Setting up a Google Ads account is often the first step of your digital advertising journey. The Google ecosystem can seem daunting at first so let’s get stuck into this quick guide. It will help you avoid making some common mistakes so you can get it right the first time.
Checklist for Starting Campaigns with Your Google Ads Account
Before running an ad campaign, make sure you have the following ready:
- Landing Page – Your landing page gives visitors their first impression of your brand, so keep it simple and to the point, and focus on customer engagement. Avoid distracting customers from the key message by adding too many visual assets or sections of text. Also, the quality of your landing page greatly affects your bidding efforts. Google ranks quality as “above average”, “average” or “below average” – here is a free tool you can use to check the quality of your landing page.
- Pre-Defined Goals – Set realistic, measurable goals for your ad campaign. For example, if you want more followers, start by comparing before and after metrics such as the quality of leads. Analyse any other metrics that are relevant to your goals.
- Budget Planning – Deciding on the amount you want to spend depends on your goals. $500+ over a long period (at least three months) enables Google Ads to learn more about your company and its goals. In the long run, this provides the insights you need in order to optimise the performance of your campaign. Also note that a big budget does not guarantee success – various metrics affect performance.
The Beginner's Guide to Setting Up a Google Account
Step 3: If you only want to set up the Google Ads account without setting up a campaign, click “Create an account without a Campaign”.
Step 4: Choose the time zone and currency wisely as this cannot be changed later on.
Step 5: Congratulations, you just successfully set up your account. Now go and explore Google Ad’s Interface.
There are various metrics you need to understand for your ad campaigns to be successful. Before taking on any big projects, I suggest you run a demo campaign for a personal project as there is a significant learning curve to running advertisements successfully.
Generating Your Keywords List
“Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match ads with the terms people are searching for.” They are the heart and soul of any ad campaign – people will find your ads and come to your page based on the keywords you set. Below are some basic tips that you should keep in mind while creating a keyword list for your next campaign.
1. Think Like Your Customer
Your ads are not made for you but for your customers, so think from their perspective. Think about how someone may search for your product – for example, consider how Canva has advertised for the keywords “alternatives of Canva”. This is simply genius.
You can also use a few generic keywords that have a large audience.
2. Define Your Target Market
Not all advertisements are made for everyone. Be as specific you can when it comes to targeting; to create a specific strategy for your target audience, think from their perspective, as I mentioned above. Extend this approach to any designs you may use for your campaigns.
3. Keyword Matching
There are three main types of keyword matches which indicate how relevant a search term is to your keywords. The categories are broad, phrase match, and exact match. Suppose you were a beauty mogul like Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, and you ran an ad campaign for the keyword, “burgundy lipstick”. A broad keyword match could be “products that people apply to their lips”. A phrase match would be, “how to stop lipstick from coming off”. Finally, an exact keyword match would be “burgundy lipstick”.
4. Use Keyword Research Tools
There are numerous free keyword search tools at your disposal. Google’s Keyword planner is a great tool to expand and diversify your target keywords.
5. Consider Negative Keywords
Negative keywords establish what your brand is not, and they are just as important for your advertising strategy as positive keywords. For example, if you are gym owner who is running an advertisement, you would want to avoid searches like “weight loss without exercise”. In this example, “weight loss” is a positive keyword and “without exercise” is a negative keyword. However, if you think outside the box, you might be able to harness this by doing something similar to Canva in the example above.
Once your budget and goals are clear, the next step is to decide on the structure of your campaign. Google’s suggested mantra for the success of an ad campaign is: “Start by breaking down your products or services into categories and basing your account structure on those. (One good option is to mirror the structure you already use on your website.)”
It’s essential to understand the difference between campaigns and ad groups. The campaign represents the broad hierarchy of your niche, while ad groups divide your products into specific categories. For example, if you are selling mascara, your ad campaign would be beauty while your ad group would be mascara. Now, a business selling lipsticks would have the same ad campaign but a different ad group.
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when differentiating ad groups:
- The variety of products and services that you offer
- The performance and bidding of a particular ad group
- Try using brand names (ex. Maybelline Eye Shadow) and generic names (ex. Blue Eye Shadow)
- Consider the seasonality of your product (e.g., Sweat proof foundation for summers)
- Integrate your ad groups and keywords
Writing Your Ads
This is the most important aspect of a successful advertising campaign. No amount of strategic ad placement will be useful without strong copy – the backbone on which your whole campaign depends.
The character limits of each section are as follows:
- Display Paths – 15 characters
- Headlines – 30 characters
- Descriptions – 90 characters
As of 30th June 2022, Google is making an important switch to responsive display ads. While Google is making some major undesirable changes at the moment, this change is something that advertisers are looking forward to.
Google stated the following: “Responsive search ads let you create an ad that adapts to show more text—and more relevant messages—to your customers. Enter multiple headlines and descriptions when creating a responsive search ad, and over time, Google Ads automatically tests different combinations and learns which combinations perform best.”
The process of writing ad copy will gradually become automated, leaving marketers with more time to experiment with other aspects of the advertising process.
Other than major headlines, Google offers Ad Extensions, providing more value to campaigns.
Landing Page Mapping
Landing page mapping is your customer’s journey in the virtual world. To convert leads, keep the journey from your landing page to check-out simple. There is no need to add unnecessary steps to their journey – it’s already hard for customers to filter through the noise, so avoid creating more of that.
Only run your campaign once your landing page and customer journey has been well tested by a sample audience – if the journey is not well connected, you risk wasting budget.
Now that we’ve been over some fundamentals, it’s time to start creating campaigns.
How to Set Up a Campaign
Step 1: Go to ads.google.com and click on “New Campaign”.
Step 2: Choose the objective of your campaign. If you only want to run a test campaign, select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”.
Step 3: There are a variety of campaign types you can choose from. To start with, get comfortable with search ads. They are widely used in the industry and require less effort in terms of creating content.
Step 4: Set specific goals for your ad campaign. You can select one, several, or all the options, if necessary. (Since you need to strategize for them differently, I would suggest choosing only one option at a time.)
Step 5: “Campaign Settings” is where you specify the geographic location, language, and other details of your target demographic.
Step 6: The next exciting (and crucial) step is setting a budget for the campaign. As mentioned, be cautious and check the correct currency, amount, and all the minor details because there is no room for error here. Setting a bidding strategy is a separate topic in itself – I have written an article here that will help you understand bidding better.
Step 7: This step involves keyword searching and ad grouping, which I have covered above already. To complete this step, you need to be ready with your keyword and ad group strategy.
Step 8: You made it to the end! Now you can publish your first ad.
Now you know how to set up Google Ads. Remember that an advertiser’s job does not end when a campaign goes live – there are a range of metrics you need to keep an eye on after that. With Google’s free tool, you can track consumer behaviour on your website, such as whether they responded to a CTA or installed your app. It’s important to understand what worked during the campaign and what didn’t so you can refine your ads later.
I hope you now feel more confident about creating campaigns. Running digital ad campaigns can be daunting, yet exciting and fruitful. With that said, always keep in mind that algorithms will only bring in potential customers – it’s up to you to convert leads into paying customers.