How to Run Your AdWords Campaigns Like a Major League Baseball Organization – And Win

by 5 12/09/2013

Yes, keywords, ad copy, bid prices and landing pages are important in AdWords.

But how much thought have you given to how to organize your AdWords campaigns?

It’s an important question that a lot of advertisers don’t think about—but should. Why? Because a poorly organized campaign will, at best, cost you money. At worst, it’ll sabotage your chance of success.

AdWords Campaign Structure 101

For those who aren’t too familiar with AdWords, let’s take a minute to go over the basics of how AdWords accounts are structured.

At the highest level, you have your Campaigns. Campaigns share things like a budget, geo-targeting, bidding strategy (ie., Cost Per Click, Cost Per Conversion), and whether your ads run on the Search Network and/or Display Network.

Your Campaigns should then be organized into Ad groups. An Ad group is a collection of ads and related keywords. The keywords in each Ad group should be closely related to one another, the ads highly relevant to the keywords, and the landing pages the ads lead to highly relevant to both the ads and keywords.

Sometimes in small accounts you can get away with having just one Campaign that divides your keywords/ads into a number of different Ad groups. Most of the time, however, you’re better off organizing your account into separate Campaigns.

One of the most common ways to do this is to keep your campaigns targeting the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network separately. The way your organize keywords, the ads you run, your bidding, etc., is going to be vastly different for Search vs. Display, and the most effective way to organize things well is by using different Campaigns.

There are a number of other ways you can structure your campaigns. Which one(s) you choose is largely based on your business and the goals of your campaign.

You can organize your campaigns by:

Geography

Carte de france - Pays

If your business has multiple locations, then this structure may make a lot of sense because you can create Campaigns to target different cities, states, or regions.

While the keywords in the different campaigns will be very similar, you can write ads and add some geo-specific keywords (ie., dentist Beverly Hills, dentist 90210, etc.) that are specific to the area the Campaign targets.

Also, if you run an international campaign, you’ll probably want to create separate campaigns for different countries. This will let you set your budgets, bids, language, etc. according to each country you’re advertising in.

Business/Website Structure

sitemap

If your business offers multiple products/services, then you may want to organize your AdWords campaigns around those. For example, if you run a sporting goods store, you may have separate Campaigns for Golf, Football, Tennis, etc.

Again, this will let you more tightly control your budgets, bids, etc., for the different segments of your business.

Organizing Your Campaigns Like a Major League Baseball Team

baseball

There’s another way to segment campaigns I’ve been using for a while that is very much like how Major League baseball teams organize their players.

For those of you who don’t follow baseball closely, each Major League organization has their Major League team (the teams that most people are familiar with like the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, etc.) as well as a system of Minor League teams.

The Minor League teams (also known as the farm system) are where the players not quite ready for the Majors play.

Scouts go out and find promising young baseball players and then draft/sign these players. But very few of these young players go straight to the Majors. Most of them are assigned to one of the organization’s Minor League teams. In the Minors, these players have to prove their worth. They hone their skills and try to show the organization they have what it takes to be promoted to the Majors.

Structuring your AdWords account in a similar fashion can be a great way to go for many advertisers.

Here’s how you’d do it:

When you first set up your Campaign, think of all your keywords as baseball players in the Minor Leagues. You set up a “Minors” campaign in AdWords. These promising keywords you think will attract the right prospects to your site, but they’ve yet to prove their worth.

In the “Minors” campaigns, your keywords are mostly going to use the Broad match modifier match type. This match type puts a plus sign in front of each keyword like in the example below:

+baseball +gloves

What the plus sign tells Google is that the word(s) with the plus sign HAS to be present in a search query in order for your ad to appear (this includes singular/plurals and misspellings).

So, the keyword +baseball +gloves could show for the search queries…

Baseball gloves
Left handed baseball gloves
Best glove for high school baseball players

…because each has the words baseball AND glove (or a close variation) in them.

However, it would not appear for the queries:

Baseball bats
Ski gloves
Will the Cubs ever win another World Series

(Sorry Cubs fans, couldn’t resist!) ;)

The goal of this Minors campaign is simply to find keywords that prove to be profitable (assuming profitability is the goal of your campaign).

You’re going to mine data from the Search Query report (which shows you the actual searches people typed into Google before clicking on your ads) to find the search queries that convert for you at, or below, your target Cost Per Conversion.

And when you find these keywords, you promote them to your Majors campaign.

You do this by adding them as Exact match keywords (not the Broad match modifier variation) to the Majors campaign.

So, if you’re going through the Search Query report in your Minors campaign and find that people are converting well after typing in the terms…

Left handed baseball gloves
Baseball gloves for pitchers

…then you’d add those as Exact match keywords (meaning someone would have to type that term in exactly as it appears in your campaign in order for your ad to appear) to your Majors campaign.

And when you do, you’ll generally want to create a new Ad group for each keyword in the campaign. By having just one keyword per Ad group, you’ll be able to tightly control the ad copy, bid prices and landing pages to maximize your results for each.

Also (and this is very important!), when you add this Exact match keyword to your Majors campaign, add it as a negative exact match keyword to your Minors campaign. This will force Google to only show that keyword with the ads, bids, etc., you set for it in the Majors campaign.

At the end of the day, this Majors/Minors campaign structure is a great way to harness the power of the 80/20 Rule in your AdWords account.

You make all your keywords prove their worth and only promote the ones that do to your Majors campaign. And, in doing so, you focus more on the Superstar keywords that are responsible for most of the results in your AdWords account and give them the attention they deserve.

(Though you should not ignore the Minors campaign… you still need to spend time in there optimizing keywords, ads, bids, etc.)

So try running your AdWords Campaigns like a Major League baseball team and see if it helps you knock your results outta the park!

About 

Adam Kreitman coaches business owners on how to make their websites more compelling to their prospects.. and to Google. He owns Words That Click, a firm specializing in Conversion Optimization and managing Google AdWords campaigns for small businesses.Follow him on Google+

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5 COMMENTS

Ayush Singh

Hi Adam,

Really an awesome piece of insightful guide. Liked it.

Best,
Ayush

December 9, 2013 Reply

Matthew Neer

Wow, the major/minors tip was nothing but pure gold!

Thanks Adam! :)

December 20, 2013 Reply

Andy Roberts

Nice read Adam

I think as Google continues to make ranking organocally so difficult more and more companies will come back to PPC, its certainly something that I’m seeing and in turn we’ll need to get more and more sophistocated with how we structure campaigns and use things like BMM

February 26, 2014 Reply


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