5 Basic Steps to Creating an Effective Google Ad

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

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Table of contents

Step 1: State your goal

Using a goal eases your decision-making when you create a campaign in Google Ads by guiding you to the specific features designed to help your campaign succeed. When you create a campaign, you can select a goal.

The goal you select should align with the primary objective of your campaign. After selecting a goal, you'll see relevant, recommended features and settings to help you attain the results that matter most to your business.

The first, and probably the most important step in creating an effective Google Ad is to accurately define and state your goal. When you create a campaign, select a goal that corresponds to the main thing you want your campaign to achieve for your business.

For example, if after viewing your ads you want people to visit your website, you can select the "Website traffic" goal. As you set up your campaign after selecting this goal, you'll see recommended features and settings that can help generate visits to your website.

You can add or remove a goal at any time or, if you are really adventurous, choose to not use a goal and create your campaign without seeing Google’s recommendations. To see more information about each goal type and some of the highlighted features each goal recommends, you can simply place your cursor over a goal type in the setup process.

After you select campaign goals, you can select the type of campaign you'd like to run. This determines where customers see your ads, as well as the settings and options available to you.

Once you specify a campaign type, you go on to select the networks in which you’d like your ads to appear. You may remember from a previous article on this topic that you can choose from the Search Network or Display Network.

If you choose Search Network your ad will show up in relevant Google search results. If you choose Display Network your ad will show up at various locations across the web as determined by Google’s display algorithm. You can create a campaign that runs ads on both networks if you like.

Step 2: Decide where to advertise

You can pick locations where you want your ads to show. For example, try starting with the United States if your ads and website are only in English. If you only want to reach potential customers near your business, you can narrow your location to a city or region or even within a certain radius of your store. You can always come back to this later and change it.

You then choose your target language. Pick all the languages your potential customers speak and that your website can support.

Step 3: Create your message

Google Ads is designed to make it easy to write effective ad copy or include images. With a variety of ad formats available, they will help you determine how best to craft your ad based on your advertising goals and marketing objectives. As you work through this process, remember these four principles:

  1. Keep your potential customers in mind and try to think as they do. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what keywords they may search for or how they may term the problem they want to solve - the problem for which you have the solution.
  2. Be concise and to the point. Your ad space is limited so every character counts. Avoid sarcasm or satire - they are often missed by the reader. Just tell them what they need to know.
  3. Put your best foot forward. Let the reader know why your product or service is superior to your competitor.
  4. Give them a call-to-action. Don’t leave the reader wondering about the next step in the process. Be very clear about “call now” or “stop by” or whatever it is you want them to do next.

Your headline should grab their attention and your ad copy will give the details. Even if you think you have created the perfect ad for your business, try some variations. It can be tricky and require some hit-and-miss to create the best performing ad.

Step 4: Set your bid strategy and budget cap

You will pick a bid strategy. Remember, you'll pay each time someone clicks on your ad. There are a number of options to choose from. Each bid strategy is suited for different kinds of campaigns and advertising goals. For the purposes of bidding, you'll want to consider five basic types of goals, along with your campaign choices detailed above. 

  1. If you want customers to take direct action on your site, and you're using conversion tracking, then it may be best to focus on conversions. Smart Bidding lets you do that. Smart Bidding is a set of automated bid strategies that use machine learning to optimize for conversions in each and every auction—a feature known as “auction-time bidding.” It also factors in a wide range of auction-time signals such as device, location, time of day, language, and operating system to capture the unique context of every search.
  2. If you want to generate traffic to your website, focusing on clicks could be ideal for you. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding may be right for your campaign.
  3. If you want to increase brand awareness—not drive traffic to your site—focusing on impressions may be your strategy. You can use cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding to put your message in front of customers. You can also use a Target Search Page Location or Target Outranking Share strategy to maximize visibility.
  4. If you run video ads and want to increase views or interactions with your ads, you can use cost-per-view (CPV) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bidding.
  5. If you run video ads and your goal is to increase product or brand consideration you can use cost per view (CPV).

With Google Ads, you can decide how much to spend, and never pay more than your monthly cap. There’s no minimum spend and no commitment. Google will, however, recommend an average daily budget based on businesses that are similar to yours, along with estimated results. To figure out your average daily budget, divide what you are willing to spend per month by the average number of days in a month. That's roughly 30.4.

Step 5: Go Live!

After you have created your ad, made all the appropriate choices, and determined what you can spend, it’s time to go live with your ad.

Be patient. Although it usually takes only a few days for a new account to be set up and a new campaign approved, it may seem like a long time if you’re excited to see your new ad in lights. Avoid the temptation to go back and make changes. This will likely start the clock all over again.

If your ad does not start to run within a week, reach out to Google’s support to make sure all is well. Again, be patient, it can take Google support a day or two to respond.

Advertising is largely a long-game. Don’t get too excited about the initial results of your ad. It can take a month to see enough results to make a judgment about a specific ad. If you have the time and resources you may decide to run more than one ad so you can start to make some comparisons about what ad copy or images get the best results.

Advertising is big business because it works, but it can try your patience before you see the results you want.

5 Basic Steps to Creating an Effective Google Ad


Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts and spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost