How to optimize your account structure in an era of automation

How to optimize your account structure in an era of automation

Automation has fundamentally changed Google Ads and other large advertising platforms in the past few years.

In many ways, automation has made life easier for us. For example, I don’t miss the days when I manually tweak the bids for each keyword in my account.

However, as machine learning has become an integral part of campaign management, it is natural for you to lose control.

To ensure you are maximizing the positive impacts of automation, while maintaining the necessary level of autonomy, marketers need to review their account structures.

The media plans we are trying to provide for our brands / customers often contain multiple goals or lines of business, making the account structure even more important.

Below are some tips on how to change your account structure to achieve the perfect balance. We’ll start with the most granular level of account organization and work your way up.

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Ad groups

As always, the ad group organization should match the keywords to the message / offer you intend to send.

Make sure your message and landing page are closely related to the keywords in your ad group. Ad relevance and landing page experience are key components of Ad Rank, determining your position on the page and the price you pay for clicks.

With Expanded Text Ads, it made sense to break down granular ad groups so you could incorporate high-volume keywords into your ads (and thus improve ad relevance); however, with responsive search ads becoming the default ad type in July, there may be an opportunity to consolidate ad groups, as you can embed a wider range of messages within a single ad. If you are following this model, I recommend that you organize your keywords according to the landing pages you plan to reach.

While some advertisers prefer to keep their current approach to ad group segmentation, it’s important to consider your team’s ability to develop strong and relevant RSAs at scale.

The best practice used by our teams is at least 10 titles and four descriptive lines for each RSA. Compared to the ETA, that’s a lot more time you need to spend writing engaging lyrics.

Consolidating ad groups and supporting automation behind RSAs can provide operational efficiencies for your team, especially if you manage campaigns across multiple product lines or geographic markets.


The campaign structure is where SEM becomes more of an art than a science.

There is no such thing as “perfect” campaign segmentation strategy; however, there are a couple of key campaign facts that should affect how you set up your account:

Think of your campaigns as tactics to support the broader goals of your media plan. You can specify a portion of your budget to go to the campaign, and you can optimize towards a specific goal with a campaign-wide bidding strategy. Make sure the keywords and ads within your campaigns are designed to achieve the same goal.

Common segmentation strategies include:

  • Geographical targets.
  • Tongue.
  • Product / line of business.
  • Keyword match type.
  • Keyword category.
  • The target audience of the campaign.

You will need to consider which segmentation strategies will help you achieve your marketing goals. Note that you can use a combination of the segmentations.

When you break down your campaigns in more detail, you effectively give your team more control over the mix of spend across the account. This is how you can provide some guardrails that would otherwise be unknown to the bidding algorithms.

These can be strategic business-related nuances (for example, a focus on competitor keywords for the month) or optimizations to improve the output of your campaigns based on your analytics.

An easy place to start when considering more granular campaign segmentation is keyword match types. Using an example, we’ll show how a more detailed campaign strategy can result in a more optimized mix of spend and a higher overall return.

While the algorithm has actually met our tCPA goal, there is clearly an opportunity to optimize this mix of exact match keyword spending, where we are driving the most cost-effective conversions.

By splitting keywords into separate campaigns and structuring our daily campaign budgets to prioritize the exact match campaign, we can increase overall efficiency while meeting our investment goals.

A final word of caution: be careful not to get too granular with your campaign delineations.

If you get too aggressive with campaign renovations, you will see a negative impact on the ability of campaigns to take advantage of machine learning. Portfolio offers can help overcome this problem; however, my advice is to make sure you have at least $ 25- $ 50 of spending per day on each campaign.

If your campaigns regularly spend less, you may have been too aggressive with campaign segmentation.

Leverage platform automation more effectively

Ready to change your account to take advantage of platform automation more effectively? Here’s how to do it:

  • Consolidate ad groups based on your keyword alignment with your landing page bids, knowing that you can incorporate more unique messages into responsive search ads.
    • The balance you will try to find is between the relevance of the ads / LP to your keywords and the time spent developing highly relevant and personalized RSAs.
  • Segment campaigns to gain more control over how spend is distributed across your account. The campaign is the most detailed level in the hierarchy and you can effectively manage your investment.
    • The balance you will try to find is between the control needed to implement the media plan and the data density of the campaign. Too granular segmentation can also have a negative impact.

The views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the author

Anthony Tedesco is a search engine marketing professional based in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his career at Red Ventures in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he learned about the impact of data-driven performance optimization and full-funnel marketing strategies. He then returned to his native Boston, where he joined DWA / Merkle B2B, working with Fortune 100 brands to maximize the value of their SEM investments. In 2021, Anthony joined the global paid media team at Cisco Systems, Inc., where he orchestrates high-impact tactics on a large scale and helps solve the complex challenges marketers face in the evolving digital landscape. . Anthony is an avid Tar Heel and Boston fan. If he doesn’t watch his favorite teams, he likes to travel to New England with family and friends or catch up on old Survivor seasons.

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