How To Set Up Your First Google Adwords Campaign


AdWords is Google’s online advertising platform – a quick and easy way for you to get your website in front of your customers. As with all advertising, it comes at a cost, but by taking some simple steps you can create a cost-effective campaign to bring in targeted traffic.

Step 1: Research – What Do You Want to Advertise?

Whether you offer several products and services or just one, decide now what you want to advertise. When you’re starting out it’s wise to keep things simple: Just promote your most profitable product or service – it’s the most likely to give you the best return on investment.

Now brainstorm the types of words and phrases that people might use to describe what you’re offering. Put these into the free Google keyword tool to find a list of phrases that someone might use to find you. Make a note of these; you’ll need them when you create your campaign.

Try Googling some of the phrases (AKA keywords) that you’ve discovered. You’re checking for two things:

  1. Does Google show businesses like mine when I search?
  2. What wording is used in the ads (particularly the ads at the top of the search results)?

If you see completely irrelevant websites in the search, potentially the keyword isn’t worth bidding on for you. If you see ads from businesses like yours, write down any good phrases that you might be able to use.

Now describe who might buy from you and what motivates them: Do your clients live or work within 10 miles of your business? Are they enthusiastic about your friendly service or do they care about affordable packages?

You should now have a clear idea about what you want to advertise, the words potential clients will use to find you and what kind of ads they are likely to respond to.

Step 2: Getting Set Up on AdWords

Creating the account is perhaps the easiest step. Go to and follow the instructions.

At the end of the process, you have the option to sign into your AdWords account, go ahead and do this. You’ll be taken to a welcome screen where you can create your first campaign.

Step 3: Create Your Campaign

In your AdWords account you can have several campaigns. You can make a number of choices at campaign level:

  • Your daily budget.
  • The geographic location you want your ads to show in.
  • The devices (computer, tablet or mobile phone) you want your ads to show on.
  • Whether you want your ads to display just on Google search or on other sites too.

In your campaign you have multiple ad groups. These ad groups should contain closely related keywords and ads that relate specifically to those keywords.

Start with a basic campaign that shows your adverts on Google search – you can learn how to do more complicated campaigns once this is up and running.

So create your campaign using the following settings:


Search Network only – All features


Google Search – untick the box “Include search partners”


All available devices


Click “Let me choose…” and type in the area you want to target, e.g. United Kingdom, England or Manchester. If you want to target people in a number of areas, keep using the search box to add extra places.



Bidding option

I’ll manually set my bids for clicks. This means is that you can choose how much you want to pay for each keyword. So if you find one sends lots of customers to you, you can bid more without affecting your other bids.


Choose a sensible budget based on how much you can afford to pay for advertising.

Advanced settings – keyword matching options

Do not include close variants.

Step 4: Create Your Ad Group(s)

You have already gathered together a list of keywords that you want to bid on – so that your ads can appear in the search results. We now need to decide what keywords belong together in a group.

Before you start filling in your ad and keywords as Google is guiding you to do, take a minute to organise the keywords into related groups. If you are an accountant, your keyword list might look like this:

Small business accountant

Accountants in Nottingham

Accounting services for small businesses

Nottingham accountants

Small business accounting

Accounting Nottingham

These keywords can easily be split into two key concepts – Nottingham Accountants and Small Business Accountants. So we would need two ad groups, one for each concept, that contain the relevant keywords.

The reason that we don’t put all keywords into a single ad group is so that you can write a really compelling ad that speaks to potential clients. In the example above, not all of your small business clients will be based in Nottingham and vice versa.

Note, if you only have a small number of closely related keywords in your list, you may only need one ad group.

So, now we can get to work, and first you need to write your ad. Use what you learned in your earlier research, combined with your keywords in the ad.

Don’t worry about writing the perfect ad now: you can test different ideas to find what works. If you’re stuggling for inspiration, try these tips on writing successful ads.

Now paste your keywords into the ad group. At this point, you only want your ad to appear when someone types exactly your keyword into Google. Use square brackets around the keywords to tell Google this.

E.g.:         [Nottingham accountants]

[Accounting Nottingham]

And finally, set a default bid – this is how much you want to pay for clicks on your ad for that group of keywords.

Set a figure that you’re happy with. If you only make £10 from selling your product, it isn’t sensible to pay £1 for every click. However if you make £1000, you can probably afford to bid that much – or more!

This bid is not set in stone – you can make adjustments if you find you find you’re paying too much or too little.

You now have the option to either go straight to billing information or to create more ad groups. Ideally you should create as many ad groups as you need, then enter your payment information.

And now you have your first AdWords campaign up and running. Creating a great AdWords campaign isn’t complicated, but to make the most of it, make sure you put some thought into it so that you know you’re really paying for potential customers to see your ads.

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Take some time today to identify if Google Adwords could work for your business and plan your first campaign.