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Account Structure

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Critical components

We’re going to deep dive now just into an account. Here is the structure of a standard account.

You have your campaigns, which contain your ad groups, which contain your keywords.

Let’s begin with keywords. The keywords are the cornerstone of any search campaign. We have our keywords, and we build our keywords into lists of keywords that are all related together. These lists of keywords are what we call ad groups. An ad group contains a list of keywords on an ad that relates to that list of keywords.

So if your keywords are quite closely related, like if they were all flights to New York keywords, a flights to New York ad would be suitable. But if there are flights to New York, flights to Budapest, flights to the United Kingdom, all of them in one ad group, your ad wouldn’t exactly suit the searches that people are looking for. It’s important to make your keyword lists as tight as possible to build them into sensible lists which we call ad groups and then write the ads that are closely related to those keywords.

In order to organize our multiple keyword list, because there will be hundreds of keyword lists in any search campaign, search campaigns can have millions of keywords in them. It’s best practice to have between 10, at an optimal level, and 50 keywords at a maximum level of keywords in an ad group. Avoid having any more than 50 keywords in an ad group. In fact, aim to have only have 10 keywords in an ad group and build out five ad groups, and make a keyword list of 50. And then you group these into campaigns, which is how you easily manage multiple keyword lists across different clients, across different territories and across different product lines.

Here’s an example of how we might structure an account. So we begin again with the keywords, and we’ve got our cheap flights to Heathrow keywords, and best flight to Heathrow keywords, all into Heathrow flights ad group. Everything in that ad group will relate to flying, and to fly into Heathrow airport.

So, the ads in that ad group will all say fly to Heathrow, which when someone does a search for any of our keywords and they see fly to Heathrow in the ad, that means it’s as relevant as it can be to what they’ve looked for. And then in the next one we’ve just simply have flights to Gatwick. So again, in that ad group all of those keywords will mention Gatwick and they will mention flying. So the ads in that ad group will also mention flying and Gatwick, and therefore relevant to the user’s search query. And then we’ve grouped all of our Heathrow, Gatwick, and there might be Stansted, there might be Luton, and there might be all of the different airports within London, London City Airport into the London flights campaign.

You can see that we’re managing it by building that structure around keywords that are related to each other, grouped into lists which we call ad groups, and grouped into overall groupings or campaigns in that regard. So this is the sensible structure that Google Ads presents us.

And if we begin with the keyword, and work backwards towards that campaign, that’s the most sensible way for us to optimize our activity.

Other elements

Let’s consider some other elements around campaigns. There are a lot of different moving parts within the campaign that relate to the keywords themselves and the ads themselves.

Keyword match types

This is a method that Google uses to bridge the gap between your keyword and what the person has actually typed in. For example, if your keyword is flights to London, but they’ve misspelled flights or indeed misspelled London, Google has enough intelligence to match their misspelling to your ad and to make sure that you do capture any of the related things or misspells or whatever that the searcher actually inputs into the search engine. Google will bridge that gap for you. They use a tool called match types at that point.

Negative keywords

Negative keywords are highly important for anyone who doesn’t want to drive a certain type of traffic. Best practices around negative keywords will be adding things like the negative keyword jobs. Consider cases when people are looking for your brand but they’re not actually looking to buy off you. They might be looking for a job, or researching any kind of activity around strikes or bad PR or anything like that. You don’t want to pay for traffic that relates to these types of searches. That’s what negative keywords are.

Ad text

The ad text we’ve talked about.


Bids are what you ultimately pay for a click.

Ad extensions

Ad extensions are those enhancements of an ad that make them more clickable, that make them more appealing to the searcher. And we’ll delve into each of these elements a lot later in the course in a bit more detail.

Methods to structure your account

Structuring your account has a methodology to it. If you build your methodology correctly from the start up, it makes it a lot easier to manage and optimize going forward.

Similar keywords

You group your keywords together. You structure a Google Ads account from ground up, and you put your similar keywords together and put them into keyword lists which are called ad groups and group those similar keyword lists into campaigns. And this is the sensible structure that everyone should undertake for ongoing optimization and future management of your activity.

Ad groups and ad copy

Your ad groups and ad copy must be as closely related to the keywords as they can be, because this is how the structure is built.


Campaigns involve understanding how we can group groups of keyword lists into bigger campaigns.

Search volume

Search volume helps you to understand how to structure the account, because you can only give a certain budget to a campaign. So if you have a mixture of keywords that get a lot of searches and keywords that don’t get a lot of searches in the same campaign, the keywords that get a lot of searches will get the lion’s share of that budget if not all of that campaign budget.

So therefore, the smaller, longer tail keywords may not ever get a chance to show. And those keywords can be highly relevant, they can be highly converting, they can be cheap, and they can be very effective in an incremental build of your commercial activity.

So, by grouping your keywords together by search volume, it allows you to apply a high-volume budget to your high volume campaign, where they get a lot of budget and a separate budget to your low volume campaign.

So these will serve and you can control what they spend. And the high volume keywords will also serve, and you can control what they spend. However, if you group them into the same campaign, Google will ultimately decide who gets what and you’ll find over time that the high volume keywords get all of the budget and the low volume keywords get none of it. To give the control back to you, the advertiser, I would recommend splitting any kind of keyword lists by search volume in order to apply them the correct daily budget for ideal optimization.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

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