If you’re a business running Google Ads, chances are you’ve had to set up or manage the ad account structure. Though there are many ways to structure your ad account, there are some best practices that you should consider while doing so. Optimally structured accounts have many benefits; for example, they typically see better conversion results and higher ROI. Let’s examine Google’s ad account structure in more depth.

Table of contents:

General overview of how Google Ads is structured

Before diving deeper into how you should structure your Google Ads accounts, let’s consider what layers Google uses in ad accounts to get things organized. According to Google, there are three main layers: your account, campaigns, and ad groups.

  • The account is the top-level container for your Google Ads campaigns. It contains your general account information, such as billing information, payment methods, and various settings.
  • Campaigns can include several ad groups that share the same budget, targeting options, and bidding strategy. For example, you can create different campaigns for different products or services or marketing goals or locations.
  • An ad group shares a set of keywords and ads that are related to each other. When someone searches for one of these targeted keywords, ads may appear in the search results. 




Even though Google doesn’t consider them official pillars, keywords, ads, and landing pages are typically considered essential pillars of your ad account by experts. These should be aligned and tailored to each ad group and campaign. However, despite mentioning that they are critical to the success of your ads, Google doesn’t consider them as their own structural layers.

The importance of structuring your ad account properly

You’ll notice that you gain several benefits once you start structuring your ad account properly.

It improves the efficiency of managing ads because a well-structured account makes it easier to find and edit your ads, keywords, and campaigns. It can help companies with many different ads and even smaller ad accounts.

Well-structured ad accounts can also target the right searchers better. They allow you to combine and narrow down search keywords based on their intent within a particular ad group rather than targeting a broad audience with generic ads.

In addition, a good account structure boosts quality scores since Google uses your account structure to assess the quality and alignment of your campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords. Proper, well-aligned structures show Google that you understand your audience and that your ads are relevant to their search queries, improving quality scores.

Due to better account management, your ads will match search behavior better, which can boost click-through and conversion rates, too.

In the end, optimal ad performance and getting the best possible results with your invested money are precisely what companies are looking for. And the account structure plays a crucial role in achieving this.

How to structure your account

There is a lot of discussion on how you should approach the structure of your ad accounts, and it really depends on each business. For example, you should consider what products or services you offer, what type of Google ads you plan to run, your ad budget, and whether you are advertising in only one country or language or internationally in several languages. These can all affect how you should structure your ad account.

Basic setup considerations

When setting up the different layers in your ads account, there are a few basic setups to consider first: 

On an account level, consider:

  • Setting your account goals: What do you want to achieve with your Google Ads campaigns? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Have you done your keyword research? Do you know the different keyword groups you want to advertise for? Once you know your goals and keywords, you can tailor your account structure accordingly.
  • Choosing your bidding strategy: How much are you willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad? There are a number of different bidding strategies available, so you need to choose one that fits your budget and goals.
  • Setting your budget: How much money do you want to spend on your Google Ads campaigns each month? Setting a budget that you can afford to maintain over a more extended period while still enabling good results is essential.

On a campaign level:

  • Choosing your campaign type: There are three main types of Google Ads campaigns: search, display, and video. Each type of campaign is typically suited for different goals and has a different format. This article focuses on search ads (or text ads), which are relevant to most businesses.
  • Setting your campaign budget: How much money do you want to spend on each campaign? Allocating too little funding to a campaign can lead to bad results and won’t show the full potential. If you notice that your ads only run for one hour a day due to insufficient budget, you can’t make any assumptions about whether they are working. So, set a budget that allows sufficient clicks that you can analyze for future optimization.
  • Targeting your campaign: Who do you want to see your ads? You can target your campaigns by demographics, interests, specific products or services, and, most importantly, certain keywords.

On an ad group level:

  • Choosing your ad group keywords: The keywords you choose for your ad groups will determine who sees your ads related to a specific theme. It’s important to choose keywords that are relevant to your business and the particular ad group theme. If you have little budget, we recommend focusing on high-intent keywords that are more likely to deliver conversions on your website. 
  • Writing your ad group text ads: Your ad group text ads are the copy that appears on the SERPs. They should be clear, concise, and aligned with both your landing page’s content and targeted keywords. You can create as many ads in an ad group as you like, but we recommend creating at least two to track how they perform against each other.
  • Creating your landing pages: Your landing pages are the pages people will visit after clicking on your ad. They should be relevant to your selected ad group keywords and be somewhat optimized for conversions.

On a keyword level:

  • Use relevant keywords that are closely related to your business and products or services.
  • Group keywords together based on their intent and common themes so you can show very tailored ads to people who are more likely to be interested in exactly those keywords.
  • You can set up various match types for keywords, but make sure that they aren’t too broad because that can lead to a lot of unwanted money spent on traffic that isn’t converting on your website. This is especially important when you have a limited advertising budget.
  • You should also set negative keywords because they can help prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches. Always continue analyzing the keywords people use when clicking on your ads as time passes. That way, you can filter out the unwanted keywords and update your negative keyword lists accordingly until your targeting becomes highly accurate.

And, on an ad level:

    • Write clear and concise ad copy that is relevant to your keywords and target audience.
  • Set up at least two ads in each ad group to get some type of comparison of how different ads and copies perform.
  • Ensure that your ad copy matches the targeted keywords and the text on your landing pages so the searcher gets a coherent experience.
  • Track your results of the different ads and adjust the copy as you gather more data on them.

Building account structures from the bottom up

Though it may seem logical to structure your ad account from the top level and start brainstorming about a campaign, we always recommend starting at the bottom with the actual keyword research. This means finding the relevant keywords for your business and analyzing whether it makes sense to run ads against them. Once you collect the keywords you want to target (typically in an organized spreadsheet), you’ll start identifying common themes in keywords, which you can use to decide which keywords can be part of the same ad group. An example could be “keyword research service” and “keyword research agency, ” two different keywords you can put in the same ad group since they are quite similar (a common theme and intent). 

Common ad groups can, in turn, be part of the same campaign. Now you can see why it is wise to start with the bottom-level keyword research and start grouping and structuring your ads account with that foundation in mind.

What you’ll notice when you take this approach is that you often end up with a certain account structure for search ads:

  • Campaigns will be structured by a specific area within your business, the type of keywords (branded or non-branded), or the geography or language you’re operating in.
  • Ad group level will be structured by specific services or products within that business area, location, or language. Examples would be “keyword research,” “advertising services,” or “conversion rate optimization”. These are varying services that would all require a different ad group. Even though they are all part of digital marketing (and likely a marketing agency), they differ so much from each other that they require individually corresponding ads and, hence, ad groups.

International ad account structures

Operating internationally adds a layer of complexity to your ad account structure because you might need to do keyword research for each country due to cultural differences or in each language if you decide to advertise in various languages. That also increases the need for additional corresponding campaigns and ad group structures within your ad account.

Some common approaches to international advertising are:


1. Country-specific campaigns
This is the most granular approach, where you create a separate campaign for each country you’re targeting. This allows you to tailor your ad copy, keywords, and targeting options to the specific needs of each market. However, it can also be more time-consuming and expensive to manage multiple campaigns.

2. Region-specific campaigns
A less granular approach than country-specific campaigns is region-specific, where you create a separate campaign for each region, such as North America, Europe, or Asia Pacific. This can be a good option if you’re targeting multiple countries within a region, but you don’t need to tailor your ads as specifically to each market.

3. Language-specific campaigns
Language-specific campaigns are similar to country-specific campaigns, but instead of creating separate campaigns for each country, you create separate campaigns for each language you’re targeting. This can be a good option if you’re targeting multiple countries that speak the same language, such as English or Spanish.

4. Hybrid approach
The hybrid approach combines elements of the other three approaches. For example, you might create a country-specific campaign for your main target market and then create region-specific or language-specific campaigns for other markets.

The approach you take highly depends on your business, its context in varying countries, regions, or languages, and the products and services that you offer. Ultimately, it’s wise to follow the bottom-up approach in each region or language, starting with keyword research in the different areas for each product and service that you offer and identifying patterns to start building a general structure.

A few extra tips to consider while setting up your ad account

Here are some additional tips for structuring your Google Ads account:

  • Use negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches. If you have global negative keywords, you can apply them to all campaigns, but you can also use negative keywords for a select number of ad groups.
  • Make use of the most suitable keyword-matching types to narrow down when your ads are showing. Google Ads match types are classified into three: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Broad matches are the least restrictive, while exact matches are the most restrictive. Phrase matches fall somewhere in between.
  • Don’t just use Google Ad’s keyword planner tool for finding keywords. Use keyword research tools because they offer many more analysis options while you’re looking for the right keywords to target.
  • Starting advertisers might be drawn to accept Google’s recommendations regarding bidding strategies, targeting options, budget increases, and other suggestions. Though these may seem convincing, they can often increase your costs and widen your targeting range to lower-intent keywords. Make sure to scrutinize these recommendations and narrow your ad account structure to what’s relevant for your business.
  • Track your results closely on the campaign, ad group, and even keyword and ad level, and adjust each as needed.
  • You can use a shared campaign budget to make it easier to manage your spending across multiple campaigns.
  • Don’t stuff your campaigns with too many ad groups, and don’t stuff your ad groups with too many keywords and ads. If you notice that either one becomes too crowded, it’s probably time to create an additional campaign or ad group to narrow the targeting and structure further. Some experts suggest using 7-10 ad groups per campaign, no more than 20 keywords per ad group, and around 2-3 ads per ad group.

In the end, the best way to structure your Google Ads account depends on a number of factors, including your business, the countries you advertise in, the advertising languages you use, the products or services you offer, and your advertising budget. But, no matter your business or budget, there is always a Google Ads account structure that can help you achieve your marketing goals. By taking the time to understand your needs and carefully plan your account structure, you can start creating a successful Google Ads campaign.

Mirka Tallus