Campaign structure is an interesting topic for digital marketers – each person has their own naming conventions or settings that they believe work best. Still, there are certain universal principles that most marketers follow. Some of these principals include separating campaigns by category, separating branded and non-branded keywords, and giving competitors their own category. It gets tricky thanks to the development of target cost per acquisition bidding (otherwise known as TCPA) and enhanced bidding technologies that Google keeps releasing and modifying.
TCPA and enhanced bidding are integral to campaign structure because as anyone who works with a Google representative knows, Google is always pushing you to combine as many things into one campaign as possible “to let TCPA bidding have more data to choose from.” The argument for this is that TCPA technology is using thousands of different signals at one time such as time of day, location, gender, device type and more when keywords go to auction. When you set up TCPA or any other enhanced bidding technology on a “one match type only” or “one device only” campaign, you are giving the algorithm less options to choose from. For a long time, we adhered to this theory and started consolidating all of our campaigns as much as possible in order to grow with enhanced bidding. Our clients, however, were not seeing the results we expected.
We began reconsidering the consolidation strategy after seeing performance decline after consolidating campaigns nine out of ten times. We started breaking things out once again by match type and by device, on top of the regular branded, non-branded, and competitor categories (non-branded being split up into even more industry specific categories). This decision proved to be correct, and the proof was clear as day.
The number one benefit of breaking out by device and match type is more control. We have twelve versions of a keyword running, three devices, and four match types, so we can easily observe and optimize at a super granular level. We’ve seen many cases where a keyword performs really well on one match type or device but not the other. Thanks to this break out system, we can easily pause whatever is not working and leave those that are finding success.
We also gained more control over budget allocation. When consolidating for TCPA, all of your budget is in one campaign, so it is difficult to parse out exactly how much you want to spend and what to spend it on. When you break out campaigns, you can easily accommodate a request from a client who is asking for a 70/30 split between mobile and tablet or any other variation of split. We also always recommend spending the most on exact match, which is difficult to control when you have several different match types combined into one campaign.
Another amazing benefit to splitting out campaigns is the ability to set more specific TCPA goals. For example, if you are willing to spend more on non-branded instead of branded, you can assign more specific TCPA settings for each category. With split out campaigns, you can get even more specific with your TCPA goals and allocations, like allowing exact match to have higher TCPA goals, or just having lower TCPA goals on mobile if that’s the way the data is skewing for a particular client. Setting more precise TCPA goals will ultimately achieve better results than simply picking a single numerical number goal to accommodate all campaigns.
A major issue with consolidating campaigns for TCPA is the inability to cross match negatives as easily as usual. We use cross match negatives when we want to make sure certain categories are not pulling in sales from other categories – or certain match types aren’t pulling in other queries. The easiest way to illustrate this is through exact match queries being pulled in through broad match campaigns. We tier our campaigns to bid highest on exact match keywords, since they are the most relevant, and bid lowest on broad match, since broad generally brings in less relevant queries. Ideally, our exact match keywords would come through exact match, which we would accomplish by marking those exact match keywords as negatives on the broad campaigns.
This cannot be done when we consolidate campaigns, at least on the shared library level. We may be able to apply them individually but this is going to take up a lot of time and effort that could instead be directed towards something more worthwhile.
Lastly, splitting out campaigns means more specific and customized ads, which will lead to a better quality score and cheaper conversions. You can have mobile friendly ad copy for your mobile campaigns and more specific or relevant ad copy for exact match campaigns while making broader ads for your broad campaigns. With consolidated campaigns, you would have to rotate ads and hope Google pushes the most relevant one for each ad group.
All in all, we really do recommend splitting out your campaigns by match type and device in order to run a much smarter and efficient marketing strategy.