Automation and the move to simplified structure

Abbie Dunne

Paid Search Director

Step-by-stey guide to simplified structure

In the last few years automation has come a long way and now feels like something we can’t live without. Google’s smart bidding strategies have access to thousands of auction-time signals, and are able to visualise and optimise to them in each auction. This is something analysts can’t even come close to during their morning optimisations over coffee.

With that in mind, automation has paved the way for even more evolution in the paid search industry over the last two years. The biggest development has been the simplified structure. 

This allows you to: 

  • Simplify the management and optimisation of your campaigns by removing granular keyword builds and match types 

  • Reach more and highly relevant auctions thanks to broad match 

  • Consolidate your data signals to allow automation to maximise your performance 

Stage 1: Machine learning, automation, and auction-time signals

Thanks to smart bidding, Google can maximise your CPC (and therefore performance) in each auction beyond the standard time of day, device and location bid modifiers and is now able to use unique signals behind the search query to match keywords to its meaning.

For example, you are a business looking to advertise your cleaning services:

  1. You initially bid on exact match terms such as [house cleaning services]

  2. Through using smart bidding and moving the keyword to broad match, you match to searches such as “end of tenancy clearance prices”

  3. This is the same, if not of higher value, to your business as someone searching for [house cleaning services]

  4. Smart bidding can determine the intent of a search, beyond its initial written meaning, based on the thousands of signals that came before it

For this reason, you should not move to the simplified structure unless you are using smart bidding.

This is a key point to revisit. Google auction-time bidding, and thousands of signals are the foundation of why stages two and three below are possible.

Stage 2: Reducing match types, keyword numbers and further constraints

Now that you understand why automation is key, it’s time to get to consolidating your campaign structure, moving to those all-important broad match keywords.  

We’ve created a simple list to allow you to quickly identify which segments you have in place and therefore which segments can be removed: 

  • Match type – no longer break your campaigns by phrase and exact 

  • By typical new vs returning audiences or device – smart bidding will take care of that for you 

  • Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) only – group them into your keyword-based campaigns 

  • Keyword duplicates/synonyms – you no longer need to include all of those misspells, and bid on the same keyword across multiple match types 

  • Single keyword ad groups 

  • Negative keywords to funnel queries through specific campaigns 

  • Low volume search terms coming through your Search Query Report (SQR)  

Stage 3: The simplified structure (and automation)

After following the steps above to remove all your current campaign segments, you are now in a good place to start building out your new, simplified campaign structure.  

The trick is to group your campaigns by objective, theme, or category, using broad keywords, smart bidding and responsive search ads (RSAs) and allowing the automation to do the rest. 

To help you make these changes we’ve created a step-by-step process to follow: 

1 - Group your keywords by theme or product category. We recommend each ad group point to a single landing page

  • Focus on broad match only

  • Allow broad match to cover all your synonyms and misspells

  • Keep your brand terms on exact match for added security

  • Remove any keyword funnelling negative keyword lists

  • Remove segments by device, audience, location and more

  • Place your DSA campaigns as an ad group within each keyword campaign

  • Include your audiences as observational rather than targeting

2 - Set up your smart bidding to achieve your KPI for that campaign

  • For example, if you want to maximise profit try max. conversion value or return on ad spend (ROAS)

3 - Maximise relevancy on broad match through RSA and dynamic ad copy

  • Maximise all 15 headlines and four descriptions

  • Improve this relevance further through dynamic features such as dynamic keyword insertion, IF functions and ad customisers

  • We also recommend using audience targeting on ad copy across high traffic driving terms to personalise a customer’s experience

  • Don’t forget to use all the extensions at your disposal too!

There are some caveats you should be aware of:

  • Using broad match and allowing the automation to maximise your performance will require bigger budgets

  • We recommend restructuring your campaigns in batches, starting with the highest revenue driver, to ensure there is enough data for the test

  • Use your existing campaigns as a shell so that no data is lost, and learnings are easily adjustable in the process

We wouldn’t be suggesting you give it a go if we hadn’t already seen great success with our clients. For instance, one client saw a +40% growth in revenue period on period at a -27% more efficient ROAS thanks to the growth in market share driven by broad match and the powerful optimisation driven by smart bidding, finding relevant customers in that wider market.

If you are interested in moving to simplified structure to optimise your search activity and reach a wider market, iCrossing can help. Contact us to make a digital step-change in your business.

Continue reading


Are you ready to make a digital step-change?

We believe that moving too slowly in digital is the biggest risk your business faces. If you are ready to move faster in digital, we are here to help.

Get In touch