You've heard of Google ads, or at the very least you've definitely seen Google Ads, and you might be wondering how to go about starting your own campaigns. In this article, I'll walk you through the process to achieve a solid foundation for your ads.

Who is your audience?

If you’re a regular on the ole TRIAD blog you already know this comes up in just about every article. Why is that? Because it’s important. It might just be the most important aspect of every marketing tactic you will ever employ.

As always, you’ll want to start out by discovering to whom you are speaking. What are their wants and needs? What demographics best represent them? Where are they located? What are their pain points? By asking yourself these questions you can build a solid persona to represent your ideal customer.

Once you have a clear image of the persona you are trying to reach, you can move into the campaign building stages.

Determine your Goal

It’s likely you already have a goal in mind otherwise it’s unlikely you would have even considered advertising in any capacity. Could you imagine advertising just because you’re bored? That would be ridiculous, but kudos to you and all your money.

With a goal in mind it’s important to understand which metric to track. This way you know whether your Google ads are actually doing to the thing you want them to. 

For example, if you want people to contact you through a contact form on your website, you’ll want to track each time that form is completed. Sending them to a Thank You page after submission will allow you to mark that interaction as a conversion. That Thank You page also gives you another opportunity to push your customer towards other pages on your site or to sign up to be added to your email list if you have one.

These conversions will be the determining factor for your ongoing Google Ad optimization.

Choose your campaign type

Now that you know who you are trying to reach and you know how you want them to interact with you, you’ll want to determine the best campaign type to utilize. Generally, you’re looking at Search, Display or Video.

Search ads are the listings you see at the top and bottom of a search engine page. They’re marked by Ad, so people can tell the difference between them and the organic listings.

Display ads are the banner ads you see on most sites. These ads are shown throughout the Google Display Network, a network that includes over 2 million sites.

Video ads are videos that play on YouTube and other partner sites.

Choosing the correct campaign type will depend on who your audience is and what the goal of the campaign is. Search ads are great at pulling people in as they are actively searching for a product or service. Display ads are great for top of the funnel awareness ads. Someone might not be actively searching but they might match some sort of in-market audience for your service. Video ads are similar to Display ads but more engaging.

Each campaign type has different targeting options that work best for them so you can reach the correct audience.

Out of respect for your time, we’re going to focus on Search ads for the rest of this — otherwise we could keep writing for a very long time.

Select your keywords

Now for a little background for how Google Search ads work. Google Search basically functions as a virtual auction house that takes milliseconds to happen. The items we are bidding on are actually search queries or keywords. Google looks at who is bidding and how much they are willing to bid on the keyword. They will also look at how relevant the keyword is to the ads and landing page of the bidders, as well as the history of the account bidding. There are several aspects at work to determine who wins which placement and how much they are going to pay for each click.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at keywords. To determine your keywords you’ll want to look back at the beginning: your audience, your goals. Choose keywords that your audience will be using that would lead them to make a conversion. If you’re selling shoes, you could choose the keyword “Shoes” or “Men’s Dress Shoes.” 

“Shoes” is much too broad a keyword. There is a chance someone will find your ad and convert using that term but it is much less likely than if you were using a more specific search term. You would also be competing with everyone else bidding for all types of shoes rather than the specific type of shoe you are trying to sell. Specific keywords tend to have lower costs per click due to the lower number of people searching for and bidding on the terms.

Compile a list of keywords by doing some research. Find out from your sales team which terms people use when looking for your service or look at your competitors for which terms they are using. Go to Google search and type in your service and see which terms are suggested by the autofill function.

Once you have your list you can dive in and determine your budget.

Determine your budget

Google Ads gives you access to Google Keyword Planner. This service lets you find other relevant keywords as well as gives you performance estimates for campaigns. 

Using all the information you’ve gathered up to this point, you can build out a hypothetical campaign to determine a good starting point for a budget. At this point you can add or remove keywords to make your campaign more effective.

Google breaks down your budget based on a daily spend, so you’ll have to determine how much you want to spend each day rather than a lump sum.

Keep in mind that setting a daily spend does not mean Google will stick exactly to that spend. If demand is not present, it’s unlikely you will reach that daily spend. If there is a lot of demand Google will spend up to twice your daily budget. Basically, keep an eye on your spend over time.

Organize Ad groups

Once you’ve got your list of keywords it’s important to organize them. Google likes ads, keywords and landing pages to be relevant to each other, giving their user the best experience possible. This will help you lower your cost per click and place higher in rankings.

Going back to the shoe example, you’ll want to organize by relevant terms like “Men’s Dress Shoes” and “Men’s Running Shoes.” They’re both shoes but obviously these would not be relevant enough to each other to share the same ad and landing page.

Try not to stuff as many keywords into an ad group as you can. It’s unlikely 50 keywords will all be relevant to each other. Sometimes you’ll find a single keyword in an ad group works best.

Create your ads

You’re all organized, you have your keywords and you know what you want your audience to do: let’s write some ads!

If you think you’re going to use this opportunity to write your ad copy War & Peace, you’re going to be disappointed. Google sets character limits on each line of copy. 30 characters for the headlines and 90 for the descriptions. This forces you to get straight to the point and say what’s most important to your audience. 

When writing your ads you’ll want to include your keywords to make them relevant to the ad group and landing page.  You’ll also want to include a call to action. You can start to see how it’s a tight squeeze at times.

Once you’ve created a solid ad, duplicate it and create a very similar ad with a minor change like a different call to action. This will help you A/B test ad copy to determine what is more effective for your audience.

Build Your Landing Page

For this activity you get to spend a little time away from the Google Ads account. The landing page is one of the most important aspects of a campaign since it’s where you are sending people to convert. Imagine telling someone they should buy a product at a certain shop but when they get there it’s a dilapidated shack in the middle of a swamp. Not good.

On the landing page you’ll want to include an effective call to action and an easy method for them to convert. All the relevant information should be included and should usher them towards your goal whether that be a contact form or a product purchase. There should be as few hinderances as possible. 

Your chosen keywords should also be included so Google knows the page has remained relevant. They don’t want their users going to some random page. That would hurt their user experience, reduce the likelihood of someone using Google, and ultimately lower the amount of money they can make. Sometimes to understand something it’s a good idea to understand how someone makes money from it.

Ongoing Tracking and Adjustments

You’ve researched your audience, determined your goals, created a landing page and built the solid foundation of a campaign. So you’re all done right? 


The real work comes with ongoing optimization to reduce your cost per click, raise your ad placement, test your copy, discover new keywords or add negative keywords (geez, I didn’t even touch upon negative keywords).

Much like search engine optimization, pay per click advertising is never done. It may get results faster than SEO but it’s a never-ending endeavor.

Let’s Do Some Advertising!

Now that you’ve read this article. You’ve read all of this, right? You didn’t just skip to the bottom? Okay, good.

Now that you’ve read this article you can try your hand at creating your own Google Ads and see if it’s an avenue worth exploring.

Need some help? We’re here if you need us.

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