Three Ways to Segment Campaigns in Search Advertising

Segmentation is one of the best things you can do within your Google Ads account to make your advertising more effective. It allows you to optimize campaigns in a variety of ways, view important metrics in an instant when you look at your Google Ads account, and stay organized as your campaign grows. We know that the task can seem intimidating, so we wanted to break it down for you- here are three ways to segment your account.

Segmentation by device

Within Google Ads, you can segment your campaign into mobile, tablet, and desktop categories. At empirical360, one of the first things we do when launching a new campaign is segment by device. When we build a campaign, we start by building the desktop version. We create all of our SKAGS and write three different ads per adgroup, following Google’s best practice guidelines. Next, we navigate to the devices tab within the Google Ads interface and put a 100% decrease bid adjustment on mobile devices. We have now segmented our traffic for this campaign; because we decreased the bid adjustment, we will now only receive tablet and desktop traffic. (We usually leave tablet and desktop grouped together because there is no ability to call from a tablet, which is one of the main things we optimize for in our mobile campaigns.)

Now that the desktop/tablet campaign is set up, you can clone this campaign simply using copy and paste within the Google Ads interface. You will now have two separate but identical campaigns. What we like to do is change the name of the clone to “service name – mobile – keyword match type”; we recommend changing the name of the clone to something similar so you can differentiate between the two (we will discuss match types shortly). Once we have labeled the clone, we go to the campaign settings and put a 100% decrease bid adjustment on both tablet and desktop devices. You have now segmented this campaign to where it can only receive mobile traffic. If you wish to drive more inbound calls to this campaign, you can add what are called “click-to-call” ads. These ads allow your customers to call you directly from Google without going to your website.

Now, when you view your campaigns, you can see instantly what your top performing devices are. You may discover that more people are searching for or clicking on your ads on their smartphones, or you may find that more people are responding on desktop. This allows you to allocate more of your budget to the best performing device.

Segmentation by Match Type

After you have segmented your campaigns by device, you can add another layer of segmentation that we believe will further help you allocate your budget, especially if you have a limited amount of digital marketing spend. You can target keywords in a few different ways, which Google classifies as “match types”. There are four different match types: broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match (listed in order of most broad to most specific). You can read more about match type targeting here.

A typical account we manage will (at the very least) have a broad match modifier campaign for both mobile and desktop and an exact match campaign for both mobile and desktop. That makes a total of four campaigns for each service/product that we advertise for.

Segmenting by match types is another way to allocate your budget more effectively. It also allows you to divert traffic from your broad keywords to your more specific keywords. This is beneficial in many ways: for one, you can tailor the ad and landing page experience even more to the exact search query. You will also end up paying less for keywords, because more specific keywords will sometimes be cheaper than broad keywords. Users are more likely to convert when you target specific keywords you obtain from your search term report because they are searching for exactly what you are offering.

Segmentation by location

As your campaign progresses, you will observe that some states, counties, or cities are producing much better results than others. There are ways you can take advantage of this! By segmenting your campaigns by location, you can tailor your ads and landing pages to specific places. You can use the location in the headlines of your ads, and you can put supporting text, images, and copy on the landing page to personalize the experience for your customer.

This will allow you to get a better quality score and a better cost per lead/sale results in these campaigns. This is something we recommend trying on a small scale before implementing it account wide. Separating each campaign in your account by state location, for example, would be a long, tedious task, and you need to ensure the results will be significant before beginning. What we suggest is to segment by location in your highest performing area and see if helps the cost per lead or sale.

If you segment your campaigns by device, match type, and location, you will see a noticeable improvement in both the performance of your campaigns and the clarity of your account. You will be able to see the data, understand what it means, and act on it to optimize your digital marketing efforts and grow your business.

Have questions about segmentation or Google Ads? Empirical360 has more than 25 years of experience in digital marketing and web development. Our team members are Google Partners and Ads certified, so we have the expertise to help you realize your monetization potential.

Elliot Alicea - Author

Co-Founder of Empirical360


Elliot is a Co-Founder of Empirical 360 and is extremely passionate about creating highly effective marketing campaigns. He places ROI above all else!

Shea Duncan - Contributor

Lead Content Producer


Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!