Single Keyword Ad Group: Advanced Guide of 2020

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What is Single Keyword Ad Groups?

Single keyword Ad Group or simple SKAG is one of the many advertising strategies. In this case, the marketers create individual Ad Groups targeting a single keyword in the account. If we talk theoretically, the SKAGs are likely to yield a 1:1 ratio for keywords and user search and comes with individual landing pages, Ad extensions and Ad Copy for each targeted keyword.

With SKAGs, digital marketers have more control over the account structure and create hyper-focused Google Ads to improve click-through rates, enhance the quality-score and minimize the total Ad spend without a lead or sale.

The SKAGs are increasingly becoming popular amongst businesses, as well as, digital marketers owing to the increase in CTRs and quality score. Here in this blog, we have come up with the advanced guide of SKAGs, to help you understand the process and rejoice better results through paid campaigns.

Why use this strategy?

Well, we believe that Google’s secrecy about its algorithms is no secret, right? This means that it is almost impossible to say flat out about the efficiency or performance metrics of any factor that would influence the quality score. However, what most marketers believe is that the click-through rate (CTR) is one of the most influential metrics that impact the quality score. So, when you are looking to improve your quality score, you should aim to create hyper-relevant Ads, which are tactically targeted to strategic keywords and that’s precisely what the single keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) is all about.

The strategy enables marketers to boost post-click user-experience, which is an important factor and even endorsed by Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist. Here’s a brief framework of how SKAGs adds value to the Ads campaign:

  • Improved Ad Relevance = increase in CTR
  • Increase in CTR = better quality score
  • Better quality score = reduced cost per click
  • Reduced cost per click = competitive cost-per-acquisition
  • Competitive cost-per-acquisition = more leads

What is Quality Score for Google Ads?

But before we move on to see how you can smartly put into use SKAGs to improve your quality score, let’s see what does the quality score means and how does it impact the campaign bottom lines.

In paid campaigns, the most important metrics to estimate the success or failure of the campaign is the cost per conversion, which is also known as Quality Score. To put it simply, the quality score quantifies the amount of money you spent to gain one sale. What makes quality score so important is the fact that even a single point increase in quality score can drop the cost of single conversion by as much as 16% for businesses and when taken into perspective the money put up by businesses for paid marketing, it definitely saves many bucks for businesses.

Now, the quality score for a Google Ad campaign is the combination of different factors including:

  • Ad relevancy
  • Expected CTR
  • Landing Page experience

Having said that, various researches on quality score algorithms have shown a direct association between click-through rate (CTR) and quality score. Similarly, the cost can be optimized by improving the Ad copy relevance for the targeted keyword, subsequently improving the quality score.

Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) – Challenges involved in implementing SKAGs

As can be taken by name, SKAGs represent Ad Groups that are structured for a single keyword. Now, this may come as a surprise to many marketers who haven’t heard it before and are used to having several keywords in an Ad Group (this is understandable because even Google suggests using at least 10 keywords with an Ad Group).

And while creating a single keyword Ad Group isn’t the easiest of the task, especially to create 100% relevant Ad copy to support the keyword, it definitely offers great incentives for marketers who are able to pull-out SKAGs the right way.

According to one study which was conducted to assess the performance of SKAGs with respect to an increase in the quality score found a 29% increase in the click-through rate (CTR) over the two-month experiment period. In the same period, the quality score also improved greatly and reached 8 out of a 10 scale; clearly demonstrating the potential of SKAGs to improve the quality score for Google Ads campaigns.

Unfortunately, the search results for Google Ads are dynamic and not static, which makes the testing strategy even more difficult. What we mean is that when you search a specific query and then refresh the page, the search results for Google Ads would be changed; unlike organic ranking which stays constant. This is one reason why marketers tend to go with different variations of Ad copies, to have around 40 copies of Google Ads in a group.

Now, since we are talking about SKAGs, it’s imperative to come up with the 100% relevant and highly refined Ad copy that’s able to engage the targeted audience and take it through the sales funnel to close the deal. For instance, if you are looking to create the SKAGs campaign for mobile app development Dubai, the Ad copy should be precisely relevant to your targeted keyword and traffic you want to engage in.

How to Implement SKAGs

Since the implementation of hyper-relevant ads is more difficult than traditional marketing approaches, the best approach to implement SKAGs is to start with testing. By going this way, you will be able to identify the best Ad copy for the campaign. This can be achieved by starting with few high-traffic Ad Groups and then spitting them out in phases. Below we have come up with an example to show you how you can split the keywords for SKAGs.

Keywords and Ad Groups

Let’s imagine you need to create an Ad campaign for Lebanon Tours, which has the following keywords:

  • +Lebanon +Tour
  • +Lebanon +Trips
  • +Tours +Lebanon

By going with this approach, you can easily set up the campaign with ads that are hyper-relevant to the keywords. However, the quality score for this Ad Group won’t be too high. That’s because, with so many keywords variations, the Ad will show up against various search queries, subsequently lowering the quality score of the Ad Group.

Alternatively, if you decide to go with the SKAGs strategy, the campaign will look more like:

1. Ad Group: Lebanon Trips and tours


  • +lebanon +trips +and +tours
  • “Lebanon trips and tours”
  • [lebanon trips and tours]

2. Ad Group: Lebanon Tours and Travels


  • +lebanon +tours +and +travels
  • “lebanon tours and travels”
  • [lebanon tours and travels]

3. Ad Group: Lebanon Day Trip


  • +lebanon +day +trip
  • “lebanon day trip”
  • [lebanon day trip]

And so on and so forth. The logic behind using different variations of the keyword for the campaign is to ensure that your Ad appears even when a long-tail keyword query is made.

Now, you may think that going this way means that there is a chance that the initial two Ad Groups will also appear when the search query “best app developer Dubai” is made. Well, this is exactly the case with SKAGs, where you are competing with yourself. The key here is to understand the use of negative keywords in relation to your generic Ad Groups, to avoid competing yourself. For instance, for the “mobile app development Dubai” Ad Group, you can add negative keywords like “top”, “best”, etc.

Honestly, having a few general Ad Groups like “mobile app development Dubai” is always better for the campaigns, as it allows you to use the analytics report and identify new Ad Groups for the campaign.

Some Supplementary considerations for SKAGs

Like with all other Google Ads, you would like to add keywords to the display path and headline, which is the key factor for the Ad relevance. Moreover, it is also important to link the Ad with an exclusively designed landing page with the relevant and keywords-optimized content to improve the post-click user-experience.

But, doesn’t it mean that I will have to create 100s of Ad Groups?

Well, unfortunately, yes. As we said above, SKAGs is a time-intensive strategy. Remember, the key here is to create hyper-relevant and precisely targeted Ads, which definitely requires more time and resources. However, your investment here will yield amazing results, so at the end of the day, you’ll be a happy person.

Will it work for me?

Provided you are able to implement it the right way, it will most definitely work for you, as it works for thousands of other marketers who put in their time and resources. Hundreds of other businesses have achieved as much as a 50% increase in CTR by implementing the SKAGs the right way.

However, as it’s a time-intensive strategy, it may not be viable to transit the entire Google Ad account to SKAGs right away. A better approach is to test out the strategy with your top 3 Ad Groups at initial stages and see the results. This way, even if the strategy doesn’t work out, you would have spent only a few hours and a few bucks. However, if you do succeed, you would have hit the jackpot by substantially lowering your cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

SKAGs – You will rejoice the results

At the end of the day, SKAGs may not be the most succulent digital marketing strategy to implement, however, it is definitely worth trying and the results are just amazing. It lets you create hyper-relevant Ads with a single keyword Ad Group, with the potential to manifold your click-through rate and quality score. Subsequently, you get to reduce the cost-per-acquisition and cost per click rate significantly.

An important consideration to remember is to link the Ads with specifically created landing pages that are optimized with the relevant content for an enhanced post-click user-experience. This way, you won’t just improve your click-through rate, but also enhance conversion chances. Any mistake at this stage will simply ruin all the efforts and money put into the campaign.

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