Google Ads Account Restructures: What to Expect

May 13, 2020
Posted in Paid Search
May 13, 2020 Jen Lopez

Google Ads Account Restructures: What to Expect

If you’re a new Eboost client, or you’ve recently switched digital marketing agencies, your new team will likely recommend a restructure of your Google Ads (or Microsoft Advertising) account. There are numerous reasons to restructure an account, some of which we’ve outlined below, but more important than the reason for the restructure is making sure that our clients have accurate expectations of what they can expect post-restructure.

Google Ads campaigns can be restructured for several reasons, and you should always make sure you fully understand WHY an agency is recommending that your campaigns are being restructured. You want to ensure that a restructure isn’t just what “works best” for them, but also has your business interests fully accounted for. 

Here are a few of the most common reasons that we restructure an account:

To Properly Bucket Traffic – One of the most common problems that we see with Google Ads accounts is that too many keyword types are lumped together under one campaign (or only a few campaigns). If you’re hearing the recommendation that you need a restructure to properly bucket your traffic, it is likely a very important one and will be a high impact change to your account. To best understand this, you need to know that budgets can ONLY be set at the campaign-level in Google Ads and that you can’t limit the spending of a specific adgroup within a particular campaign through budgeting. So, if our team sees Brand and Non-Brand keywords either in one adgroup or in one specific campaign, we’ll want to separate those. The reasoning here is simple: Non-brand keywords will likely eat up all of the campaign’s daily budget and not allow Brand keywords to show very often, even though those keyword types are expected to perform very, very differently. For most clients, we like to have an “always-on” approach for Brand keywords, as they are very high intent and often drive most of the conversions. Non-Brand keywords, on the other hand, are more likely to bring in new site visitors but typically aren’t as efficient, so we’ll want to be able to toggle the budgets on this subset of keywords based on how the account is trending throughout the month in relation to its goals. While the Brand vs. Non-Brand split is just an example, our team also may recommend other campaign breakouts to properly bucket your traffic and often recommend them by match type, high intent vs. low intent, product vs. category and more.

To Better Account Map – In relation to the issue above, there is also a concern of search terms properly matching to keywords. The “keyword” is defined as the actual keywords you are bidding on in your Google Ads account and the “search term” is what the user is actually typing into Google (or searching) that is triggering your keyword to appear. Without proper keyword match types, unrelated or unwanted search terms can trigger your ads to show. Often a restructure helps us better ensure that only valuable search terms are able to map to your account. Take this example: A rental community wants to have a branded search campaign with the goal of making the website more easily found to new potential tenants. In Google Ads, they are bidding on their brand name on broad match. Their name is Aspen Community Rentals. After running Google Ads for quite some time, they see that this keyword is spending an awful lot of money, but not producing many leads. Upon an audit of their account, their new digital agency finds that closely related terms are driving the clicks (and are responsible for some hefty spend), but that these people are not potential tenants. Some of the search terms that could match to the broad keyword “Aspen Community Rentals” are the following: Aspen senior living communities, aspen community rental payment portal, aspen rentals, and SO MANY MORE! What you thought was just a Brand keyword was actually matching to a significant amount of Non-Brand search terms. A restructure is often recommended to ensure your keywords are matching to proper and acceptable search terms. 

To Develop Strong Naming Conventions – This seems like a no-brainer, but often accounts are held back by not having formalized naming conversions. The easier we can filter and segment your account to get to the necessary data points we are looking for quicker, the easier it is to optimize and the more actionable we can be. You can understand how in the example above, a Brand keyword was bringing in Non-Brand traffic, and if this keyword was in a campaign called “Brand” – we would have an inaccurate picture of how Brand keywords were performing and likely making poor budgeting decisions based on it. Outside of this mismatch, other naming conventions can also be confusing. Say that we name our campaigns by B (for brand) and NB (for non-brand) in an account for iPhone cases. We have each campaign segmented out by how a user might be searching B_Unbreakable, B_Waterproof, B_Sturdy, NB_Unbreakable, NB_Waterproof, NB_Sturdy. To optimize the Non-Brand campaigns, the search manager often filters for campaigns containing NB and works on his or her optimizations, often at a very deep level in the account. Can you spot the issue? A search in the account for keywords in any campaign that contains “NB” would also bring in a brand campaign (B_uNBreakable), even though that wasn’t the intention of the PPC manager. See? This error might be easier to spot, but if you’re working in an account with hundreds of ad groups and thousands of keywords, with multiple naming conventions, and at a deep-level (like at the keyword-level or the demographic-level), it might be harder to see that this search for a specific campaign naming convention would be bringing in an unwanted campaign. This is why the team must develop a smart and strong naming convention that allows them to filter properly and that they are aware of any of these occurrences that might come up based on how the campaigns are named.

To Segment by Network – Another issue we often see that may trigger a restructure is multiple networks being targeted in one campaign. Just like different keyword types, different networks (ie, Search or Display or YouTube) are expected to perform differently and we don’t like to lump them all together. Again, with these networks being segmented into different campaigns, we can budget for them differently based on performance.

To Segment by Another Variable – Just like with segmenting by network, we may also suggest segmenting the account by another variable. Though it’s rare, we have at times wanted to segment accounts by device, gender, age group, or another select audience. A restructure often gives us the ability to breakout where necessary, though we often will want to create a basic restructure to build up performance, and then provide recommendations for more detailed breakouts like this.

To Condense the Account – If you’re following along and thinking, “Wow, my campaigns sound like they are in pretty good shape with how they are segmented!”…you may be right! But, have you considered the budget? Oftentimes we see great accounts with an awesome structure, but they just don’t have the budget to support it. For example, say we have a Real Estate client who serves 3 states. They’ve decided that they want Brand and Non-Brand campaigns and campaigns by match type and to target the campaigns by the specific state so that they can include the state name in the ad copy. Their budget is $5K/mo. To support a Brand and Non-Brand campaign (2), for just two match types (2), for each state (3) would be = 2*2*3 = 12 campaigns. At a budget of $5K/mo, just dividing evenly (5,000/30/12), each campaign will have a daily budget of $13.88. Can you imagine? Do you know how expensive real estate keywords are? Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can fail and this structure would just not be right for this client. When we see this, we often recommend a restructuring to do condense your account so that you have sufficient budgets across your service areas.

Though these only scratch the surface of why your team may be recommending a restructure, it’s important to ensure you have a handle on why that is the recommendation. Even if poorly structured, a campaign that has been running that way for years may be doing “okay” – so, what are the expectations with a restructure.

Here’s What to Expect:

  • Good work takes time – Restructures take time! Give your agency ample time to explain their restructure and to execute it properly There’s no reason to rush it, and current campaigns can remain live while a restructure is happening in the background. 
  • Immediate results aren’t the norm – You may not see “immediate results” from a restructure, but you are likely to see them within about a month, so long as continued and strategic optimizations are taking place. Remember, the campaigns just built are completely new to Google, and haven’t been running like ole’ faithful, where Google knows what to expect in terms of quality scores, determined by historical CTR, landing page relevance, and ad relevance. New campaigns might cause a short-term dip but are meant to set you up properly for long-term success.
  • Trust is a must – Trust is a given in any business relationship, but before diving into a restructure, get your questions answered and have confidence in your team and their direction. Especially if things start to dip for a little while – they are essentially re-starting your account in Google’s eyes, and it will take time for the new campaigns to find their footing.
  • Let your team (AND Google) collect data to make optimizations – The longer your run the restructure, the more data the team will have to optimize, and the better any algorithmic bidding from Google will work. If you shut off a restructure too early, or decide it isn’t working and decrease budgets significantly, you are limiting the amount of data the team and Google can collect to make strategic and high-impact optimizations. Most Google algorithms kick into high gear once they have a significant amount of conversions to learn from. 
  • Google may be a little wonky the first few days – Though it shouldn’t be a week-long occurrence, Google may be trying to “flex its muscles” a little bit the first couple of days in regards to the set daily budgets. Though many people don’t believe it, Google can often spend OVER campaign daily budgets, and pretty significantly. On top of that, many PPC professionals opt for more open budgets in the first few days of a restructure so that they can get data and make decisions quicker. When these two things are paired together, spend can look significant in just a few days compared to the budget you have available for the month. We’ve seen Google significantly overspend daily budgets post-restructure, and both PPC managers and clients should be aware that this can happen and why. The most important thing to remember is the takeaways from that spend: What insights were gleaned and what optimizations have been made? More information on how that overspending occurs can be found here
  • We absolutely are basing our restructure off what has worked previously – Before our team completes any restructure, we run tons of reports to ensure that keywords that have converted or worked previously for your accounts are included in the new restructure (though sometimes with a different match type). You can rest assured that you’re not “missing” anything that has done well in the past unless it’s been specifically communicated to you or is related to a product or service you no longer offer.
  • Remember the 30-day conversion lag. While it all depends on how your conversion tracking is set up, most conversion windows in Google Ads are automatically set to 30 days AND the conversion gets backdated to the day the ad was clicked. This means that if I searched something yesterday, found and clicked your ad, but didn’t purchase, and then came back to your site 29 days later and purchased whatever you offer, my conversion would be attributed the day I originally clicked the ad. Deciding a restructure didn’t work after 2-3 weeks is going too far too soon. If you have historical data, you can always ask your agency for a historical time lag report so that you can learn the percentage of people who purchase after a certain amount of days. This will help you better understand how many potential sales are not being accounted for in the time period you are reviewing.

Have you ever had your Google Ads account restructured? Or, reading this do you think maybe you need it restructured? Our team is happy to help and has done this for hundreds of clients! Drop us a line below or give us a call if you have questions about restructuring your Google Ads account.