What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS) and How to Make Them? | Spaceboost Blog
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What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) And How to Use Them

Launching, structuring, and optimizing new PPC campaigns can be overwhelming. Many advertisers struggle when it comes to selecting the match types of the keywords for which they want to bid, how set up adgroups, and how to find the right bidding strategy to optimize their performance. Here I’m going to lay out the case for Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) and the Tiered Bidding Strategy which, when properly used, can drive higher CTRs, lower CPCs, and higher Quality Scores!

A Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) is an ad group that contains only a single keyword, and which is usually set up with different Match Types inside it. In this article I’ll cover how and why SKAGs are a high-value PPC tactic (even in the age of close variants) and how to use them to create an efficient and optimal bidding strategy and campaign structure.


Esquema Account Structure 1 - What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) And How to Use Them

A well-executed SKAGs-driven structure will drive higher CTRs, higher Quality Scores, and lower CPCs.


How to Make a SKAG

Just as you may reasonably have expected, to create a SKAG, you need to separate your campaigns into different adgroups for each of your keywords. It may take you a little longer to set up, but it will be worth it! Having a whole ad group for just a single keyword may seem excessive, but in fact it allows you to work to find the perfect ads for each keyword and, if you create several SKAGS, you can refine and create extremely specific ads for each keyword that are relevant to long-tail and high-value audiences. It also allows you to optimize towards the specific ads that work, and drives higher relevance, especially if you create specific landing pages for each adgroup.


Step 1: One keyword per ad group, and as many ad groups in your campaign as you want!

Structures - What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) And How to Use Them


Step 2: Each ad group – each keyword – should include all the different match types of that 1 keyword:


Structures 03 - What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) And How to Use Them

Step 3: Each ad group should have a minimum of three ads, and all of your ads should include the keyword of the ad group they are in in the ad copy:

Structures 02 - What are Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) And How to Use Them


Important: Each ad group should have its own individual URL which directs as specifically as possible to the product, item, or service that you are advertising. This will all serve to increase your Quality Score, and more benefits, as detailed below:


The Benefits of Single Keyword Ad Groups

The benefits of SKAGs are wide-ranging, but all based on two main principles: improved organisation and increased relevance.


Increased Relevance

This is the main benefit of SKAGs. If you make sure to create an individual landing page for each of your ad groups, as the high relevance between ad and landing page means you will almost surely increase your Quality Scores, reducing Cost per Click, and increasing CTR, as your keywords are not competing for relevance for a single ad. Win-win-win.

Improved Organisation

By isolating your keywords into ad groups, you will quickly identify ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ keywords, be able to find and solve issues quickly, and be able to carry out specific tests on ad copy. Overall, with a bit of maintenance, this will lead to increase ROI campaign-wide. It is also important to mention that -in the era of close variants – you’ll need to closely monitor any unwanted traffic making its way into your SKAGs, and add the appropriate Negative Keywords to that ad group. Here’s a nifty guide to Negative Keywords.


Tiered SKAG Bidding 

Now that you have set up your ad groups with a single keyword with different match types, you must be wondering how to bid for them. That is when the tiered bidding strategy comes in handy. 


–        Exact Match will have the highest bid

–        Phrase Match will have the second highest bid

–        BMM or Broad Match will have the lowest bid.


The logic behind this bidding is that your Exact Match keywords are likely to have the highest quality score and conversion rate. They should have the highest relevancy as they would exactly match the search query, resulting in a higher CTR and lower CPA. Phrase Match keywords would normally follow suit in relevancy and CTR, and thus will have the second highest bid. BMM or Broad Match keywords will be the least relevant, but will bring an important volume of traffic to the ad group. However, you need to closely monitor them, adding negative keywords when you see search terms that are not relevant.


The Benefits of SKAG Tiered Bidding PPC Strategy

This strategy increases the control you can keep in terms of performance at the keyword level, by funneling queries to the correct keyword in each case. Your exact match keywords will be shown consistently and phrase and broad match keywords will support the exact match in catching search terms that you have not thought of or added yet in any of your ad groups. This means that the tiered bidding strategy will not only allow you to properly optimize your ad groups, but will also bring you new keyword ideas to add (and create new ad groups with the same logic). As you can imagine, it is an easily replicable (and hence scalable) strategy that you should try in some of your ad groups.

So, what are you waiting for? Create, launch, monitor and scale! The Tiered SKAG Bidding Strategy is what you need to level up your PPC Performance, and if I can recommend 1 tool to help, Spaceboost’s Structure Generator is basically your own personal SKAG generator, using your product catalog or website to swiftly create massive PPC structures!

Santiago Contreras
Spaceboost Guest Contributor, Account Executive at RocketROI.
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