A SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) is a method for organising campaigns and the overall account by having a unique ad group per keyword. Finding a perfect account structure can be like chasing a golden unicorn with variations by industry, company size, targeting and goals. Using the right mix of SKAG can help create an effective campaign and overall account structure for ongoing optimisation.

Why can SKAG Help?

SKAG’s can reduce costs and improve ad ranking position. The reason a SKAG works well is that the advert contains the target keyword for each specific ad group.  This improves ad relevance which can improve quality score- and “may” also increase CTR further improving quality score.

NB* Google calculates quality score using an account weighted average of impressions, so it is a balance between scaling the account out with more ad groups vs having a smaller more manageable account. 

Tips on how to overdo SKAG setup and how not to!

In the screenshot below, the long tail keywords have been split into too many SKAGs. This is how SKAG is overdone resulting in an account that is cumbersome to make manages.

If keywords do not get many impressions, they will have little to no effect on the account average quality score.

Having one ad group for decorators- companies- is sufficient for all these long tail keyword variations. The advert will be relevant as it contains the keyword/s (company & decorators). We could refer to this ad group as a STAG (Single Themed Ad Group)- with the theme being company, within the decorator’s campaign.

SKAG Single Keyword Ad Group

What is a 20KAG

A 20KAG (20 keyword ad group is vague- but it means grouping the keywords into closely matching themes. The theme is implied by the 20 limit. Google often refers to 20 keyword ad groups as a general guideline- and an effective starting point for building the new campaign from keyword lists.  A -20 keyword ad group implies grouping the keywords into granular themes using a numeric metric. This is a very effective technique for building new accounts.

What is a STAG?

STAG is an explicit single themed ad group. There is no limit on the number of keywords- but they must all match one distinguished theme. (E.g. Services, company, contractors, firms, agencies, practices etc).

The ad group is named by this single theme shared by all keywords within the ad group.(If not split into more than one theme by adding another ad group. If a keyword is a STAG is a name that represents the idea better than a 20 keyword ad groups


Tips on how to Build a SKAG

  1. Create campaigns based on service category or product type.  (e.g. Accountants, Book Keepers, Tax advisors- are all categories within the same industry).
  2. One keyword  per ad group
  3. Name Ad group the keyword name.
  4. Expand keyword match types (within same ad group)
  5. Include the keyword in the Ad copy.  (for each respective ad group).

Tips on how to Build a STAG account structure

  1. Create campaigns based on product or service category.  (e.g. Accountants, Book Keepers, Tax advisors).
  2. One theme per ad group.
  3. Name Ad group the theme name.
  4. Expand keyword match types (within same ad group)
  5. Include the keyword in the Ad copy.  (for each respective ad group).

Tips on how to Build a SKAG

  1. One keyword  per ad group
  2. Name Ad group as keyword name.
  3. Expand keyword match types (within same ad group)
  4. Include the keyword in the Ad copy.  (for each respective ad group).

Tools & Tips for skags/ stags ratios

  • Use keyword grouping tools like Keyword Planner.
  • Use AdWords Editor
  • Use Excel.
  • Use word frequency tools

Popular Themes for Ad Groups

Services, company, agency, commercial, bespoke, contractors, local, near me, Professional, cheap, quality recommended, reliable, reputable, services, trusted, Firms, Experts

SKAG Advantages

SKAG works well on small accounts with less keywords. 

Naming convention use the name of the keywords – rather than anything else

Get a balance between a SKAG and STAG. Keywords that get lots of searches having their own


A SAAG (Single Audience Ad Group) 

A SAAG is a SKAG equivalent for the Google Display Audience targeting, Facebook Ads etc


Closing Points & TakeAway

While every account varies, a SKAG works best when you have fewer keywords and search term variations. Getting the right balance between a SKAG and STAG can help get the optimum account structure to reduce costs and improve ongoing manageability.  

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