How to set up your first Google Ads campaign

How to set up your first Google Ads campaign
Time to read: 10 minutes

Google Ads are a reliable staple for any digital marketing campaign. It’s a channel many businesses rely on for quick wins.

But it’s not as easy as just setting up a Google Ads campaign and watching the wins roll in.

A good, sturdy Google Ads campaign calls for the right keywords, the right targeting, a clever bidding strategy, smart ad groups, effective copy — the list goes on.

The good news for you (and your Google Ads campaign) is that we’re breaking it all down in this article 👇

Preparing for your Google Ads campaign📚

Alright, so, as this blog’s intro might suggest, Google Ads aren’t quite as simple as clicking ‘New Campaign’, choosing a few keywords, and hitting the big launch button. We recommend putting in the time early on to get prepared and think strategically about your campaign.

What are your goals? ⚽️

With any digital marketing strategy — whether it’s Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or even your website, we always recommend starting with your goals. These don’t have to be super specific, like ‘reach 250 new potential leads per month’. But you should understand  why you’re taking the strategy on. Do you want more website visitors? Do you want to boost sales on your website? Do you just want users to exchange their email addresses for your free guide? These goals will inform the rest of your Google Ads strategy.

Who's your audience? 👯‍♀️

The more specific you can get here, the better.

Ads thrive on insightful data. So, demographics around age, gender, and location are great, but even your audience’s interests can play a huge part here.

Think about your ideal customer, what do you know about them? You can determine this by looking at your past sales, the profiles of your existing or previous customers, and even utilising data from platforms like Google Ads.

What's your budget? 💰

Working out an appropriate budget for your Google Ads campaign is important to make sure you can sustain your advertising efforts without overspending.

Start by working out what you can afford to spend daily or monthly on your ads.

Consider the average cost-per-click (CPC) in your industry —  you can find this using tools like Google Keyword Planner. This will give you an idea of how much you might pay for each visitor to your site.

Remember, with Cost-Per-Click, it’s good to consider what a conversion is worth to you. Consider the average Lifetime Value of your customers. If you do one-off projects, but they’re valued at $20,000, then a Cost-Per-Click of $200 is a pretty good investment. 

If you sell products valued at an average of $50 and only 50% of your customers repeat purchases, then you’ll be looking for a much, much lower Cost-Per-Click.

Then, think about your overall marketing budget and what portion you want to allocate to Google Ads.

It’s important to remember that Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Set a daily budget that reflects the maximum amount you’re willing to spend per day. Google will use this to estimate your monthly spending.

Do you know about bidding strategies?

In Google Ads, you can choose between manual bidding and automated bidding.

Each of these options offers distinct advantages and challenges, depending on your campaign goals and your level of expertise.

Manual bidding gives you complete control over your bid amounts for ad placements. This approach is beneficial if you have the time and knowledge required to analyse data and adjust bids based on performance. The major advantage is its level of control — this can allow you to really optimise your spending and targeting. It does, however, require continuous monitoring and adjustment, which can be time-consuming and less efficient for those without the necessary expertise or resources.

On the other hand, automated bidding delegates the bid management process to Google’s AI system. This method uses machine learning to optimise bids for each auction to get the best possible result for your specified goal, such as maximising conversions or clicks.

While automated bidding is particularly useful for those who want to save time and rely on Google’s algorithms to adjust bids dynamically in response to real-time data, we do often find this can end up being more expensive and less successful. But it really does depend.

Automated bidding generally comes with less transparency and control and there is a big teething period as Google collects the right data to be able to optimise your campaign correctly.

Which campaign type suits you best?

Google Ads offers a bunch of different campaign types, each tailored to meet different advertising goals and strategies. Here’s an overview:

Search Campaigns

These are the most common types of campaigns where your ads appear on Google Search results pages. The ads are text-based and can be highly effective for capturing the demand when users are searching for specific keywords related to your products or services.

Display Campaigns

Display ads appear on websites within the Google Display Network. These campaigns are ideal for building awareness and can be customised with images, banners, or rich media to catch the eye of potential customers across millions of websites.

Video Campaigns

These campaigns let you show video ads on YouTube and other Google Display Network properties. Video campaigns are particularly useful for engaging audiences with compelling visual content that quickly communicates your message and Unique Selling Point (USP).

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping ads are perfect for retailers and eCommerce stores as they allow you to showcase your products directly in Google Search results. These ads feature product images, prices, and business names, and take users directly to your product pages, making it easier to reach buyers who are ready to make a purchase. Choosing the right campaign type depends on what you’re hoping to achieve with your ads, the nature of your products or services, and where your audience is most likely to engage with your ads. Each type offers different benefits, and you may find that using a combination of several campaign types will maximise your reach and the effectiveness of your campaign.

Where are you sending the traffic? 🚦

Will your homepage or service page suffice? Or do you need to set up a landing page?

This is the time to be pretty critical. With Google Ads, you’re paying for each visit to your website — so you really do want it to be in the best position to convert.

Imagine blowing your entire monthly budget, and then every visitor bounces off of your page without buying your product or enquiring about your services. Yikes.

The best case scenario is setting up a landing page that’s designed to convert your visitor on the specific product or service you’re selling via Google Ads.

Let's talk about keywords & Ad Groups 🎳

Your keywords are the words people in your target market will search to find your product or service. Your ad group is how you segment different ads and organise them according to what keywords they’re targeting, their ad type, placement, their goal, and budget. You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords for your Google Ads campaign. Consider the intent of the person searching the keyword, the relevance to your product or service, and the Cost-Per-Click.

How to structure your Ad Groups 👷‍♀️

To structure your ad groups, start with those goals you created for your campaign earlier on. You can then organise your offerings into distinct categories, and create an ad group for each category focusing on specific themes, like, for example, Cat Stuff or Dog Stuff. Within each ad group, you can choose keywords that potential customers might use when searching for these products, ensuring they are highly relevant and include a mix of broad, phrase, and exact match keywords.

You can then create targeted ad copy that matches your keywords and the ad group’s theme and link the group to its corresponding landing page.

Negative keywords can be included in these groups too, to avoid overlap and competition between ad groups. We always recommend reviewing and optimising the performance of each ad group based on metrics like click-through rate and conversion rate as you get this data.

Here's how to set up your keywords in Ad Groups 🔑

Setting up keywords in your ad groups is an important step to make sure your Google Ads campaign hits the mark. Get started with keyword research so you can find the terms that best match the products or services your ad group is advertising. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner to work out what potential customers might be typing into their search bars. Try to include a variety of keyword types—broad match, phrase match, and exact match—to capture different search intentions. When you’re adding these keywords to your ad groups, aim for a sweet spot of about 5-20 closely related keywords to keep things focused and relevant. Don’t forget to sprinkle in some negative keywords, too. These help prevent your ads from showing up on unrelated searches, which can optimise your ad spend and boost campaign performance. Keep an eye on how your keywords perform and tweak them as needed to keep your ads showing up on the right screens.

Here's an example of Ad Group organisation 👇

Cat Stuff Dog Stuff
cat litter leashes
cat toys dog toys
catnip dog collars
cat food dog beds

Writing your ads ✏️

Okay, so you’ve got the right keywords, they’re grouped logically and set up, ready to bid for a spot on Google’s front page. So, how do you make sure your ads get clicked? With good ad copy, of course.

Ad copy that packs a punch 🥊

Your Google Ads only give you so much space to communicate why users should click your ad. 

Here are some tips to quickly get that click…

What about Ad Extensions?

Ad Extensions allow you to add some extra bits and pieces to your ads on Google. These don’t just add more information and context, but they can help your ad stand out on the page. 

Here are some of the things you can add to your ad with Ad Extensions:

Google Ads launch time 🚀

Okay, so your campaign is done and ready to roll out. What now?

Be sure to review everything 👀

Google Ads is a channel where it is, unfortunately, pretty easy to make costly mistakes.

Review everything — and we mean everything.

Check your campaign settings, your budgets, the keywords you’ve selected, and proofread your ad copy. Double check your landing page is correctly linked to the right campaign and make sure your tracking is good to go.

Once that’s done, triple-check it all again.

Go live 👋

Once you’ve triple-checked everything and have set up billing, it’s time to send it live. Find the ‘Enable’ option in your campaign settings and activate your campaign to start running your ads. We recommend keeping a close eye on your campaign in the beginning just to make sure everything is humming along nicely. And if it’s not, you can jump in and make any necessary adjustments.
Lily and Watty

It's not set & forget. You've gotta keep monitoring & optimising your Google Ads campaign 🤹‍♀️

Like most digital marketing strategies, there’s no such thing as setting and forgetting with Google Ads. For the best results with Google Ads, we absolutely recommend monitoring and optimising your ads.

Analysing your campaign's performance 📈

Start by regularly checking the performance metrics available in your Google Ads account. The best metrics to focus on are your click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, cost-per-click (CPC), and overall spending. These numbers will give you an idea of how well your ads are performing in terms of grabbing and converting users.

Adjust as necessary

Based on your analysis, you can make informed adjustments to improve your campaign. This could involve tweaking your ad copy, adjusting your bid strategies, or refining your target audience. For example, if you notice that certain keywords are costing too much but not leading to conversions, you might consider pausing them or switching to less competitive keywords.

Consider A/B testing 🧪

A/B testing is where you create multiple versions of your ads or landing pages to see which variations perform the best. You can test different headlines, descriptions, call-to-actions, or even different images on your ads. You can then use the data from these tests to optimise your campaigns and superpower your results.

DIYing your Google Ads campaign? 🧶

Managing your own Google Ads can be a little bit tricky. Here are some of our tips to pull it off.

Keep up to date with Google Ads updates

Google Ads is constantly evolving. By keeping up to date with the latest Google Ads news and updates, you can make sure your campaign fits around any algorithm updates or new features.

Classic mistakes to avoid 🙅‍♀️

There are a few classic beginner’s traps. Here are some of the common mistakes we see when businesses DIY their Google Ads.

Consider engaging an agency 👋

Google Ads isn’t a straightforward digital marketing channel and while you definitely can see success by doing it yourself, agencies have specialists who know Google Ads really well.

It means we can help you get more clicks for less.

Google Ads can be a massive time sap and it can get trickier as you scale your business. If DIYing your Google Ads ever gets too much, we’re over here 👋

Let's have a chat about your Google Ads? 🤝

Chat with our Google Ads specialists and get an idea of where you could go with Google Ads.

We love working with business owners to create results that bring in more revenue for your business.

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