people searching for b2b industrial gaskets will understand and desire. 

Sorry for the long ass reply, haha but if you have any additional thoughts or anything I would really enjoy hearing them.

 

You switched to phrase match from broad match I am assuming. I honestly would probably be running on mostly exact match keywords for a company like that to help filter out more of the consumer versus commercial traffic. 

I have a similar issue with my waste disposal client. There are a lot of people at home searching for waste disposal and what they really want is someone to pick up their trash or information like how to dispose of a leftover can of paint. Negative keywords are a big, big help, but we also pretty much just stopped targeting generic terms like "waste disposal". Too much of the traffic is irrelevant, and you can even tell that just by looking at the other ads for keywords like that.

Another thing I would do is make sure you are ALWAYS running 2 ads in every ad group. You want to make sure you have the campaign set to show the ads an equal amount of time. Don't let Google try to optimize them for clicks or conversions. Nothing like that. You want a 50/50 split. Make sure the ads are fairly different. After you have enough data, decide which of the 2 ads to keep. Ditch the other one and write a new ad to replace it. Just keep doing this over and over. In fairly big campaigns, I do this weekly. In smaller campaigns, it might take 2-4 weeks to get enough data to pick a winner. Also, some ad groups are going to be smaller volume than others. 

This keeps you constantly testing your ads. You will also start to notice and pick up on trends of certain phrases that work really well. You'll find that you get better and better CTRs this way. Your ad writing for that campaign will just keep getting better and better. 

In your case, I would test some with the keyword insertion and without. I've always kept my ad groups to between 5-10 keywords, so I never felt the need to use those. If you are going to use them, I would test results without using them too.

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8 hours ago, Mike Friedman said:

 

You switched to phrase match from broad match I am assuming. I honestly would probably be running on mostly exact match keywords for a company like that to help filter out more of the consumer versus commercial traffic. 

I have a similar issue with my waste disposal client. There are a lot of people at home searching for waste disposal and what they really want is someone to pick up their trash or information like how to dispose of a leftover can of paint. Negative keywords are a big, big help, but we also pretty much just stopped targeting generic terms like "waste disposal". Too much of the traffic is irrelevant, and you can even tell that just by looking at the other ads for keywords like that.

Another thing I would do is make sure you are ALWAYS running 2 ads in every ad group. You want to make sure you have the campaign set to show the ads an equal amount of time. Don't let Google try to optimize them for clicks or conversions. Nothing like that. You want a 50/50 split. Make sure the ads are fairly different. After you have enough data, decide which of the 2 ads to keep. Ditch the other one and write a new ad to replace it. Just keep doing this over and over. In fairly big campaigns, I do this weekly. In smaller campaigns, it might take 2-4 weeks to get enough data to pick a winner. Also, some ad groups are going to be smaller volume than others. 

This keeps you constantly testing your ads. You will also start to notice and pick up on trends of certain phrases that work really well. You'll find that you get better and better CTRs this way. Your ad writing for that campaign will just keep getting better and better. 

In your case, I would test some with the keyword insertion and without. I've always kept my ad groups to between 5-10 keywords, so I never felt the need to use those. If you are going to use them, I would test results without using them too.

Yeah the guy that set up a campaign before me was using a ton of modified broad matches. I definitely agree that I need to start using exact match more for this campaign, that should help. As far as having two ads running, I definitely haven't made the ads different enough and I haven't waited long enough to switch them. Thanks again for the tips, definitely should help put this campaign in the right direction. 

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