Tightly-Themed Ad Groups: The PPC Pro Advantage

We’ve explored the best practices for creating comprehensive keyword lists over the past three columns. Our ongoing exercise assumed we were setting up a PPC campaign for the legendary mythical guitar manufacturer, Krisp Guitars. We defined Personas — identities of typical buyer types — and then generated a list of 540 keywords for the Roger persona, a serious buyer of high-end guitars.

Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and split that long keyword list into ad groups. We’ll do so with our Ad Group Mantra in mind:

(Almost) every keyword should appear in the ad text.

Also, realize that this is intended to be a guideline — your ad groups will be sufficiently “tight” if each of the keywords has at least two words in common, and those words appear in the ad text.

I added several keywords related to particular models of Krisp guitars, and then separated the 620-word list into 11 ad groups. You can download a spreadsheet with each of the ad-group-level sub-lists here.

The first four ad groups are ones with keywords and ad text that relate to potential guitar buyers who are at the research phase of the research-shop-buy cycle. At that point, they’re apt to be performing searches just to see who the vendors are and what sizes, models, etc. are available.

Ad Group Name: Research 12-String Guitars

Example Keywords: 12-string guitar, compare 12-string guitars online, twelve string gitar

Ad Text:

Twelve-String Guitars
Hand-made 12-String Guitars.
Top Quality Materials, Big Selection!

Note that the ad is general — it doesn’t include any particular features or benefits, and anticipates the fact that someone performing a research-stage search is probably interested in seeing a large selection.

Note also the display URL — it includes the root keyword at the end of the URL. Remember: the display URL can include any text as long it appears to be a legal, working URL — even if the page it refers to doesn’t exist. The only requirement is that the root domain match the root domain of the actual landing page.

Also, I’ve bolded the words in the ad that might be bolded when the ad is displayed. Bold words get better CTRs.

Let’s move on to the set of ad groups that assume the searcher is in the shop phase (the second tab of the spreadsheet). Here’s an example ad group:

Ad Group Name: Buy Collectable Acoustic Guitars

Example Keywords: buy collectable acoustic guitar, buy high-end acoustic guitars, buy professional acoustic guitar online

Ad Text:

High-end Acoustic Guitars
Low-Priced Professional Collectable
Guitars. Top-Quality Workmanship!

Now let’s look at the ad groups created for people who are clearly in the buy phase:

Ad Group Name: D25 Guitars

Example Keywords: d25 12-string gitar, d25 twelve string guitar, d-25 guitar

Ad Text:

Exclusive D-25 Guitars
Own the Choice of Pro Guitarists.
Superior Sound and Workmanship!

The word “Exclusive” in the ad text makes it clear that this ad represents the official vendor of that particular guitar — and hence this ad more likely to get the click than competing ads.

Now, if you’re thinking this is an awful lot of work for just one persona, here’s hope: if you determine through intuition or research that a subset of your big keyword list is apt to be searched on less often, feel free to get a little sloppy. I’ve represented such a subset in the Recording tab of the spreadsheet. For the sake of this example, I’ve assumed that a relatively small number of people will search on guitar terms that include the word “recording.” So I’ve lumped them all together, and created a relatively generic ad.

Ad Group Name: Recording Guitars

Example Keywords: compare recording 12-string gutar, recording acoustic guitars online, buy recording acoustic guitar online

Ad Text:

Pro Recording Guitars
Top-Quality Pro Acoustic Guitars.
Big Selection of 12- and 6-Strings!

After the ad group has run for a while and accumulated enough data to identify the most frequently-used search terms, we have the option of revisiting the keyword list and splitting the ad group into two or more smaller ones with tighter correlations between keywords and ad text.

This process should be ongoing for even the most tightly-themed ad groups. Given enough time and data, you’ll see that some keywords in the ad group are garnering more impressions, clicks, and conversions. These should be split off into even smaller ad groups with a tighter relationship between keywords and ads.

The last tab of the spreadsheet contains a longer list of keywords for the Roger persona — see if you can figure out how to split it into tightly-themed ad groups. Meanwhile, next week I’ll talk about the next step in the campaign-building process: determining the bid prices you should start with.

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