How to Create a Google Adwords Search Campaign that Matches Your Small Business

If you’re a small business, you’ve likely thought through trying out AdWords to market your products or services. However, with a platform that constantly changes and so many options, it can be hard to not feel overwhelmed.

Google AdWords has gone through some major updates for 2018, including the ability to further customize your targeting and date through expanded ad reports, better A/B testing for ad variations, and more accurate customer match options, according to AdEspresso (and if you want to track what the AdWords updates were each month they occurred, this Google support article breaks it down).

Why should I use an AdWords Search Campaign?

These updates are great for small businesses because even though they seem complicated, they really give business owners the opportunity to take more control over their campaigns. Being able to fine-tune campaigns with additional settings can help small businesses save money and ensure their ad costs are actually going toward ads that will increase revenue.

Below are some of the basics of creating new AdWords search campaigns in the new interface, with some additional resources so you can learn more.

Creating a Search Campaign

AdWords campaigns are the top-level project that all ads will be housed in. Some marketers just have one campaign for their business (if they aren’t running a large ad budget), while others prefer to break it down by product or service.

  • Campaign Type: There are five types of campaigns: search, display, shopping, video, and universal app. Each of these has their own purpose and rules. This article will just be covering search types.
  • Campaign Settings: After you select your campaign type, you can select a goal for your campaign: sales, leads, or website traffic. You can also create a campaign without a goal, but the above options introduce some recommended settings and features that make setup easier and saves time.
  • Name: The name of your campaign should be as clear as possible to everyone, not just the person setting it up. Take the time to clearly name all campaigns, ad groups, and ads.
  • Devices: This allows you to select which user devices your ad will be shown on. You may want to only do mobile phones for one campaign, for instance, if you’re creating ads that are trying to drive foot traffic into one of your local stores.
  • Location: You can narrow down who sees your ads down to the zip code. When you type in a zip code, AdWords tells you approximate reach of that location, which is about how many people live or use Google in that area. You can add multiple targeted locations.

  • Budget: You have total control over how much is spent each day. Google takes this number and multiplies it by the number of days in each month to get an average. They will never go over the monthly amount (which is the daily maximum amount x how many days in that month).
  • Bid Strategy: If you selected a goal at the beginning of the campaign setup, you will get some recommended options here. You can change them or click on the grey question mark icons to learn more about each field. Google also has “Learn more” boxes on the right side that can take you into more in-depth options.

  • Ad Extensions: These are additional information about your ad or business and are free to use. Google has an explainer video and article about why extensions can help increase click-through rate and campaign visibility. As you create extensions, you have the opportunity to view what it looks like with a preview.

  • Advanced Settings & End Date: If you don’t want your campaign to run continuously, you can also set an end date at the end of the campaign settings page. AdWords also allows you to select what times of day you want your campaign to run (which is helpful if you’re only open during specific hours or days).  You can also set tracking parameters to better showcase ad results in Google Analytics.

Campaign settings can be changed at any time. Once your campaign settings have been set, you can move on to creating the ad groups for the campaign.

Ad Group Creation

Within each campaign, there are ad groups. These are groups of ads that are usually based on targeted audience, CTA type (e.g. offering an ebook or free trial), or product or service. You can have multiple ad groups within each campaign, but it makes sense to keep them related, as they are part of a “parent” campaign.

Just like with campaigns, be sure to name your ad groups clearly. If you entered your main domain URL in the beginning of campaign set up, you’ll now see a box that suggests initial keywords for your campaign based on the domain. This can help you start your keyword lists.

Finding Keywords For Ad Groups

Within each ad group, you can set a keyword list that tells Google when to show your ads. Your keywords need to be relevant to the ad copy and should come across as misleading. You can do keyword research using third-party tools or Google’s Keyword Planner, which you must be signed into your AdWords account to use.  You can cross reference your findings from these tools with Google Trends, to see if certain keywords are currently more popular in searches than others.

Along with a list of “positive” keywords that you’re telling Google to show your ad for, you also need to submit a list of negative keywords. These are keywords that you don’t want your ad to show for. These could be spammy phrases, words that are sometimes used with your target keywords but aren’t related to your product, or banned words that the business isn’t allowed to use in their marketing campaigns.

Many marketers also include a stock list of negative keywords related to inappropriate or illegal topics, such as porn, pharmaceuticals, or profanity. Clix Marketing has a good stock negative keyword list, as does TechWyse.

Copywriting the Ad

Finally, ads are the last component of a campaign, organized by ad group. Ad groups can (and should) have several different ads in them, as Google automatically rotates through and then shows the best-performing ads more than the poor performers (unless you manually select that all ads must be shown equally).  It’s good to have multiple ads with different variations of the below lines to figure out what users find enticing.

  • Final URL: Where users go when they click on your ad. It needs to match what the ad is promoting to get a good relevancy score in AdWords (which affects when and how much your ad is shown).
  • Headline 1: The starting point of your main headline, which is in blue and clickable
  • Headline 2: This is a reinforcing statement for headline 1.
  • Display path: If your final URL is long, you can make up a cleaner URL for your ad. It must use the same root domain as the final URL and shouldn’t be misleading.
  • Description: This describes the offer in more detail.

All of the lines mentioned above have character limits. Be sure to follow these so your ad doesn’t get cut off.

The Final Prep

Once you have set up your campaign, Ad Groups, and ads, do a quick overview to make sure you aren’t missing anything. You can review your billing options, which includes how much you want to bid for each ad. This is how much money you’re willing to spend every time someone clicks on your ad (whether or not they buy something from you).

Before your ads launch, you’ll need to make sure you have billing set up as well. This is found under the wrench icon on the top right. You can use a bank account or credit card to pay.

While there is a lot more to AdWords than the basic setup we just walked through, the steps above will get you started with a small business campaign that can be targeted to your specific audience and goals.