At one point in time, it was ridiculous to have just one ad group inside of one campaign. Now it’s a well-documented PPC strategy. Today at Ad Badger, we’re going to take it one step further with Single Keyword Campaigns.
That’s right— one campaign, with one ad group, with one keyword inside of it. Is it crazy? Probably. Is it effective? Yes, yes, and yes.
If you’re intrigued, here’s what we’ll be breaking down:
Why Use the Single Keyword Campaign Strategy
If you’ve been here before, you know how we’re always bravely fighting against the keyword dump strategy (listen to our gripes about it on our podcast episode).
In keyword dumping strategies, people dump hundreds of keywords into a single ad group and pray that it’s profitable. This is the quickest way to sentence your PPC account to an eternity of struggle. (If this is you, check out how to bid for beginners).
The reason the keyword dump is such a poor tactic is that keywords that perform differently are being treated the same. We can solve this with the Single Keyword Ad Group Strategy.
In this method, you can fine-tune the ad group bid modifiers around just a single keyword, maximizing its performance. But what if we took it one step further?
What if we optimized an entire campaign around a single keyword?
This strategy would be worth it if some settings can only be controlled at the campaign level, and keyword performance varied based on these settings. Luckily, placement bid modifiers fit that exact build description.
With a Single Keyword Campaign Strategy, we would be able to adjust placement bid settings uniquely for each keyword.
Since Sponsored Product ads perform wildly differently between top-of-search, rest-of-search, and product pages, this extra level of keyword control would allow us to make our best keywords even better.
In short, the Single Keyword Campaign Strategy is the best method to adopt if you want full control over your keywords, including their profitability and where they show up.
The Pros of Single Keyword Campaigns
Make Your Best Keywords Better
The power of Single Keyword Campaigns lies in the fact that you can now place your best-converting keywords in the best converting spots. The best way to understand this is with an example.
Let’s set the scene. You have two keywords that match with a specific search term. Keyword A has a 15% conversion rate on top-of-search and a 10% rate on product pages. Keyword B has a 35% top-of-search conversion and a 1% product page conversion.
Without Single Keyword Campaigns, both keywords are equally as likely to show up in either ad placement. However, with Single Keyword Campaigns, we can choose which keyword shows up in which placement.
For our example, we can adjust the campaign settings of Keyword B to show up more frequently in the top-of-search placement. Likewise, we can set Keyword A to appear more on product pages and less on top-of-search.
Thus, by using the Single Keyword Campaign Strategy, you can dramatically increase the value of your keywords.
Not All Searches Terms Are Created Equal
Some search terms are much more competitive than others. For instance, the term “Thanksgiving” probably has hundreds of thousands of searches per week right now.
If you’re selling Thanksgiving items like gifts, party supplies, or decorations, it can be tough to win the top-of-search spot due to the extreme competition for this term.
Let’s say you convert very highly for “Thanksgiving turkey special” but not “Thanksgiving fabric” or “Thanksgiving straw.” You can actually use Single Keyword Campaigns to win the top-of-search spot almost every time for only “Thanksgiving turkey special.”
You can boost your spend on “Thanksgiving turkey special” by 2x, 5x, or even 10x for top-of-search without increasing your bids on your lower converting keywords.
This allows you to hyper-aggressively promote your best keyword without dropping a fortune on your lower converting keywords too.
It will definitely spike your ACOS, but depending on your goals, that might just be worth it.
The Cons of High Segmentation
Managing a Lot of Campaigns
If this is your first time hearing about this strategy, you might be thinking,
“Am I going to need like 300 campaigns for each of my products? That seems like way too much to manage.”
And… you would be mostly right. The one major flaw of this strategy is that it requires diligent account upkeep and can be tough to manage for small companies.
One way to minimize this con is by only using this strategy on your very best exact match keywords and leave the rest of your keywords in a single campaign.
We recommend starting small with your top 10 reliably converting keywords. Test out this strategy with them and see if it brings significant results. If not, you can revert your account structure back to what it was before.
If it works, then convert a few more of your keywords into single campaigns. It’s all about being intentional with what you do and building confidence with a strategy before you fully commit.
Don’t think that you have to go out this week and create 100 new single keyword campaigns. Start small.
Overly Segmented Data
Another downfall of this strategy is how segmented your data will become. All those different campaigns may give you complete keyword control, but they split your data severely.
It becomes more challenging to make informed decisions when you’re dealing with 2 clicks and 50 impressions per campaign instead of hundreds of clicks and thousands of impressions.
Likewise, calculating averages will take more effort as you’ll need to combine different account data together to find specific metrics across multiple keywords.
However, this drawback is not a dealbreaker by any means. With a good PPC account manager or software tool, this problem won’t be much of a hindrance compared to the potential rewards of implementing a Single Keyword Campaign Strategy.
Use Bulk Files to Automate This Strategy
Like we said, starting and maintaining this strategy can be time-consuming and tedious. Once you’ve tested that Single Keyword Campaigns work well for you, how can you quickly create dozens of new campaigns over the year?
The answer lies in bulk file operations.
Bulk file operations allow you to make thousands of changes to your ad campaigns with a single upload. They’re the key to making the Single Keyword Campaign Strategy work.
If you’re new to bulk files, we highly recommend you check out this article on how to use bulk file operations. Otherwise, this next bit might sound like some gobbledygook.
Here’s how it would work if we wanted to create 80 single keyword campaigns:
Step 1: Get a list of all 80 of your exact match keywords. You can do this downloading your search term report or exporting them from brand Analytics as a .CSB file.
Step 2: Download a template for your bulk operations.
Step 3: Create 80 campaigns by placement and 80 ad groups inside each of those.
Step 4: Then, create 80 ads by uploading your SKUs for every one and 80 keywords by pasting in your list of keywords.
Step 5: Adjust your placement settings for each campaign to match your strategy (like 900% top-of-search, 10% rest-of-search, 50% product pages, etc.).
Once you’ve practiced and have a good hang of bulk file operations, we promise that the whole process could be done in about 10 minutes. That’s definitely a step up from the 2 hours it would’ve taken to do manually.
(P.S. If you want a course to teach you all about bulk files check out our PPC Den Academy)
That about wraps up our crash course on the theory of the SIngle Keyword Campaign Strategy. If bid placement control is something you want for your keywords, we highly recommend you try this method.
Although there are some cons from the segmentation, once you’ve mastered this strategy, you’ll be accessing every last drop of your keywords’ profit potential.
In a follow-up article, we’ll go through a detailed how-to for setting up this strategy for yourself. See you later! 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!
- 2:30 Reading reviews from our awesome listeners
- 4:25 Introducing the Single Keyword Sponsored Product Campaigns Strategy
- 5:40 Guess the top searched term last week
- 7:57 One campaign, one ad group, one keyword… Why do it?
- 10:40 Con: Overly segmented data
- 13:10 Is this strategy allowed?
- 16:00 Pro: Boost your keyword performance
- 17:15 Start small & test it out first
- 19:05 Not all searches are created equal
- 22:05 Stephen’s recommended strategy
- 23:20 Transform your account with Single Keyword Campaigns
- 27:45 2 strategies to set your placement settings
- 32:28 Bulk Files: How to execute this strategy fast
- 36:35 Key takeaways