Google Ads 101: Launching Your First Ad!

Welcome back to the Google Ads 101 series! Today is a big step for your business because you will learn how to launch your first Google Ad in 10 simple steps! If you just created your Google Ads account, they offer to take you through a guided setup that will cover the basic strategies and create a “smart campaign.” Here, I will be taking a more detailed look into setting up the strategy that is right for you.

The setup process can be tricky at first, but once you have some ads set up all you should have to do is tweak things here and there to run a successful campaign. To start, you need to ignore the guided setup that Google Ads tries to funnel you through. You can follow this setup and start advertising, but there are loads more customizations options that you will be missing out on! Make sure you “skip the guided setup” so that you can access the extra customization options.

Now you are ready to start building your first Google Ad!

Step 1: Select your campaign type.

The first step in setting up your Google Ads account is choosing which campaign type you are interested in. Your campaign contains all of the advertisements for your products or services. Different strategies work for different businesses, but generally, for your first campaign, you should select the search option. This option will allow your ads to show up when someone searches Google for the product or service you offer. You can create more campaign types in the future that direct people to take different actions.

Step 2: Select a goal for your campaign.

Here, you choose one main goal that you want to achieve with this campaign. If you hover over each option, more information will be shown to help you choose which option is best for your business.

Sales will direct people that click on your ad to buy your products or service – this goal is targeted to people that will likely easily become customers and are likely to buy now. Leads will direct people to your business so they learn more about your products and services – this goal is targeted to people that you can convert to customers with some TLC, but are not necessarily ready to buy today. Website traffic will direct people to your website where they can learn more about the business in general – this goal is targeted to people that may not know about your business but could be interested in the future. Another benefit of website traffic ads is collecting data for retargeting via your Facebook pixel. Your Google Ad allows you to capture cold traffic, and then you can retarget them when they aren’t searching for you. MORE ON THAT LATER 🙂

I set up a mock campaign and advertisement for LETSDEVELOP.TV, so I picked sales as my campaign goal. Your goal may be different so make sure to choose which goal applies to you!

Step 3: Choose how you’ll measure progress toward your goal.

This selection will also vary depending on your business and business goals. Make sure to choose which applies to you and fill in the information that Google Ads asks for. I would like people to call and inquire about our marketing services, so I chose phone calls.

Step 4: Choose a name for your campaign.

Name your campaign (once you start creating more it can get a little confusing, so make sure you name it something specific) and make sure you check the box under “Search Network.” You want to check this box so that your ads can show up on other Google-owned websites and Google partners, such as Ask, AOL, Amazon, etc.

Step 5: Choose target locations.

Choose the locations in which you want your ads to appear – if you are selling worldwide, choose “all countries and territories,” but if you are trying to just sell locally, choose to “enter another location.” I chose to target the New Orleans area since we are based out of New Orleans, LA.

If there are specific areas you want to target or exclude from your customer base, you can choose those settings here. When you type in the target locations box, a list shows up that allows you to specifically target or exclude that area.

Step 6: Set the language for your ads.

Choose only the languages you plan to use in your ads! If your customer base speaks multiple languages, make sure to create advertisements specifically written in each language. I suggest keeping ads in different languages in separate campaigns.

Step 7: Select your audience preferences.

This section is where you can narrow down your target audience and make sure your ads make it to the correct people. Play around with the drop-down menus and see what they have available. There are many different options to choose from, so make sure you really think through who your ideal customer is and choose what applies to your target consumer. For example, if you sell life insurance, you may want to choose an older target audience than a company that sells skateboards.

Your audience can get as specific or broad as you want, but generally, the more specific you are about who your audience is, the better your ads will do. Also, the longer your ads run, the more Google will learn who is most likely to respond to your ads and automatically optimize your audience. Make sure not to make your audience too small and specific though, otherwise you run the risk of not appealing to enough people. Since I am looking to expand LETSDEVELOP.TV’s market, I am going to target people researching advertising, marketing, and web design.

Step 8: Choose your budget and bidding settings.

Your budget is an estimate of how much you spend on your advertising campaign each day. The actual amount varies because Google adjusts the budget each day depending on how busy or slow the day is for your keywords. By the end of the month, the amount you spent should average out to the amount you list here as your daily budget. If you have a monthly budget for your business, divide it over 30 days and that will give you the daily budget to enter here.

Bidding is the amount you are willing to pay for someone to click on your ads. Bids are a part of how Google determines whether your advertisement shows up in search results or not, so it is best to let Google use a smart bidding strategy. The options for bidding are clicks and conversions.

(DISCLAIMER: If you want to choose conversions, then you have to connect your Google Analytics and set up conversion tracking. I will not be covering that in this series, but there are some awesome guides out there that will take you through setting that up. Here is Google's guide to set up conversion tracking.)

After this, skip over ad extensions – we will come back to these later. Choose "save and continue."

Step 9: Create Ad Groups and Keywords

An ad group is a collection of advertisements for a specific product or service that you offer. Here you also enter keywords that are related to your ad group. You want to input keywords that accurately describe your ad group, and input terms that potential customers are likely to use when searching for the products or services you offer. Make sure to use the “Get keyword ideas” section for some help figuring out what keywords you should use. Enter some of your own in the keywords box to the left. I will review keywords again later in the series to show you how to get the most out of your ad groups.

These ad groups and keywords should be very specific. Create an ad group and a set of keywords for each service or product you offer. The more specific the ad group, the higher the likelihood that someone will click on your ad. Each aspect of your services, or each product you sell, needs its own ad group. Name your ad group something specific so you know what service or product that group is advertising. I created an ad group specifically for social media marketing – if I wanted to advertise our email marketing, I would create an entirely different ad group under the same campaign.

Once you are done, click “save and continue.”

Step 10: Create your first ad!

Depending on the options you chose, your prompt to create an ad may look different than mine, but they all follow the same basic guidelines. Fill out the information about your business and come up with some copy for the description. Other options offer customizable headline space where you can write some copy and calls-to-action. A preview of your ad is available so you can instantly see what your ad will look like. Once you get it perfect, click “done” to save your ad.

Google recommends that you create at least 3 different ads for each ad group. Google will rotate the ads to figure out which work best and start showing the most successful ad more often in the rotation. The more ads you have in a group, the better your chances are of finding a few that work really well. I suggest creating a few for each ad group and evaluating their performance in a few weeks to see what is working best for you. Once you have created all the ads you want for your ad group, click “save and continue.”

Tip: If you need some help writing ad copy, check out this post!


Congratulations, you just created your first Google Ads campaign! Just because your ads are up and running doesn’t mean your work stops here – you can refine your ads using some tips and tricks I will cover later. In the next post, I will go into the specifics of choosing the correct keywords, and how keywords can make or break your ad rank!

Disclaimer: Your ads won’t run unless you enter your payment information as prompted when you complete your ad group! 🙂

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