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Setting up your first Google Ads campaign from start to finish

Google Ads is a powerful advertising platform that allows businesses to reach potential customers when they are actively searching for products or services related to their business. It’s truly second-to-none when it comes to levels of intent, relevance and measurability. But we understand that getting started with Google Ads can be truly overwhelming, especially for marketers who are new to the platform. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up your first Google Ads campaign!


Step 1: Define your campaign goal

Before you start setting up your campaign, you need to define your campaign goal. This will help you determine the type of campaign you should create, the targeting options you should use, and the metrics you should track. Your campaign goal could be to drive website traffic, generate leads, increase sales, or build brand awareness.


Quick tip from me: I highly recommend being KPI-driven in whatever campaign goal you select. This means always considering the bottom line of your business. If you’re an eCommerce store – this will be sales and revenue. If you’re a Solicitor’s office – this may be leads (people filling in your contact form). Always make your ads trackable and driven towards these bottom-line goals!


objectives google ads


Step 2: Create your campaign

To create your campaign, log in to your Google Ads account, and click on the “+” button to create a new campaign. Choose the campaign type that aligns with your campaign goal. Google Ads offers various campaign types, including Search, Display, Video, Shopping, and App campaigns. When considering running Google ads, most of us will be thinking about Google Search ads. However, be aware of the other campaign types and how they could benefit your business. If you’re an eCommerce store, we recommend running a mix of Shopping, Search and Display. Actually, Google ads has a really great campaign type called Performance Max that is a mix of Search, Display, Shopping, Video and Discovery that we find works incredibly well!


campaign create google ads


Step 3: Set up your campaign settings

Once you’ve chosen your campaign type, you’ll need to set up your campaign settings. This includes choosing your campaign name, selecting your target location, setting your daily budget, and choosing your bidding strategy. Your bidding strategy will determine how you pay for your ads, and it’s important to choose the right strategy based on your campaign goal.


Quick tip from me: We always recommend separating different target locations into different campaigns! So, if you’re targeting the UK and Ireland, have two different campaigns for these. This helps your control how much budget you’re investing in separate markets.


Step 4: Conduct keyword research

Keyword research is an essential part of setting up your Google Ads campaign. It involves identifying the search terms that your potential customers are using to find products or services related to your business. You can use various tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, to conduct keyword research. When conducting keyword research, focus on relevance, search volume, and competition. Choose keywords that are relevant to your business, have high search volume, and low competition.


Google keyword planner


Step 5: Create your ad groups

Once you’ve identified your keywords, you’ll need to create your ad groups. Ad groups are a collection of ads that are targeted to a specific set of keywords. Group your keywords into themes and create ad groups around those themes. This will help you create more targeted ads that are relevant to your potential customers.


Quick tip from me: Make sure your “themes” all have the same levels of intent and meaning. So, for example, you can group “solicitors NI” and “lawyers NI” into the same adgroup.  However, you shouldn’t group “marriage counselling NI” and “debt recovery solicitor NI” into the same ad group. They have two very different meanings in terms of what the user wants to see advertised!


Step 6: Write your ads

The next step is to write your ads. Your ad copy should be engaging, relevant, and compelling. It should include your primary keyword and a strong call-to-action. Google Ads allows you to create different types of ads, including text ads, image ads, and video ads. Your campaign type will dictate the type of ad you will be creating. However, for Display and Search, Responsive type ads are the format you’ll get used to seeing.

Responsive ads allow you to fill in a number of headlines and descriptions that will rotate automatically into different combinations. Make sure you include your target keywords in your themes a couple of times in your headlines and at least once in your descriptions to make your ads relevant for users. After that, try and rotate in some unique selling points about your business. You should always be aiming for a score of “Excellent”!


Responsive search ad creation


google responsive ad preview in google ads platform


Step 7: Launch your campaign

Once you’ve created your ad groups and written your ads, you’re ready to launch your campaign. Before you launch your campaign, make sure to review your settings, keywords, and ads to ensure they are aligned with your campaign goal.

In conclusion, setting up your first Google Ads campaign can be a daunting task, but by following these steps, you can create a campaign that’s aligned with your campaign goal and targeted to your potential customers. Remember to conduct keyword research, create targeted ad groups, and write compelling ad copy. With the right strategy and optimisation, Google Ads can be a powerful tool for driving traffic, generating leads, and increasing sales for your business.

Picture of Meghan Semple

Meghan Semple

I'm Digital 24's Performance Marketing Director. My bread and butter's in advertising on channels like Facebook and Google as well as others like TikTok, Pinterest and LinkedIn... However, I'm quite a data-driven person and love chatting all-things tracking, analytics and even some SEO!