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Understanding PPC Account Structure

Why PPC Account Structure Matters

When practices begin Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing efforts plenty of uncertainty usually exists. Whether done through a marketing agency or internally many crucial initial decisions must be made. 

Among them are what the ad budget should be, which keywords to select, where and when ads should run, as well as an abundance of others. 

However, one crucial yet frequently overlooked element of setup is the account structure. The way an account is set up forms a lasting impact on performance. That’s why selecting a tried and true structure (at least to launch an account) is a wise decision. 

To learn more about how search account structure works and to get a proposed layout that works for almost any practice read on! 

What are Campaigns and Ad Groups? 

Themes in Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising are structured with a top-down approach. That begins with “campaigns” which are used to house the main themes of your advertising efforts.  You can have as many as 10,000 campaigns per account in Google Ads but most accounts have far fewer (perhaps even just a handful). 

Housed within each campaign are ad groups. Think of ad groups as sub-themes for a given campaign, meaning they provide a more granular break out of the general theme a campaign offers. You can have as many as 20,000 ad groups per campaign in Google Ads but from a best-practices standpoint it’s better to have a maximum of 5 – 10 per campaign, and fewer than 5 is totally fine. 

Keywords that have been selected for targeting and the ads that show up for those keywords in search results live within each ad group. 

So, how does this all look? I love the clarity of the following example from Wordstream which lays out the top-to-bottom structure perfectly from a visual perspective. 



An Account Structure that Makes Sense

Now that we’ve covered what campaigns and ad groups actually are what’s the best way to structure an account?

I’ll begin by saying there is no perfect fits-all option. However, for most practices, it makes sense to build an account by location and services.  Specifically, that means that campaigns should be divided into services a practice offers by location and ad groups should be subservices of these main themes. 

Let’s use an example. I’ll use a fictitious dental practice with locations in Seattle and Bellevue (a Seattle suburb) called “Happy Dental.” Their services fall into the “preventive” and “cosmetic” dental buckets. 

So, their best option is to create campaigns targeted by location (read this location-targeting post on how that’s done). For both locations, they’ll have a brand campaign for people who are searching for terms like “Happy Dental in Seattle.” Each location will also have location-specific campaigns with a focus on either “preventive” or “cosmetic” dentistry. Under the campaign themes will be sub-themes like “dental implants” by location and “crowns” by location. 

Here’s a visual of how it would all work: 

Seattle Location 


Campaign #1

Brand – Seattle 

Ad Groups Within Campaign #1

  • Happy Dental – Seattle 


Campaign #2

Preventive Dentistry – Seattle 

Ad Groups Within Campaign #2

  • Dental Implants – Seattle
  • Sedation Dentistry – Seattle
  • Laser Dentistry – Seattle


Campaign #3 

Cosmetic Dentistry – Seattle 

Ad Groups Within Campaign #3

  • Crowns – Seattle
  • Bridges – Seattle
  • Teeth Whitening – Seattle


Bellevue Location 


Campaign #1 

Brand – Bellevue

Ad Groups Within Campaign #1

  • Happy Dental – Bellevue


Campaign #2

Preventive Dentistry – Bellevue 

Ad Groups Within Campaign #2

  • Dental Implants – Bellevue
  • Sedation Dentistry – Bellevue
  • Laser Dentistry – Bellevue


Campaign #3 

Cosmetic Dentistry – Bellevue

Ad Groups Within Campaign #3

  • Crowns – Bellevue
  • Bridges – Bellevue
  • Teeth Whitening – Bellevue


Once you understand account structure separating campaigns by location and services makes the most sense for keeping the layout organized. It will also allow you to optimize based on service priority and performance, which will help lead to a maximization of return from PPC efforts. 

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or are in need of PPC support for your practice. 


—Mike Fitterer, Sr. Marketing Manager II, Sesame Communications

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