I’ll be sharing the top 3 advantages of using a Single Keyword Ad Group structure in your Google Ads campaigns. Advocates of SKAG believe that it’s a Google Ads structure that can help you optimize the results of your Google Ad campaigns and achieve a better return on the overall account. However the opposers believe that it’s too granular and time-consuming, and practising this technique would eventually lead to a mess of your Google Ads account. I’m sharing an unbiased evaluation of the top 3 advantages of using a Single Keyword Ad Group structure in your Google Ads account.
What’s Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG)
Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) is a type of Ad structure where the Ad groups use just one keyword in them. Single Keyword Ad Groups are often used by SEO managers and PPC consultants to obtain more control and gain higher quality scores from their Google Ads account. I’ve attached an example for 3 Ad groups from an ongoing campaign for your easy reference.
As you might have noticed, I have used just one keyword across each of the ad groups – stocking stuffers. However, I have had 3 different variations in the match types – phrase match (PM), exact match (EM) and modified broad match (MBM). And each of the ad groups are tied to one match type. Similarly, if you have two keywords, a Single Keyword Ad Group structure will look like in the screenshot below.
In following the SKAG structure, you will have to use the search queries from the search terms report in creating new ad groups. It’s important to note that each time a new keyword is used to create a new ad group, the same keyword needs to be added as a negative keyword to the original ad group. This is to prevent the old ads from showing up for the new keyword. So you can understand that managing a SKAG structure get’s complex over time.
Advantages of Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG)
Single keyword Ad Groups help to obtain more control over your ads and search terms. And in terms of the ads, you can create much more specific ads that include the exact keyword and the closest match types. You can achieve a higher quality score by improved ad relevance and expected CTR. And in terms of the landing page experience, you’ll have to put efforts into ensuring the landing page contains the keyword and it scores well in Core Web Vitals. I have evaluated the top 3 SKAG advantages and explained in detail below.
1. Improves your CTR
This is perhaps the most sought after benefit that advocates harp on Single Keyword Ad Groups. There are multiple reasons that improve the CTR when adopting SKAG and the simplest reason is that you would be mentioning the exact search query in your Ad. It would make your Ad more relevant compared to traditional Ad groups that would have multiple keywords in them. I have attached a screenshot below for a set of Ads that appear for “mens stocking stuffers”.
You can see from these search results that the 2nd Ad uses the keyword up to 3 times, including the Headline. Although I have underlined the keywords, you can see that they are automatically made bold on the Ads on the search results page. This grabs attention and creates more awareness. You can also notice that Oldspice’s Ad is at the #1 position although their keyword is missing ‘mens’ – which is a costly bid for the 1st spot and might hurt their quality score.
Another reason that improves CTR in a Single Keyword Ad Group is due to its accuracy in matching purchase intent. If the search term includes informational, navigational, transactional or a commercial investigation, you can tweak the ad copy to exactly match the relevant search intent. In the below screenshot I have searched for “bomber jackets” on mobile and “womens stocking stuffers” on a desktop.
The mobile Ads that showed up were triggered by a commercial investigation search intent – ‘best bomber jackets’. However, the search for “womens stocking stuffers” showed up ads with multiple search intent – even without a keyword modifier. Single Keyword Ad Groups helps you to improve accuracy through modifiers for different search intent. This further improves your quality score and CTR. I have shared an example in the table below:
2. Get maximum control over your bids
Since Single Keyword Ad Group structure gets granular over time, you would know exactly which keyword and which of its match type works best. Hence you can assign highly specific bids for those keywords. For example: If you identify that a modified broad match (MBM) keyword is performing better than its exact match (EM) variation, you can adjust your bid amount to those keywords accurately. Ensuring a maximum control over your bids becomes critical in some industries such as Legal and Insurance, where CPCs on keywords average above $5. I followed a SKAG structure for promoting some of the dropshipping product categories in December and was able to keep the bids and cost at a minimum.
3. Guides Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Single Keywords Ad Groups help conversion rate optimization in a 2 step process. First, the SKAG structure in your Google Ads account helps improve your split testing ability. Second, the results from the split test can be used to improve your landing page experience which eventually optimizes your conversion rate. I’ll have explained these two steps in detail.
Improving the ability to Split Test
Running split tests (also known as AB tests) on your website and campaigns would initially involve one variable such as the target audience or the visual elements (Ad copy or Headlines). In following a Single Keyword Ad Group structure you can run these split test variations with each keyword match type (Exact Match, Phrase Match and Modified Broad Match).
Improving your landing page experience
Based on your split test winner and the results, you are now able to clearly identify the ideal users who are clicking on your ads. Next, you can work on making the improvements to your landing page (tested and won landing pages). For example, you can personalize the landing page experience to suit the target audience. However, as I mentioned before, each time a new keyword is used to create a new ad group and being split tested, the same keyword needs to be added as a negative keyword to the original ad group.
Should I use Single Keyword Ad Groups in 2021?
I have shared the top 3 advantages of using a Single Keyword Ad Group structure in your Google Ads campaigns. I would also like to emphasize that there are certain disadvantages (which I briefly mentioned in this article) in using SKAG and I plan to explain them in detail in a separate article. If you’re planning to use a Single Keyword Ad Group structure in your Google Ads campaigns right away and in 2021, I would recommend going ahead. But if you’re just starting out on a new Google Ads account, it is not advisable to start using SKAG because you don’t have any historical data and not enough information on how to divide the ad groups and the keywords. Then again, don’t start off by following Google’s recommendation of 10 to 20 keywords per Ad group. It’s simply because Google is a for-profit company and their suggestions and recommendations do not always align with advertisers’ goals. You can check how your Google Search Ads appear to your audience using my free Google Ads Preview Tool.
Got any questions? Leave a comment below.