The Essential Guide to Single Keyword Ad Groups

May 21, 2021
6 mins read

When it comes to running the most successful Google Ad campaigns segmentation gives you more control over your ads making them easier to optimise. To segment your Google Ads Campaigns properly you have to use the single keyword ad groups or SKAGs.

In this article, we will take you through the different elements of SKAGs and cover everything you need to know about them, why they are essential, how to use SKAGs in Google Ads, and how SKAGs work.

With the structure of your Google Ads playing an important role in the success of your PPC ad, and the use of SKAGs are regarded as the fastest and the easiest ways for you to elevate your CTR and quality scores, and in turn, the return on your investment. The best part is that you can use SKAGs beyond Google Ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, among other social media platforms and display networks.

SKAGs (or Single Keyword Ad Groups), as the name suggests, can be defined as the ad groups that feature a single keyword in them. These keywords offer you more control of your ads, with an aim to achieve higher success levels for your Google Ads campaigns.

Essentially, when you pair keywords to form unique ad groups, it often means that the keywords you bid on will easily match with the search terms that you pay for.

Common Matches for SKAGs

As mentioned above, Single Keyword Ad Groups gives you one keyword for each ad group. However, you can incorporate multiple keyword match types for one keyword in the specific single keyword ad group. So, if you sell custom made t-shirts, for example, the keywords in one of your SKAGs would look like:

+Custom + made + t-shirts

“Custom made t-shirts.”

[Custom made t-shirts]

These match types fall under the following groups:

  1. The Modified Broad Match allows ads to show on all the searches with the selected (modified) term in whatever order. For example, +Custom + made + t-shirts.

  2. Phrase Match – this is where the phrase match selected will show up on searches that match or are close variations of the phrase, with other words added before or after the main phrase, eg. Custom made t-shirts.

  3. Lastly, the exact match shows ads on searches only if they match the search terms exact or are very close variations of the main search phrase.

In this case, this SKAG is called the ‘Custom Made T-shirts’ SKAG, and the names that are the same as the keywords in your ad group will act as the root keyword group for these search terms.

If the search terms you choose, like the T-shirts above, have a longer tail compared to the keywords in the SKAG, you’d have to extract those search terms then create a new SKAG using the same formula. Doing this happens through a process known as ‘keyword refinement’.

Essentially, you need to use SKAGs for enhanced message matching, ease of use, precision ad targeting, better organisation, better conversion rates, dedicated landing pages, lower cost per click, and higher quality scores. And since higher quality scores translate to lower costs per conversion, SKAGs are invaluable.

Keep in mind that quality scores are affected by the ad relevance, the landing page’s relevance, and the expected CTR for the ad.

Since SKAGs boast a hyper-specificity to single keywords, they offer a 100% ad relevance which happens because the ads for your campaign are customised to specific keywords all the time.

This also applies to the landing pages as they are tailored to specific keywords and value propositions.

With these factors in mind, SKAGs will increase your CTR above the expected average for your ads.

  • Connect the keywords to the Ad Copy

After you’ve gained control over the search terms and keywords you want to work on making your copy as insanely specific to the selected keywords as possible.

This means that you should incorporate the keywords in the headline and the display URL, and in case you run out of character space, you’d have to add the extra characters in your description lines. The good news is that SKAGs allow you to reduce discrepancy ratios from the searches to keywords, and from the keywords to ads, hence the higher rate of success.

Now that you have the breakdown of Single Keyword Ad Groups, you can implement the tips below to run more successful Google AdWords campaigns!

To create your SKAGs, follow these steps:

First, discover the most relevant keywords already driving traffic to your website. Find them in your 'Search Terms report' (this gives an accurate picture because the search terms are taken from real search queries). Sort the search terms by their conversions.

Now look for the keywords that hold the highest potential for success. Check the current CTR tied to the keywords, the impressions, and clicks for insights into what options are available.

In the absence of search terms, you could use the Keyword Planner for keyword research.

To create your SKAGs, take the current search term or selected keyword, then turn that term into multiple keywords based on match types.

Go to Ad Groups, then click the + Ad Group. Choose or create a campaign, and start building your SKAGs for each of the keywords, the search terms, and the existing ad-group keywords you want to target. Note: you have to name the ad group first with the keyword.

Next, enter the keywords, using the 3-match types as a guide. When you do this, Google will ask you to use 10-20 keywords that fall in the single ad group, make sure to list all your keywords with exact match types using the +keyword for modified broad matches, “keyword” for phrase matches, and [keyword] for exact matches.

Click 'Continue to Ads to create the ads for the new SKAGs'. You can create multiple variants of the ad for the different ad groups, but make sure you have at least two ad variants (you can create five variants) for each SKAG, then monitor the CTRs for each variant.

And as mentioned above, all the ads must have specific keywords in the URL and the headlines for easy messaging and relevance, which will lead to higher quality scores and even lower costs.

Now repeat the process for the rest of the selected keywords.

SKAGs offer the most efficient way of increasing your ad campaigns’ performance, keeping the costs low and the CTR and quality scores high. So, if you have been looking for more effective ways of structuring and running your ad campaigns, SKAGs offer the perfect answer for you.