Google Ads Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) Campaign – Benefits & Drawbacks

Google Ads Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) Campaign - Benefits & Drawbacks | Goodish Agency

Today we are going to be talking about what Single Keyword Ad Group campaigns are, why single keyword ad groups work in 2021 and how to get the most out of them. We will also show you how you can boost your brand awareness and get results like in the images below.

google ad skag campaign

What is a SKAG campaign?

Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) is a term that refers to a group of Google Ads focused on a single keyword. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you create a group in which there is only one keyword and its variations (broad, phrase, exact). Although the concept may appear strange, a lot of us marketers find that structuring their ad groups in this way allows us to keep everything neatly sorted and focused.

The benefits of a SKAG campaign

For starters, when you create an all-new campaign using the SKAG strategy you make it really easy to control where your keywords go and how each keyword performs by itself. Although the setup process takes longer in the beginning, once you have the campaign set up, it becomes a super simple blueprint to follow when doing weekly or monthly optimizations.

The SKAG method was proven to drastically improve the click through rate (CTR). Because you’re using your ad as a “keyword holder”, when you lower the discrepancy of search terms to keywords and turn the keywords into ads, your targeting becomes much more precise. And so you’ll notice that visitors are far more likely to click on your Google Ad. Furthermore, as your CTRs and quality scores improve, Google will start placing your ads in higher average positions. ← This is where you start outranking your competitors.

Single Keyword Ad Group

SKAG Ads also enable you to identify retargeting opportunities more easily as it’s pretty clear to see which keywords are generating the highest CTR and conversions. Overall you can have more confidence in your retargeting campaigns since the audiences you’ll be retargeting are made up of people who have already expressed their interest in your brand.

One of the things we love about SKAG campaigns is the control you can have over your bids. By making a separate ad group for each targeted keyword you can easily set or change your bids. For example, if you see that a phrase match keyword is outperforming its broad match counterpart, you can simply go in and adjust your bids accordingly.

The Difference that SKAG Achieves for Users

Let’s pretend you’re searching for aluminium house numbers in Canada. Which result are you more likely to click on? Which ad attracts you the most?

google ad skag campaign

Well, we would definitely pick the first one for a simple reason. The headline contains exactly what we are searching for which makes it look like the ad was designed specifically for us. As it seems more personalized, we are more likely to click on it.

Just from this picture alone we can see which of these ads are using the SKAG method in their Google Ads. If the keyword you are searching for is present in the headline or even in the description, chances are that this specific Google Ad is using a Single Keyword Ad Group campaign.

The Drawbacks of Single Keyword Ad Groups

Just like any other method, SKAGs also have their drawbacks. Although we believe they don’t outweigh the positives, they’re still worth mentioning if you are considering changing your campaigns to SKAG.

1. Dilution of the data that’s being tracked is one of the most notable disadvantages of SKAG’s. Because you are creating so many ad groups, your clicks and conversions will be spread out over a larger number of ads, making it more difficult to run reliable tests.

Our tip: isolate one variable at a time.

2. SKAG campaigns take more time to set up than just adding keywords to existing ad groups would. 

Our tip: if you are not completely sure about SKAG yet, you could try to test your top 5 performing keywords from previous campaigns  and see how they perform in a SKAG campaign. If they perform better, you have solid proof that you need to shift to the SKAG campaign.

3. With SKAG campaigns, its easy to miss keywords that don’t match exactly.

Our tip: Pay special attention to search terms that don’t match the keywords exactly and use negative keywords at the ad group/campaign level.

“SKAGs Are a Waste of Time”

By now you probably have read somewhere that SKAG’s are a waste of time in 2021 due to the changes in Google. Some argue that this method creates a mess in your account or that it’s an inefficient way to manage your budget.

The truth is that this can happen if the SKAG campaign isn’t set up correctly, but won’t be the case with a well structured SKAG created by an established Google Ads Agency.

Now does SKAG work as well as it did a few years ago? Unfortunately not, but it still outperforms many other methods. SKAG is still a solid method to use in 2021 whether you are brand new to google ads or an experienced marketer.

Before and After the "SKAG Method"

Images below showcase the results our clients achieved after shifting their entire campaign type to the SKAG method.

Google Ads Single Keyword Ad Group (SKAG) Campaign - Benefits & Drawbacks

We hope we inspired you to try out a SKAG campaign for your product or service. If you are still not sure about hopping on the SKAG train or have any other questions for us feel free to contact us at the link below, we will gladly help you the best way we can.

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