Make More Money By Segmenting Your Pay‑Per‑Click Accounts

March 10, 2008 | Bounteous x Accolite

When I begin working on a new pay-per-click account, I really never know what I’m going to see. Sometimes the keywords are far too generic to generate a good conversion rate (a dog walker advertising on the term “dogs”) and sometimes the keywords are far too specific to generate any real traffic (such as “dog walking services in Pittsburgh’s North Hills”). But you know what never surprises me with new clients? Poor segmentation!

So, for anyone who’s just delving into PPC for the first time (or who’s been bravely running their own PPC campaigns), let’s get down to business. What is segmentation? And why is it so important?

I’d like you to think of your PPC account as an investment portfolio. You might look at your portfolio as a whole from time to time to see how you’re doing overall, but in general, there is very little actionable data at the account level.

The actionable data comes from seeing how various segments of your portfolio are performing. Let’s say my fictional investment portfolio is made up of energy stocks, manufacturing stocks, and tech stocks. If my energy stocks are getting phenomenal returns, my manufacturing stocks are getting steady positive returns and my tech stocks are losing money each month — well, *that* is some actionable data. I’m probably going to put more money into my energy stocks, hang onto my manufacturing stocks and sell my tech stocks.

Your pay-per-click account can be seen in much the same way. When you divide up your account into 6-10 campaigns (generally, your main product lines or service areas), you are going to begin getting some clear, actionable data. You’re going to know what your top-performing campaigns are and you’ll be able to turn up the volume on these campaigns (for example, increase your bids to get a higher volume of high-converting traffic). Similarly, you will know where your efforts are wasted and can stop the “slow bleed” of poorly performing campaigns.

And don’t forget to extend your segmentation efforts one level deeper — each campaign should be segmented into relevant ad groups (let’s say about 2-4 ad groups for each campaign). Although adjustments at the ad group level are somewhat more “fine-tuning” than “big picture”, the principles are the same — it’s still about doing more of what’s working and less of what’s not.

So, if you’re one of those many PPC advertisers who have one campaign and one ad group, start segmenting! What you find out may surprise you.