Organizing campaigns and ads in your account

Now that you've mastered your first ad, you're on your way to creating many more, right? Before you do, it's important to know the three-layer design of AdWords. Understanding the relationship between these layers of your account will help you organize your ads, keywords, and ad groups into effective campaigns that target the right audience.

How AdWords is organized

AdWords is organized into three layers: account, campaigns, and ad groups.

  1. Your account is associated with a unique email address, password, and billing information.
  2. Your ad campaign has its own budget and settings that determine where your ads appear.
  3. Your ad group contains a set of similar ads and the words and phrases, known as keywords, that you want to trigger your ads to show.

Account

Unique email and password
Billing information

Campaign

Campaign

Budget
Settings

Budget
Settings

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ads
Keywords

Ads
Keywords

Ads
Keywords

Ads
Keywords

Watch this video

Why you should organize your ads into ad groups and campaigns

When people are searching online and they type a word or phrase, they're looking for information that's closely tied to those words. For example, if Eric types digital cameras and he sees an ad for film reels, he probably won't click the ad.

To show ads that are relevant to the searches of people you're trying to reach, bundle related ads together with related keywords into an ad group. That way, all of your related ads can be shown to customers searching for similar things.

A collection of ad groups forms a campaign. Your campaign is the master control for your ad groups where you can choose:

  • How much you're willing to spend on clicks or conversions from your ads
  • Networks and geographical locations where you want your ads to show
  • Other top-level settings that affect clusters of ad groups

 

Example

Let's say you own an online electronics store and you create an AdWords account so you can begin to advertise the products that you sell. At the account level you can choose who else you'd like to have access to your AdWords account and your preferred payment method. The top-most layer of your account might look as follows:

Account

Online electronics store

You decided you want to advertise your inventory of televisions and cameras, so you create separate campaigns for each. Splitting your account into two campaigns ensures that you can devote at least half of your online advertising budget to each product area.

Campaign

Campaign

Televisions

Cameras

Focusing on your camera campaign, you might create various ad groups for different types of cameras, like digital cameras and compact cameras.

For your television campaign, you might create an ad group for each type of television you sell, such as flat screen or plasma TVs.

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Flat Screen TVs

Plasma TVs

Digital Cameras

Compact Cameras

Within a particular ad group, you'll want to choose keywords that are closely linked to your ad text. For your digital cameras ad group, you might try keywords for different brands, models, and prices for the digital cameras you sell (make sure you follow our trademark guidelines).

Tying it all together, your overall account structure might look like this:

Account

Online electronics store

Campaign

Campaign

Budget
Televisions

Budget
Cameras

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Flat Screen TVs

Plasma TVs

Digital Cameras

Compact Cameras

Tip

A common method for organizing an AdWords account is to organize it the way your website is structured, with each ad group representing a different page or category on your site.

Seeing your account organization at a glance

Once you've created your first campaign, you'll see an "All online campaigns" panel appear on the left side in the Campaigns tab of your AdWords account. From this panel, you can see at a glance how your campaigns are organized. Click on one of the campaigns and you'll see your ad groups as well. This folder structure also allows you to quickly move around your account.

Multiple Campaigns

Tips

  • Start organizing 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 you've accumulated, possibly affecting how your ads perform.
  • Many accounts are best organized by creating one campaign with several ad groups, two or three ads, and 10-35 keywords within each ad group.
AdWords account limits

These are the limits for an AdWords account (although most advertisers don't reach them):

  • 10,000 campaigns (includes active and paused campaigns)
  • 20,000 ad groups per campaign
  • 20,000 ad group targeting items per ad group (such as keywords, placements, audience lists, and product targets)
  • 300 display ads per ad group (includes image ads)
  • 50 text ads per ad group
  • 4 million active or paused ads per account
  • 5 million ad group targeting items per account (such as keywords, placements, audience lists, and product targets)
  • 1 million campaign targeting items per account (such as geo target and campaign-level negative keywords)
  • 10,000 location targets (targeted and excluded) per campaign, including up to 500 proximity targets per campaign
  • 20 shared negative placement lists per account
  • 65,000 placements per negative placement list
  • 20 shared negative keyword lists per account*
  • 5,000 keywords per negative keyword list*
  • 100,000 active legacy ad extensions per account
  • 1.3 million references to legacy ad extensions per account**
  • 100,000 active upgraded ad extensions per account
  • 10,000 ad group references to upgraded ad extensions per account***
  • 10,000 campaign references to upgraded ad extensions per account***

 

  • * If your ad groups are close to reaching their keyword limit, we'll place a notice in your account. Learn more about keyword limits and how to create an effective keyword list.
  • ** For example, suppose you have one campaign that uses a legacy sitelink extension. Then you add three more campaigns, each sharing the same legacy sitelink extension. Now, your account has four references to one active legacy ad extension.
  • *** For example, let's say you have one campaign that uses an upgraded sitelink extension. Then you add one more campaign and one more ad group, each sharing the same upgraded sitelink extension. Now, your account has 1 active upgraded ad extension, two campaign references to an upgraded ad extension, and one ad group reference to an upgraded extension.

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