Many times we ask ourselves the question inside our head of: What is the best structure for my Google Ads account?, or how are we going to optimize our campaigns better or simply how do I improve my control and management inside the Google interface.
The key to solving all these problems and concerns of us, the advertisers, is the SKAGs method. This method, besides being widely used in search campaigns for Google Ads, is also applicable for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks.
It is becoming very common in accounts managed by advertisers. This is essentially because the SKAGs method gives you a much higher CTR, which Google likes and rewards you with a higher level of quality and lower CPCs.
So… what is the SKAGs method?
The acronym SKAGs stands for: Single Keyword Ad Groups, which is a group of ads for a single keyword.
This method consists of setting up staggered campaigns that are based first: having thematic campaigns and within these campaigns creating groups of ads with staggered keywords.
As you will be deducing this type of campaigns makes your account better segmented, so this will give you more control over your campaigns to manage and optimize them.
It is a method of managing PPC campaigns that can help a lot, as long as good practice is done before and during the creation of the campaigns. No one said it was easy, let alone In Google Ads.
For more information on the SKAGs method, I recommend reading the KlientBoost article. They are the parents of that method (there by 2014) and continue to employ and publish information on its use.
It’s not for all audiences
Yes, when I say that, it’s true. This method of managing PPC campaigns is not for everyone, or rather not for all accounts.
To be able to develop a SKAGs method you need to have a history, with enough data (campaigns with enough volume of clicks, CPC, conversions, etc…), to be able to see which are the keywords with more performance within your campaigns. Those keywords are going to be the root of your new method of advertising.
Okay, I think I understand but… How do I apply it to my Google Ads campaigns?
SKAGs method, stage 1: Root keyword
I imagine that you have already done, a long time ago, your keyword research based on your ad groups and each of them has about 10 or 20 keywords. These groups have been in operation for some time now and you have already taken care of managing your campaigns for several days, either by increasing or decreasing the bids, adding new search terms, or negating keywords that do not interest you.
You may have noticed that among all the keywords you really use there are a couple that really make all the clicks come, that is, you have a top of all your keywords. Well, within this classification of your best keywords you should choose one of them. The one you choose will be your root keyword on which all the ad groups will be based.
SKAGs Method, Stage 2: Matches
With your “root keyword” already selected the next step is to set up your campaigns.
Your campaigns with a single keyword will present ads with three types of matches. Yes, three. Three because in this way we will try to cover more search terms and thus be able to reach all those searches made by customers.
The match types used are as follows;
- Modified broad match (+keyword)This is the one that can attract the most relevant searches, so you have to be especially careful with this kind of matching and try to limit the number of clicks as much as possible so that the clicks don’t go away with search terms that are really interesting (you know those that are only looking for information and don’t have a purchase intention). My advice is to have a lower bid.
- Phrase Concordance (“keyword”): unlike the previous one, this one will activate the search terms with a slight variation, either because of accents or because the words are in a different order. We’ll give it a higher bid, but not the most important one.
- Exact match ( [keyword] ): It will show your ads when the search term is the same as the keyword you entered. Of course, it’ll get the highest bid.
As you will understand/know the exact matches are those that will have a much higher CTR and those that generate more conversions, but not for this reason the other two should be left aside. With the other two we will get valuable information even if the conversion rate or the CTR is not the best.
SKAGs method, stage 3: Finishing
Already with the SKAG campaign set up with your ad groups for each type of match, it’s time to set up the ad.
All the parts that make up the assembly of a campaign are important, but I would be lying if I said that the ad is the least important thing there is at the creation level.
The ad is the window that your customer sees before entering (clicking) your store.
So your ad should contain that keyword in your title, URL and description to be more relevant in the search engine, improve your CTR and so the quality level is higher (Google will treat you better)
Thanks to the SKAGs method your campaigns are more specific so your ads should be even more so.
SKAGs Method Stage 4: Optimization
With all the campaigns that we set up based on models that are suggested to us, we reach the most important point that actually influences our campaigns negatively or positively. That’s optimization.
The SKAGs method should be optimised by taking into account the search terms for the ad groups with broad agreement. These search terms will give us a glimpse of how our potential customers conduct their searches. In addition we will generate different negative keywords that we will have to include in our groups of ads with keywords of broad agreement.
You can support your optimization tasks with keyword research periodically, use the Google Keyword Planner among others.
Advantages vs. disadvantages of the SKAGs method
There are numerous advantages to using the SKAGs method in your Google Ads campaigns:
- High CTR. At the end of the day, with segmentation as detailed as this method is, your ads will be more relevant to your customers and you’ll get more clicks.
- Higher quality level. Thanks to a higher CTR your quality level will be better. This will help Google like your ads better over others.
- Lower CPCby having a high CTR and a good quality score And in turn a smaller CPA.
- Conversion rate with high potential due to very detailed and specific segmentation.
- Better ROI because with good campaign performance the costs as a result must go down.
- Greater control over all your campaigns and ads.
- Clear and organized structure within your account.
Of course, there must always be some but (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post) and it is that there are some “problems”:
- If you don’t have a history of your account performance (CPC, Clicks, Conversions, CTR) it’s quite difficult to get the method implemented effective.
- If you have a super optimized campaign with more than optimal parameters… Maybe you don’t need to change anything.
- If the keywords you want to use have almost no clicks and impressions, there’s no point in making SKAG. Just as if several keywords are very similar, you don’t have to segment so much because it will make it quite difficult to manage.
- “Things in the palace go slowly.” It is necessary to have time, or rather patience, to optimize the campaign based on search terms.
Google, as is customary, makes changes within its algorithm. These changes impact both advertisers and searchers.
It favours advertisers, not always, by making small changes to speed up and improve campaign management. On the other hand, it favours searchers by giving them a “better experience” by adjusting the results to their searches and tastes.
Reviewing the following changes in concordances in recent years;
- In 2014: close variants were included based on spelling errors. Esta modificación del algoritmo trajo más facilidades para los anunciantes, ya que dejó pasar las faltas de ortografía como las formas plurales de las palabras que se habían incluido.
- In 2017: it expanded its horizons even further by accommodating rewriting to searches and filler words.
- In 2018: added in the close variants of exact match to focus on the coincidence of intention. This meant that searches were activated for terms that had some similarity to the keyword.
These changes mean that many campaigns that are fully optimised have to be re-optimised due to the latest changes that have taken place. For some, the latest Google algorithm changes mark the end of the SKAgs method as it has been used so far. I recommend you read the following article by Unbounce.
A change in the algorithm can impact positively or negatively on your ads. It is your task, as an advertiser, to study the impact they generate on your accounts and to mitigate any significant changes.