Single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) may sound lonely, but it’s the best method for running text ads on Google. This is a tried and tested method over the years, over many campaigns, across many verticals for many clients; and it still stays true to this day.
You can improve your click-through rates, ad quality score and even leads and sales almost immediately with this tactic. It’s like a cheat code you can apply right now to get an unfair advantage. Except that isn’t cheating at all, it all boils down to good account management.
So what makes it so good? This tactic only targets potential customers who are most likely to search, click and buy will be shown an ad. Nobody else.
Before we continue, I have to explain the difference between keywords and search terms:
Keywords are the words that we bid on, that trigger the ads on Google search.
Search terms are the words that potential customers actually type into the Google search bar.
If you don’t specify your keywords carefully, Google will automatically show your ads to people who type in search terms closely related to your keywords.
Here’s an example, let’s say you’re selling luxury watches online – you’d naturally choose to have the keyword ‘luxury watch’ as a keyword right? Now what happens is many other keywords will also get targeted due to its broad-match nature. Keywords such as ‘luxury watch box’ will also make your ads appear when searched.
Now, while Google doesn’t charge you for ad views, they will lower your QS (quality score) because your keyword and ad aren’t that relevant to the searched term. Your QS influences your CPC (cost per click) so your CPC will increase in the long run. Do you see the issue now?
The best way is to go about this is to have your keyword “luxury watch” with keyword modifiers, within an ad group, with a tailored ad. You’re able to see which keyword is generating good results, plus the ability to remove them instantly if they’re not working.
The whole point of doing this is to make sure only a potential customer will see the ad that you want them to see, when they type in that exact keyword.
Luxury watch box > luxury watch ad > luxury watch landing page
Here’s how a potential customer should go through the flow:
Luxury watch > luxury watch ad > luxury watch landing page
Luxury watch box > Luxury watch box ad > luxury watch box landing page
They are both very different customers looking for different things at that moment in time. You can only upsell a watch box later after they’ve found what they were looking for, but not now.
While some advertisers may not like this method because it doesn’t generate as much traffic as the usual broad-strokes way but what we have experienced is the complete opposite.
By keeping the keywords as closely related to the actual search terms, we are able to keep it as relevant as possible, improving results in the long run.
You can also apply this principle to other campaign types and even across other channels with this level of detail.
Google display campaigns can be hyper-targeted based on specific placements.
Google YouTube campaigns can be hyper-targeted based on specific videos.
Facebook Ads campaigns can be hyper-targeted based on lookalike audiences of a page event.
It’s all about showing the right person the right message.
Following the example of luxury watches above, here’s the right way to create a campaign based on this product you’ll want to list some related keywords down:
- Luxury watches
- Buy luxury watches
- Buy luxury watches online
- Buy luxury watches online Malaysia
You can start small and expand on the list with synonyms and other related keywords later on.
Create your ad group and insert these keywords with all three keyword modifiers namely the modified broad match, phrase match and exact match keyword modifiers. So it’ll look like this for the ad group of ‘luxury watches’:
- +Luxury +watches
- “Luxury watches”
- [Luxury watches]
The reason why we have different match types is to have a little wiggle room for close variations. This way you’ll be able to gather not just data on your current keywords, but also similar keywords that people are searching for.
The next step is to pair up an ad for your keywords. You must include the keyword within the header of your ad, that’s what people are looking for. It sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at the number of times this method is overlooked.
It’s no surprise that Jaeger has a higher ad position compared to Bvlgari, they didn’t include the word luxury in their headline.
Elaborate on your offers in the description, preferably something people can’t resist such as a limited timepiece or a new product just made available to the market.
Once you’ve set that up, all you need to do now is wait for a couple of days to collect some results to improve upon.
Here’s another example of the keyword ‘silica gel’ and its searched terms:
You’ll be able to find search terms that are closely related to your main keyword, keywords such as ‘where to buy silica gel in malaysia’ shows purchase intention and that keyword should have its own ad group with a tailored ad.
Here, you’ll need to answer a query, the ad shouldn’t just mention ‘where to buy’ within the headline. But rather, you should say something along the lines of ‘you can buy here’, let your potential customers know that they purchase from your online store.
You can also stop showing your ads to any particular search term by adding it as a negative keyword. I tested the keywords for people who are inclined to purchase from Daiso with the keyword ‘silica gel daiso malaysia’, but I have since excluded them due to a lower conversion rate compared to other keywords.
In closing, this tactic will create a snowball effect that will increase QS for your ads, improve qualified traffic, reduce CPC, and ultimately improve conversions.