Organize Campaigns for Performance, Not Reporting

by | Sep 6, 2023 | Fallacies

In the age of automated systems running ads, we should structure campaigns in ways that boost performance. This isn’t the way most managers think.  Instead of asking how to organize ad campaigns for higher performance, they structure campaigns around how they want to report on results. But that perspective is dead wrong.

What Is a Campaign Anyhow?

Campaign structure on any ad platform is a way to group budgets with targeting and creative.  Campaigns are just a container of assets and configuration.  Every ad platform has different automated systems that run ad auctions to determine which ads get in front of users.  Each ad platform has guidance of what should be in a campaign versus an ad group or ad set.  Ad platforms tell us what to do if we want to get the best results possible.  It’s worth listening to that advice.

Misusing Campaign Structures for Reporting

Many managers think about a campaign as a reporting tool.  It’s easy to pull up a grid showing campaigns on each row and the financial performance in the columns.  This creates a tendency for many managers to want campaigns organized around business reporting requirements.  Resist this impulse.

There are all sorts of ways to report on performance through other mechanisms.  You can set up Looker Studio reports that slice and dice the data. Perhaps use ad platform reporting at an ad group level that completely ignores campaigns. Add custom labels to ads, ad sets, and campaigns, and summarize data based on any label you want.  The point is… campaigns are not the only buckets of data for reporting.

Campaigns as Structures for Performance

So how do we organize ad campaigns for higher performance? The structural elements of ad accounts like campaigns and ad groups come with specific features and settings.  To maximize performance, we need to use those tools in the way they were designed.

For example, in Google Ads, search campaigns have location targeting at the campaign level.  The same is true for budgets.  To show ads in different locations or have different budgets than other ads, we need a new campaign.  

Facebook structures these same features in a different way. Location targeting is really a function of the audience on the ad set rather than the campaign.  And we can set budgets at the campaign level or the ad set level, depending on our goals.

To make ads perform, we need to use campaign structures for the features that are available in that particular platform.

Structure for Performance, Not Reporting

When businesses use campaign structures for business reporting requirements, it always results in lower ad performance.  Why?  Simply put, we are not using the ad platform features and settings to their fullest. We are making compromises to make the reports look nice.

It is crazy how often this comes up in the real world.  Many, if not most, advertisers sacrifice performance to make their reports look nicer.  But those nice-looking reports have lower numbers on them than if their campaigns were instead structured to perform.

Do you think that your campaign structures might not have been set up to drive performance?  Get in touch and maybe we can help.

Tags: PPC | Reporting

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