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Why I love AdWords segments

Published: April 2, 2013

Author: Calvin Vu

adwords segmentation
Use this.

I’m a micromanager. I want control of every aspect of my account. If my campaign doesn’t operate at a reasonable CPA, then I will bid it down to a trickle and look through mounds of data in order to find a segment that works. If this describes you, then you just might be a serial segmenter!

Why Segment Your Campaigns?

Control and efficiency are the secrets to high-performance SEM. Segmenting your campaigns by geo, device, network, etc., allows marketers to squeeze extra performance by customizing copy, landing page, bids, and budgets.
I segment my campaigns for the same reason I isolate high volume-search queries: to eliminate the “noise” of analyzing too many variables at once. Segmenting our accounts allows us to manage our money more efficiency by illuminating natural browsing behaviors and optimizing towards them, taking money away from what doesn’t work, and putting it where it does. Pulling AdWords reports by day-of-week, hour-of-day, geo, and device helps SEMs refine their bidding strategies by giving them insight into trends that their competitors may not see.
Segments not only improve performance, but they can also keep your clients satisfied. Sophisticated clients who can provide predictive customer metrics such as LTV or expected order value can help you set CPA targets specific to the users’ profiles.
For example, if a client in the online dating space tells us that women over 45 are more likely to subscribe than any other demographic, then we can specifically target this demo while pushing free signups to this demo at a much more aggressive CPA target. This data integration improves the working relationship by bringing SEMs closer to their clients’ businesses and permitting sophisticated reporting.
As a bonus, I have never met a client who didn’t want to know as much as they could about their customers. Californians buy more beach balls on Sundays than on Monday? Tell me more, Good Marketer!

How Do I Segment My Campaigns?

Account structure should be designed with the client’s business in mind rather than with a template. The tree below approximates the account structure that I’ve set up for one of our clients, a universally recognizable company, whose goal is user acquisition (the difference: device-specific accounts for each geo bucket, but the Enhanced Campaigns rollout eliminates this difference).
adwords segmentation
The best practice for account segmentation is to start at the largest common denominator, then work towards more exclusive targeting. Different targeting types (search, GDN, and sub-components) or segments with large performance differences (language, geo) deserve to be treated as different segments. Here, three geo buckets exist because each country we target performs very differently. High-traffic countries are individually segmented as campaigns in search and GDN high-growth accounts. These geos get the royal treatment. The other geo buckets are replicas, but they exist to accommodate for countries that we want to bid down significantly as a group to reach a CPA goal or because they do not accumulate enough traffic to segment out individually.
Other considerations: naming convention is especially important. Our agency promotes a standardized naming convention in order to make reporting seamless, consistent, and logical for our clients. Also, be aware that your opportunity to take action is only as good as your data, and segmenting your traffic might distribute it too much to make actionable decisions.
– Calvin Vu, Account Manager

1 S Wacker Drive
Suite 2250

Chicago, IL 60606(650) 539-4124


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