Single keyword ad groups vs small keyword ad groups

Tyler Jordan
October 22, 2019

Single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) were the standard that we used for years, but with the introduction of close variants in targeting they have become less relevant.  Since we use the Google Script to make exact match actually act like traditional exact match keywords, we still use single keyword ad groups on Alpha campaigns, so that we can add close variant negatives at the ad group level.  Outside of this single use case, the benefit of running single keyword ad groups is not worth the dramatically increased effort.

We do however, refuse to compromise on the use of small keyword ad groups.  Small keyword ad groups means to include all similar keywords around a specific concept, the types of terms that would have a lot of overlap in close variants.  We do this so that we can keep our targeting as granular as possible without wasting time building out separate ad groups for terms that will have a lot of overlap with one another.  If you’re running a campaign with ad groups that house over 10 keywords, you’re probably not seeing the maximum efficiency you can see from your ad messaging.  

What does this do for us?

This allows us to build out ad testing that has headline 1 focused as close to the keyword as possible.  We then look to test headline 2, headline 3, description line 1 and description line 2 against one another, typically focusing on testing larger ad concepts at launch (funny, value prop focused, emotional) at launch, then when we know what tone resonates best with our client’s audience, we move to only testing one variable at a time (headline 2 CTAs tested against one another or testing putting the CTA in headline 2 or headline 3).

Breaking the account into more granular chunks allows us the ability to identify bad spend more easily and cut it out, while also allowing us the ability to find the best traffic and amplify it.