AdWords can be somewhat of a complicated tool for business owners starting out in the online advertising world. This article will show you how to structure your AdWords account and explains how to navigate AdWords settings.
Let’s Jump In
All you need to initialize your account is an email address and a website. If you haven’t already created an account, you can find instructions here.
The AdWords advertising platform can be viewed as a pyramid structure. There are 5 main levels to your AdWords account, as follows:
AdWords campaigns define your business’s product sets in broad terms. Each campaign contains AdGroups that should also have similar intent. AdGroups are essentially containers for your keywords and they shouldn’t contain mixed-purpose keywords. The keywords that exist in one AdGroup should be specific to one product.
Keywords are the most granular level of your account. They should have the most narrow focus and be grouped in specific AdGroups as such. Also, each AdGroup contains its own set of unique keywords that shouldn’t be duplicated in any other AdGroup.
For example, if you own an online shoe store, you may want to create a campaign for running shoes. The AdGroups within that campaign can be broken out by brands, or even styles of running shoes.
So, if you had a “Nike Running Shoes” AdGroup, a keyword within that AdGroup might be something like [Nike Air 5 Running Shoes] (the brackets around the keyword are called exact match modifiers, explained later).
As your account has different levels, many important settings are uniquely defined at the particular level of the account you’re dealing with. Certain settings can be defined in multiple levels of your account. But the thing to remember is that the lowest, most granular level sets priority. Here are some of the settings and the account levels where they are configured.
- Daily Budget – Campaign Level
- Targeting – Campaign Level
- Bid Strategy – Campaign Level
- Remarketing Lists – Campaign/AdGroup Level
- Max Bid – AdGroup Level/Keyword Level
- Ad Extensions – Account/Campaign/AdGroup/Ad Level
Familiarize yourself with these important settings and you’ll be up and running in no time.
How Does the AdWords Auction Work?
Keywords are the most complicated part of AdWords. So before we get too deep into that, I want to explain the idea behind bidding and the AdWords auction.
Keeping with our example keyword [Nike Air 5 Running Shoes], let’s say that model of Nike running shoes is your best selling running shoe, and it’s very important that your ad shows up in a top position on the search engine results page, or SERP. And let’s say you bid $3.50 on that keyword.
When a user types in the phrase Nike Air 5 Running Shoes in Google, your keyword is triggered and entered into the auction for your ad to serve that query.
If other online shoe retailers are bidding on the same keyword, it essentially comes down to who is bidding the most. Google takes the highest bidder and serves their ad in the first position on the SERP.
Google uses other factors in addition to your bid that determines ad position, but I will save that topic for a later article. This is just to get you started.
Keyword modifiers give you control over how your ad is shown to users searching that match the keyword you’re bidding on. Keyword modifiers are symbols that are attached to your keywords. There are 3 types of keyword modifiers.
1. Broad Match Modifiers
Denoted with a ‘+’ in front of each word of the keyword phrase you’re bidding on. Your ad is available to show for a range of keyword variations, however, synonyms of your keywords won’t trigger your ad. Broad match modified keywords allow for different arrangements and ordering of the words within the keyword you’re bidding on.
e.g. +Nike +Air +5 +Running +Shoes
In this case, your ad would display when a user searches something like: “Air Five Running Shoes From Nike.”
2. Phrase Match Modifiers
The symbol for phrase modifier is the quotation marks placed around the entire keyword you are bidding on. Phrase match doesn’t allow for variations 0f your keyword. The keyword phrase your bidding on has to show up in the users search query in order for your ad to be shown.
e.g. “Nike Air 5 Running Shoes”
Your ad would display when a user searches something like: “Where Can I Buy The New Nike Air 5 Running Shoes.”
3. Exact Match Modifiers
Exact Match Modifiers: Denoted by brackets around the full keyword you’re bidding on. Exact match modifiers restrict your ads to only show when the user searches your exact keyword (with some small variations, plurality etc.)
e.g. [Nike Air 5 Running Shoes]
Your ad would only display when a user searches “Nike Air 5 Running Shoes.”
Remember, keyword modifiers are HUGELY important.
As you start using AdWords, I suggest testing variations of each keyword to see what performs best. Always remember to check which search queries are triggering your ads.
You can find out more about the search terms report here.