Single Keyword Ad Groups – SKAGS – They Do Work

Single Keyword Ad Groups

There’s a recurring myth among advertisers that Single Keyword Ad Groups are an outdated advertising structure. Single Keyword Ad Groups, or SKAGs, do still have their benefits, you’ve just got to know when to use them.

What is a Single Keyword Ad Group

In recent years, SKAGs have become the forgotten strategy of Search Advertising owing largely to their difficulty to produce at scale. The concept is simple, each keyword you are targeting should have a separate ad group. Therefore you can make each ad within your ad group always relevant to the search terms matching to each keyword.

Why use them?

Think about it like this, should you be adding keywords that are relevant to your ads or should you be creating ads for each keyword? For example, say we have an ad group with keywords such as [summer dresses], +summer +dress, [best summer dresses], +best +summer +dress and so on.

Single Keyword Ad Groups - Before Diagram

Sure, you’re going to show your ads to a lot of traffic, but your ads may not be relevant to all traffic or phrased in a way which might encourage the right users to click.

But, with single keyword ad groups, you can target all of those same keywords, but deliver them different ads to match their intent in your copy. By having an ad for each keyword, you’re increasing your ad relevance which will lower your cost per click thereby lowering your cost per conversion.

Single Keyword Ad Groups - After Diagram

When would you use SKAGs and why?

You can use single keyword ad groups to improve ad relevance in any industry but we find particular success for online retail stores. If your site has individual product and inventory pages, through the use of SKAGs, you can have an individual keyword, ad group and ad for every product and variant on your website. Because they’re in individual ad groups, each keyword can have it’s own respective landing page. That isn’t to say you can’t have multiple keywords and ads directing to that landing page but as mentioned above, ensure you’re matching your ad copy and keyword to each desired search term.

Each keyword corresponding to an individual’s search query and to a landing page on your website means that you’re optimizing for Ad Relevance as well as landing page experience. Once again reducing your cost per click and, as a result, your cost per conversion.

How to set them up

To set up your single keyword ad groups, you need to just add one keyword per ad group. It is then recommended that you split those ad groups in to Exact match and Broad match keyword campaigns. 

Exact match keywords – [keyword]

Create exact match keywords for every page that you want to direct traffic to. If you have it, consider historical data to see which of your keywords were resulting in conversions. You can also conduct keyword research to find out what people are searching for around your target product or service. Set these keywords up as exact match single keyword ad groups and ensure your ads within the group contain that keyword. 

Broad match modified keywords – +keyword

For prospecting keywords, where you’re targeting broader search terms, create “broad match modified single keyword ad groups”. Ad relevance is a little trickier to maintain for these keywords as the broader parameters may pick up irrelevant searches. In order to optimize ad relevance for these keywords, regularly check your search terms and add any irrelevant queries as negative keywords. 

If you start seeing conversions on a particular broad match keyword, consider adding that keyword as an exact match single keyword ad group. Once again taking ad relevance out of the equation.

Read on here for further information on how to set up and optimize your search campaigns

Final word on single keyword ad groups

Single keyword ad groups allow you to create an individual ad for each search term, improving ad relevance. They also allow you to create a separate ad for each product and variant on your website enabling you to direct traffic to the most relevant landing page based on a user’s search term. Finally they allow you to optimize with a degree of granularity that’s unavailable through grouped keywords. All of these actions will save you money on your clicks, allowing you to advertise more for your budget, and generate more sales!

How we can help with SKAGs

Doing this for a handful of keywords should be relatively simple. Doing this for websites with 1000s of keywords and a changing inventory every day? Well it’s just about impossible. That’s where Dynamic Creative can help;

  • You’ll get single keyword ad groups and expanded search ads for every landing page on your website. This will improve ad relevance and landing page experience
  • We can automate ad copy to create expanded text ads with relevant keywords and product or service prices.
  • We’ll manage the ongoing optimization of the ad copy to improve expected CTR% at a large scale
  • We will expand appropriate search terms to exact match keyword ad groups when necessary
  • Your keywords will be optimized to have the highest possible quality score, lowering the cost per click and cost per conversion and improving your revenue for your budget


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