AdWords can be a tricky number to master for a number of reasons. First, the dashboard can feel like it takes a lifetime to figure out, let alone use effectively. Then you go and add a bunch of campaigns and ad groups into the mix, just to complicate things further. Without the right account structure you soon have a mess on your hands – an unmanageable, expensive mess at that.

Worse still, a poor account structure makes it difficult to set up your ads to trigger at the right time and in the right places. And, to top it all off, a sloppy account structure can even hurt your Quality Score, hurting results yet again and pushing up the price of your account.

So, yeah, account structure really is that important. Which means no more excuses; it’s time to get it in order.


The account structure essentials

First up, let’s quickly run through the essential elements of AdWords account structure before we put them together. This short list is in the order you want to work in:


  • AdWords account
  • Campaigns
  • Ad groups
  • Keywords
  • Negative keywords
  • Ad text
  • Landing pages


That’s it. Nowhere near as complicated as many like to think. However, there are some key things to consider when mapping out your account structure.


Choosing the right account structure

If you were hoping for one account structure to be suitable for every advertiser, then we’re sorry to disappoint. This is AdWords we’re talking about, remember! But there are a select few structures that work for the vast majority of accounts.

Google is actually pretty good with its advice on this front: mirror the structure of your website. More often than not this is the best way to go about things, assuming your website structure is in good shape to begin with. This should leave you with a structure something like the following:


*Image source: AdWords Help


Where you might want to take a slightly different approach on account structure is if you have campaigns for multiple regions. This is typically for businesses with stores in various locations, but you could also apply this to any online store that prioritises a set number of locations. In this case, your campaigns might be focused on location rather than products or services, for example.


Structuring around keywords

With your basic account structure mapped out, it’s time to crack on with some serious keyword research. Generally speaking you want to limit the number of keywords per ad group to 20 or less. You could even go as specific as single keyword ad groups (SKAGS) for high intent searches.

Where things get a little bit tricky with keywords and account structure is match types. There are three basic approaches:


  1. Put exact, phrase and broad match into the same ad group
  2. Segment match types into separate ad groups within the same campaigns
  3. Break match types into separate campaigns


Bundling all match types into the same ad group by far gives you the least control, while the other two approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses. All we can say is breaking match types into separate campaigns gives you the most control over bids and mining for new converting queries. This is especially beneficial for tighter budgets or highly efficient accounts, although it’s more time consuming as a result.


Build out your account

With those first (admittedly quite large hurdles) conquered, you’re account structure has the fundamentals to build out quite naturally. Now you’re ready to create your first campaign, containing the relevant ad groups set out by your campaign structure and keyword research. From here you create your ads, apply your keywords (negatives included) and link to your landing pages.

We don’t mean to oversimplify the process of creating campaigns and ad groups, but in terms of account structure you’re pretty much set. Once your first campaign and ad groups are setup correctly, that same formula will set out the rest of your campaigns. The end result should be an account structure similar to the image above and a perfectly manageable foundation to build your account around.


If you need any more in-depth advice on account structure for your specific business, be sure to get in touch with our team. Give us a call to speak to us directly or catch us on social media and we’ll get back to you shortly.