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You are probably thinking right now:  “Hagakure”? Is that the samurai movie starring Keanu Reeves? Well… Not really. But it is a Japanese word meaning ‘hidden by leaves’. 

This word has a philosophical meaning for samurai. It stands for the practical path that a samurai travels on. If we translate this in the context of Google Ads, it means the most practical way to structure your ad campaigns.

This blog will break down the Hagakure method for Google Ads and show you how it can benefit your organisation.

Also, if you are interested in the samurai movie starring Keanu Reeves, let me help you out here. The title of the film is ‘47 Ronin’. 🙂


Before the Hagakure method, we often used the SKAG method; no, this is not a swearword. It means ‘Single Keyword Ad Groups’. This is like the Hagakure, á method; it is a way to structure your ad campaigns. 

With the SKAG method, you want to control your ads and be close to the users’ search terms. Like the abbreviation states, it is a single keyword per ad group. That means you control which ad shows per search term. Via the SKAG method, you can control your quality score based on your ad, keyword and landing page experience.

However, Google’s algorithm has advanced significantly, becoming more intelligent and more effective, and now is the moment to take advantage of this. As a result, the Hagakure technique grew in popularity. 


What is the Hagakure method?

Well, the Hagakure method is the opposite of the SKAG approach. With this method, you want to collect massive amounts of data and use this data to take advantage of the Google ads algorithm. 

The Hagakura structure is simplistic without much segmenting. It comprises a maximum of five campaigns. Bring traffic with the same purpose together in 1 campaign and within an ad group — bring traffic together in 1 landing page. 

All of these are made up of Broad Match (BM)  keywords, less Exact Match (EM) keywords together with smart bidding. That means no more max-CPC based goals! But goals based on:

  • Maximise conversion (value)
  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS

And the Google algorithm will take care of the rest. Google will determine which ads are the best per search term. So basically, what happens instead of manual optimisation, Google will automatically optimise your campaigns.

The Hagakure method requires you to have at least 12.000 impressions per month or 3.000 impressions per ad group per week. Since a lot of the process is dependent on Google’s algorithm and that algorithm needs data to work.


How do you implement this method?

Most e-commerce campaign styles are like ‘Branded Shirts’, ‘Shirts’, ‘Branded Sweaters’, ‘Sweaters’ and so on since they are structured based on keywords. 

But the goal of Hagakure is to structure your campaigns based on companies’ products/services or themes., which means we have to create as few campaigns as possible and be broader with our campaigns. Hagakure’s method is based on website structure, so, in this example, we can create a campaign called clothing (Let’s pretend we are a fashion brand). 

Next up, we have to pick a smart bidding strategy from the list we showed in the previous paragraph. Find out more about what type to pick

After choosing your bidding strategy, we will create the ad groups. 

Every ad group should have different categories, for example, Sweaters and Shirts etc. Every category should then have at least 2 ETA’s (Extended Text Ads) and 1 RSA (Responsive Search Ad). 

These should be the ad groups that have 3000 impressions weekly. And these ads should also utilise keyword insertion and ad customisers for the best effect.

Last but not least, we have to create one more ad group with 3 DSA’s (Dynamic Search Ad’s.) Here, we add all the ads that did not meet the 3.000 impressions requirement to capture new relevant search terms.


Why should you care?

Using the Hagakure approach ensures that you make the most out of Google’s algorithms. It decreases the number of campaigns that must be manually optimised, saving you time. This more efficient approach allows for more time strategising.


Advantages & disadvantages


  • It boosts the marketing team’s productivity by directing their efforts toward strategic decision-making based on important KPIs.
  • The results are enhanced without increasing the budget, optimising the advertising investment and achieving higher account profitability.
  • Increased data collection allows for faster learning from Google’s automated features (Smart Bidding, RSA’s, DSA’s and audiences).


  • Your targeting will be less specific, which as a result, will make it harder to target specific segments.
  • You are putting 100% of your trust in Google’s algorithm, which can be stressful since Google will be the one making the decisions. 
  • You will lose the power to allocate your budget, but you will still specify the max budget.


Our vision

At CroudX, we love automation! We want to automate every repetitive task within our line of work so that our marketers have more time for what they do best—adding value by their experience! Marketers have the best mindset for strategising, creativity, and connecting with people. So we need to use them for those tasks and many more.

The Hagakure method aligns well with our vision since it automates tasks like min-maxing the ads and automatically optimises the campaigns for the google search results.  Therefore we highly recommend you try it out if you meet the requirements. 

Since our expertise is Shopify we also recommend every e-commerce brand to use it since its structure is based on the URL structure of your website!

Knowledge is power! That’s why we write these blogs weekly to broaden everyone’s knowledge. Subscribe now if you want to stay informed of everything happening with CroudX, or feel free to contact us any time for more information

Till next time!


Check out our previous blog!

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