Updated August 12, 2019

5840863509_a71098e780_zToday, to celebrate this week’s AdWords for Ecommerce Bootcamp, I’m going to be sharing with you one of the vital best practices we teach our Bootcamp attendees. This practice is particularly important, since it is foundational for your other AdWords efforts.

We’ve found that one of the keys to running a profitable AdWords account is the organization of your campaigns. Your campaign structure affects everything from your quality score to how well you are able to optimize your campaigns. In our AdWords consultations, we commonly see inefficient account structures costing retailers thousands of dollars, both in wasted spend and sales left on the table.

Now you might be wondering—why does campaign structure matter so much? After all, as long as your team understands the structure, isn’t it okay?

The answer we consistently see is a decisive no. Here’s why:

#1 – Lowered Click-Through Rate
With Google, relevance will make or break your ads. Without highly relevant ads, you won’t be able to hit the click-through-rate (and therefore the Quality Score) you need to achieve your ideal results. And the wrong structure can severely cripple your ability to write these CTR-winning ads.

Consider this—if each ad group contains several different “themes” of keywords, you will have no choice but to resort to general ads that cover your basic theme, but can’t respond directly to user’s queries. Consider the following example:

ad group compare

ad examples

If your user searches “cheddar popcorn” and your general gourmet popcorn ad shows up next to a highly relevant gourmet cheddar popcorn ad, those clicks will be going to your competitor. Remember—Google users are looking for the most relevant result for their query. So the more specifically you can match your ad to the searcher’s intent, the more clicks your ad is going to net.

#2 – Fewer Conversions
But it’s not only your click through rate that will suffer from a bad campaign structure. General ads mean general landing pages, and we see time and time again that general landing pages are conversion killers (not to mention they’ll typically lower your Quality Score).

As a general rule of thumb, you will see more conversions the more specific and convenient you can make your landing pages. The fewer the clicks from your ad to completed checkout, the higher your conversion rate will be. Google demands a high level of relevancy from their advertisers, and that is difficult to impossible to reach with a sloppy campaign structure. However, when you organize your ad groups down to keyword-level specificity, you can tailor your ads and destination URLs to the kind of hyper-relevancy that will boost your conversion rates.

#3—Stunted Return on Investment
And finally, bad campaign structure affects ROI. Careful, strategic bids are a major determiner of your AdWords success, especially when it comes to getting a good return on your investment. You don’t need me telling you that, I’m sure, but did you know that an unorganized campaign can hamper your ability to manage your bids? This comes down to the simple fact that not all keywords are created equally.

Consider our first example. You have “cheddar popcorn,” “caramel popcorn,” and “theater butter popcorn” all under the same ad group. But each of these terms vary greatly, in terms of the number of impressions they receive, their click-through-rate, and how well they convert. Each keyword has a different value to you. But if you bid at the ad group level (which is typical), you will be holding back your high-performing keywords with low bids, while overspending on keywords that are damaging your ROI.

Breaking these individual keywords into their own ad groups enables you to manage them much more effectively when it comes to bidding strategically. Just the visibility and easy adjustability you gain from breaking these keywords into their own groups is well worth the effort.

And while campaign structure is a very important part of optimizing your paid search campaigns, it isn’t the only factor that could be killing your profitability. For more account management tactics that could save you thousands, download our most popular executive guide to date, AdWords Default Settings that Kill Retailer Profitability.