How to kick-start your first Google Ads campaign: FAQ and step by step guide

Who’s in for a quick Q/A session? Paid advertising is hands down something everyone who wants to grow their business should know their way around.Β 

If you are just getting started with Google Ads, here you will find answers to the question you have -or are going to have- and a step by step guide to setting up your first campaign.


If you wouldn’t call yourself a beginner, and you already went through the ins and outs of setting up your account and your first ads, no worries, we have something for you as well. We gathered some more in-depth frequently asked questions and had our very own head of growth Gijs answering them for you. So if you are a rookie that’s great, we will be starting from the very beginning, but if your ads are up and running you can click on this link and take a look at some expert advice.Β 

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1. Frequently asked questions

  • What is Google Ads?

You might have known it as Google Adwords, Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google.Β 

  • How is SEA different from SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s about improving your website to drive more and better traffic and make it more visible on search engines. SEA stands for search engine advertising, and this last word points out to the main difference: paid advertising. SEA means you have to pay for each click on your search engine ad. Long story short, SEO is about bringing clients to your website, SEA brings your website to clients.

  • Is Google Ads free?

Setting up a google ads account itself is free, the amount you’ll spend on it depends on multiple factors, from geotargeting to the type of keywords you choose. Bad news is, there is no easy answer, but what’s great is that you can easily control your daily budget and set a maximum amount you are willing to pay for each keyword.

  • How does Google Ads work?

The idea behind Google Ads is simple, you bid on keywords so that your ads will show on search results. Of course, you are not the only one wanting that, it will be your ad rank helping Google decide which ads will show and in what order. Your ad rank determines how many times your ads get shown, on which position, and how much you have to pay when users search your keywords.

  • How does Google determine my ad rank?

When assessing your ad rank, Google takes into account three variables:

1. Bid

Β Keywords run on a bidding system, an auction, your bid is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a keyword in order for your ads to show when someone searches it. Whenever someone types in one of the keywords you are bidding on, your ad shows up and if the searcher clicks on it, you pay for the click.Β 

2. Quality ad score

How to compete against big companies when you’re a small business on a budget then? Well, it is not about bidding for the most popular keyword, but the most relevant for your ad. On top of that Google also takes into account the quality of the landing page the advertisement links to. The quality score is measured based on three variables, CTR, landing page performance, and ad relevance. Higher quality ads mean lower prices and better ad positions.

3. Ad extensions

Every additional information you add to your ad, from phone numbers to extra links to make your ad even more relevant to the search term will contribute to your ad rank.

Hands-on: how to set up a campaign

Creating a campaign on Google Ads consists of a four steps process: you start with defining the campaign settings, then the ad groups, the third step is creating the actual ads and, last but not least, reviewing it all.

1. Campaign

  • Click on the + button to add a new campaign
  • Select the goal: choose between sales, leads, website traffic, product and brand consideration, brand awareness and reach, app promotion, or you can also proceed with no defined goal at all if you’re not sure yet.
  • Choose a type of campaign: search, display, shopping, video, smart, discovery. A search campaign means your ad will appear on the search results page and it is always a good starting point.
  • Give your campaign a name, you are going to have more than one campaign eventually, so try to be specific.
  • Choose the network: search or display. Selecting a search network means your ad will be shown to users searching for terms relevant to your keywords, the display network means you expand your reach to relevant users that are browsing the internet.
  • Audience and targeting: you will be asked to select the language, the locations to include or exclude, and you will also be able to target specific audiences (based on interests or activity on your website)
  • Budget and bidding: decide your daily budget and how you want to bid. There are many available options, Google will recommend what they think it’s the best one or the one that suits your goals better. For example, if you previously set website traffic as a goal, the recommended bid strategy will be “maximise clicks”, to get you the most clicks within your average daily budget. Personally, we tend to prefer the old fashioned, manual bidding way, that allows you to set a maximum cost per click bid limit.
  • Finally, add your extensions are every additional info to your ad, they can get you a 15% higher click-through rate, extra business information, links, phone numbers, and more.

2. Ad group level

  • Choose an ad group nameΒ 
  • Start adding keywords, you can even paste in your website or a competitor’s to get relevant keywords ideas.

3. Ads

  • Time to put to good use your copywriting skills, headlines, and descriptions. Careful for the number of characters allowerΓ¬d, 30 for the headlines, and 90 for the descriptions. The number of headlines and descriptions varies depending on what type of ads you are running (text or expanded).

4. Review

In the review section, you will have the chance to make changes and fix eventual mistakes.Β Save and continue, your campaign is good to go!

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Your ads are now up and running, but there will always be room for improvement so make sure to check them regularly, exclude irrelevant terms, add new keywords, and change the bid according to your needs and how the keywords are performing. Still have questions about the type of ads you should run, or the bidding strategy to adopt? Click the link below to get some expert advice!

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