How to Set Up a Google Adwords Account

Google Adwords is probably the most used PPC (pay per click) advertising platform. I am sure you have seen the ads in SERPs, on certain websites, on Youtube, and maybe even in your Gmail account. That’s Google Adwords (and AdSense) at work. Using Adwords is very lucrative due to the potential reach of millons of people every day but setting up an account can be a daunting task.

In this post, we will give you the basic run down of starting your Adwords account. Adwords is very complex and we will not be getting into it too much in this post, but following this guide will give you a good basic understanding of how Adwords works and how to get started.

Before you set up a Google Adwords account, it can he helpful to have the following ready:

  • A landing page (even better if its specifically for Adwords)
  • A researched keyword list of phrases you want to target
  • Copy for two ads 
  • A plan of what you want your adwords campaign to accomplish 

The first step is to go to Adwords and sign in using your Google account. Since this is for advertising, you should use the Google account you use for your business, not your personal one. If your business doesn’t  have a Google account, you can quickly make one.

After signing in, we see the following screen:

Click “Create your first campaign” to begin. This takes you to the first set up screen:

Campaign Name: You want the name to be descriptive and based on what it is you want to accomplish. if it is just for general or brand awareness advertising. at least include the type of network you will use. For example, for Growth Labs, we have Growth Labs Search (for the search network) and Hosting Campaign May 2015 (for our targeted hosting campaign.)

Type of Network: If this is your first time on Adwords, you should stick with Search Network Only. The Display Network is much harder to get results from and takes a bigger time investment. Search is a great place to get your feet wet with PPC. 

Devices: Keep this at Show On All by default. Mobile is increasingly becoming the main device people use to go online. Unless there is a specific reason why you do not want your ads to show on mobile, keep this as is. 

Location: Google will give you the options of your location or all locations. Additionally, you can select which locations you want to target with this campaign. This depends on the reach of your product or service. If your business only operates locally, you should pick your local area, and should find it in the list. If you are unsure what to pick, you can set it to what you want and change it later. Different campaigns can also have different locations, so if you want to target two different areas with completely different ads or keywords, that is possible too. You will need to create a seperate campaign for each area though. 

Once we finish here, we move on to the bottom part of the page:

Languages: Here you specify what languages you will be targeting in. We have chosen English here because our ads are going to be written in English, and we want to target English speaking people (who use Google in English) since most tech companies use English as their official corporate language. We still target our ads in non-English speaking countries, but our ads will only appear on sites that use English as a language. 

Bid Strategy: This is another complicated area, but for first time beginners you want to either set your bids manually or let Adwords do it. It really depends on how much control and time you have to manage your Adwords accounts, and how strict your budget is. If you want to learn by doing, or if your budget is tight, going for manual bids is best. Allowing Google to set your bids is not a bad idea if you don’t have time to micro-manage, but I have seen Google pushing over its allocated budget a few times, although not by a lot. 

Budget: Here you put in how much you want to spend a day on Adwords. Set it at whatever level you are comfortable or your budget allows. Generally, take how much you want to spend a month and then divide it by 30 and you should have your daily budget. Keep in mind that this is a required step before proceeding. 

Extensions: These are additional links on your ads to your site pages, location information, or links to allow people to call your business directly.They can be very useful and draw more traffic, however we can set these up later so skip this step for now. 

On to the next page, where we create our first ad group:

Ad Group Name: Ad groups contain ads and keywords centered around a similar topic. The more specific the better, and you can even have one ad group with one keyword and just one ad. Look at they keywords you want to target for and see if you can group some of them under one category. Don’t worry if there are only a handful of keywords. This will be your first ad group, so give it a name that is descriptive. One of our ad group names is “Premium WordPress Hosting”.

Next, we create our ad. We have limited space (25 characters for the headline, including spaces, 35 for the other lines). There are many tricks to create ads, but since this your first one, a few good general rules of thumb are to be descriptive, include the keywords in the headline if possible, and make sure the text on the ad is relevant to the search terms people will search for to trigger your ad. 

Display URL: This is the URL that is displayed on the ad, but not necessarily the actual URL that the customer will follow when they click the ad. Your display URL should be short and relevant to the keywords. For our premuim hosting campaign, our Display URL could be “”. This lets the user know what kind of page they will be going to. However, the domain of your display URL and Destination/Final URL must be the same.

Final or Destination URL: Destination URL will be retiring soon, so choose Final and put in the URL of the landing page that people will go to if they click on your ad. With the Final URL, you can also add any 3rd party tracking parameters. 

Eventhough Adwords give you previews of the ads on the right hand side, it does not necessarily mean that is how your ads will look. 

At the beginning of the post, I said that it would be helpful to have copy for two ads. Having two ads (you can create the second one later after we finish setting up the account) allows you to compare two different versions of copy. From this, you can see what kind of messaging is more effective for your ad campaign and target audience, write a new ad, and keep testing to better fine tune your messaging. 

Almost done. The last part of an Adwords campaign is your keyword list. 

 You have your keyword list prepared, right? If not, then brainstorm 10-12 phrases users may use when searching for your product or service. Keep them related around your ad group topic. Consistency and relevance across the keyword, search term, the ad, and the landing page  is very important. 

There are a few different match types you can use with keywords. For your first ad group, using broad match will be enough to see how the system works after a day or two. That being said, using the different match types effectively is key to getting the most out of your Adwords campaigns. Here is a good run down from Google’s answers page, in case you are feeling adventurous:

After you have inserted your keywords, the next step is sorting out the billing. Once you complete that step, you will be in charge of your very own Google Adwords Campaign.