SKAG & STAG Are Now Outdated, Say Hello to SIAG

Updated on November 21st, 2022 at 06:46 am

Rate this post

There has been a constant change in Google Ads which means that the PPC marketers also need to change their strategies in accordance with that for organizing their campaigns.

A few strategies succeed to prove the test of time while the others wear out in the course of time. Recently, Google has implemented ‘close variants’ for an exact match, phrase match, and broad match modifier keywords. This has made it tougher for you to know if the keywords you bid would match with the search queries shown for your ads. This change is crucial as the ways of user searches are undergoing a constant change and marketers can miss out on relevant traffic. Marketers have no need to manage huge keyword lists encompassing every single syllable in the market that is able to run campaigns.

Google has its own way of controlling through its account managers and avoids things from becoming confusing. Google has its interest to show your ads on as many numbers of search terms as possible as Google will make money whenever users click. However, every click does not necessarily lead to conversions, or even if it does, it may lead to low-quality traffic. One of the strategies that are affected by Google’s close variants is Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs).

But this too failed.

The reason why SKAGs retired as a best practice:

The way Google treats its close variants and as a result, there is a big overlap between the primary Broad match or Modified Broad match types, Phrase or modified phrase match type, and Exact or Intent match type. This overlap denotes Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) and it requires ample time and energy for setting up as well as management even though the initial purpose remains to make it time and budget-saving.

Use of SKAGs result in:

  1. Multiple ad groups addressing the same keyword intent
  2. Duplicate ad copies that cannot be further customized for individual searches
  3. Cross-contamination among the keyword search terms for multiple ad groups
  4. Potential for the missed clicks or impressions and conversions because of the overflow of negative keywords.
  5. Waste of time due to keyword additions or exclusions, ad copy testing as well as revising or the stress regarding new Google updates.

In the meantime, Single Theme Ad Groups (STAGs) arose as a new strategy and has been best suited to take advantage of the close variants.

Now it’s time to embrace STAGs (Single Theme Ad Groups):

Account management is the data-driven generation of leads run by profit centers and priority markets. A campaign is built as it is directly tied to a business need opposing to attempting to play PPC mechanics. This is a good shift and you should embrace Single Theme Ad Groups and make the most of it.

Single theme ad groups are focused on the themes and ensure that 3-5 similar themed keyword in each ad group.

Single Theme Ad Groups account structure follows some formats:

  1. Product or service category per campaign: ad groups governed by the audience and messaging
  2. Market or location per campaign: products and services depending on the ad groups
  3. Profitability per campaign: corresponding products and services as per the ad groups

Running of Single Theme Ad groups (STAGs) are beneficial as it offers you the ability to set budgets aligned with profits quite contrary to PPC mechanics. No budgeting for each and every single variant and you can also play with your favorites and allow your budget where it will be most effective.

But again, this structure misses out on perfect keywords to ads to landing page relevancy and it makes up for it in the metrics that matter such as ROAS, impression shares and conversion rates.

Marketers can expect a bunch of benefits on setting up their Google Ads using Single Theme Ad Groups:-

  • Improved Quality Score
  • Better Product Data
  • Bid at the Ad Group level
  • Better ad copy
  • Target CPA works better
  • Works well with ‘close variants’

However, STAGs have some cons too.

  1. STAGs are exhaustive
  2. Single Theme Ad groups create fewer impressions
  3. It gets harder to test ad copies

Now let’s take a look at some popular themes for STAGs:

  • Services
  • Agency
  • Company
  • Bespoke
  • Commercial
  • Local
  • Near me
  • Cheap
  • Professional
  • Recommended
  • Reliable
  • Quality
  • Trusted
  • Reliable
  • Expert
  • Firms

What is a SIAG (Similar Intention Ad Group)?

SIAG is quite equivalent to SKAG and STAG of the Google Display Audience Targeting or Facebook Ads audience. It is based on a single intention per ad group. Basically, it’s about-“what the audience is looking for?”


“What does the search terms tell about the desires of the audience?”

SIAGs Are the Future of Search

In the generation of numerous Exact Match changes, savvy marketers have started to look further as to where the industry is heading to, that is, where the industry is taken by Google. However, some experts disagree on keywords of they should be eliminated as targeting options but again many have their consent on contextual and behavioral audience targeting.

Didn’t get it yet?

Here’s a simple way we can make you understand about SKAG, STAG, and SIAG:

Google ads keywords
Google ads SKAG structure
Google ads SIAG structure

They are well equipped for taking advantage of the updates of the close variants of Google and many marketers rely upon SKAGs.
Overall, we can see that STAGs are balancing acts between the recommendations by Google to put 5-20 keywords in your ad group. STAGs are similar to the recommendations in the ad groups that focus on themes but are more specified to the keywords that should be added and the way they are organized.


STAGs (Single Theme Ad Groups) have 5-20 keywords in an ad group while SKAGs focus on only a single keyword. We are sure that with the above table, it is now clear a concept about SKAGs, STAGs, and SIAGs. In Single Intention Ad Groups (SIAG), it all depends on the intent of the users.

When a person is concerned with the price of the plumbing service, then the ad group will be regarding “affordable” or “cheap” plumbing service. Again, when one is concerned with reliability or certification, then the ads should suggest “certified” or “years of experience” to provide them what they want- trust and reliability. Hence SIAGs are all about customer intentions, quite different from STAGs and SKAGs.

Each and every account is different and works well with lesser keywords and variations in search terms. STAGs, on the other hand, works better when more keywords are added and grouped into similar themes. The right balance between STAGs and SKAGs is important for achieving the optimum results for account structure that help you to cut down on costs as well as improve the ongoing management ability.

But With SIAGs (Single Intention Ad Groups), you can be a bit more worry-free as it all depends on the user intent!

SIAGs are your new BFFs! Go with them…

CROGoogle AdWordsPPC

google ads mistakesGoogle Ads SugggesitionsGoogle Ads TipsGuide to Google Ads

Biplab PoddarView all posts

Avatar of Biplab Poddar

Biplab Poddar

Biplab Poddar is the Founder & CEO of Oxedent. He is a Google Ads Lover and CRO Strategist. He Helped 250 plus businesses to launch their first PPC campaigns as well as optimize the campaigns to get maximum out of their ad spend.

Comments are disabled.