Account Levels & Structure in AdWords

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There are different levels in the AdWords system. An important part of using AdWords is understanding functions and settings that go with the different levels. The levels of AdWords are (from the top down): account, campaign, ad group, and keyword (or placement on the Display Network). Accounts can have multiple campaigns, campaigns can have multiple ad groups, and ad groups can have multiple keywords (and/or placements). Here is a brief description of the functions and settings that relate to the different levels:

Account Level

Most of the settings in AdWords are at lower levels, but a few settings are made at the account level, such as billing, address, language, account access, notification settings, and preferences.

Campaign Level

To have a functioning AdWords account, you must have at least one campaign, one ad group, one keyword or placement, and one ad. The first step after opening an AdWords account is creating a campaign. When you create a campaign, you will decide on various settings such as:

  • Whether the campaign will run on the Search Network, Display Network, or both. You can also set it to only run on the Google search engine.
  • Whether you want to specify particular devices to target (such as mobile phones, or tablets).
  • What the daily budget for the campaign will be.
  • What geographic areas the campaign will cover – they can be countries, states, cities, congressional districts, zip codes, or a radius around a particular address.
  • Whether the campaign will turn on and off on a schedule—for example, if you sell NBA jerseys online, you may only want your ads to show during certain NBA games.

Ad Group Level

After creating a campaign, you will need to create at least one ad group within that campaign. Ad groups are where your keywords and actual ads reside. The purpose of ad groups is to keep a tight theme that directly relates the designated keywords to the actual ad that shows, and (finally) to the landing page the ad will lead to. For an example of a good use of ad groups: an expert mechanic might have one ad group for auto repair and another for motorcycle repair. The only reason to create separate campaigns for different ventures would be to control the daily budgets separately, or to have different campaign settings (such as geographical areas covered, or ad scheduling).

If you are running a display campaign, you might wish to use placements without any keywords. This simply means that you choose specific web pages on specific websites where you want your ads to show. You create an appropriate ad for that space, which can be a text ad, an image ad, or possibly a video ad. Then you set a bid for having your ad show on that web page.

Some of the functions and settings found at the ad group level are:

  • Ad group level bid. This will be the default bid for every keyword and placement in the ad group. These bids can be overridden by setting different bids at the keyword or placement level.
  • Here you will add the keywords that will trigger your ad.
  • Ad creation. Here you will create the actual ad that will run. You can also create more than one ad and set the ads to rotate (thereby split-testing to see which ad performs better).

Keyword (or Placement) Level

At the keyword or placement level, you designate the actual keyword (for keyword targeting on the Search Network or contextual targeting on the Display Network) or place you want your ad to show on a particular web page. You can also set a bid for each keyword or placement that will override the bid set at the campaign or ad group level.

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