One common issue I see when looking at small business Google Ads campaigns is putting all of your keywords in one ad group.  The more advanced PPC experts will always create ad groups for every search concept, as this gives you the opportunity to sculpt your message to specific keywords. You can create specific ad copy and even landing pages that speak directly to what the searcher had in mind. This tactic has shown to improve conversions and is a common practice in PPC Management and especially Google Ads.  This is something I typically stress anyway, but it becomes even more important as Google has begun restricting the ability to see the specific keywords that your paid ads show up for.  Google now classifies a growing percentage of these terms as “other” which is infuriating to people who are paying for the ads and need to see which terms are working or not working to improve their campaign efficiency.

Even More Specific Ad Groups from Day 1

ad groups as Keyword ResearchSo I have been using a tactic that takes a little more work upfront but then helps with keyword concept sculpting down the road, saving you money. It also helps your optimization score to have more specific targeting anyway. Even if ad groups have very little activity, if you make them very specific, you can identify what is succeeding and failing a little more easily without seeing the specific keywords people type in, since Google is now withholding them. Even if you serve some ad groups with the same ads (not optimal), you still have the structure set up to pause ad groups that aren’t performing. Think of the many different ways to break down your core keyword target concept.  There are usually different words because of synonyms, but also types of modifiers that would go along that can be broken into ad groups. Here are a few additional combinations to consider for their own ad groups. These ideas combined with your core ad group search concept

  • Locations: “Near me”, towns, regions can have their own ad group when combined with the core concept term.
  • Usage Types: Users may have different ways or reasons to use your product or service and may search that way. Separate into a different ad group for each.
  • Solution Types: Similar to usage types, what are the different solutions your product or service addresses. Duct tape might be needed for a number of things.  Combining the solutions with duct tape to create individual ad groups will help you understand which ones are succeeding when Google won’t show you.
  • Synonyms: Google says with keywords that they include synonyms, but if you can think of them ahead of time you can separate them.  You’d be surprised how much difference conversion rate may be between synonyms. Seems like the same thing but it can convert at a vastly different rate.
  • Typical Modifiers: Terms like “best”, “fastest”, “highest rated” may all be worth an ad group. They probably need different ad messages too, but at least separate them out so you can see which concepts you fail and succeed with.

Keep Breaking It Down

As time goes on you will see new concepts pop up that may need their own ad group. Typically this is just part of making campaigns more efficient over time, but now it is even more important as Google restricts what we see. Take back control to some degree so you can understand what is working and what isn’t. It makes it easier to pause out those that are failing too. Just one button click and that type of traffic you weren’t doing well with, is no longer using up the budget. The big spenders have been doing this for years to improve efficiency, but now it is more important than ever for small businesses to think this way to make sure they are spending on what is working.

As I finished this post I received an email from Google saying they are essentially making broad match modifier keywords and phrase matches the same thing.  This is even more restriction on advertiser control over advertising to specific searches. Scary and more to come. This is going to make countermeasures more important than ever.  Basically they stopped letting us match “exact” keywords a few years back, and now we can force a specific combination or phrase.

Google’s email stated:

“To simplify keyword match types, this new phrase match will fully replace BMM by July. Your existing BMM keywords will continue to work, and you can use phrase match keywords for new keywords you would have previously added as BMM.”