How to setup Google Ads campaigns.

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People who are getting started with Google Ads sometimes ask me for advice on how to setup their first campaigns. Listed below are the tips I always give in addition to specific recommendations based on their product, market, goals, competition and timelines.

Create an appropriate number of campaigns. 

Each segment has a different dynamic in terms of click-through rate (CTR), cost you have to pay for each click (CPC) and conversions.

To compare apples with apples when analyzing results create separate campaigns for different targeting options you are using. For instance, you do not want to mix search and display ads in the same campaign.

Setting things up the right way matters.

Logically group keywords in adgroups.

All keywords in the same adgroup are associated with an ad. By placing related keywords in the same adgroup you ensure that the associated ad will be relevant for those keywords.

Test different ads.

Create at least two different ads in each ad group. Once the ads have reached a statistically significant number of impressions replace the least performing ad with a new one. I always enjoy predicting which ad will do better (I studied economics) and finding out that I am almost always wrong (yes, I really am an economist).

Use negative keywords.

Add negative keywords to your campaign to avoid paying for traffic you do not want. Which negative keywords you should add depends on your situation. You can use them to, for instance, avoid getting people who are searching for “free” stuff or unrelated synonyms. 

If you sell office furniture and advertise on the keyword “seat” you do not want to pay for visitors who are searching for the car brand Seat. In this case you would add “cars” as a negative keyword.

Understand the difference between broad, phrase and exact matching.

The type of keyword matching will greatly influence the number of impressions your ads will get.  The default setting is broad match, which might get you a lot of traffic unrelated to your offer.

Use conversion tracking.

Set goals and track what traffic converts. Stop paying for traffic that does not convert and get more of the type that generates a return.  

Pick your destination URLs.

You placed related keywords in the same adgroup. Ensure that you point each ad to a relevant section of your website. If you lead users who click on an ad for product X to a generic page, where they will need to search for the product your conversion rate will drop. To stick with the office furniture example, point all seating ads to the page with the product category chairs.

Analyze results.

Use analytics reporting to analyze results and identify areas for improvement. Look at the keywords that triggered your ads, referrals, when conversions happened etc.

Start with a small daily budget.

When you launch the configuration will be far from optimal. Starting with a low daily spending limit ensures mistakes do not become really expensive learning experiences.

About the author

Ivo Oltmans
By Ivo Oltmans

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My name is Ivo. In the last 10+ years I have worked on various SaaS products in marketing, sales and business development roles.

Want ideas to grow your company? I love meeting new people and chatting about business. My gmail handle is i.oltmans.

When in doubt whether or not to contact me, you should :-)