Google Ads Account Structure

Table of Contents

In this step by step guide, Google Ads Account Structure – you’ll learn how to organize your account with the right hierarchy of campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords.

Google Ads Three Layer Design

Google Ads is organized into three layers

Ongoing optimizations and management are key to campaigns success but before that begins, you have to build a strong foundation and understand the three account structure layers.

Understanding the relationship between these layers of Google Ads will help you organize your ads, keywords, and ad groups into effective campaigns that target the right audience.

Organizing your account allows you to better serve the right ads to the right customers, and it allows you to better track the effectiveness of your advertising efforts. 

You can think of Google Ads as three-layered ad campaigns. From top to bottom:

  • Campaigns – how much do I want to spend or geographically, where do I want my ads to show?
  • Ad Sets – what are my different products, services or groups?
  • Ads – what is my message?
    • Keywords – what words or phrases will someone type into Google when they are searching for my product or service?

Although there isn’t one correct way to organize your account, this article goes over some best practices you can follow.

Campaign Level Structure

On the campaign level, you can manage your budget and choose where your ads will show up geographically.

There are several ways to structure your Google Ads account contingent on what kind of business you are running and what are your campaign goals?

  • Budget 
  • Settings
  • Network
  • Language
  • Ad Schedule
  • Target Location
  • Device Targeting

How to Organize Campaigns & Limits

  • How much you are willing to spend on clicks or conversion
  • By Network and Geographical locations
  • Other top-level settings that affect clusters of ad groups.

10,000 campaigns per account (includes active and paused)

Ad Group Structure

Ad groups are sets of similar ads that will show up based on bids on keywords specified within the ad group. Each Ad group contains one landing page where your ads will direct the user to. 

To find which ones will perform the best, use the Ad Rotation Settings to gather historical data and optimize your ads.

Ad Group by Keyword Match Types

Labeling your Ad Groups by different keyword match types 

  • Broad Match plus Modifiers
  • Exact Match 
  • Phrase Match

Remember, negative keywords are used to prevent your ad from showing up on terms you specify. This means you can’t create an ad group with only negative keywords, because you need to specify a keyword to target in the first place.

So, be sure to include at least one match type for your ads to start showing!

How to Organize Ad Groups & Limits

A common method for organizing a Google Ads account is to organize with a category or business goal in mind.

Ad groups can help ensure that your ads are relevant to the keywords.

Within a particular ad group, you’ll want to choose keywords that are closely linked to your ad text. 

Ad Group Limits

  • 20,000 ad groups per campaign
  • 20,000 ad group targeting items per ad group (such as keywords, placements, and audience lists)

The Golden Ratios of Ad Groups

How big should an ad group be? Here are some guidelines to follow when determining the size of your ad groups:

  • Max of 7-10 ad groups per campaign
  • Max of ~20 keywords per ad group
  • 2-3 ads per ad group

How many keywords should I have in my ad group?

Google suggests you go broad as a way of doing keyword discovery with 10-20 keyword terms. 

A smaller number of controlled keywords makes it easier to create relevant landing pages that fit seamlessly with your ads.

Ad-Level Structure & Limits

Google’s best practice is to have no more than 2-3 ads per ad group.

2 Expanded text ad and one responsive. This allows you to test different variations of headlines and descriptions to see what resonates best with your target audience.

Google Ads responsive ad allows adding as many as 10-12 headlines and 4 descriptions, whereas with Expanded ads you can have 2 headlines and 2 descriptions.

  • 300 image/gallery ads per ad group
  • 50 active text and non-image/gallery ads per ad group
  • 4 million ads per account (includes active and paused)
Google Ads Account Structure Google Ads Account Structure

Best Practices Google Ads Account Structure

  • Organize your campaigns and ad groups as you create them.
  • Reorganizing your account after you’ve created several campaigns and ad groups wipes out all the valuable data.
  • When you need to use a different set of campaign settings (ex: budget or location targeting), create a separate campaign. 
  • If you want all your ads to share a budget and you want to target the same set of locations, then you can just use one campaign. 
  • For each ad group, pick a narrow theme and create ads around that theme.
  •  For each ad group, use keywords related to that theme. 
  • Consider also having your ads mention at least one of your keywords in its headline.
  • Google recommends having at least 3 ads in each ad group and using optimized ad rotation. 

About the Author

Zabi Niazi - Director of Search Marketing SEM and SEO

Hands-on execution & Revenue-focused digital marketer with expertise in Design & Operations centered around people, processes & technology engineering a Demand-Gen Engine capable of delivering innovative experiences that tell the brand story and map to the buyer's journey generating awareness, acquisition, retention, and advocacy.