Understanding Keyword Organization: Why You May Be Wasting Great Campaign Structures

July 29, 2016

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make surrounding keyword organization is that they waste good to great structures. It's becoming better understood that intelligent paid search campaign organization is fundamental to paid search success, but just having a strong keyword structure isn't enough. You have to then work to get the most out of that organizational advantage.

How to Waste Great Keyword Structure in One Easy Step

One of the really important things to understand about keyword grouping is that as you create new groups of keywords and get more and more granular with your segmentation, you're actually just speaking to an additional layer of intent. A keyword, after all, is an advertising control, and you're hand-picking a certain type of prospect with the keyword and signalling that you'd like inventory around that type of prospect. And groups of keywords are just your way of lumping certain types of prospects together to serve them the same ad within an ad group.

What all this means is: the central purpose of a new ad group is more granular messaging and tracking. Because the main component of Quality Score is click-through rate, the real aim in structuring your account with highly specific groups of keywords is to be able to better target those searchers while better understanding how they convert to leads and sales on your site.

This is a concept that's surprisingly underappreciated. A great example of under-utilized segmentation is the overuse/misuse of ad text templates.

How Stock Ad Text Templates Can Get You Into Trouble

Taking a template-centric approach to ad text generation can definitely create some efficiencies, but there are many instances where it can get you into trouble. Let's take a look at one such approach. Please note: I'm not speaking here about every imaginable implementation of ad copy generation through templates, just the one outlined below and similar iterations.

Imagine for a second that we're creating a campaign for a file sharing application. Our initial segmentation might be around the single term "file sharing," since it's such a high-volume term for us.

Now let's say I've taken a look at the other keyword possibilities for file sharing, and I've decided to create some other segmentations around things like:

  • Free File Sharing
  • Peer to Peer File Sharing
  • File Sharing Software

The risk that I run by simply leveraging an unsophisticated ad text template here is that I may be giving back a lot of the advantage that I created by breaking out these more granular segmentations. If I just lean on a template and insert a variation on the same ad text I'm using in other areas in my account, I may wind up with something like this:

1. File Sharing

  • Headline: File Sharing Software

  • Description Line 1: Access tons of music and videos.

  • Description Line 2: Try it Free Today!

2. Free File Sharing

  • Headline: Free File Sharing

  • Description Line 1: Access tons of music and videos.

  • Description Line 2: Try it Free Today!

3. Peer to Peer File Sharing

  • Headline: P2P File Sharing

  • Description Line 1: Access tons of music and videos.

  • Description Line 2: Try it Free Today!

4. File Sharing Software

  • Headline: File Sharing Software

  • Description Line 1: Access tons of music and videos.

  • Description Line 2: Try it Free Today!

Notice that by getting too bland and generic with our titles, we've actually duplicated titles for ads 1 and 4, and basically we'd be better off just lumping all of these keywords into one group and using dynamic keyword insertion so far as our messaging is concerned. 

How to Extract Maximum Value from Your Valuable Keyword Segmentations

The reality is that by analyzing the intent of each of these searches, there's a treasure trove of messaging opportunity:

  • File Sharing - This is a really generic term and someone who uses it may be looking for information or for software. One approach could be to give them an informational offer (white paper) or to aggressively qualify our ad text with language around file sharing software to try to keep the browsers from clicking. Better yet: try a few different types of messages and test!
  • Free File Sharing - This gives us an excellent layer of intent. Assuming we have a freemium product offering we'll want to send this searcher there, and we can entice them to click by leveraging the description lines to layer on more free language and a custom call to action. We might also consider testing pushing them into one action versus another here (maybe testing the freemium model versus a free trial, if we have both set up).
  • Peer to Peer File Sharing - This is another instance that could be informational, but we can also glean some great intent from this query that we can message to. Rather than just swapping out text in our headline, we can actually create some messaging in the description lines that speak to the benefits of P2P versus other types of file sharing.
  • File Sharing Software - This term's use of the word software might give us enough intent to try a harder sell in the copy. 

As with any ad group you'll want to adhere to ad copy writing best practices, and test your different variations, but the main idea is to make sure that you're creating ads that actually make use of all that great keyword optimization work you've done!

Tom Demers

Tom Demers is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Measured SEM and Cornerstone Content.

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