5 Steps to a World Cup-Winning PPC Account Structure


 By Rich Jepson, regional search engine marketing manager, jobsDB – limited subsidiary of SEEK global recruitment platform.

As a huge football (or soccer, as it’s commonly known in the U.S.) fan and digital marketer, I can see clear strategies that can be taken from the sport and applied to paid search. With the World Cup just around the corner, here are five tactics you should apply in your account.

1. Choosing the Right Squad

Your first job as a football manager is to figure out which players you want in your squad. Most managers will do this by initially picking the players they know to perform well in an “A” team – the Beckhams, Ronaldos, and Messis of the world – who they know are always going to score goals. The rest of the squad is then made up of those players who may not be as consistent but can bring value, create chances, and also score goals – the “B” team.

The same logic can be applied to search engine marketing (SEM) for each product or service you advertise in search engines. The “A” team should be your exact match-only campaign and the second campaign should be your broad campaign, the “B” team. In the exact match campaign you will have the keywords that convert most often; the broad terms are used to extend your reach and capture similar queries that will likely result in conversions.

As an example, imagine that you are a sports retailer selling replica shirts. If you have [buy England football shirt], [buy England football shirts], etc. in your exact campaign then “+buy +England +football +shirt” will be in your broad campaign to capture any variations different to the exact match only search query. See how these campaigns should look in AdWords Editor below.

Exact match only:


Broad match only:


2. Keeping the Formation Strong

Imagine team “A” is playing team “B” in a practice game. Obviously, only one player can play for one team, otherwise that player could score in either net and it would be chaos. This principal applies to paid search – only one keyword can match to the user’s query.

If a user searches for a term that matches to both an exact and broad keyword, then the search engine will randomly match the query to either keyword each time it is searched for. It won’t simply match the exact version to your exact keyword and any other variations to the broad keyword. This is where negative keywords come in. You have to place all the keywords in your exact campaign as exact negatives in your broad campaign to ensure separation and efficiency in your account.

Looking back at our example, you will need to make certain that the exact keywords are placed as exact negatives in your broad campaign, by doing this the search “buy England football shirt” will match to the exact campaign and variations such as “buy 2014 England football shirt” will be matched to the broad campaign. See below.



3. Identifying Rising Stars

The real difference between a good manager and a great manager is in knowing which “B” team players are going to add value to your first team.

This is the same when looking at paid search expansion. When analyzing a search query report, you should look at user queries that matched to broad keywords and converted, you then add these terms as exact keywords. Don’t forget to then add the same terms back into the broad campaign as exact negatives. By doing this you will be expanding your exact campaigns with efficient keywords.

4. Analyzing Performance

Team “A” contains the exceptional members of your squad – they require less touches of the ball and take less shots at goal but score more often. Team “B” isn’t as good with the ball – they take more touches, shoot more often, but don’t score as many as the first team. Team A’s players will also get into a better position on the pitch and are much fitter, whereas the “B” team are not as athletic, can fluctuate in position, and often require more energy to keep going at the same rate as team.

If you apply this to PPC then you can use the following as substitutes to explain the same theory:

The ball = User

Players = Keywords

Touches = Impressions

Shots = Clicks

Goals = Conversions

Position = Average position (1-3 = Penalty Box)

Fitness = CPC efficiency

Energy = Budget

Running our World Cup shirts campaigns for a month would likely result in metrics such as this:


5. Becoming Champions

By installing and repeating the steps above in your campaign structure you will create a scalable, effective, and efficient account. There are many advantages to this including lower cost-per-click (CPC), higher average position, and increased conversion rate. Give it a try, then you can spend less time optimizing and more time concentrating on what really matters – watching the game!

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