The Power of SKAG’s

Ryan Larkin
By Ryan Larkin

When you first hear the phrase SKAG, you’d think it was a weird disease your Adwords account may have picked up from mingling with other Adwords accounts at a holiday mixer. That is until you realize it’s actually an acronym which stands for ‘Single Keyword Ad Groups’.

If you manage Adwords or Bing accounts, you’re all too familiar with how Ad Groups operate. One practice you not might be familiar with is this SKAG technique in which every single keyword gets its own Ad Group. This may seem ridiculous at first until you start to think about the advantages.



When You Structure Your Campaign Like This It Allows You To Do Several Things:

  • You can now tailor specific ad copy to your individual keywords. Theoretically, you can drastically increase click-through rates through this practice, and that is typically the case whenever we leverage the SKAG format.
  • As with the Ad itself, you can also tailor landing pages in a similar fashion. One could argue that this can be achieved through using landing pages at the keyword level; to that, I would say to you, “good luck running a landing page test.”
  • It cuts out the middle man. Now instead of checking ad group performance, we can focus on the keywords themselves, and this will make it very simple to see where your money is being spent and how to optimize accordingly via bid adjustments.

Related: 11 Settings You Need to Check Before Posting a New AdWords Campaing

All of these add up to improve click through rates, lower CPC’s and ultimately improve your overall quality score.

Sounds great right? So what’s the draw back? Well, that’s a lot of building. For every keyword you have in your account, you’ll have to re-configure into this SKAG format and also build out ad sets per keyword.

For those out there who are excel ninjas, this will be a bit more of a negotiable task. But for those who’ve rarely used some of the finer features in excel, this may seem impossible. Lucky for you, there are some great agencies out there that are more than capable of transitioning large sets of keywords into this format (hint, one of them rhymes with shower bridgeable).

Another downside to the SKAG format is that if you’re using remarketing lists for your search campaigns (and if you’re not, it’s time for you to join us in 2017), you’ll have to remember to add your lists when appropriate whenever you upload new keywords. This is an EXTREMELEY easy detail to miss when you’re deploying this method of ad serving.

Related: The Ultimate AdWords Account Settings Activation List.

So basically, the only real downside to using SKAG’s is the time investment. Otherwise the upsides far out-weigh the alternatives.

If you’ve ever deployed this methodology as a test, we’d love to hear how it went. If you’re interested in learning more about this practice and some of the success stories we have around this ad deployment, feel free to drop us a line!

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Ryan Larkin is the Paid Media Technical Director at Power Digital Marketing who has 5+ years of industry experience. Ryan has spoken at several events including Media Leaders' Digital Growth Summit, Google's annual E-commerce event in Venice, and San Diego State's Entrepreneur Society's annual Conference in 2016. Ryan is currently focused on growing a variety of online paid media accounts and team members, with an emphasis on audience segmentation and shopping feed optimizations.