One Keyword Ad Groups: Best Practice or a Waste of Time?

November 27th, 2014 in Performance Marketing 2 minute read

The idea of having one single keyword per ad group as a strategy to create highly targeted ads and to improve click through rate and quality scores is something that can seem very clean cut and an obvious step to take – but is this tactic something PPC professionals discredit? Arguably, there is little advantage to be had from having your account broken down to such a detailed level. I have always accepted both sides of the argument, and put the whole thing down to personal preference when managing PPC accounts.

I thought it was about time I got off the fence and carried out a calculated test of my own. The perfect opportunity presented itself recently, as the agency took on a Google AdWords account with a very mixed result history. The figures never remained consistent and the client had run out of ideas on what to try next in order to achieve the very strict KPI’s the account had in place.

After running a full health check on the account, I organised a kick-off meeting to explain my vision for the account to the client and most importantly to communicate at what point they could expect work to be done by, and when they would start seeing the results. As the client was fresh out of ideas, we got the green light for go-ahead straight away.

We quickly began splitting down the 3000 plus keywords which were previously placed into ad groups of around 25 keywords (on average) into single keyword ad groups, and as each new ad group was created so too was a dedicated ad. After a few late nights the account breakdown was complete. During the account breakdown we took the decision to also request dedicated landing pages for each ad group (to the web development team’s delight). For me this was the killer blow in making the whole project a success and the key factor to gain the ‘advantage’ people talk about when they mention one keyword per ad group.


  • Cost Per Click – Down 200%
  • Cost – Down 130%
  • Cost Per Conversion – Down 103%
  • Conversion Rate – Up 50%
  • Average Position – Up 65%
  • Conversions – Up 62%

Pros (If Done Correctly)

  • Volume control is dramatically increased
  • The account is easily navigable
  • Increased click through rate, quality score and conversion rate
  • Decreased cost per click and cost per conversion


  • If not planned and implemented correctly there is a lot of risk involved as this is a LARGE change to your ad words account
  • Lots of up front work
  • Extra web development time to create landing pages
  • Account download time is increased

All in all the test we carried out was a huge success, but I am still of the thought that a PPC account should simply be set up to suit the industry it falls within and the person managing the account.

Are your PPC accounts stuck in a rut and you aren’t sure where to go next? Contact us here at Zeal to see how we can help!

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