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How to Use AdWords

AdWords is perhaps the single most widely used online advertising platform. Luckily, this process does not require a lot of technical knowledge.

AdWords is perhaps the single most widely used online advertising platform. And for good reason: When a campaign is set up properly, the pay-per-click traffic you get is almost like a license to print money. Luckily, this process does not require a lot of technical knowledge. With a little coaching, AdWords is easy to use.

Here’s EverSparks easy-start guide to setting up your AdWords account and launching your first campaign.

Getting Started with AdWords

The first thing you’ll need to do is create an AdWords account. Google has an easy start up you can find here. You will need a Google/Gmail username to do this; it’s fine to use whatever account you already have. If you are signed up for Google My Business, you should use the same account you use for that.

Signing up for AdWords (and getting a Google account) is free.

Setting Up Your First Campaign

When you first log in to AdWords, it can seem a little overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. You can follow these steps in order to get your first campaign up and running.

1. Campaigns and Ad Groups

First, you’ll want to decide how to organize the ads you’ll run. Google does this at two levels:

  • Campaigns
  • Ad Groups

A campaign is a broad category of ads that all support a single overall marketing drive. An ad group is a set of ads within that group. You can up to 1,000 campaigns and many ad groups within each one.

Be thoughtful in how you organize these. Many AdWords newbies make the mistake of setting up a new campaign for every ad they want to run. But in AdWords, you set your budget by campaign, not by ad. So grouping ads together sensibly into a single campaign will save you a lot of leg work.

Generally, choose high-level criterion to structure campaigns, such as region or product group. If one section of your website sells shoes, for example, create a single campaign called Shoes.

Within that campaign, create as many ad groups as you want for men’s shoes, women’s shoes, Nike, etc.

2. Keywords and Negative Keywords

Each ad you run will be tied to a specific keyword. In other words, when people search for that keyword, they will see your ad. That’s why it’s important to choose keywords well.

If you haven’t done keyword research yet, see our complete guide here. Expect that your top keywords for SEO purposes will also, in most cases, be your top AdWords keywords.

But you should also set negative keywords. Negatives keywords tell Google when not to show your ad. For example, let’s say your company sells IT and you choose “servers” as a keyword. You wouldn’t want waiters to find you when they’re searching for “server jobs,” so you would would add “jobs” as a negative keyword.

Note that your price per click will be determined based on the keywords you choose.

3. Targeting 

First, AdWords allows you to target geographically by city, region or country. As a rule of thumb, target these the same way you target your SEO. If you try to attract searchers in Omaha, you’ll want to show ads there too.

Additionally, you have three targeting options:

  • Search Network. Your ads will appear beside search results.
  • Display Network. Your ads appear as display ads in Google’s network of partner websites. Ads appear only for users who have searched for your keywords.
  • Retargeting. Ads appear for users who have previously been to your site.

Search and Display can be used individually or in tandem. It makes sense to try both and see which gives you more results. Sometimes it may make sense to use only the Display Network, and not appear in search results at all — such as if you already top the organic results for a keyword.

4. Match Types

Last, you’ll need to set what kind of match type you’re looking for. This means how closely a user’s search term matches your keyword before it triggers your ad. Options include:

  • Exact match. Your ad only shows if the user’s search exactly matches your keyword. Note that exact here isn’t quite exact: “frisbee” and “frisbees” are exact matches. So are “play online games” and “playing online games.”
  • Broad match. Your ad also shows for similar keywords such as common misspellings, synonyms, and related keywords.
  • Broad match modifier. Perhaps the best way to explain this one is with Google’s own example: if your keyword is “women’s hats,” then “hats for women” is a match. Or in our example above, “playing games online” would be a match.
  • Phrase match. Your ad now shows when the keyword is used in a phrase, such as “buy women’s hats.”

You now have the bare bones of a campaign that’s ready to go live. Bear in mind that campaigns succeed or fail based largely on three factors:

  1. How well you chose your keywords
  2. How well you write the ad copy
  3. Whether the landing page is well written and can convert the lead

Additionally, even a campaign that’s generating sales can be a wash if you bid too high on a keyword, so start with a limited budget and test many different keywords. For more tips you can also check out our 3 Ways to Get More Value from Your Keywords.

Or, bring in the professionals. EverSpark Interactive’s marketing team can help you take AdWords and SEO by storm — and with measurable results. Contact us and get your free consultation today.