PPC Campaign Structure Broken Down Level By Level

At times, Amazon PPC campaign structure can be a tricky maze to handle. A single product seller can rely on low budget, low-maintenance automatic campaigns to support their account.

Yet, a wholesaler with 400,000+ SKUs would need a sprawling campaign structure that allowed for precise control over every keyword, bid, and ad placement.

As you can see, there’s no one size fits all for campaign structures, so figuring out when and where to optimize it can be daunting. If you haven’t touched how you organize your products and keywords since your first day on Amazon, then your campaign structure is likely ripe for some optimizing.

Just like bids, ACOS, or conversion rates, we want to break campaign structure down to a science. From super duper simple to extremely complex accounts, we’ve created a complete guide for what campaign structure optimizations to make for your account level by level.

Here’s what you can look forward to learning:

  1. Level 1: Single ASIN
  2. Level 2: Single ASIN with variations
  3. Level 3: Several different products
  4. Level 4: Different products competing for the same search terms
  5. Level 5: Large company campaign structure (5,000+ SKUs)
  6. Level 6: Wholesaler campaign structure (400,000+ SKUs)
  7. Popular campaign structure strategies from real PPCr’s

Level 1: Single ASIN

By far, the most straightforward campaign to build a good structure for is an account with just a single ASIN.

Single ASIN
Everyone starts off with a single ASIN at one point or another.

To get started, you’ll want to create at least an automatic campaign and a manual campaign for your account. From there, you’ll want to segment your manual campaign by these targeting types:

  • Keyword targeting
  • Products targeting
  • Categories targeting

You can create them as 3 ad groups in your manual campaign or as 3 separate manual campaigns if you want more control over their ad placement settings.

Next, you’ll want to place your exact match keywords into your manual keyword targeting campaign, and your broad/phrase match keywords inside of your automatic campaigns.

This way, your best converting search terms are laser-focused as exact matches while automatic campaigns are great for expanding your reach and discovering new potential keywords. It also gives you the ability to remove undesirable keywords via negative keywords.

Lastly, any well-performing single ASIN account should have at least 1-3 Sponsored Product or Brand ads running for your best keywords.

With only one product, this campaign structure is the easiest to optimize for and makes setting up single product campaigns or ad groups a breeze.

Let’s see what happens when we throw some variations into the mix.

Level 2: Single ASIN with Variations

Let’s say you’re selling an iPhone charging cord, and you have 3 different variations of your product: a 3 ft model, a 6 ft model, and a 10 ft model. Should we group them together in a single campaign or segment them out?

The most common product variations involve size, color, or quantity. More often than not, a longer cable, a 2-pack, or a unique color scheme is going to sell for a higher price.

Although your lower-priced variations might have more clicks and impressions, your higher-priced variations with a lower CTR could still be better because the conversion is just worth more.

So make sure you do your research and figure out which variations are giving you the biggest bang for your buck before we dive into how to optimize your campaign structure.

For product variations that are at different price points, it’s a must to place them in separate ad groups. They’re all going to convert differently, have various CTRs and ACOS, so we don’t want to lump all of them together.

Furthermore, if you leave these variations inside the same ad group, then Amazon could potentially show your 3 ft cable ad for a search term like “6ft iPhone cable,” and no one wants that.

One last thing to note is that you could also segment each of these variations into their own campaigns if you want more precise control of where your ad appears on Amazon. It requires more account maintenance, so make sure your workflow allows for that extra optimization time needed.

With that, let’s move on to level 3.

Level 3: Several Different Products

Unlike a single ASIN or one with variations, if you’re a seller with multiple products, you have to consider product families and how to choose which products fit into the same group.

From here on, the need for a well-optimized campaign structure really begins to show. If you place all of your different products inside of the same ad group, then you’re in for a nasty surprise.

surprise GIF
GIF courtesy of Giphy

Each of your products has its own price points, conversion rates, keywords, and so on. We want to optimize for each one independently, so if they’re all in the same ad group, it’s not going to be possible.

Assuming your products all compete for different search terms, we’ll want to place each product inside of its own ad group or campaign. Next, you’ll create keyword targeting types, auto-targeting, manual targeting, Sponsored brand ads, etc. for each product.

You’ll set these up exactly like you would your single ASIN. The only difference is that now you need to repeat that process for each one of your products. If your products have variations, you’d want to break those out exactly like Level 2.

Follow this process, and your campaign structure will be golden like a badger in the warm sunlight. What happens when your products start competing for the same search terms?

Level 4: Different Products Competing for the Same Search Terms

At this level, we’re dialing up the complexity. Now it’s not so easy to divide up your products because they’re competing for the same search terms even with different prices and conversion rates.

For example, if you were a lawnmower company, you could have all sorts of products like “push lawnmower,” “electric lawnmower,” or “lawnmower tractors.” All of these are fundamentally competing for the same types of searches. Not to mention the 10 – 20 variations you might have for each product too.

"Lawnmowers" Amazon SERP
Check out all these different types of products after searching "lawnmower" on Amazon.

This is where segmenting by targeting will start to become a more prominent strategy. You’re going to have generic keywords that can apply to multiple products along with some shared keywords for similar products.

These shared keywords provide a guideline for what products belong together, but they’re not full-proof. More than ever, you’ll need to start asking yourself, “Do these two products belong together in the same ad group?”

Sometimes the answer will be yes, sometimes it will be no. A good general strategy is to segment each of your campaigns by targeting type and then segment each ad group by product.

However, there’s a lot more at this level to think about campaign structure and how it fits into your goals.

Questions like:

  • How do I want to move my inventory?
  • Am I trying to go after an Amazon badge for a particular product?
  • Is my targeting strategy the best for my industry?
  • Am I leaving anything on the table?

Your answer to each of these questions affects how your campaign is structured. Because these things can shift over time, we recommend always to review your campaign structure at least quarterly if not monthly.

Level 5: Large Company Campaign Structure (5,000+ SKUs)

We’ve made it to the second-to-last layer. Sellers at this level are generally large companies with anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 SKUs. For example, a pet store would stock thousands of different toys, foods, houses, Santa Claus dog sweaters, and pretty much any other pet accessory.

In the earlier levels, it was easy to create separate ad groups or campaigns to segment out all of your products. Once you’ve got 5,000+ products, segmenting becomes more challenging. No one wants to be dealing with 5,000 individually optimized campaigns. It’s unmanageable.

So we’re going to go beyond the campaign level and use portfolios instead. Portfolios allow you to group multiple campaigns together.

Back to our pet store example, you could create individual campaigns for “Cat towers,” “Cat food,” “Cat toys,” and all your other cat-related products and then place them inside one all-encompassing cat portfolio.

For there, we would want to place all of our different brands of cat food products into their own ad groups. If you had 20 different cat foods, that’d be 20 different ad groups. This comes with the added benefit of a reporting advantage.

When you download your targeting report, you’ll now be able to tell precisely which search term or keyword led to the sale of that product. This will give you better data, and help in building your exact match keyword list.

Now it’s time to move on to the final level, and boy does it get big from here.

Level 6: Wholesaler Campaign Structure (400,000+ SKUs)

You know in space when an extremely massive object like a black hole begins to significantly warp the fabric of space-time itself? That’s where we’ve arrived.
400,000 SKU black hole
Be careful not to fall in.

400,000 SKUs are simply an unfathomable number of products to manage. It requires an extremely well-optimized campaign structure to keep the whole thing from collapsing in on itself from its sheer gravity.

Are there any strategies that could work for a behemoth like this? Well, it turns out, single product ad groups are still a winning strategy.

Having each product in its own campaign will give you the bid control you need, even if it ends up being gigantic. Unfortunately, there’s a 20,000 ad group limit per campaign. So if you had 400,000 products, you would need an account with 20 campaigns, each with 20,000 ad groups.

It requires diligence, patience, and perseverance, but with a good campaign structure, even a black hole can be tamed.

Popular Campaign Structure Strategies from Real PPCr’s

Now that we’ve covered each layer of campaign structure complexity, we thought it’d be great to share some strategies other PPC’rs have already created. We polled our Facebook group and identified three prominent types of campaign structure strategies. Here’s a brief overview of each.

1. Structuring by Search Volume

In this strategy, the keywords that are earning a lot of impressions (around 1,000 to 2,000) are placed into a separate campaign. This frees up your budget to allows lower volume keywords to gain attention.

We’re not the biggest fan of this structure because it relies on an arbitrary cutoff. It’s not the worst, but it could be better. If you’re doing this, it might be worth trying the strategy Amazon recommends.

2. Structuring by Keyword Targeting

In this method, you create a campaign for each type of keyword target. For instance, you would create 3 campaigns if you wanted to separate between branded keywords, generic keywords, and competitors’ branded keywords.

Let’s say you’re a company like Coca-cola. If you use this strategy, you might end up with 3 types of campaigns:

  • Branded keywords like “Coke,” “Coca-cola,” or “Diet Coke”
  • Generic keywords like “soda,” “pop” or “sugary beverage”
  • Competitor keywords like “Pepsi,” “Dr. Pepper”, or “Mountain Dew”

3. Structuring by Match Types

When you’re using this strategy, you first want to separate your automatic campaigns and your manual campaigns. Next, split each of your broad, phrase, and exact match keywords into their own ad groups, and presto you’re done.

If you’re wondering about how to choose the right match type, their unique benefits, or why this works, then check out the video below.

The Bottom Line on PPC Campaign Structure

There are loads of different ways to structure your campaigns, and everyone should customize these methods to fit their own goals and needs.

This was our take on how to optimize your campaign structure based on size and product diversity. We’d love to hear what campaign structures have worked well for you, so sound off in the comments below.

 Badger out.

Discover Us on our PPC Den Podcast

If you prefer learning via audio, we cover this same info in the podcast episode below. You can also find us on your favorite streaming platforms like Apple, Google, Spotify, and more!

  • 4:25 The importance of an optimized campaign structure
  • 5:18 Targeting vs. Inventory grouping
  • 9:46 3 popular campaign structure strategies
  • 14:08 Start thinking of campaign structure as another variable to optimize
  • 15:15 Visually map out your product groupings
  • 17:02 Even more strategies!
  • 20:20 Single ASIN ⁠— the easiest structure optimization
  • 26:15 How to optimize ASIN with variations
  • 31:30 Dialing up the complexity with several different products
  • 35:12 Different products but they compete for the same terms 
  • 42:40 What if you’re a huge company with 5,000+ SKUs in different categories?
  • 51:05 Strategies for giant wholesalers — 400,000+ SKUs!
  • 55:40 Keep campaign level settings in mind
  1. Why We’re Living In The Golden Age of Amazon PPC
  2. The Bid+ Conundrum
  3. Amazon’s New Product Targeting Features
  4. The Advanced Basics of Amazon PPC
  5. Amazon PPC Advertising Stats
  6. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 1)
  7. Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sponsored Products (Part 2)
  8. Campaign Naming Systems
  9. Product Targeting – Into the Great Unknown
  10. The Strangest, Most Popular PPC Strategy: The Keyword Dump
  11. Dissenting Thoughts on PPC Budgets
  12. First Look on New Bid Options in Amazon
  13. What We Love About Amazon PPC
  14. The Dreaded Amazon Data Reporting Delay
  15. All Things Negative Keywords
  16. Cranking Up Conversion Rates
  17. The Star-Crossed Lovers (Organic & Paid Traffic)
  18. How to Scale Using PPC – A Case Study
  19. The Ultimate Amazon PPC Roadmap
  20. Amazon Advertising Launch Strategy for New Products
  21. Our Gripes About Amazon Sponsored Brand Ads
  22. Should You Bid on Competitors’ Branded Keywords
  23. Making Sense of New to Brand Metrics
  24. Defining Your PPC Goals & Setting ACOS Targets
  25. The Latest Sponsored Brand Ad Updates
  26. An Introduction To Bulk File Operations
  27. Click Through Rate (CTR) Rundown
  28. The Importance of Indexation for Amazon PPC
  29. My 5 Predictions for the Future of Amazon PPC
  30. A Round-Table Discussion About Placement Settings
  31. The Complete Guide to Self-Auditing Your Campaigns
  32. Improving Your Account With Amazon Reports
  33. A Data-Driven Approach to Prime Day PPC 
  34. Clickfraud, Who to Hire, and More Common Amazon PPC Questions
  35. Increase Conversion Rates for Sponsored Brand Ads
  36. Amazon DSP with Kiri Masters
  37. 4 Things Amazon Does Better than Google and Facebook
  38. Three Effective Ways to Optimize Amazon PPC Bids
  39. Promoting your Products with Amazon Coupons
  40.  Should You Segment Your Branded Keywords in Amazon Ads?
  41. What to Expect From 30 Days of Running Amazon Ads
  42. 4 Reasons Why Lowering Your Bids Won’t Always Lower your ACOS
  43. The Problem With Optimizing Low-Converting Products (And How to Solve It)
  44. Listener Q&A: Optimizing Placement Settings
  45. Amazon’s New Sponsored Display Ads (Beta)
  46. Amazon SEO – Bridging the Gap with PPC
  47. How to Advertise Commodity and Unique Products with Lukas Matthews
  48. 6 Levels of Amazon PPC Mastery
  49. Make Your Best Keywords Better with Single Keyword Campaigns
  50. Amazon PPC Today vs. Yesterday: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t

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