PPC Campaign Architecture at #SESLondon

PPC Campaign Architecture at #SESLondon

22nd February 2012

This is the first of my five live blogging sessions for State of Search at the SES London Conference today. We will be listening to  Jonathan Beeston and Sam Fenton-Elstone talking about PPC Campaign Architecture and how to get this key campaign element right and truly set up for success so let’s get started.


  • Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board; Director, Account Management, Yahoo! UK & Ireland


Here we go:

Jon Myers is moderating the session, introducing the speakers and setting the scene for creating a good PPC campaign architecture to give you the foundation for success. I have seen Jon moderate sessions before and he is great at getting the audience engaged and prompting people to ask questions.

The first speaker of the two this morning is Sam Fenton-Elstone who is going to go into detail about what is more important when creating a campaign; Scalability, Control or Efficiency.

Where to Start?

There isn’t a one size that fits all when it comes to creating a successful campaign and there are lots of decisions that you need to make to kick it off. So many companies will base the structure of their campaign on the menu of the site but this is not the correct way. You should be considering a lot of other factors before starting to structure your account:

  1. How do people search?
  2. Are my products/services seasonal?
  3. Which products/services will drive the most impressions?
  4. Do I want my campaigns on the Search or Display Networks?

Getting it wrong = Poor Performance, Wasted Spend and Wasted Time

You need to be building an account that is efficient, gives you full control and allows you to scale up and down easily.

Taking Control

Sam suggested that the first port of call when deciding on your account structure is Google Insights. Enter in your core phrases to look at the search trend. This will not only highlight which keywords will drive the highest volume but you will also be able to take seasonality into consideration.

The majority of PPC targeting settings are at campaign level and this is something you need to keep in the forefront of your mind. AdWords allows you to have up to 500 campaigns in an account, so use them!

If you only have a small number of campaigns for a business that has a lot of products, you will come unstuck when it comes to setting budgets. Some products and services will give you a much higher ROI so you need to make sure that these keywords are in separate campaigns to allow you to set your budget accordingly. You will almost definitely want your best products showing at all times and having too few campaigns limits this.

Negative Keywords

When uploading lots of negatives, mistakes can be made and you risk having some of your ads not showing. Thinking about how you structure your account can stop you having to input so many negatives for all campaigns.

For example, a fashion site will have clothes for men and women so the best structure here would be to have campaigns for product types for each sex.

Campaign – Men’s Jumpers

  • Add all negatives related to female products at campaign level

Campaign – Women’s Jumpers

  • Add all negatives related to male products at campaign level

Efficiency and Scale

How long do you spend:

  • Reviewing search query reports
  • Building new keywords
  • Adding negatives
  • Writing ads

The naming convention of the campaign is key as you will be able to find what you are looking for very quickly and save you time.

Avoid campaign name likes

  • Best Performers
  • Top Keywords
  • Mobile
  • Phrase
  • Exact

It will make sense to the person who created it but not to anyone else! The sign to a well structured campaign is by giving it to someone else as they should be able to navigate the campaign as quickly and efficiently as you.

Control, Scalability or Efficiency – What Order?

1)      Control

2)      Efficiency

3)      Scale

A badly designed account structure could prove a very expensive mistake!

The second speaker of the two this morning is Jonathan Beeston who is focusing on going beyond desktop search. It is the future and something we should all be thinking about.

Jonathan mirrored a lot of what Sam had to say when it comes to structuring a campaign but the main focus for Jonathan is ensuring that you think about the different operating systems that people are using today when it comes to searching and buying online.

Growth of the Gadget

  • People are more interested in buying a smartphone or tablet than they are desktop PCs
  • This is only set to continue
  • Higher distribution of mobile and tablet traffic in the early morning and evenings
  • Largest usage of tablet usage between 6pm and 10pm
  • Average order value on a tablet is roughly 20% higher than the traditional desktop

Search engines are getting much better at helping us to segment mobile, tablet and desktop more easily. You can break campaigns down by operating system and phone network.

Last week Microsoft rolled out better targeting settings for mobile and tablet which is a great sign that the search engines are helping the end users to find what they are looking for in the correct way on the different devices.

The top top from Jonathan today was to resist copying your existing search campaigns and creating mobile and tablets campaigns for everything. Think about the volume of clicks, impressions and conversions and let this guide you on where to start.

Jonathan ended the session with two key takeaways:

1) Create mobile friendly landing pages and use them!

2) Do not send tablet traffic through to a mobile landing page. Tablet users will expect to see the full version of the site

This post in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search.


Written By
Samantha Noble is the founder of Biddable Moments and a former editor and contributor to State of Digital.
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