Are you the type of person who believes that companies like Google always get it right the first time? And if not the first time, at least the second or third time, right? Wrong. To this day, Google’s default setup strategy for new Google Ads actually sets advertisers up to fail. Why? Because it trains advertisers to try appealing to every member of the target audience with single ads. Fortunately, there is a solution in SKAGs.
SKAGs are the best thing to happen to Google Ads. Ever. Simply put, SKAGs take the chaos out of the Google Ads experience. They help advertisers make sense of what they are doing with PPC so that they can do it better. They offer a more targeted approach that tends to get better results.
Google Ads’ Normal Set Up Procedure
If you are not familiar with the SKAG, that is the starting point. SKAG is an acronym that stands for Single Keyword Ad Group. That probably does not help you much. So, to better understand it, let’s discuss how Google’s default set up for new accounts goes. Assume you are the advertiser in question.
You start by creating an account with a username and password, then link that account to your Gmail address. Then you:
- Choose an advertising goal for your business.
- Choose your main geographic target.
- Choose your advertising language.
- Define your product or service.
- Select from a number of keywords suggested by Google.
Complete the steps and you’re ready to create and publish your first ad. But wait, there’s a problem. According to SEO expert Neil Patel, selecting the suggested keywords encourages you to think that you’re going to want to use all of those keywords to target every segment of your audience. But that’s not really what you want.
Perhaps you sell shoes. You sell to men and women. You also sell to parents with kids. You have three different audience segments. But wait. You sell dress shoes, running shoes, hiking boots, work boots, flats, sandals, etc. Each type of shoe represents another target segment. Relying on one ad to reach all of them is both unrealistic and a fool’s errand.
What SKAGs Actually Are
SKAGs represent groups of ads categorized under a single keyword or phrase. You can set up your strategy anyway you like. The main keyword in one group might be ‘dress shoes for women’. Now you create five different ads around that phrase or some variation of it. Next, you create another group of ads designed to target men looking for work boots. Choose your keyword or phrase and build five ads around it.
Essentially, what you’re doing is taking all your keywords and creating separate ad groups for each one. The goal is to use a particular group to target one of your audience segments. You are only targeting one segment per group, giving you greater control over how you’re reaching a particular demographic.
Within each group, there are three particular strategies for advertising:
- Broad Match – You choose a couple of words to create a keyword phrase and then mix and match them in different variations to appeal to a broad audience. Let us go back to your first group: dress shoes for women. With the broad approach, you’re not targeting a particular brand, color, or style. You just want to attract customers looking for ladies’ dress shoes.
- Phrase Match – You choose a keyword phrase and then work your ad so that you’re targeting that phrase particularly. You will also get traffic from variations on that phrase, as long as they are fairly similar.
- Exact Match – The exact match strategy does just as its name implies: your ad will only be shown to users who used that exact keyword to search. It can be very helpful in targeting particular brands.
Just from these three options, it is clear that SKAGs offer more ways to target particular segments within your audience. And when it comes time to check the analytics, you get a more detailed look at how well each of your audience segments is responding to your ads.
Your Budget Still Matters
Despite how well SKAGs work, they are not a magic pill to make an ad campaign work despite a limited budget. The budget still matters. The more you invest in PPC advertising, the more you get out of it. It is just that SKAGs let you spend your money more wisely. The greater flexibility and control they offer increases your ability to target those segments of your audience that usually prove more fruitful.
Also note that SKAGs do not protect against PPC click fraud. All they do is help you better organize your ads and keywords for greater productivity. The individuals and organizations behind click fraud still do what they do whether you use SKAGs or not.
More About Click Fraud
On the outside chance you aren’t aware of click fraud and what it is, rest assured it’s a very real problem that can easily decimate an advertiser’s digital marketing budget. Click fraud is the practice of clicking on a PPC ad for the sole purpose of driving revenue or hurting competition. There is never an intent to buy. In most cases, the perpetrator doesn’t even have any interest in visiting the associated website.
Fraud Blocker, a company that makes click fraud protection software by the same name, says that good software can help prevent this sort of activity by monitoring for certain red flags. An advertiser can investigate any such red flags and, if fraud is verified, cut ties with the ad platform behind it. In addition, IP addresses can be blocked, entire domains can be blocked, etc.
If your PPC advertising budget isn’t producing kind of return you had originally expected, first check to make sure ad fraud isn’t eating the budget alive. Then consider using SKAGs. The SKAG approach is a more targeted approach to PPC advertising. It represents a very good way to make the most of your digital marketing budget.