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Ad Group:

The term Ad Group might have to do with any form of grouping advertisements but has a special meaning in relation to Google AdWords campaigns and the respective PPC-advertising models on other search engines.

In this framework Ad Group means that the advertiser sorts the whole set of keywords he wants to run in the campaign into at least two, often more groups and designs one or more ads for each specific group (one would run more than one ad for an individual group especially for split testing purposes). The keywords in one group are more closely related in relation to a certain viewpoint compared to the other campaign keywords.

Example: An advertiser wants to run an AdWords campaign for his webshop for all kinds of tennis equipment. Instead of crafting one ad for hundreds of keywords which all are more or less closely related to tennis (like he would have probably done 2 years ago) he would split them into several Ad Groups like


 Ad Group

 tennis rackets

 tennis shoes

tennis balls

 tennis shirts



tennis rackets
tennis racket
buy tennis rackets
best tennis rackets
tennis rackets accessories

tennis shoes
"tennis shoes"
[tennis shoes]
buy tennis shoes


(you get the idea)


For each individual Ad Group there is at least one specific ad which would target the main keyword of this group. In this example this would mean that there is a specific ad for the "tennis rackets" Ad Group, one for the "tennis shoes" group and so on.

There could be an even more detailed subdivision of each separate group to address specific brand names (Wilson tennis rackets, Head tennis rackets etc.). One would then have a separate Ad Group for each brand.

There are several factors which make the splitting of a campaign into several Ad Groups advantageous or even necessary:

  • the more relevant the ad is to the users search term the better the click rate and the conversion rate on the landing page (for example a user searching for Adidas tennis shoes would much more likely click on an ad with "Adidas tennis shoes" in it then on a "huge supply of tennis equipment" ad)
  • testing and tracking is the keynote to all successful PPC campaigns and a campaign divided into several Ad Groups is much easier to track with much more significant results
  • since the Google slap in 2006 when Google introduced it's quality score for landing pages it is practically impossible to run AdWords campaigns (except very small and targeted ones) without individual Ad Groups. The quality score requires a very close relevancy between the keyword, the ad and the landing page. If that is not the case, Google assigns a low quality score with consequently raised bid prices for keywords. Therefore, if an advertiser doesn't want to pay several dollars for his campaign keywords when other advertisers pay much less there is no choice then to build well structured campaigns with narrowly targeted Ad Groups.


[Ad = short form of Advertisement which goes back to Latin advertere = to pay attention to;

Group comes from Italian gruppo = group, knot; originally used to describe an assemblage of figures or objects in a painting or piece of art design]




Recommended Resources:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords  written by Perry Marshall, generally known as the AdWords expert (you can watch a 2 hours AdWords marketing lecture by him here ).

  • AdWords180 , a very recommended ebook with information on how to deal with the infamous Google Slap and how to structure campaigns to achieve minimum CPCs.

  • Affiliate Radar  is a membership site for PPC advertisers which provides almost everything needed to setup and run a profitable campaign, especially the all important tracking of individual keywords. This feature allows for identifying the profitable keywords and deleting the unprofitable from the campaign.

  • The Landing Page System . Similar but less features than Affiliate Radar. The 2 main differences: 1) it is not a membership but a script hosted on a server. Therefore only a one time expense. 2) It allows dynamic keyword insertion on the landing page according to the user’s search phrase. This is a real conversion booster.

  • You can sign up for a Google AdWords account here


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