Are you eager to dive into the world of Google Advertising but feeling a bit overwhelmed by the initial setup process? You’re not alone. This comprehensive guide aims to walk you through setting up your Google Ads account, one step at a time. By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to kickstart your advertising journey.

What Do You Need to Start with Google Ads?

Initiating your Google Ads journey can be both exciting and overwhelming. To simplify the process and set you on the path to success, there are several essentials you’ll need in place. These go beyond just having a Google account; they involve elements that can profoundly impact your advertising efforts.

A Google Account

To use any of Google’s services, including Google Ads, you’ll need a Google Account. If you don’t have one yet, create an account that will be dedicated to managing your advertising activities. This is particularly important for businesses, as sharing your personal Google Account for professional services is not advisable.

Clear Understanding of Your Marketing Goals

Why are you advertising? Is it to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or increase sales? Your objectives will dictate your advertising strategy, from the type of campaigns you run to the key performance indicators (KPIs) you focus on. Hence, clarity in goals is indispensable.

A Fully-Optimized Website

While Google Ads can drive traffic to your website, it can’t control what happens once visitors arrive. A slow, outdated, or difficult-to-navigate website can quickly deter potential customers, wasting your ad spend. Make sure your website is optimized for user experience and conversions.

Billing Information

To activate your Google Ads account, you’ll need to set up billing information. This includes choosing your currency and adding a payment method like a credit card, debit card, or bank account details. Keep in mind that some payment methods might not be available in all countries.

A Competitive Analysis

Understanding what your competitors are doing can offer valuable insights. You might discover keyword opportunities you haven’t thought of or identify gaps in your offering that you can exploit. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you understand the competitive landscape.

Initial Keyword List

Google Ads primarily operates on keywords. Therefore, it’s crucial to start with a list of keywords that potential customers might use to find your product or service. This list will help guide your initial campaigns and can be refined as you gain more data.

Basic Understanding of Google Ads and GMB Integration

Since you’ll likely be linking your Google Ads and Google My Business accounts, having a foundational understanding of how these two platforms can complement each other is beneficial. We’ll delve into this later in the guide.

By assembling these prerequisites, you’ll put yourself in a robust position to launch your Google Ads account effectively and efficiently.

How Do You Create a Google Ads Account?

Creating a Google Ads account is your first step into the world of Google Advertising. While it may seem straightforward, each aspect of the setup has its importance, and getting it right can save you both time and resources in the long run. So let’s break down each step in detail:

Step 1: Visit the Google Ads Homepage

Navigate to the Google Ads homepage and look for the “Start now” button usually located at the top right corner of the page. If you already have a Google Account, you can use that to sign in. If not, you’ll have the option to create a new account. Remember, it’s generally a good idea to have a dedicated Google Account for your professional activities.

Step 2: Choose Your Main Advertising Goal

Before diving into the nitty-gritty, Google Ads will prompt you to select a main advertising goal such as “Get more calls,” “Get more website sales or sign-ups,” or “Get more visits to your physical location.” Your selection here will tailor the platform’s recommendations as you proceed.

Step 3: Provide Business Information

Next, you’ll be asked to input some basic business information, such as your business name and website URL. If you don’t have a website, Google Ads offers a simple website builder tool that can help you create one in a jiffy. However, for most businesses, having a fully-optimized website is generally a better option.

Step 4: Configure Your Account Settings

Now you’ll delve into the technical side. You’ll be prompted to configure various settings like your time zone, currency preference, and billing information. These settings are critical because they affect how your reports are generated and how you’re billed. Ensure that your time zone and currency align with your business operations to avoid confusion later on.

Step 5: Add Payment Information

To kickstart your campaigns, you’ll need to input your payment information. This will often involve adding a credit or debit card, though other payment options like direct bank transfers or PayPal may be available depending on your location.

Step 6: Review and Confirm

Before you proceed, Google Ads will summarize the information you’ve provided. This is your opportunity to double-check everything and ensure that it aligns with your advertising goals. Once you’re satisfied, go ahead and confirm.

Step 7: Create Your First Campaign

With your account now set up, you’ll be prompted to create your first ad campaign. This involves choosing your campaign type, target audience, budget, and more. But don’t worry, we’ll cover these details in upcoming sections of this guide.

Step 8: Tutorial and Support Options

Google Ads provides an array of tutorials and customer support options. Make sure to skim through these resources as they will offer a helping hand, especially if you’re new to the platform.

By following these steps meticulously, you’ll have laid a solid foundation for your Google Ads endeavors, positioning you to optimize for success in your future campaigns.

How Do You Link Google Ads and Google My Business?

For businesses targeting local customers, linking your Google Ads and Google My Business accounts is a no-brainer. By doing so, you can show location extensions on your ads, making it easier for potential customers to find your business location, read reviews, or contact you directly. Let’s break down the process for linking these two accounts step-by-step:

Step 1: Log Into Your Google Ads Account

Begin by logging into your Google Ads account. If you’ve been following this guide, you should already have one set up. Navigate to the dashboard, which serves as your command center for all things related to Google Advertising.

Step 2: Access the ‘Extensions’ Tab

Once you’re in your Google Ads dashboard, locate the ‘Ads & extensions’ option on the side menu. From there, click on the ‘Extensions’ tab.

Step 3: Select ‘Location Extensions’

You’ll see various types of extensions here, but for linking GMB, you’re interested in ‘Location Extensions.’ Click on the blue plus sign (+) and then choose ‘Location Extensions.’

Step 4: Sign in to Your GMB Account

A prompt will appear asking you to sign into the Google My Business account you wish to link. Use the credentials for your GMB account to sign in.

Step 5: Choose the Appropriate Business Location

After signing in, you’ll see a list of business locations registered under your GMB account. Select the location(s) you want to link to your Google Ads account.

Step 6: Review and Complete

Before you complete the process, Google Ads will offer a summary of the locations you’ve chosen to link. Double-check to make sure everything is accurate, and then click ‘Done.’

Step 7: Verify the Link

A successful link should result in your location information appearing in the ‘Location Extensions’ tab under ‘Ads & extensions.’ If everything looks good, you’ve successfully linked your Google Ads and Google My Business accounts.

Bonus: Utilize Advanced Features

Linking your accounts unlocks a variety of features like local search ads on Google Maps, which can direct potential customers straight to your location. You can also show your business ratings on your ads, which can significantly increase click-through rates.

By completing these steps, you’ve successfully linked your Google Ads and Google My Business accounts, enabling you to deploy more targeted and effective local advertising campaigns. It’s a simple yet transformative way to make your advertising spend go much further.

What are the Best Practices for Account Structure?

A well-organized Google Ads account structure isn’t just about neatness; it’s about effectiveness and ROI. A disorganized account can lead to misplaced ads, poor targeting, and ultimately wasted spend. So, let’s delve into the best practices for setting up a robust Google Ads account structure that serves your specific needs.

Segment Campaigns by Objectives

It’s a best practice to separate your campaigns based on your different marketing objectives, such as brand awareness, lead generation, or sales. This makes it easier to allocate budget and assess performance for each of your goals.

Use Descriptive Naming Conventions

A clear naming convention helps you quickly identify what each campaign, ad group, or ad is aiming to achieve. For instance, rather than naming a campaign “Campaign 1,” name it “Summer_Sale_Shoe_Products.” This makes navigating your account much easier.

Create Themed Ad Groups

Under each campaign, create ad groups that are closely related in theme. This allows you to write highly targeted ads for each group of keywords, which can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR) and lower costs-per-click (CPC).

Implement SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Groups)

Some advertisers swear by the practice of using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs). This involves creating an individual ad group for each keyword you’re targeting. While this may not be practical for all advertisers, it allows for a high degree of control and relevance.

Geographic and Demographic Segmentation

Use Google Ads’ geographic and demographic targeting features to your advantage. If you have a local business, don’t waste money targeting the entire country. Similarly, if your products or services are targeted towards a specific age group or gender, make sure to set these demographics in your campaign settings.

Leverage Ad Extensions

Ad extensions provide additional information and more reasons for people to choose your business. Make sure you’re using all the relevant ad extensions including site link, callout, and structured snippet extensions. When linked with Google My Business, location extensions can also be particularly beneficial.

Negative Keywords are Your Friends

Don’t overlook the importance of negative keywords. These prevent your ads from showing on irrelevant queries, helping you to avoid wasted spend. Update your list of negative keywords regularly.

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile search is a significant part of Google’s query volume. Make sure your campaigns are optimized for mobile, from your ad copy and extensions to your landing pages.

Monitor and Adjust Regularly

Even the best account structure will need tweaks and adjustments. Regularly review your account’s performance, keeping an eye on metrics like CTR, CPC, and Conversion Rate. Make data-driven adjustments as needed.

By adhering to these best practices, you’ll not only set up an efficient account structure but also lay the groundwork for more effective campaigns. An organized Google Ads account is easier to navigate, simpler to optimize, and, most importantly, more likely to achieve your marketing goals.

How Do You Set Your Budget and Bidding Strategy?

Determining your budget and bidding strategy is a bit like setting the table stakes in a high-stakes game of poker; if you play your cards right, you could reap significant rewards. Let’s break down how to approach this critical step in your Google Ads journey.

Understand Your Marketing Goals

Before you set a budget or select a bidding strategy, you need to understand what you’re hoping to achieve with your Google Ads campaigns. Are you looking for brand awareness, lead generation, or direct sales? Your goals will directly influence how much you’re willing to invest and the way you’ll manage your bids.

Calculate Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Knowing how much a customer is worth to your business over the long term (CLV) and how much you’re willing to spend to acquire a new customer (CPA) can guide your budgeting decisions. A common rule of thumb is to ensure that your CPA is lower than your CLV.

Decide on a Daily or Monthly Budget

Google Ads allows you to set either a daily or monthly budget for each campaign. Your daily budget is the average amount you’re willing to spend per day over a month. Your monthly budget is calculated by multiplying your daily budget by the average number of days in a month (30.4).

Choose a Bidding Strategy Aligned with Your Goals

Google Ads offers various bidding strategies, each suited to different types of campaigns:

  1. Manual CPC: Gives you control over your cost-per-click (CPC) but requires ongoing adjustments.
  2. Automated Strategies: Includes options like Maximize Clicks, Target CPA, and Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), which automate the bidding process based on your objectives.
  3. Enhanced CPC: A hybrid approach that lets you set your CPC but allows Google to adjust your bid automatically to maximize conversions.
  4. Portfolio Bids: Allows you to set the same bid strategy across multiple campaigns, ad groups, or keywords.
  5. Competitive Bidding: Bidding strategies like Target Impression Share can help you win the ad auction and display your ads more prominently.

Test, Measure, and Adjust

Once your bidding strategy is in place, closely monitor your campaign’s performance. Key metrics to look at include Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, Average Cost Per Click (CPC), and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Based on these metrics, you can tweak your bidding strategy for optimal performance.

Consider Seasonality and Trends

Keep an eye on external factors like seasonality, industry trends, and economic conditions that might affect search volumes and costs. Adjust your budget and bids accordingly to take advantage of high-volume periods or to conserve budget during slow times.

Leverage Google’s Recommendations

Google Ads provides a ‘Recommendations’ tab that uses machine learning to suggest various ways to optimize your budget and bidding strategy. While these should not replace manual oversight, they can provide valuable insights.

By comprehensively understanding your goals, calculating key financial metrics, and continually monitoring and adjusting your campaigns, you can set a budget and bidding strategy that will optimize your Google Ads performance. Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing professional, these tips will help you maximize the ROI of your Google Advertising efforts

Frequently Asked Questions on Setting Up Your Google Ads Account

What Do I Need to Start a Google Ads Account?

You’ll need a Google account, a website for your business, and a clear understanding of your advertising objectives. Knowing your target audience, geographic location, and advertising budget will also be helpful. Learn more about the basic requirements from Google’s own Getting Started Guide.

How Can I Choose the Right Keywords?

Keyword research is crucial for Google Ads success. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to find relevant and cost-effective keywords. You should consider both short-tail and long-tail keywords.

What’s the Difference Between Search and Display Campaigns?

Search campaigns show your ads on the Google Search results page when someone searches for your keywords. Display campaigns show your ads on a network of over 2 million websites and apps. For an in-depth comparison, check out this article on WordStream.

How Do I Link My Google Ads and Google My Business (GMB) Accounts?

Linking these accounts improves local advertising. In Google Ads, go to the ‘Linked accounts’ option, find Google My Business, and follow the linking steps.

Can I Set a Limit on My Spending?

Yes, you can set daily or monthly budgets to manage your ad spend effectively. Budget settings can be adjusted at any time.

How Do Automated Bidding Strategies Work?

Automated bidding strategies like Maximize Clicks or Target CPA allow Google’s algorithm to adjust your bids in real-time.

Is It Necessary to Include Negative Keywords?

Absolutely, negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for irrelevant searches. This saves you money and improves click quality.

How Do I Measure the Success of My Campaign?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) like Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, and Average Cost-Per-Click (CPC) are important.

Can I Run Multiple Campaigns Simultaneously?

Yes, you can run multiple campaigns, each with its own budget and settings.

What if My Ads Aren’t Performing Well?

If your campaigns are not yielding desired results, consider adjusting your keywords, ad copy, or bidding strategy.


Now that you have a strong foundation in setting up your Google Ads account, the next logical step is to delve into campaign structures and types. Stay tuned for our next guide, “3. Campaign Structures and Types,” to further your Google Advertising journey.

Roger Lopez
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