Google Ads - What You Need to Know to Get Started

Last updated


Daniel Wade


December 1, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Start by defining clear advertising goals to guide your campaigns effectively.
  • Conduct thorough keyword research to identify valuable keywords.
  • Set a budget and bid strategy aligned with your objectives.
  • Regularly monitor and optimize campaigns for better performance.
  • Opt for ad fraud prevention techniques to safeguard your Google ads budget.

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Learning how to advertise on Google Ads is important in your online journey. Let’s explore essential insights to kickstart your online advertising journey.

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that allows you to create and run ads for your business on Google's search results pages. With a pay-per-click model, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. It’s cost-effective for businesses looking to drive targeted traffic to their websites.

I've spent countless hours researching and mastering Google Ads to ensure that I provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. I’ll guide you through the complexities of setting up, optimizing, and running Google Ads campaigns. So, let's dive in and get started!


Table of contents

How to Advertise on Google Ads

Before diving into the tactical steps of advertising on Google Ads, it's crucial to understand what they are and their potential benefits.

Google Ads is an advertising platform that allows you to display your ads on the Google Search Network and Google Display Network. These ads can help increase your website traffic, sales, and overall brand awareness.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to advertise your business online using Google ads.

Google Ads Account Creation

Creating a Google Ads account is the foundational step in your advertising journey. Begin by visiting the Google Ads platform and signing in with your Google account or creating a new one.

Once logged in, enter your business name and website URL. This information helps Google understand your business and website's nature, allowing for better ad targeting.

Additionally, consider linking any existing Google-owned accounts, such as your YouTube channel or Google Analytics. This integration can provide valuable insights and synergy between different Google services.

Google Ads Campaign Setup

Once your account is set up, the next step is campaign creation. Begin by selecting your campaign types and goals. This choice determines where your ads will appear and the ad formats available to you.

Common goals include increasing sales, generating leads, or building brand awareness. Afterward, configure campaign settings such as location targeting, language preferences, and daily budget.

Location targeting ensures your ads reach the right audience, and language preferences dictate the language of your ads. The daily budget sets the maximum amount you're willing to spend on the campaign each day.

Search Ads Creation

Search ads are among the most common Google Ads formats. They display on Google's search results pages when users search for relevant keywords.

To create effective search ads, focus on crafting compelling ad copy that grabs users' attention and encourages them to click. Incorporate relevant keywords strategically within the ad copy to demonstrate ad relevance.

Keywords in the headline, description, and display URL can enhance ad quality and click-through rates. Continual optimization and A/B testing are crucial for refining ad copy, keywords, and targeting to improve performance.

Ad Groups Configuration

Ad groups are essential for organizing your ads effectively. Group ads based on similar themes or products. This organization allows you to target specific keywords and increases overall ad relevance and Quality Score.

You can create more targeted and compelling ad campaigns by grouping related keywords.

Relevant Keywords Selection

Keyword selection is a cornerstone of smart campaigns. To identify the most effective keywords, it's essential to perform comprehensive keyword research.

Start by brainstorming relevant terms and phrases that potential customers might use when searching for your products or services. However, don't stop there – leverage tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner to expand your keyword list further.

Keyword Planner provides valuable insights into the monthly search volume, competition levels, and suggested bid amounts for specific keywords.

Look for keywords with high search volumes and moderate to low competition. These keywords are often the most cost-effective and can help you reach a broad audience.

Remember to include a mix of keyword match types, including broad match, phrase match, and exact match. Broad match captures a wide range of search queries related to your keyword, while phrase and exact match provide more specific targeting.

Video Ads Creation

Create engaging video ads to showcase your products or services on YouTube and other video platforms. Ensure your video content is captivating and addresses your target audience's pain points.

Video ads offer a versatile platform for brands to connect with their audience on a personal level. They can convey information and emotions, making them a powerful tool for storytelling and brand building.

Regular testing, optimization, and alignment with your marketing strategy are crucial for continued success in the ever-evolving landscape of video advertising.

Landing Page Optimization

Optimizing your landing pages is critical for a seamless user experience. Your landing page should align with your ads and provide a clear path for users to take action.

Ensure fast loading times, mobile-friendliness, and a persuasive layout. A strong landing page is essential for achieving high conversion rates and maximizing the ROI of your ad campaigns.

Negative Keywords Control

Negative keywords play a crucial role in preventing your ads from appearing on irrelevant search queries. This control helps improve ad performance, lower costs, and increase your Quality Score.

Regularly review and update your list of negative keywords to ensure your ads are shown to the most relevant audience.

Ad Campaign Metrics

Monitoring ad campaign metrics is crucial for assessing your campaign's performance and making informed decisions. Key metrics to track include:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): This measures the percentage of users who click on your ad after seeing it. A higher CTR often indicates ad relevance and effectiveness.
  • Impressions: The number of times your ad is displayed.
  • Conversions: Actions taken by users after clicking on your ad, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. Tracking conversions allows you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns in achieving your goals. Here’s a video of the most common ad campaign metrics.

Regularly reviewing these metrics helps you identify areas for improvement and adjust your campaign strategies accordingly. Data-driven decisions are essential for optimizing your campaign's performance and maximizing your return on investment (ROI).

Ad Group Modifications

Based on the performance data you gather, it's crucial to make adjustments to your ad groups. Testing various ad copy variations, keywords, and targeting options can help you identify the most effective combinations for achieving your advertising goals.

For example, if you notice that one ad group is consistently outperforming others, you may allocate a higher budget to it or expand its keyword list.

Conversely, if an ad group is underperforming, you can experiment with different ad copy or keywords to improve its performance.

Continual refinement and A/B testing are essential for optimizing campaign performance over time. By regularly assessing and adjusting your ad groups, you can adapt to changing market dynamics and user behavior to achieve better results.

Google Ad Campaign Analysis

Regularly analyze your first campaign to identify areas for improvement. Look for patterns in the data and incorporate what you learn into your future campaigns.

Optimization and analysis should be an ongoing process, ensuring that your online advertising efforts remain effective and competitive. Watch this video for a step-by-step guide to learn how to set up campaigns and advertise on Google ads.

Types of Google Ads

I've seen first-hand how Google Ads can play a crucial role in driving traffic, generating leads, and increasing business revenue. We’ll explore the various types of Google Ads to help you understand what you need to know to get started.

Google Search Ads

Search Ads are the most common type of Google Ads and appear in Google search results. When users search for a term related to your ad campaign, your ad can show up at the top or bottom of the search results page.

They are an effective way to drive traffic to your website from users who are actively searching for products and services like yours.

Video Ads

Video Ads are displayed on Google's Display Network and YouTube. Various video ad formats are available, such as skippable in-stream ads and bumper ads.

These ads are a great way not only to promote your brand but also to engage with potential customers in an interactive way.

Shopping Ads

Shopping Ads are displayed on the Google Shopping tab and are ideal for e-commerce websites. These ads showcase your products visually and include pricing information, which helps drive traffic to your online store.

By using the Google Advertising platform, you can create Google ads that reach potential customers who are already interested in buying products similar to yours.

Image Ads

Image Ads are visual advertisements displayed on the Google Display Network. They can capture attention with eye-catching graphics, and you can even incorporate animation for more engaging and dynamic ads.

Image Ads help you drive brand awareness and showcase your products in a visually appealing way.

App Ad Campaign

An App Ad Campaign is designed to increase downloads of your mobile app or drive in-app actions, such as making a purchase.

Google Adwords will automatically create multiple ads for you using your app's Google Play or App Store information and the targeting options you select. This makes it easier to create a smart campaign ad.

Paid Ads

Paid Ads include all types of Google Ads that require you to pay for ad placements. They can be in the form of search ads, video ads, shopping ads, image ads, and more.

By utilizing paid advertising, you can drive relevant traffic to your website, increase conversions, and return on ad spend.

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads are a type of search ad that allows you to create multiple text variations for your ad campaigns. Google's intelligent algorithm automatically tests and optimizes the ad combinations to show the most effective version to users.

This helps you save time and effort while making your ads more relevant and engaging to your target audience.

Tips for Creating a Successful Google Ad Campaign

Google Ads is an advertising platform that can help you create a successful campaign, drive more web traffic to your landing page, and increase website sales.

Let's dive into some tips for creating winning Google Ads:

  • Keyword Research: Start by identifying relevant keywords for your target audience. This involves understanding your target market's search behavior and developing a list of target keywords. You can use tools like Google's Keyword Planner to help with this process.
  • Organize your Ad Campaign and Ad Group: Structure your campaign by segmenting your ad groups based on specific themes, products, or services. This helps manage your ad spending and optimize the performance of your ads.
  • Effective Ad Copy: Write clear, concise, and engaging ad copy that communicates the benefits of your product or service. Highlight special promotions or unique selling points to entice users to click on your ad.
  • Create Multiple Ads: Test different variations of your ads to understand which ones perform better. This can be done by changing the headlines, descriptions, and display URLs.
  • Ad Extensions: Utilize ad extensions to enhance your ad with additional information, such as location, phone number, and site links. This helps improve your ad rank and click-through rate.
  • Landing Page Optimization: Ensure your landing page is relevant to your keywords and ad copy. This will help improve your Quality Score, which can lower your cost-per-click and increase your ad's visibility.
  • Negative Keywords: Add negative keywords to your ad group or campaign to exclude irrelevant searches. This helps save your ad spend and improve the overall performance of your ads.
  • Bidding Strategies and Budgeting: Choose the right bidding strategy based on your goals, such as maximizing clicks or conversions. Set a realistic daily budget that aligns with your overall marketing budget.

Factors That Influence Google Ads

Getting started with Google Ads can seem daunting, but it's worth the effort. We'll cover the crucial factors affecting your Google Ads performance.

To get started with Google Ads, you must focus on factors like ad rank, quality score, and relevant keywords to maximize your campaign's effectiveness and achieve your advertising goals.

By understanding these elements, you'll be able to drive more website sales, increase web traffic, and make the best possible use of your advertising budget.

When working with Google Ads, your ad rank plays a significant role. It determines the position of your ad in the search engine results and is influenced by factors like your cost-per-click bid and the quality score of your ad.

A higher ad rank means that your ad is more likely to be seen by Google users and effectively drive website traffic.

The quality score is a vital factor that gives you an edge in the Google Ads auction system. A higher score equals better ad performance and lower costs.

The quality score is determined by three essential components: the relevance of your ads and keywords to users, your click-through rate (CTR), and the user experience offered by your landing page.

Choosing relevant keywords is critical to connect with your target audience and ensure your ads reach qualified leads. It's important to analyze search volumes, search terms, and the competition to maximize the effectiveness of your ads.

Integrating negative keywords helps you avoid targeting undesirable search terms, allowing you to focus on a more appropriate audience.

Managing your daily budget and ad spending efficiently is also vital for success on Google Ads. The platform allows you to set maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids and daily budget limits, ensuring that you make the most of your advertising investment while staying within your predetermined budget.

Lastly, utilizing Google Analytics lets you analyze your campaign's performance, website traffic, and user behavior. This invaluable data helps you optimize your ads, target the right audience, and continuously improve your advertising strategy.

Assessing and understanding these factors can significantly improve your overall experience with Google Ads.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

One critical aspect to understand about Google Ads is that it operates as an auction where you influence your ad's positioning using various bidding strategies.

These strategies help determine your Ad Rank and, ultimately, the success of your campaign. These strategies include the following.

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding is an approach designed to simplify your ad spend by allowing Google's algorithms to optimize your bids based on your campaign goals and daily budget.

There are various automated bidding options to choose from, each targeting different objectives like clicks, impressions, conversions, or views. This strategy is great for those who are new to Google Ads or don't have the time to manage bids manually.

Useful tips for automated bidding:

  • Start with a modest daily budget and adjust it based on the campaign performance.
  • Monitor your Google Ads dashboard to make informed decisions on future changes.


Cost-per-click (CPC) is another basic bidding strategy where you bid for individual clicks on your ads. You can opt for manual CPC, which allows you to set maximum bid amounts for each keyword or ad group.

It gives you full control over your bid strategy and budget, making it an excellent choice for new campaigns.

Quick pointers on Cost Per Click strategy:

  • Focus on keywords that are relevant and have high conversion potential.
  • Regularly analyze the performance of your keywords and make necessary adjustments.

Ad Rotation

Ad rotation is all about how your multiple ads within an ad group are shown to users over time. This strategy can help you identify which ads are more effective and relevant to your target audience.

Google Ads offers two ad rotation settings – "Optimize" and "Rotate indefinitely." The "Optimize" setting automatically prioritizes the ads that are more likely to drive higher engagement.

On the other hand, "Rotate indefinitely" gives equal exposure to all ads in the ad group, allowing you to evaluate their performance over time and make informed decisions.

Key considerations for Ad Rotation:

  • A/B tests different ad elements, such as headlines, descriptions, and images.
  • Track and monitor the performance of each ad to optimize your ad spend.

How Much Do Google Ads Cost

The cost of Google Ads varies depending on several factors, including your budget, target keywords, industry, and quality score.

There is no fixed price when it comes to Google Ads, as the platform uses a bidding system that allows advertisers to set their own daily budgets and cost per click (CPC) for different ad campaigns.

After setting your daily budget, you'll need to choose a bidding strategy for your Google Ads campaign. Google offers several automated bidding strategies to help ensure your ads are displayed at the optimal times and positions for your desired audience.

Factors such as ad quality and relevance also impact the cost of your ads, as a higher quality score can lead to lower CPCs.

Here's a brief breakdown of the factors that influence Google Ads cost:

  • Ad spend: The total amount spent on your Google Ads campaigns.
  • Daily budget: The maximum amount you're willing to spend on your Google Ads campaigns each day.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The price you pay for each click on your Google Ads.
  • Quality Score: A score based on the relevance and quality of your ads, landing pages, and keywords, influencing the cost per click.

As you plan your advertising strategy with Google Ads, it's important to consider these factors and adjust your ad spending, daily budget, and bidding strategy accordingly.

Guarding Your Google Ads Budget: Strategies to Combat Ad Fraud

If you're new to Google Ads, it's important to be aware of ad fraud, a growing problem that could be eating away at your advertising dollars. Ad budgets make up a significant portion of a business's spend, with a good chunk of it being lost to fraudulent activities.

Here are some ad fraud prevention techniques you can employ to guard your Google Ads budget:

  • Data Analysis: Keep a close eye on your campaign performance metrics, looking for any unusual click patterns, sudden spikes in clicks, or discrepancies in click-through rates (CTRs).
  • Ad Placement: Ensure your ads are being displayed on reputable websites to minimize the risk of fraudulent clicks. Utilize Google Ads' placement targeting options to manage where your ads appear.
  • IP Exclusions: Identify and block suspicious IP addresses that are responsible for generating fraudulent clicks on your ads. Monitoring your traffic and click patterns can help you detect such IPs.
  • Adjust Targeting: Refine your campaign targeting settings, such as geotargeting and demographic targeting, to reduce the likelihood of your ads being targeted by fraudsters.
  • Third-Party Solutions: Use third-party tools like ClickCease to monitor, detect, and prevent fraudulent clicks, further protecting your Google Ads budget.

By implementing these strategies, you'll be better equipped to combat ad fraud and maintain a healthy Google Ads budget.

Google Ads - What You Need to Know to Get Started


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