How to Restructure Search Campaigns for Maximum Impact in the Era of AI

Remember those days when you painstakingly crafted your Google Ads account, meticulously segmenting it into countless campaigns and ad groups? You weren’t alone in your quest to outsmart Google’s algorithms, convinced that hyper-segmentation was the holy grail of PPC success. But as the digital landscape continues to evolve, so too has the Google Ads platform. Today, with the advent of advanced features like Broad Match, Brand Lists, and Value-Based Bidding, the paradigm has shifted dramatically. A more consolidated, streamlined approach is now the key to unlocking peak performance.

The Rise of Smart Bidding: Google’s AI Takes the Wheel

Google Ads’ Smart Bidding has emerged as a formidable force, often surpassing the performance of even the most meticulously crafted manual campaigns. This AI-powered bidding strategy leverages a vast array of signals—many of which are hidden from human view—to pinpoint the optimal bid for each individual search query. It’s like having a seasoned poker player at the table, reading your opponents’ tells and adjusting their bets accordingly. Imagine tailoring your bids for “likely in-market users on mobile devices at 11 PM in Los Angeles after a Lakers game.” That level of granularity is now only possible in Google’s AI.

Rethinking Your Campaign Structure: A New Paradigm

So, what does this mean for your Google Ads account? It’s time to re-evaluate your campaign structure and embrace a simpler, more streamlined approach.

When Separate Campaigns Still Have Their Place:

  • Budgetary Control: If you have strict budget allocations for different product lines, services, or target audiences, separate campaigns allow for precise control over spending.
  • Geographical Targeting: Campaigns targeting different countries or regions often require distinct strategies due to varying market dynamics, cultural nuances, and language preferences.
  • Broad Thematic Differences: If your business offers vastly different products or services (e.g., luxury apparel vs. industrial equipment), separate campaigns can help maintain relevance and tailor messaging to specific audiences.

Why Consolidation Reigns Supreme:

  • Match Type Segmentation: With the expanded capabilities of broad match, segmenting by match type (exact, phrase, broad) is often unnecessary and can even hinder performance. Let Smart Bidding do its magic across a wider range of search queries.
  • Device Targeting: Google’s AI-powered bid adjustments automatically optimize bids based on device type, eliminating the need for separate campaigns for mobile or desktop.  
  • Message Control: Smart Bidding is designed to maximize conversions within your target CPA or ROAS. Trust the AI to handle bidding while you focus on crafting compelling ad copy that resonates across a wider audience.

Harnessing the Power of Broad Match

Google’s expanded broad match is a game-changer, offering unparalleled reach and flexibility. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  • Consolidate Ad Group Themes: Combine single-keyword ad groups into themed clusters. This gives Smart Bidding more data to analyze, leading to better optimization and performance.
  • Experiment with a Hybrid Approach: If you’re not ready to fully embrace broad match, consider running parallel campaigns with both broad and exact match. This allows you to compare performance and gradually transition to a broader approach.
  • Go All-In on Broad Match: For maximum reach and efficiency, consolidate all match types into a single broad match campaign. This empowers Smart Bidding to tap into the full spectrum of search query data and deliver optimal results.

Brand Safety and Control: Navigating the Broad Match Landscape

While broad match opens up a world of possibilities, it’s crucial to maintain control over your brand’s presence in search results. Google Ads offers powerful tools to ensure brand safety:

  • Brand Inclusions: This feature allows you to specify which brands your ads keywords should match with, in terms of context, ensuring your brand message reaches the most relevant audience. You can use this to include your own brand, or even competitor brands.  
  • Brand Exclusions: Conversely, brand exclusions let you prevent your ads from showing for certain brand-related queries, safeguarding your brand reputation and preventing unwanted associations.

The Benefits of Consolidation: A Leaner, Meaner PPC Machine

Embracing a more consolidated account structure yields a host of advantages:

  • Smarter Automation: By providing Smart Bidding with more data, you empower it to make even more informed decisions, leading to improved performance and higher return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • Reduced Maintenance: Fewer campaigns and ad groups mean less time spent on mundane tasks like ad creation, extension management, and negative keyword updates.
  • Crystal-Clear Insights: A streamlined account structure makes it easier to identify trends, spot opportunities, and gain a holistic view of your campaign performance.
  • Agile Decision-Making: With fewer moving parts, you can respond to changes in the market or your business goals more swiftly and effectively.

The Future of PPC: Embracing AI and Simplicity

The future of PPC is clear: automation and AI are here to stay. By embracing a simpler, more consolidated approach to campaign structure and leveraging Google’s powerful AI-driven tools, you’ll not only save time and resources but also unlock a new level of performance and efficiency.

So, let go of the old ways of over-segmentation and trust in the power of Google’s AI to drive your PPC success. The future is bright for those who are willing to adapt and embrace the changing landscape of digital advertising.