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How to Drive Advertising Success with Ad Groups

Unlock advertising success with our comprehensive guide to ad groups. Learn how to optimize multiple campaigns, target audiences effectively, and maximize ROI.

Creating successful ad groups can take your pay-per-click (PPC) game to the next level by helping you improve targeting and attract the right customers.

Traditional advertising allows businesses to create ads to promote their products or services. However, its two major flaws are that you can't tailor your offerings to attract customers at the right time or measure the results.

In the world of online ads, you can measure everything you need to know about different strategies and tactics and their performance, ranging from the cost-per-click (CPC) to the number of clicks at a certain time of day. The available metrics also allow you to create more relevant online ads based on your offerings.

Ad groups are one way to make your ads more relevant to your target audience. Keep reading to learn more about ad groups, including what they are, how they're structured, and how to create them.

An ad group is used to define the characteristics of certain ads when using search engine marketing (SEM) or PPC. In other words and more simple terms, an ad group defines a group of related search terms. Ad groups are groups of keywords that are closely related.

Each ad group has a common goal—to attract a certain type of customer based on their Google search query. For this reason, they typically share similar targets and keywords.

In a Google ads account structure, an ad group is part of an ad campaign, which is part of the larger ad account. Every Google ad you create has an ad group attached to it, whether you realize it or not.

The main point of Google ad groups is to help you structure your ad campaign, making it easier to measure the effectiveness of certain parts of it, like keywords, targets, and audience. Your ad group contains all the keywords associated with particular ad campaigns, allowing you to group and organize search terms together or separately, depending on the ads you create.

Your business probably has more than one product or service, so you might have different target audience segments with different pain points, needs, or interests. Using ad groups correctly enables you to market effectively to those individuals while making your SEM ads more relevant to a particular target audience. Let's take a look at an example:

Marvin owns a pet supplies company, with most of his customers owning dogs, cats, or both. Knowing this basic information about his business, you can separate the ads into two groups — one promoting cat supplies and another for dog supplies. The search terms within your ad groups might include variations of both keywords.

How many ad groups you have depends on your business and who you're trying to attract. A marketing company might create an ad group to promote each of its services separately, helping it create more relevant ads that utilize more focused keywords.

If you're trying to attract companies looking for social media management, you probably don't want to use the broader term "digital marketing" because it's less relevant.

Instead, your ad will rank higher in SERPs for a particular word by using it in the ad, making ad groups important for structuring your Google ads account and necessary for improving relevance to help your ads rank higher and attract more customers.

While it's easy to create a single ad group that includes all keywords related to your business, it'll be impossible to make a relevant ad for all of them, which is why ad groups are so important; they allow you to separate keywords based on how closely related they are to one another and help make your ads more relevant to users while ensuring your chosen platform — whether Google or Bing — can effectively rank your ads based on this information.

Optimizing your ad groups does more than help you create a more structured and organized ad account. It also offers several benefits, such as:

Increased conversions

Organizing ad groups can increase your conversion rate by improving ad relevance to keywords. Ad groups increase conversions because it provides a seamless user experience.

If someone searches for "yoga pants," they expect to see an ad for yoga pants, not athletics apparel. You can also take ad groups a step further by adding audience targeting, which factors in interests, location, habits, and other behavioral targets.

Improved bidding

While most bidding is automated these days, ad groups make bidding more flexible by allowing you to set maximum spend for a different set of search terms. Doing so allows you to control your spending and campaign performance.

You might have one ad group you need to lean on to increase conversions quickly, and another you can spend less on to increase brand awareness. Monitoring your ad results can help you determine which ad groups require higher spend.


Like organic Google search results, ads are ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs). Using ad groups properly can help you increase your rankings and beat the competition because it allows you to be as specific as necessary to appear on search results for the right queries.

Structure and components of ad groups

If you're new to search engine marketing, the concept of ad groups can be confusing. Unlike email marketing, where you can segment your audience, PPC ads require you to segment your keywords just like you would for any page on your website.

Ad groups are a single part of a greater Google ads account. They're part of ad campaigns and hold the key to the various ads within an ad group. The structure of an ad account looks like this:

Account > Campaign > Ad group > Keywords > Ad Copy > Landing Page

Let's take a look at how keywords, ad copy, and pages work together to support your ad groups.

Keywords and targeting

Keywords are how you target specific search queries in PPC. With ad groups, you're not targeting a specific audience; instead, you're targeting queries individuals might use to search for products or services. Then, if you choose to do so, you can improve your audience targeting as an additional feature in your chosen PPC platform.

Your ad group consists of related search terms. Using our example above, Marvin's pet supply business might create an ad group for dog pet supplies, including keywords like dog toys, dog food, dog treats, and so forth. These keywords relate to the primary keyword of dog pet supplies.

Ad copy and creative

Next, you have the ad copy and creative. With SEM, there are no graphics, but you can create new ad groups for display ads similarly, allowing you to focus on targeting the audience rather than a specific Google search query. In SEM, your ad copy is crucial. Once your ad appears in SERPs, its job is to make search engine users take action.

Landing page relevance

Landing page relevance refers to how relevant your landing page is to the keywords and copy. Optimizing your website can help your ad rank higher in SERPs, which means more impressions and the potential for higher conversion rates. The only way for your ads to beat out the competition is to focus on page relevance, which means using the same search terms, style, and voice in your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages.

Ad relevance will also reduce bounce rates that occur when users click your ads only to realize it's not what they thought it was. If you want to drive high-quality traffic to your website, your landing page must be relevant to what your ads offer. To make your content more relevant, you should match the keywords in the ad copy to your ad.

Other elements that can make your landing page more relevant include matching the call to action (CTA) in your ads and on the page and ensuring every element on your page supports the ultimate goal. If you aim to sell dog supplies, your landing page should sell dog supplies, not cat supplies.

Creating effective ad groups can help you organize your campaigns more effectively and ensure your ads are relevant to the keywords your target audience is searching for on search engines. Here are a few ways to create more effective ad groups that increase conversion rates and help your ad rank higher:

Conducting thorough keyword research

Your ad groups are based on keyword groups. Without thorough keyword research, search engines may not be able to determine whether a user's query matches your ad, meaning they won't show it in SERPs. The more comprehensive your keyword research, the better your ad groups will perform.

Start with your primary keyword and identify other relevant keywords and variations that your target audience might be searching for.

It's important to understand the search intent of the user. If someone is searching for a simple recipe, you don't want an ad taking them to a landing page for a complex recipe with several ingredients and a time-consuming process.

Instead, you want to provide them with exactly what their intent is—to find a simple recipe.

Other keywords have more commercial intent; they either want to purchase a product now or shortly and use search engines to perform research.

In these cases, they may already know exactly what they want to buy. If someone types in a product name, they already know they're looking for a particular product, so you don't want to send them to a blog page. Instead, you'll send them to a product page if they click on your ad.

Users also provide keyword intent by using keywords that tell search engines exactly what they plan to do. They use "how to" if they're looking for a guide or blog post about a particular way to do something or "discount" if they're looking for deals.

Always ensure your ad group keywords are based on thorough research about your audience, the keywords they search for, and their intent when they search for those keywords.

Grouping keywords into themes and categories

Ad groups allow you to properly organize and group keywords into themes and categories. This is fairly easy if you have a basic business structure.

You probably sell multiple types of products within a niche. In our previous example, Marvin sells pet supplies for dogs and cats, so your keywords would be categorized between dogs and cats, with the audience being pet parents.

On the other hand, your business may have a more complex structure. Maybe you sell a wide variety of products. In these cases, you'll have more ad groups targeted toward specific queries.

Keeping your keywords in tightly-themed ad groups ensures ad relevance, making it more likely to rank in SERPs and increasing brand awareness and conversions.

Writing compelling ad copy and creative

Without compelling ad copy, all you have is a few different groupings of keywords. Your ad groups should guide your copy by providing you with the list of keywords you should use when writing your ads.

Try to avoid keyword stuffing. Instead, naturally use keywords throughout the ad copy to craft attention-grabbing headlines and incorporate your business's unique selling points. You can also A/B test ad variations to determine which ones perform the best.

Ensuring landing page relevance

We've already discussed the importance of ads relevance—it increases the quality of your ad, making it more likely to rank for your target keywords. By matching the landing page content with ad copy and keywords, you can set expectations with search users looking for a particular term.

You should also optimize landing pages for conversion. The main reason you advertise is to increase sales. You can use retargeting and other ad strategies to increase conversions by targeting individuals who have already visited your website.

Those visitors are already familiar with your brand and its products and services, making them more likely to convert from website visitors into paying customers.

The more relevant your pages are, the better your ad positions in SERPs. However, you should also optimize them for conversions by considering your offering and finding the best way to entice customers to take action.

Optimizing your ad groups means making the keywords and website content as relevant as possible. The better your keyword research, the better your ad groups will be. Here are a few tips to help you optimize your ad groups to improve their rankings in SERPs and convert more customers.

Monitoring and analyzing ad group performance

Once you create your PPC ads, you should continuously monitor the performance of each ad group. You can do this by monitoring the ad groups themselves and each keyword to help you determine whether you've chosen the right ads.

You should track key metrics, such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, impressions, and cost-per-click (CPC).

All SEM platforms enable you to track these key metrics to learn more about your campaigns, but you can integrate them with other analytics tools like Google Analytics to gain insights into user behavior and track your landing page performance.

Making data-driven adjustments

One of the best aspects of digital marketing is the amount of data you have available to use to your advantage.

With data in Google ads, you can identify underperforming ad groups and determine why they're not performing as expected. You might see that they aren't an exact match for search intent, or your bid is too low compared to the competition.

This data can help you refine your keywords and audience targeting options to increase your rankings and make your ads more relevant to your audience. You can also gain a deeper understanding of your ads by using split testing to determine which ad variations perform the best.

Implementing bid management strategies

Every PPC strategy requires bid management that allows you to maximize your PPC advertising spend. With the available data, you can adjust your bids to strategically increase or decrease your spending to improve your placement in SERPs. You can also implement a smart bidding strategy that's automated.

Still, you should always check in on your bids to ensure you're not over or underspending on a particular keyword or ad group.

Regularly review and update your ad groups

Understanding ad groups is the first step in implementing effective PPC ad campaigns. With the ad group strategies outlined in this article, you can begin your keyword research while categorizing and organizing your Google ads account.

Then, once you've created multiple ad groups, you should focus on landing page relevance. Mailchimp makes it easy to optimize your landing page with our page builder. Then, once your ad is up and running, you can measure your landing page performance and run split tests to convert more visitors into paying customers.

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