How to Optimize Keywords and Campaigns with Hagakure Structure in Google Ads
Choosing and setting up the right Google Ads account structure for your needs and business type is the first step in your journey towards PPC success.
But there are many more steps that you need to take before you arrive at your destination. In fact, your work optimizing your campaigns and keywords will never end.
In our series of articles on the topic of the Hagakure structure in Google Ads, we’ve previously explored what this method involves and how it works, its pros and cons, and how to implement this kind of account structure.
This article will delve deeper into the topic and explore campaign and keyword optimizations with Hagakure structure in Google Ads.
1. Patience is Key
With the Hagakure structure, Google automates bidding and targeting using its algorithm. For this to work effectively, Google needs enough data (that’s why it recommends only targeting URLs with 3,000 impressions per week). This means that you need to give Google enough time (at least two weeks) to gather this data before you can start optimizing your campaigns.
As Google’s algorithm uses machine learning, it gets smarter as it gets access to more data. When you make changes to your campaigns (even if they are optimizations), it starts this learning process all over again and will need more data before it can start to work properly again.
Patience is key. The performance will often be uneven in the first couple of weeks after creating new campaigns or optimizing ads, but don’t be tempted to make changes before Google’s algorithm has had enough time to work its magic.
2. Make Gradual Adjustments
As Google needs time to adapt to the changes you’ve made, it recommends only making subtle and gradual changes each week. Don’t start tons of new campaigns at once or change the focus of these campaigns at the same time.
Google recommends making adjustments within a 15% margin each week. This applies to metrics such as budget, ROAS, and target CPA.
As the Hagakure structure targets URLs rather than keywords, you don’t need to constantly optimize your keywords to make sure they are relevant to your campaigns and ad groups. As you are also running a more simplified account structure with fewer campaigns and a smart bidding strategy, there are fewer overall optimizations to make in general.
3. Forget About Negative Keywords
According to Google, you don’t need to spend time creating negative keyword lists for your ads, as its algorithm understands which keywords are most likely to convert. Google also says that its algorithm will detect the search terms that are most likely to waste your budget and lead to low-quality traffic.
In theory, as time gets on and its machine learning process kicks in, this should get even better and it should adapt to any changes in your business or products. Does this work in reality? Most PPC and SEM managers will have previously used negative keywords in Google Ads to get rid of worthless traffic and maximize your budget and so might have doubts.
The answer to this question is not clear, which means you should keep an eye on metrics such as CTR, CPC, and conversion rate. If you notice that your conversion rate is unusually low, then it’s worth looking into what’s happening with your search terms.
4. Remember to Update Ad Groups and URLs
As Google recommends that you only use ad groups that have 3,000 impressions per week, you need to check in regularly to make sure you’re still running campaigns that will gather enough data to feed into Google’s algorithm. The algorithm needs enough data to learn and become smarter.
This means you have to update and remove ad groups if they drop below 3,000 and you’re limited to only targeting URLs if they will generate the necessary impressions for your ad groups.
5. Limits To Optimization
It’s important to note that there are limits to what aspects of your campaigns and keywords you can optimize when using the Hagakure structure. For example, you can’t change the keyword match type. Under other Google Ads accounts structures, if you find that using a broad match for a keyword leads to low-quality traffic, then you can change this to an exact match keyword. This isn’t possible with the Hagakure structure.
This means you can’t test different matches (including negative keyword matches) to see how it affects the positioning and performance of your ads or tailor keyword matches to your objectives. If you’re a PPC manager, this might make you wince, especially if you’ve previously got optimal results by using a structure that separates match types by ad group or by campaign.
6. Do You Want to Stay in Control of Your Google Ads Campaigns?
If you decide to use the Hagakure structure, you have to accept giving up a lot of the control of your campaigns to Google and its algorithm. If you are an inexperienced PPC or SEM manager, or you are short on time, this might suit your needs. According to Hagakure best practices, you shouldn’t be making too many changes, so this will take away a lot of the work involved in running Google Ads campaigns.
But if you know what you need to do and how to optimize your ads and campaigns, then you might end up feeling frustrated with this lack of control. You might feel that you can’t effectively target the right people with the right message and that you’re wasting your budget. That’s why you need to consider your objectives before diving straight into using the Hagakure method. It’s important to choose the right Google Ads account structure for your unique needs.
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