We’ve spent years learning the Google Ads Manager and working in it to run campaigns for businesses in every industry.
So we’re super excited to share with you our guide to Google ads for beginners in 2021.
See you on the inside!
But before we dive in, if you want to master social media advertising, here’s our new social media ads training course that’s definitely worth checking out.
Let’s dive in!
Google Ads For Beginners 2021
Since you’ve found this post and are reading it, we know that you know how important it is to run ads on Google.
So we’re not going to spend a bunch of time going over.
In this Google ads for beginners post, we’ll walk you through creating your ad on Google from start to finish.
Here’s what we’ll cover, in order:
- Setting up your Google ad account and first campaign
- Ad group set up and keyword research
- Create ads
- Google ads dashboard
- Tools and settings
- Campaign optimization
Now let’s get started with this Google ads for beginners guide.
Google Ads For Beginners: Updates To Setup Process
Google has been working hard to make advertising on Google ads more accessible to small business owners and new marketers.
If you’ve spent any time on Google ads before this, you probably remember how complicated everything was.
If you are a local business or sell things online, you can utilize Smart Campaigns.
When you go to set up your Google ads account, the default account setup process routes you through a Smart Campaign setup.
That means you start your Google account and create your first ad all at once.
Google says that this entire process will only take you 15 minutes from start to finish.
Google Ads For Beginners: Setting up your Google Ad Account & First Campaign
In this section of our Google ads for beginners guide, we’ll walk through the setup process assuming you’re brand new to Google ads.
We’ll cover some things that most people miss that can really mess with your ad performance.
So even if you’ve set up your account, you won’t want to skip this part.
Let’s set up your Google ad account and go through the workflow.
- You’ll need to have an email address (get a free Gmail account, if you don’t have one already).
As well as the URL of your website (the ads need somewhere to go).
- Go to ads.google.com.
Select +Add New Account and then you’ll be taken to this page. This is the default flow.
There’s an option to switch to “Expert Mode” at the bottom. We’ll just go through the default flow.
- Choose what you want to promote. We’ll select “Your Website” because that’s what we do for most clients. Click Next.
- If you have a Google My Business account and you’re logged in…
…Google may show you the option to link your account and expedite the campaign setup process.
This will autofill a lot of the info for you so we recommend this option, if you already have a Google My Business set up.
Click Next if you have this option.
- Enter your business name and click Next (this should be the name that people will search for you online)
- Enter your website URL. This is where you want people to land after they click your ad. Click Next.
- Google will scan your website and display it to you. Confirm it’s your website before clicking Next.
- If Google doesn’t detect Google Analytics on your website, they’ll give you the option to set it up.
If you don’t know how to do that, here’s a tutorial for Google Analytics setup that you can read next.
- You’ll get this prompt reminding you that connecting to Google Analytics is a wise decision.
You can connect your existing Google Analytics account by clicking here or you can be a renegade like me and click skip again.
- Next, you’ll be taken to ad creation (this is a quick-start flow after all).
- If you have a good copy on your website, you may have excellent auto-filled ads.
You can edit any of these options and will see more suggestions by clicking to edit.
- We suggest showing the call button in your ads if you can. Enter your phone number and click next.
- Select the keywords that you want to trigger this ad. There may be some auto-filled that you can remove by clicking the X on the blob.
You can add a new keyword by clicking “+ New Keyword Theme” or by selecting from the suggested keywords list.
- Change your advertising language using the dropdown below suggested keywords.
- Note that you’ll have the option to add negative keywords after setup. Click Next.
- Now you’ll choose your geographic targeting or enter your address for location targeting.
Remove suggested locations by clicking the X in the blob. When you’re happy with your targeting, click Next.
- Set your budget. Choose from Google’s suggested budgets (notice the daily average, monthly cost, and estimated monthly clicks).
Or, you can enter your own budget. Play around with the slider to see how results change. Click Next.
If you want to learn more about how much do Google ads cost, then read this post next.
- Review your campaign and prepare to publish it. Click Next.
- You’ll enter payment information and organization name info here. Click Submit.
This is how you’ll set up your first campaign…
…but you’re not obligated to run this campaign or the ads you create during setup, so don’t worry about that.
And if you want to see the full video walkthrough of these steps, then watch the video at the top of this post.
Now, next on this Google ads for beginners guide, let’s look at how to properly set up your campaign and make adjustments in the Google ads editor.
Setting Up Your First Campaign
Your campaign houses ad groups which are made up of a group of ads and keywords that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings.
You can organize campaigns in whatever way you like.
But typically, it’s recommended to separate them by categories of products or services that you offer or specific goals like email sign-ups or landing page clicks.
Or, you can use campaigns to run ads in different locations or using different budgets.
You can create multiple campaigns in your ad account and each campaign is made up of one or more ad groups.
Campaign level settings include:
- Google Network distribution,
We’ll show you all the campaign settings in just a couple of minutes.
Campaign Settings Overview
Let’s click into the Campaigns tab and take a look around.
When you click in, you’ll land on this dashboard with a line graph, a bunch of columns with various analytics, and some campaign information.
To create a new campaign:
- Click the blue plus button.
- Choose your campaign goal – this is whatever your main goal is.
To keep it simple, we’re going with Website Traffic, but you should choose whatever makes the most sense for your needs. Click Continue.
- Select your campaign type. You may have different options here depending on which goal you chose. Click Continue.
- Enter the URL you’d like people to land on when they click your ad. Click Continue.
- Enter the campaign name and choose which networks to show the ads in. (we would check both).
- Expand to show more settings by clicking here. These are all optional.
- Set start and end dates if applicable, add tracking URL (optional), choose Dynamic Search Ads settings, and set Ad Schedule.
- Select locations here. Take some time to look at the targeting options.
- Next enter languages your customers speak.
- Make Audience Segment selections. Check out the suggested segments.
You can see their name, why it was suggested, and impressions so you can make an educated decision on the spot.
You can also browse if you want to see what else is available. Choose Observation (recommended by Google).
- Next set your budget and bidding preferences.
- Click Show More Settings to see Conversion settings and ad rotations settings.
We recommend choosing “Show Best Performing Ads” to get the most out of your budget.
- Add ad extensions next (don’t skip this step, it’s important). Add or set up at least Sitelink, Callout, and Call Extensions.
You can also add more with the blue plus at the bottom.
- Click Save and Continue.
- Now you’re ready to set up your Ad Group.
We’ll walk you through the rest of the process in this Google ads for beginners guide, including:
- ad group,
- ad creation, and
- set up
…in a few minutes so keep reading for that. .
Editing a Campaign
To edit a campaign, navigate to the Campaigns tab in your Google Ads Manager.
Locate the campaign you want to edit and check the checkmark next to that campaign.
(Clicking the pencil button will only edit the campaign name, not the settings.)
Once the campaign is highlighted, you can select the Edit dropdown. These are your available options:
- Copy, cut, and paste campaigns
- Enable, pause, and remove campaigns
- Change budgets
- Change bid strategy
- Change conversion settings
- Add to campaign group
- Create an automated rule
- Edit targeting, which opens into another menu with Negative Keyword Lists and Placement Exclusion Lists
You can also add a label, note, and see auction insights when you have a campaign selected.
We’re not going to cover these today in detail, since that’s a bit more advanced.
Ad Group Setup + Keyword Research
There’s a certain format you want to follow when setting up your Ad Groups.
You want to go into it with an idea of how you’re going to format your ads…
…so that you don’t have to make changes later (you’ll find out why that’s a bad thing in a minute).
Best Practices for Ad Groups:
- Give each ad group a specific theme, product, or topic. We like doing single-keyword ad groups.
- Don’t reorganize your account structure later. This can cause you to lose data that you worked really hard to collect.
- Put at least 3 ads in each ad group and use optimized ad rotation (this will show you the best-performing ad first).
We recommend using at least one Dynamic ad per ad group as well.
- Know your keywords beforehand.
You should know your keywords before you create your ads.
Since your ad groups will be organized by keyword or topic, this is necessary for ad creation.
We’ll show you how where to find the Google Keyword Planner so you can research.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool you should be using. Here’s how to find it in Google Ads:
- Click the Tools and Settings icon in the top menu.
- Click “Keyword Planner” from the Planning menu on the far left.
- Select your account (if prompted).
- Click Discover New Keywords.
- Enter a keyword and your website (to use as a filter) if you choose Start With Keywords.
You’ll enter your website if you choose Start with Website. Click Get Results.
- You’ll see results with average monthly searches, competition, cost, and whether it’s already in your account or not.
- Click next to a term to add it to an existing campaign or a plan, and choose which version of the keyword you want.
- Click Add keyword to create a plan (or add to existing campaign).
If you want more keyword research tips, then go ahead and read this post next.
How to Setup Your Ad Groups and Add Keywords
Creating Your Ads
Continuing from your ad group creation window, we’ll see that we’re working on a Responsive search ad at the top. Scroll down to complete ad setup.
- Enter the final URL.
- Enter your headline options. Google is good at suggesting some.
You’ll want to make sure you include the keyword (or words) in your headlines at least once. Watch the Ad Strength window to the right.
- Next, fill in your description. We recommend maxing out the character count and available options in both headline and description.
Also, be sure to use your keyword here as well.
- You want to aim for an Excellent ad strength. Notice our repeated use of the keyword or phrase.
- Click Done then repeat for your next 2 ads (you should have at least 3 per ad group, remember). We’ll skip that for time’s sake.
- Click Save and Continue when you’re ready.
- Now review your ad and click Publish if it looks good. Doublecheck budget, duration, and targeting.
Now that you know how to create your campaigns, ad groups, research your keywords, and create and publish your ads…
…let’s move on to the next section of this Google ads for beginners guide. Let’s look at the rest of the Ads Manager so you can get started.
Google Ads Dashboard
Google Ads Overview & Navigation
Before we dive into your campaign settings and creating ads…
…let’s take a quick tour of the Google Ads Manager because it can be a bit intimidating to be dropped into that pond without warning.
We’re going to show you the standard Google ads dashboard because Smart Campaigns are limited in functionality.
And at some point, you’ll need to be able to comfortably navigate in Google ads.
a. Overview Tab
When you log into your Google Ads account, you’ll land on your Overview page. This has the little house icon to help you identify that it’s home base.
This is where you’ll see all the most important information related to your account.
Some of this information includes:
- Clicks and impressions stats for the timeframe in the top right (you can change this)
- Best performing campaigns and stats
- Best performing ads or ad sets and stats
The recommendations tab houses your quality score, along with any of the things that Google thinks could help your ads and campaigns perform better.
Implementing the recommendations from Google will increase your account quality score.
Your quality score is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. There are 3 factors Google uses to measure quality score:
- Expected Click-through-Rate
- Ad Relevance
- Landing Page Experience
You can implement recommendations from this tab.
You can also ignore them if they don’t apply…
…(like if Google recommends spending more but you just don’t have that in the budget yet. It’s okay to ignore those).
We like to check the Recommendations tab every couple of weeks to see how we can improve things.
One of the best ways to improve ad performance without spending more money is by increasing your quality score.
This is a beta program you may or may not have access to, so we’re skipping this for now.
This is where you’ll create new campaigns, edit existing campaigns, and check campaign performance.
We’ll spend our time today in this tab so we’ll save all the good stuff for later.
e. Ad Groups
This is where you’ll create ad groups, edit existing ad groups, and check ad group performance.
f. Ads & Extensions
This is where you’ll create ads, edit existing ads, and check ad performance.
This is where you’ll manage any video ads you’re running and can look at the overall performance of video campaigns.
h. Landing Pages
This shows you what landing pages are performing best to give you a better idea of where to send your clickers.
This is where you can manage keywords.
You’ll see options for search keywords, display/video keywords, search terms, and auction insights.
Let’s look at audience segments and demographics.
The manager where your ads are shown and any exclusions.
Campaign settings can be found here, as well as some extras if you manage other business’ Google ads accounts (like an online advertising agency does).
It has additional advanced options that we won’t cover today but that you can see here.
Let’s move on to the upper nav. Most are self-explanatory, so we’ll spend our time in Tools and Settings which by far has the most options.
n. Tools and Settings
If you don’t use any of the tools and settings from the upper menu, then you’re really missing out on the power of Google ads.
But this isn’t something you need to master as a beginner.
We’re going to briefly walk through each of the options in Tools and Settings, and summarize what happens there.
There are six sub-categories under Tools and Settings:
Each of these subcategories has its own options as well. We’ll look at each of those in order – and we’ll give you a one-sentence explanation of each.
- Performance Planner – This is for future planning campaign performance.
- Keyword Planner – This is for researching and adding keywords to campaigns.
- Reach Planner – This is specifically for growing your YouTube page.
- Ad Preview and Diagnostics – Don’t Google your ad keywords; check ad preview and diagnostics instead.
- App Advertising Hub – If you’ve got an app, this new tool is for you.
- Audience Manager – This is where you’ll upload custom audiences and create segments.
- Bid Strategies – This is where you’ll check the performance of bid strategies or create portfolio (multi-campaign) strategies.
- Negative Keyword List – This is where you’ll view and add to your negative keyword list.
- Shared Budgets – This is where you will use one budget across multiple campaigns (make sure the budget is big enough!)
- Location Groups – If your business has a physical location (or many), you’ll add and manage those here.
- Placement Exclusion Lists – These are places you don’t want your ads to show.
- All Bulk Actions – This is an advanced feature to help you save time when you have tons of campaigns.
- Rules – This is where you’ll manage or add rules for your account ads, budgets, and audiences.
- Scripts – The scripts are changing but you probably won’t use these.
- Uploads – Add or manage uploads here.
- Conversions – Set up conversions so you can track the success of your ads.
- Google Analytics – This opens a new window in Google Analytics.
- Attribution – It gives you a look at the customer journey and where your success is coming from.
- Business Data – This includes data feeds, upload history, and ad customizer attributes.
- Policy Manager – It shows if you have any policy issues and your appeal history.
- Access and Security – This is where you’ll give access to employees or agencies that help you with advertising on Google.
- Linked Accounts – Link accounts for better data analytics and performance across campaigns.
- Preferences – You can see some account preference options here.
- Google Merchant Center – This opens in a new tab to your linked Google Merchant Center (you can link this up at any time).
- Summary – It shows you a summary of charges and payments.
- Documents – Download statements for taxes, reviews, and budget meetings.
- Transactions – This details every transaction made on Google Ads.
- Settings – Check your payment account, payment details, and payments contact information.
- Promotions – Track any current promotions and past promotions. Google will run promos for small business advertising from time to time.
Take advantage of those when you can.
Whew! Feel a little bit like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road? You’re almost to Oz.
And that wraps up our Google ads for beginners guide.
Here’s another interesting post that you need to read next, how to make money with Google AdWords (Ads).
If you need more help with your Google ads, don’t hesitate to contact us today!