How To Get Going On Google AdWords

May 27, 2015

So you just started a business, and you need customers, but how do you reach them? Flyers? Cold calls? What about the internet, specifically Google AdWords? You’ve surely heard of it, but what is AdWords, and how do you use it? I’m going to quickly break down what AdWords is, a good use case, and how to get setup so you’ll start bringing in the customers.

First off, let’s clear up some possible confusion between Google Ad Products. You’ve probably heard of Google AdSense, which is a way that people who own websites can have Google show ads on their website, and those people get paid to display those ads. Google AdWords, on the other hand, is a PPC platform, or pay-per-click. Pay Per Click advertising means just that, you pay for someone to click on your ad. You show your ad based on the keywords people use to search in Google. So if you sell cell phones, you could have your ads appear when people search for “buy a cell phone online”. There over 3.5 billion searches on Google a day, and odds are a few of those are related to your brand or product.

So how do you get started? First things first, you need an Adwords account. If you go to, you’ll be able to sign up. You’ll need a credit card to sign up, so make sure you’ve got that handy.

After you’ve signed up, the fun part begins – creating the campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and most importantly, ads. Let’s start off with something small, for this example let’s say I’m a small startup with some exposure, and I want to capitalize on that.

I could bid on people just searching for “phones”, which is a “non-brand” search, but the return on investment – what you get back on what you put in – isn’t always guaranteed, since the relevancy isn’t always there. It’s all about intent. With a branded search, you know that someone is searching for you specifically, usually to find out more, or to make a purchase. This is the same almost every day, and if they are searching for something else, it’s usually in the keyword, so you can control visibility for that, such as “company name reviews”. With non-brand search, while they are searching for something in your industry, they aren’t searching for you. It’s a potential gamble every time – as they might just be starting their search, comparing, or still unsure of what they want. Every time they click and it’s not what they want, that’s money lost. While non-brand is a great way to do branding, not everyone can afford to pay for things that don’t see an immediate return, which is one of the core principles of paid search.

Since I’m just starting out and have a limited budget, I’m going to bid on “branded” keywords, or searches that contain my company’s name. Branded campaigns are nearly a must for everyone, as they will always perform well and generate a high ROI, assuming your product/service offering allows for it.

As I said previously, this scenario is perfect for a “Branded” campaign, meaning all of the keywords have my brand name, “Widget Phones” in them. Let’s go ahead and create my campaign, we’ll call it “Branded – Widget Phones.” Click on the red +Campaign button to create a new campaign, and select “Search Network Only”.

I’m only targeting the US, and I’m making sure my ads rotate evenly since I’m going to test two versions. I only want this campaign to be on search, and only on Google, not the search partners.

Let’s set a budget of $20/day for now, with a $1.50 cost per click, meaning the most I’m willing to pay for someone to click on my ad is $1.50. Once that’s done, click “Save and Continue”.

Now it’s time to make the ad group. Ad groups contain the ads that will show and the keywords that will trigger them when someone searches for them. I’m going to call this Ad Group “Widget Phones”, so all the keywords should have “Widget Phones” in them.

Let’s write the ads. I’m going to write two – similar, but just different enough to test. It’s important to always be testing. All it takes is one key phrase to quickly increase clicks and subsequently conversions. I’m only going to show one in the example, but absolutely always write at least two – but don’t add too many, as there has to be enough traffic to support the data.

You’ll notice that Google shows two examples, a “Side ad” and a “Top ad”. Side ads show on the side of a search results page and are the most common. Top ads can show on the first three ad results if a search page has them. The Top ad brings the first description line up into the title assuming that description line has punctuation. It makes for a much more compelling ad.

Finally, let’s add keywords. Now Google has what’s called “match types”, or ways to match a keyword. There are four major match types: Broad, Exact, Phrase, and Broad Match Modifier.

  • Broad Match: Your ad could show for loosely-related searches to your keyword. If my keyword was “orange shoes”, I could appear on searches for “apple flip-flops”. Sometimes this is helpful in finding new customers, but it’s often an easy way to lose money.
  • Exact Match: My personal favorite, exact match means you only show for your term and close variations/misspelling. So if my keyword was “yellow pineapple”, I’m only going to show for “yellow pineapple”, but not if someone searches for “fresh yellow pineapple”.
  • Phrase Match: Phrase match is similar to exact match in that your keyword must be in the search term, but it can appear within a greater search term – it just has to be in order. So if my keyword is “blue baseball”, I’m eligible to show on “new blue baseball” or “blue baseball equipment”, but not for “blue brand baseball”, since my keyword wasn’t in order on that search.
  • Broad Match Modifier: A mixture of an exact and broad match, broad match modifier or BMM for short lets you bid on specific keywords with a greater flexibility, you just need to put “+” in front of each term. If my keyword was “+new +music +bands”, I could show for a “young music bands” or “new metal bands”. The ideas are broad, but they are much closely related.

Google has a much more detailed explanation of match types available here, but for now, I’m going to go ahead and add my terms. Since my brand isn’t that well known, I’ll keep it on BMM for now, to help capture people that might not remember my name entirely. I’ll also add more specific terms on exact match, just so I know that I’m reaching these people who clearly know me.

Now just for good measure, let’s add two ad extensions, site links, and callout extensions. Ad extensions are extra add-ons to your ad that can show to help provide a searcher with more information about you.

  • Sitelinks: Sitelink extensions are basically mini-ads. They have the same text limits (25 character headline, two 35 character descriptions, display and destination URL). Use these to send traffic to other parts of your website that you might not cover in the ad text, but may be relevant. Such as a FAQ, a Product Category, or more.
  • Callouts: Callout extensions are short, 25 character bullet points you can add beneath your ad. These are best used to showcase information that might not have a dedicated landing page, such as “Free Shipping” or “24/7 Support”.

Last but not least, let’s add conversion tracking. Click on “Tools”in the upper right corner, then “Conversions”.

Click on the red +Conversion button.

Then select your conversion type, I’m going to add the conversion to my thank you page, so I’ll select website.

Now let’s enter all the information. To make it easy, you can only purchase a phone from my website, and all the phones I sell are worth $100. I want to count all conversions, and this conversion type is a purchase. Finally, I do want the conversion to be eligible for optimization so that Google can find people likely to purchase my phones in the future if I choose that targeting, and have enough data.

Click “Save and Continue” and then you’ll be presented with the conversion code! Install it on your thank you page or wherever you send visitors after they complete an action, and you’ll be all set! Now you can track your return and goals versus your spend.

And that’s it! Now Google will review our account, usually within 24 hours, and we’ll start showing ads when people search for “Widget Phones”.

Unfortunately, with AdWords, there is a lot of “hurry up and wait”, as you’ve got to let the data come in so you can make informed decisions. Officially, Google says to wait about two weeks before you make any major changes, but depending on your spend and account activity, that can be longer or shorter.

In the meantime, why not learn more about writing good ad copy, and making sure you’re sending traffic to the most relevant landing pages as possible? I’ve gone ahead and compiled a few articles that really break down what makes up the perfect experience from the ad on.

AdWords Getting Started Guide
PPC Hero Beginner’s Guide
How to Create a Profitable AdWords Campaign

In the coming weeks, I’ll cover more about AdWords, so stay tuned. Do you plan to use AdWords to expand your marketing efforts? If so, let me know in the comments and we can talk strategy – I’m here to help!