Digital Marketing
23 min
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Google Ads Campaign Structure and Naming Conventions: How to Name and Organic Your PPC Campaigns

How to Structure a Google Ads Account: A Clear and Confident Guide

Campaign Organization and Naming Conventions

In order to keep your Google Ads account organized and easy to manage, it is important to establish a clear campaign structure and naming convention. By doing so, you can save time and reduce confusion, especially when campaign managers change. Here are nine rules to follow when naming your campaigns:

  1. Use a clear and concise name that reflects the purpose of the campaign.
  2. Use consistent naming conventions across all campaigns.
  3. Use lowercase letters and separate words with underscores.
  4. Include the date range in the campaign name for easy reference.
  5. Use a hierarchy to organize campaigns by theme or product.
  6. Use account-level settings to apply settings across all campaigns.
  7. Use campaign-level settings to customize settings for individual campaigns.
  8. Use linked accounts to manage multiple accounts and campaigns.
  9. Use auto-apply recommendations to improve campaign performance.

By following these rules, you can effectively organize your campaigns and make them easy to manage. Additionally, using a clear naming convention will improve communication and collaboration between team members and stakeholders.

1. Campaign Type Should Be the First Word or Two

When creating a campaign, it is important to make it clear what type of campaign it is. The first thing that someone should know when they see a campaign is whether it is a search campaign, display campaign, remarketing campaign, shopping campaign, call campaign, or video campaign. By including the campaign type in the name, you can avoid confusion and make it easy for others to understand the campaign's objectives.

For example, if you have a display campaign that includes both text and image ads, you can include either "Text" or "Images" in the name to clarify which type of ad it is. Additionally, if you have a display search campaign, you can include both "Display" and "Search" in the name to make it clear that it is a combination of both types of campaigns.

It is important to note that there may be other campaign types in the future, such as audio campaigns, and it is important to adapt to these changes accordingly. By including the campaign type in the name, you can easily distinguish between different campaigns and make it easier to manage multiple clients.

2. A colon should separate the type from any further description

When creating a Google Ads campaign, it is important to name and structure it in a way that is clear and organized. Simply using the campaign type may not be enough, especially if you are targeting different locations. To avoid confusion, we recommend using the full name and not an abbreviation. For example, instead of using CA for Canada, use Search: Canada. This will ensure that there is no ambiguity in the campaign's name. Similarly, USA can be used for the United States.

3. The Order of Descriptive Words in Campaign Naming Conventions

When it comes to naming your campaigns, it's important to prioritize the most relevant information. In the case of our client who sells books, the type of book (category) is more important than the geographical targeting. Therefore, the campaign name should start with the book category, followed by any relevant campaign settings such as location and language.

For example, instead of naming your campaign "Search: USA; History," it's better to name it "Search: History; USA." This not only reads better but also helps when alphabetizing your campaigns. All campaigns targeting History will be grouped together, rather than being scattered among campaigns targeting different countries.

It's also important to note that the ad copy, quality score, ad extensions, and URL options are not as important as the campaign type and targeting options. Therefore, they should be considered after the category and location in the campaign naming convention.

By prioritizing the most important information in your campaign naming conventions, you can create a more organized and efficient system for managing your campaigns.

4. When there is more than one word or phrase describing a campaign, use a semicolon

When naming campaigns, it is important to use a semicolon to separate different words or phrases that describe the campaign. This is particularly important when there are multiple descriptors for a campaign, such as when targeting different countries or categories. Using a semicolon allows computer software to easily extract specific information about a campaign, such as how it performed in a certain category or country. Without a separator character, software would not be able to distinguish between different descriptors and accurately extract the desired information. Additionally, negative keywords can also be separated by semicolons to ensure they are excluded from a campaign.

5. Use a Comma as a Separator for a Third Describer

When there are three or more describers in a sentence, a comma should be used to separate them. This applies to all types of describers, including adjectives, adverbs, and phrases. Using a comma helps to clarify the sentence and make it easier to read. For example, "The fast, agile, and powerful car won the race" uses commas to separate the three describers, making it clear that all three are describing the car. This rule applies to all types of writing, including advertisements and marketing copy. When writing ad copy, it is important to keep in mind the impact of conversions, costs, and bid adjustments. Remember that software can easily identify the use of a comma, so it is important to use it correctly.

6. There should be no more describing phrases after the third one

When naming your campaigns, it's important to keep them concise and to the point. While it may be tempting to include variable settings such as budget, bidding strategies, or dates, it's unnecessary and can make the campaign name overly long. The same goes for keyword types; there's no need to split campaigns by match type and include it in the name unless it's relevant to your strategy.

In general, it's best to limit the number of describing phrases in your campaign name to three or fewer. This ensures that the name is clear and easy to understand, without overwhelming the reader with too much information. Remember, the goal is to create a campaign name that is both memorable and informative, without being overly complicated.

When creating campaigns for networks such as the Google Display Network, it's especially important to keep the campaign name concise. This is because ads on the Display Network are often shown alongside other ads, and a long or confusing campaign name can make it difficult for your ad to stand out.

7. Names Should Be Capitalized

When it comes to naming conventions, capitalization is an essential aspect. Proper capitalization enhances readability and makes the content look more professional. Here are some rules to follow:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a title or heading.
  • Capitalize proper nouns, which include names of people, places, and things.
  • Capitalize the first word in a sentence.
  • Capitalize acronyms and abbreviations.

Following these rules will ensure that your content is easy to read and appears polished and professional.

8. No Abbreviations Should Be Used

When creating campaigns, it is important to avoid using abbreviations for languages. Instead, use the full name of the language to maintain consistency within the account and across all accounts a client may have on other ad networks. This also helps with compiling data for reports. If some campaigns use "EN" while others use "English," it becomes difficult to compile data based on language. Therefore, always use the full name of the language to avoid confusion and maintain consistency.

9. Campaign Names Once Set, Should Never Be Changed

When working with Google Ads campaigns, it is important to choose a campaign name that accurately reflects the campaign's purpose. Once a campaign name has been set, it is best practice to never change it.

One reason for this is that if a campaign name is changed, there is no unique identifier in AdWords. This means that any software used to manage the campaign will see the new name as a completely new campaign, and previous data will become orphaned from any new data. This can lead to confusion and make it difficult to analyze campaign performance over time.

In addition, comparing old reports using the original name versus the new name can also be problematic. It is best to avoid this by keeping the campaign name consistent.

While it may be tempting to change campaign names, even when taking over a poorly built campaign, it is often better to start fresh with a new campaign name. This ensures consistency and makes it easier to manage and analyze campaign performance.

Even if changes need to be made in the future, it is still recommended to avoid changing campaign names. Instead, consider creating a new campaign with a more specific name that reflects the changes. This will help to ensure that campaign performance can be accurately tracked over time.

Group Naming Conventions

To ensure consistency and organization in your Google Ads account, it's important to establish naming conventions for your ad groups. Here are 8 rules to follow:

  1. Use clear and concise names that accurately reflect the products or services being advertised.
  2. Avoid using special characters or symbols in the name.
  3. Use proper capitalization and avoid using all caps.
  4. Use a consistent format for all ad group names.
  5. Include relevant keywords in the name to improve searchability.
  6. Use a logical naming hierarchy to group related ad groups together.
  7. Avoid using duplicate names for different ad groups.
  8. Keep the names short and sweet for easy readability.

By following these group naming conventions, you can improve the organization and searchability of your Google Ads account, making it easier to manage and optimize your campaigns.

1. The group's name should match the product's name and keywords

For a search campaign, it is essential that the group's name reflects the keywords used. For instance, if a dentist offers services such as teeth whitening, braces, and wisdom teeth removal, each service should have a separate group with specific keywords. The group name should match the product's name and the keywords used, making it easier to identify each group's contents. By following this naming convention, you can quickly identify the keywords you expect to see in each group.

2. Additional Describing Words Should be Separated with a Double Dash

When categorizing products, it is common to use additional describing words to further define the product. For example, if you are selling running shoes, you may want to categorize them by gender, creating groups such as "Running Shoes - Men" and "Running Shoes - Women".

To separate the generic term from the additional describing words, a double dash is used. This is because a single dash (hyphen) may be confused with a product name that requires a hyphen, such as a brand name or model name.

Using a double dash allows software to easily identify and report on specific groups of products. For example, you could generate a report on how all the "Running Shoes - Kids" products performed last month.

It is important to keep the separating character consistent across all categories to avoid confusion. While other separating characters could be used, using a double dash ensures consistency and clarity.

In cases where the product name already includes a hyphen, such as "Hunt for Red October", the name of the product is used as the name of the group.

By using a double dash to separate generic terms from additional describing words, you can easily categorize and report on your products, making it easier to manage your inventory and track performance.

3. Any Other Words Should be Separated by a Comma

When creating groups of descriptive words, it is important to separate any additional words with a comma. This ensures that the group remains clear and easy to read. While it is generally discouraged to use common adjectives, there may be exceptions, such as with clothing items. In these cases, it may be necessary to include additional descriptive words, such as size or gender. However, for items such as furniture, it is best to keep the group as simple as possible, with only the necessary descriptive words. This helps to ensure that the group remains relevant to the user's search and can lead to a better user experience.

4. Avoid Redundancy: No Repeating Words in Campaign and Group Names

To eliminate redundancy, avoid using descriptive words in the group name that are already present in the campaign name.

5. Names Should Be Capitalized

When naming your Google Ads campaigns, it is important to capitalize the first letter of each word in the campaign name. This makes it easier to read and understand the name of the campaign. It also helps to distinguish the campaign name from other elements of the Google Ads account. By capitalizing the first letter of each word, you can create a clear and professional naming convention for your campaigns.

6. No Abbreviations Should Be Used

When creating a campaign or naming convention, it is important to avoid using abbreviations. Unless there is no other alternative, such as using "XXL" for extra large, it is best to spell out the full word or phrase. This will ensure clarity and consistency throughout your campaign and avoid confusion for both you and your audience. By avoiding abbreviations, you can create a more professional and polished image for your brand.

7. Group Names Should Not Be Changed

Once you have set the name for an ad group, it is important to keep it consistent. The name should reflect the product or service being advertised and should not be changed unless absolutely necessary. This is especially important for ad groups, as the product's name is unlikely to change. Consistency in naming conventions will help you and your team stay organized and track the performance of your ad groups accurately.

8. For Bilingual Campaigns, It's Best to Keep Group Names Consistent Across Languages

When promoting a product in multiple languages, it may seem logical to name the groups in the language that you are targeting. However, doing so would require linking the groups in each language to report on the product's performance. While there may be exceptions, it's generally more practical to repeat the group names for each campaign in other languages. This approach ensures consistency and simplifies reporting. For example, if you have a campaign targeting English and French speakers, use the same group names for both campaigns to facilitate reporting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best practices for structuring a Google Ads account?

Structuring a Google Ads account is crucial for maximizing its performance. The best practices for structuring a Google Ads account include:

  • Creating a separate campaign for each product or service you offer.
  • Creating ad groups within each campaign that target specific keywords related to your product or service.
  • Using relevant and specific ad copy for each ad group.
  • Organizing keywords into tightly themed ad groups.
  • Ensuring your ad groups have a high enough Quality Score.

How can I optimize my Google Ads account structure?

Optimizing your Google Ads account structure is essential for improving its performance. Here are some tips for optimizing your Google Ads account structure:

  • Regularly review and refine your keyword lists and ad groups.
  • Use negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches.
  • Continuously test and refine your ad copy.
  • Use ad extensions to provide additional information to potential customers.
  • Use conversion tracking to measure the success of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

What are the key elements of a well-structured Google Ads account?

A well-structured Google Ads account should have the following key elements:

  • A clear hierarchy of campaigns, ad groups, and keywords.
  • Tightly themed ad groups with relevant keywords and ad copy.
  • A high enough Quality Score to ensure your ads show in top positions.
  • Regular review and optimization of your account structure to improve performance.
  • Use of ad extensions to provide additional information to potential customers.

How do I ensure my Google Ads account structure aligns with my business goals?

To ensure your Google Ads account structure aligns with your business goals, you should:

  • Define your business goals and target audience.
  • Create campaigns and ad groups that align with your business goals and target audience.
  • Use relevant keywords and ad copy that speak to your target audience.
  • Continuously monitor and optimize your account structure to ensure it is meeting your business goals.

What is the recommended number of campaigns and ad groups in a Google Ads account?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The recommended number of campaigns and ad groups in a Google Ads account depends on your business goals, target audience, and the complexity of your product or service offerings. However, it is generally recommended to start with a small number of campaigns and ad groups and expand as needed.

How can I effectively manage multiple businesses under a single Google Ads account?

Managing multiple businesses under a single Google Ads account can be challenging. Here are some tips for effectively managing multiple businesses under a single Google Ads account:

  • Use separate campaigns and ad groups for each business.
  • Use separate billing profiles for each business.
  • Use labels to organize your campaigns and ad groups by business.
  • Use different email addresses for each business to manage access to the account.

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Nik Paprocki
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