How To Use Google AdsOct 10, 2023
I have been actively managing Google Ads campaigns since 2010 and seen firsthand how impactful they can be for businesses of all sizes.
However, I've also witnessed many small businesses struggle with Google Ads because they don't set up their accounts properly from the start. The biggest mistake I see is that people fail to use the right account structure and optimization strategies. Without these fundamentals in place, it's easy to end up wasting money on Google Ads with little to show for it.
The good news is that with the proper guidance, any business can harness the potential of Google Ads. In this comprehensive article, I will walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up your very first Google Ads campaign. We will start from the beginning by structuring your account correctly, building high-quality ad groups, writing effective ads, setting bids and budgets, and implementing optimization best practices.
Whether you are launching your first ever Google Ads campaign or looking to revive past failed attempts, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and game plan to gain traction on Google. By the end, you’ll have actionable steps to launch a streamlined Google Ads account optimized for success. So let’s get started!
Why You Should Start With a Search Campaign
When setting up your first-ever Google Ads account, I always recommend starting with a search campaign. There are a few key reasons why search campaigns make the most sense for new advertisers:
Provides Valuable Data
Search campaigns give you direct insight into the keywords and ad copy that resonate best with your target audience. You'll be able to see which search queries trigger your ads and what language convinces searchers to click through. This level of data is invaluable in the early testing and optimization process.
Precise Targeting Control
With search campaigns, you have granular control over targeting parameters like keywords, locations, devices, bid strategies, and schedules. This is extremely helpful if you're working with a limited budget, as you can hone in on the most relevant searches to maximize impact.
Mastering search campaigns gives you a core understanding of Google Ads that translates well into other more advanced campaign types like display, shopping, and video. The skills you learn in search form the building blocks for overall Google Ads success.
In short, search campaigns reduce guesswork, provide actionable data, and set up that crucial foundation for Google Ads mastery. As you become more advanced, you can layer in other campaign types to complement search in a comprehensive strategy. But especially in the beginning, dedicating focus to search campaigns is the smartest play.
Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your First Search Campaign
Now that you understand the value of starting with search campaigns, let's walk through the nuts and bolts of getting one set up properly. Follow these steps carefully, and you'll have a search campaign ready to drive results for your business:
Create Your Google Ads Account
- Go to ads.google.com and click "Start Now" to begin the account creation process.
- Select your country, time zone, and currency preferences. This cannot be changed later.
- Enter your business information and payment details. You'll need a credit card on file.
Launch a New Search Campaign
- From the campaign types, select "Search" to create a search campaign.
- Pick a campaign objective like "Traffic" or "Conversions."
- Name your campaign something identifiable like "BrandedKeywordsSearch."
- Target keywords, locations, languages, devices, etc. Start broad.
Build Out Ad Groups
- Do keyword research to find relevant search queries to target.
- Create ad groups around specific products, services or categories.
- Include tightly themed, closely related keywords in each ad group.
Create Compelling Ads
- Write strong ad headlines that make searchers click. Test different options.
- Craft description lines that describe your offering and its value.
- Design text ads for relevance to each ad group's theme.
Set Bidding and Budget
- Use manual bidding to start with full control over costs.
- Set a daily budget based on expected click costs and monthly goals.
- Monitor spending levels and optimize as you gather data.
Following this blueprint will get your first search campaign up and running successfully. You can then refine and expand the account over time. The key is laying this strong foundation during initial setup.
Additional Tips for Optimizing Your Campaign
Once you have your initial search campaign setup complete, the real work begins in ongoing optimization. Optimization is crucial for continuously improving your account performance and return on ad spend. Here are some key areas to focus on:
- Closely monitor your search term reports to find new relevant keywords that are driving high conversion rates. Add these keywords into existing ad groups or create new ad groups around these themes.
- Prune away low performing keywords that are eating up budget without contributing value. Ongoing keyword optimization is key.
Improve Ad Copy
- Continuously test new ad copy options to find messaging that resonates most. Test headlines, descriptions, callouts, etc.
- Run A/B split tests with different ads against each other to directly compare performance. The winning ad copy should be implemented.
- Ensure ad copy is tightly matched to each ad group's theme. Ads for broad match keywords need to be generic enough to cover a wider range of searches.
- Once you have enough conversion data, use automated bidding strategies like Target CPA or Target ROAS to optimize bids rather than manual CPC bidding. This leverages your conversion metrics to drive better performance.
- Review the bid simulator to see how adjusting bids impacts impressions, clicks, and conversions to find the optimal balance.
- Monitor top performing keywords and raise bids on these "golden keywords" to gain more traffic for your best converters.
Add Negative Keywords
- Adding negative keywords prevents your ads from showing for irrelevant searches that are wasting budget. These searches will never convert.
- Review search term reports and add negatives for any irrelevant queries triggering your ads. This reduces wasted ad spend.
- Also add negatives for misspellings, competitors, geographic areas you don't serve, etc. Ongoing negative keyword management is crucial.
- Create ad groups focused on different audience segments. For example, target different ad copy, landing pages and bids based on location, language, device type etc.
- Leverage custom audiences once you have conversion data to create laser targeted ads for your proven website visitors, previous converters, email lists etc.
- Regularly dig into account performance reports to analyze metrics like top converting keywords, higher CTR ad copy, low performing ad groups etc.
- Identify optimization opportunities by segmenting data by device, geography, day of week, time of day etc. Look for patterns.
- Set up reports, add annotations and share with stakeholders to align on optimization strategy.
- Once search campaigns are successful, complement them with additional campaigns like display, shopping, video etc. to diversify overall strategy.
- Create new ad groups around successful themes you find in search campaigns. Continuously grow and optimize account structure.
Refine Landing Pages
- Ensure landing pages match the messaging and offers highlighted in your ads. Ads and landing pages must align.
- Remove friction and distractions on landing pages to guide visitors towards converting.
- Continuously A/B test landing page elements like copy, visuals, layouts, calls-to-action etc. to improve conversions.
In summary, dedicating focus to ongoing optimization using the strategies above will steadily improve the performance of your Google Ads account over time. Testing, analyzing data, and iterating will become second nature as you master the platform.