An Introduction to PPC – Part 2 – Account Structure

17 Rebecca D'Cunha


Welcome to part two of our introduction to PPC – not read part one  yet? Might be worth reading them in order… just sayin’

So, to recap, we’ve given you a basic introduction, and looked at the planning stages to go through prior to tackling your PPC campaign. Today it gets exciting – we’re going to set up an account.

Now, as previously mentioned, all of the major search engines offer PPC. However, when you’re starting out we’d recommend you choose just one search engine to focus your activity on – you can always branch out later.

Now, we’d recommend you start with Google. Why? Well whilst the cost per click on Google is often higher than on the other search engines, Google does drive the most traffic, and has (for our money anyways), the most user-friendly interface. It’s also a lot easier to control your campaigns via Google.

Setting up an Adwords Account

Click here to sign up.

You first need to decide whether to go with the starter edition, or the standard edition. We’d recommend you go straight to the standard edition, as you then get the benefit of the advanced features. However, if you do decide to go with the starter edition, rest assured you can switch to the standard edition at any time.

You’ll be asked to choose a username and password for your Adwords account. Once you’ve done this you’ll find your self on the ‘set currency preferences’ page.

Now, be careful – you can’t go back and change this afterwards!

Here you set the currency which you want Google to bill you in. Clearly, we’d recommend you choose your native currency – e.g. if you’re in the UK pick British Pounds Sterling (GBP).

Your account has now been created. It really is as easy as that.

Now you need to start thinking about how to structure your account. Don’t worry, for now you’ve just created an account – you’ve no campaigns running so you’re not spending any money.

Adwords Account Structure

In part two of the guide we talked a little about planning your PPC campaign. We were dealing with big picture stuff – namely:

  1. Key objectives – e.g. generate sales or enquiries, newsletter sign ups etc
  2. Checking your website & internal processes
  3. The price you’re willing (or able!) to pay per click
  4. Overall budget

Now we need to start thinking about the minutiae.

Again here I’d recommend that you plan your PPC activity offline rather than online. A well structured account will work far more effectively for your business, so it really is worth putting in the time now.

An adwords account is structured as follows:

There are three levels account, campaign and ad group. The diagram below shows the account structure and the settings that are applied at each level. In summary:

  1. Account – this is the top level, your adwords account has a unique email address & password for access purposes and your billing information.
  2. Campaign – A campaign is associated with your account. At the campaign level you set the daily budget, language & geographic targeting, distribution (where your ad is shown), when your ad is shown (e.g. particular days of the week, and timings) and if desired an end date.
  3. Adgroups – adgroup are associated with a campaign. At the adgroup level you select appropriate keywords and/or placements, set the bids for those keywords/placements, and create appropriate ads.

Now clearly every business is different, but we thought it might be useful to illustrate how you might go about structuring your account. We’re therefore using an imaginary business as an example:

Example Account Structure – Assured Insurance

Now Assured Insurance are an insurance broker. They offer insurance on a wide range of products, but for now just want to test the PPC market for taxi insurance.

They only wish to target English speakers, and in terms of geography they want to target the UK, but need to exclude the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as they do not offer insurance policies in these areas. They only want their ads to run Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm.

This example is pretty simple. One product, with clear geo-targeting and timings.

As such we can set this account up using just one campaign, and multiple adgroups – E.G.

Tips for Good Account Structure

Obviously every business will be different, but broadly speaking we’d recommend the following:

  1. You need a separate campaign for any product which you sell whereupon you want to either target a specific area or specific times/days of the week, as these settings can only be controlled at a campaign level, not at the adgroup level.
  2. Budgets are also set at a campaign level, so if you need to be able to control your daily spend between your various products, set them up as campaigns. NB this is particularly pertinent if one product yields a greater return than another.
  3. Try to future-proof your account – is it conceivable that you might want greater control over how your advertise certain products? Then set them up as separate campaigns.

That’s not to say that the rule is one campaign per product – you might consider theming – e.g. if your business sells flower seeds and bulbs you might have ‘Roses’ as a campaign, then have separate adgroups for each particular variety of rose.

Or if you run a job website, you might consider having a campaign for ‘Marketing’ jobs, then have seperate adgroups for key job titles – e.g. marketing assistant, marketing exec, marketing manager, marketing director and so on. Ultimately it’s comes down to whatever is best for your business.

We’ll leave it there for today, in our next post we’ll be talking about keyword research and creating adgroups – hope you’ll swing by and take a look…