What Is The Best PPC Build?


Recently I have been hearing more about Beta/Alpha account builds or campaigns built around match type. For this article I want to take a look at what the touted benefits of such a build are and any pitfalls I see.

To Begin

Firstly, what’s the point of such a build? Essentially it is designed to be a water tight build that will only allow Google to charge you for the exact match keywords that are profitable to you (and therefore decrease Google’s profit margins). The system is designed to flag up those search queries that generate a profitable CPL so that you can add them in their own ad group with dedicated ad copy and (if you have the luxury) a dedicated landing page.

How Does It Work

Firstly you create the Grunt (Beta) campaign that carries all your BMM keywords which, as it’s left to run, will generate search queries that you then do one of two things with:

  1. Add to your HeMan (Alpha) campaign with each keyword in their own ad group. Some useful terminology here: SKAG – Single Keyword Ad Group. An acronym that will offend the more delicate sensibilities. These knights in shining armour are only allowed into the coveted Alpha campaign if they have produced conversions. If not…
  2. Relegated to Hull FC or put more simply added back into the Beta campaign as a   –[negative exact match].

The majority of thinking on this build is very against adding phrase match keywords. 99% of what you will be working with are BMM to Exact to avoid Google discrepancy’s when match query to keyword.

A very quick example. I own an online play doh shop (life-long dream).

The keywords added to the Alpha campaign are placed in their own ad group so that their bids can be managed and very specific ad copy can be written as well as a custom landing page assigned.

In Practice



[Where can I buy 11 Kgs of pink play doh?]

Ad Group

Where can I buy 11 Kgs of pink play doh

Ad Copy

You get the idea.


  • Because you are adding negative exact match to the Beta campaigns BMM keywords you are lowering the wastage on irrelevant searches
  • The Alpha campaign allows you to be very specific with the performing keywords and so you are driving budget behind those keywords generating an ROI


  • This just doesn’t scale. If I were a retail outlet, and in this example I am, but much bigger. Say, House of Fraser. It just isn’t feasible that I am going to have 200,000 ad groups for single, performing keywords.
  • Writing ad copy that is specific to that many keywords is surely an exercise in futility. What if the keyword is too long to fit? Or so close to another search you end up writing the same ad? In this case would it not be more sensible to roll out a more conventional build with keywords grouped by theme. The ad copy would remain relevant and the keywords are still tightly grouped.
  • How would you report on this? If I have one campaign with 200,000 ad groups. It’s virtually impossible to report in a nice, easy to interpret fashion.
  • Even if you wanted to breaking these out into campaigns would be a nightmare. Because you have SKAG’s with what will inevitably contain a lot of long tail keywords. Organising these into campaigns just won’t work because there is little theme.
  • How many times does a search query get to appear before it is added as a negative exact match? Once it is added you won’t be thinking “mm maybe that’s worth another go”. I’m all for brutal builds, but you need to be careful banning keywords to negative hell.

Final Thoughts:

If you could automate this process that would be great – this is something I would love some input on although I will look into it myself. Perhaps a VLOOKUP for keywords with XX spend over XX time with 0 conversions then just add them as a negative with a similar formula but for keywords with 1+ conversions.


I can understand this build type working with a smaller client, and in fact I am looking to trial this soon. But the lack of scalability and sheer work volume that would make 2% (pulled out of thin air but I’m trying to make a point) difference does not justify the time sink that could be better spent making lots of 1% differences to the account overall. Not just a handful of keywords. It’s a sharp theory and a unique approach but I don’t see it being a practical way of running even a medium sized account.

**If you disagree please feel free to swing away, I very much welcome experiences or thoughts on where this could work. Thanks!