Less Is More: 2 Areas Where PPC Campaign Segmentation Could Be Wasting Your Time


by Michelle Morgan

While segmentation can certainly be beneficial to your marketing strategy, make sure you’re not just segmenting for the sake of segmenting.

As time passes, marketers continue to get increasingly savvy when it comes to campaign strategy. With all the tools now available to us, we can market in just about any way we like. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. With increased segmentation, we open ourselves up to the following:

  • Redundant adjustments on individual keyword bids across campaigns.
  • More time spent updating and running ad copy tests.
  • Additional time spent tagging destination URLs for separate campaigns.
  • Muddied data leading to extra time spent running reports and finding trends in data from multiple sources.
  • Risk of missing an optimization opportunity due to increased workload within the account.

To avoid these issues, it’s important you make sure increased segmentation is a proper fit for your account. I’m going to run through a couple scenarios where increased segmentation can be helpful, but only if it fits your strategy. Otherwise, they could be wasting your precious management time.

Segmenting Campaigns by Geography

On the whole, breaking out new campaigns for each country you’re targeting is a widely accepted best practice. Language, culture, and time differences are so large that it’s almost imperative you segment. But when you start breaking out individual campaigns by states or even cities, I begin to get nervous.

For some companies, creating a separate campaign or each state can be a huge win. Here are a few examples where state level campaigns might make sense:

  • Performance is drastically different state to state. Although our cultural differences might be less than country to country, each state definitely has its own segment of people. Depending on how your brand portrays itself in each state, it may make sense to adjust your ad messaging accordingly.
  • If using geolocation text in ad copy or landing pages can help improve relevancy. Buying a home or looking for a car dealer are just a couple examples of searches that could benefit from having geolocation keywords in the copy or different landing pages. Be sure you’re providing as targeted of search experience to your potential customers without alienating others in your area.
  • Your offers or services are different based on location. Whether for legal reasons or internal capabilities, maybe you only provide half of your services in some states and not in others. Or possibly your pricing differs based on cost of living. In either scenario, having campaigns set up based on those restrictions could be hugely beneficial.
  • Your budget dollars are broken down by the state level. To better manage them, you break campaigns out for each area that has a separate budget and optimize within your monetary confines.

In these instances, it most likely makes sense for you to have campaigns targeting individual states. You’ll be able to better craft your message, choose keywords, adjust bids, and choose landing pages based on these pieces.

But if you don’t fit into these categories or others similar, you could be opening yourself up to any or all of that list of time-wasting tasks above. For you, it might make sense to take advantage of geographic bid modifiers. Create a campaign and when setting up geotargeting, choose the individual states rather than the United States for your targeting, then simply adjust the bid modifiers for each state based on recent performance.


This strategy will allow you to minimize your workload on ad copy, keywords, and landing pages while still being able to take advantage of areas of strong performance and pull back in areas of weak performance. Sure you might lose a little control over individual keyword bids, but now you can spend that time working on other areas of your account that will produce bigger wins.

Segmenting Out RLSA

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads are a fantastic tool. I’ve got them enabled all over the place. But like geotargeting, they can create lots of extra work if you’ve got them segmented out for no good reason. Here are a few instances where it makes sense to segment out individual campaigns for RLSA:

  • Converting visitors are shown a different message. Whether you’re in lead generation or e-commerce, it’s common to change up messaging for those users who have already converted on your site. For lead gen, you might try to encourage those leads to continue through to the next step of your sales funnel and set up a demo. E-commerce companies might offer a discount for returning shoppers. Either way, both benefit from having messaging that’s separate from new or non-converting visitors so these should live in their own campaign.
  • Returning, non-converting visitors are given incentive to buy. Similar to converting visitors above, if your offering incentives for returning visitors to convert, your ads and most likely landing pages are different which would require separate campaigns.
  • Increased reach with less restricted keywords. In some cases, using RLSA to target visitors on broader keywords can be very beneficial. Say you’re an e-commerce site who sells gizmos and widgets. If someone comes to your site to buy a gizmo, you can then target them on broader keywords around widgets than might be profitable for your regular campaigns. Since these users have already purchased from your site, they will likely recognize you and may be more inclined to purchase from you based on their previous experience.

If targeting your remarketing lists separately makes sense for your business, I’m all for it. Be sure you not only target users you want, but also exclude those that you don’t want in individual campaigns. Create a new campaign, choose your remarketing list you’d like to target, and set up for “Target and Bid” so you’re only targeting the users on that list. Next, make sure you’re using your negative audience lists appropriately. Your remarketing list should be added as a negative list on your regular campaigns. Depending on your business, it might also make sense to exclude your list of converting visitors from your campaigns.

But again, if your messaging, landing pages, or keywords don’t vary from your regular campaign to your RLSA campaign, you’re most likely wasting time optimizing each. Utilizing bid modifiers for RLSA lists can be just as powerful in this situation. Here, you’ll want to include your lists and choose the “Bid Only” setting as this allows your campaigns to target users who fit your other targeting criteria.


For the most part, there aren’t very many “wrong” ways to set up a PPC account. But there are certainly optimal ways dependent on your business. Be sure you’re looking at every angle before segmenting out campaigns and not simply segmenting for the sake of doing so.