3 Steps to Building an Effective AdWords Account Structure

3 Steps to Building an Effective AdWords Account Structure

Business owners can create their own PPC campaigns and drive highly targeted traffic to their landing pages in a short period of time. But as with any marketing campaign, your success largely depends on how you structure your account. Starting an AdWords campaign without any thought on account structure builds a weak foundation. You may be able to drive traffic and even generate some sales with your efforts.

Oliver Wood
Oliver Wood

Google AdWords is a highly profitable marketing channel.

Business owners can create their own PPC campaigns and drive highly targeted traffic to their landing pages in a short period of time. But as with any marketing campaign, your success largely depends on how you structure your account. Starting an AdWords campaign without any thought on account structure builds a weak foundation. You may be able to drive traffic and even generate some sales with your efforts.

But it also comes at a higher cost compared to an account with an organised and efficient structure.

A well-structured account is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Quality Scores: Quality Score is a metric used by Google to assess the quality and relevance of a campaign. The better your scores, the higher your ad positions and the less you pay for each click.

  • Reporting: An organised account means better reporting on different aspects of your campaign so you can see exactly which areas need improvements.

  • Optimisation: An efficient structure gives you granular control over all aspects, allowing you to better optimise for performance and improve the relevance of your campaign.

Setting up the overall structure of your account helps establish a strong foundation, which ultimately boosts your advertising performance. Here we delve deeper into the major components of account structure and how to use that information to build out your own profitable AdWords campaign.

Critical Aspects of AdWords Campaigns

Here are the main components that make up a typical AdWords account.


Here we take a look at each one:

  • Campaigns: Accounts typically contain a few campaigns (depending on the size of the account) with broader themes such as product categories, brand names, etc. Campaigns are then broken down into ad groups which contain the keywords you bid on. Organising by campaign topics makes it easier to manage spending since budgets are set at the campaign level.

  • Ad groups: Ad groups contain a set of keywords, allowing you to organise your ads by theme such as the products or services you offer. There is no limit to the number of ad groups you can have or the keywords in them. But it is better to create tightly focused ad groups to improve the relevance of your campaign.

  • Keywords: AdWords lets you bid on keywords that are relevant to your business. These keywords should be tightly organised into ad groups. Keyword research as well as an understanding of the different match types and negative keywords are important to refine your campaign.

  • Text ads: Your ads are triggered whenever search queries are made for the keywords you are bidding on. Text ads contain the main headline, body description, and display URL. Well written copy is key to driving clicks to your landing pages. Ad groups should only have a few ads to optimise their focus.

  • Landing pages: Another critical component of any AdWords campaign is the landing page. This is where visitors click through to learn more about your offer and are able make a purchase. Text ads need to direct to highly relevant landing pages to have any chance of converting a visitor.

It helps to understand each of these components so you can better plan and optimise your AdWords campaign. Here we go more into detail on how to structure your account.

1. Decide How to Setup Your Account

There is no secret structure that will magically result in more clicks and sales to your account. What works for one business may have completely different results for yours. Any AdWords strategy can prove to be successful but what really matters is the implementation.

Here are several setups that can work for your business:

  • How your website is structured: What structure does your website follow? Categories and subcategories are perhaps the most common structure. Building out your account in a similar fashion helps keep your campaigns organised by sections of your site.

  • By products or services: Do you sell physical products or services? Organising your campaigns by products or services offered is incredibly advantageous. It lets you create highly focused ad groups (e.g. golf clubs by brand, models of kitchen appliances, etc.) and fine-tune your budgets. Structuring your account in this manner lets you easily create and manage separate campaigns.

  • By location: Does your business only service customers in certain regions? Then it makes sense to target search queries within a designated area. If your services are only available to customers in Perth, you might create a campaign to target search queries within a certain radius. Organising your account in this manner can help shed insight on areas that are more profitable for your business.

There are plenty of other ways to structure your AdWords account.

But first decide on a system that best reflects your business. Most importantly, the structure you decide on should be able to provide a quick snapshot of your campaign and let you easily make changes as needed. So take the time now to think about the structure you want to implement.

2. Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is arguably the most important component of your AdWords campaign.

Target the right keywords and you can drive a flood of highly targeted traffic to your landing pages. But target the wrong ones and you will quickly burn through your marketing budget. How you structure your campaign ultimately won’t matter unless you do proper keyword research.

After deciding on a structure for your campaign (e.g. by products, locations, etc.), the next step is to go through each ad group to identify relevant keywords you can target.

There are a number of tools available but Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the most comprehensive as it provides additional keyword ideas as well as traffic estimates. Keep each ad group relatively small (10 to 20 keywords max) so they are focused and relevant.

Targeting long tail keywords is also a smart approach.


Competition for head keywords (e.g. computers, shoes, etc.) are simply too competitive and search volume for really long keyword phrases is practically nonexistence. Aim for keywords with a decent amount of traffic with low to medium competition.

Keywords you add to each ad group can always be revised later on. For example, you can increase spending for those keywords that are performing better and remove those that barely convert.

3. Get Started on Your First Campaign

You have an account structure that reflects your business model and a keyword list for your ad groups.

The next step is to create your first campaign. This step can be rather overwhelming especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of products. The key is to get the ball rolling so start with your best selling products and work from there. You can always create additional campaigns later on.

When you first create an AdWords account, you should see the following step-by-step wizard:


Here is a basic breakdown of each step:

Budget: Advertisers can set a daily budget for their campaigns. Once you reach budget you enter, your campaign automatically stops and restarts the next day. Calculate how much you are willing to spend per day and enter it here.

Locations: If you want to reach visitors in certain countries, you can make that selection here. Similarly, you can even choose cities to target (useful for local businesses).

Networks: By default, you will be opted into both the Search and Display Network. If you want your ads to only display in the search results, then select Search Network.

Keywords: Enter in a set of keywords to get started. You can get additional ideas by clicking on the “More like this” button. You can always add, remove, or edit these keywords later.

Bid: AdWords will automatically set your bids to maximise clicks. But it is strongly recommend that you set this to manual.

Text ad: Text ads are triggered whenever search queries are made for the keywords you bid on. Ads consist of a headline, body description, and a link to your landing page. You can preview how your ad will look on the same page. Copy is especially important here to improve click through rates.

Then click on the Save button to enter in your billing information and to review your first campaign.

So What Happens Next?

Look at your AdWords account as a work in progress.

Some keywords will do well and others will fail spectacularly. The key though is to track and monitor your campaign, and make changes as necessary. It makes no sense to continue with certain ad groups if they are not resulting in conversions. Likewise, you may want to increase spending for keywords that are performing well. AdWords has excellent reporting capabilities that provides valuable insight which you can then leverage to further optimise your campaigns.

But before getting started, creating a basic account structure should be the first thing you do. The structure of your account is not permanent, and will likely continue to change and evolve over time.

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