Google Ads - What You Need to Know to Get Started

Last updated


Daniel Wade


July 28, 2022

So, you think you might want to use Google Ads to start or grow your business.  This post will address your “how do I get started?” questions.  We’ll begin with, Google Ads - what does that even mean?

Google Ads is the most widely used pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system in the world.  They serve up about 30 billion ads every day.  The reason they can do this is that they are the world’s largest search engine.  Every time someone enters search criteria using Google it provides Google an opportunity to place before them an ad that matches the search criteria.  The advertiser is, in essence, buying the privilege of coming up at the top of the search results page. 

Google offers various advertising products. There are display ads and video ads, for example, but the most basic is the search engine text ad.  You have seen these a million times.  If you type “Plumber,” for example, into the search engine bar, the top several results will have a little green rectangle with the word “Ad” inside on the left-hand side of the result.  Advertisers paid to have these results show up first.

Google Ads can be an extremely effective way to increase your business, but as you would expect, results may vary.  There are lots of things to consider before you get started using Google Ads, so let’s review what you need to know.


Table of contents

What is your advertising objective?

What do you want Google Ads to do for you?  What results do you expect?  Maybe you want more people to call your store or office.  Or maybe it’s really only valuable to you if new customers show up at your location.  Possibly, you just want to drive more people to your web site.  Ultimately, Google Ads can do any or all of these things for you, but you will want to understand Google’s ad structure before creating your first ad.

How Google advertising is structured

While it’s not difficult to understand, there is some forethought that needs to go into using Google Ads.  The basic element in the structure is the ad.  Simple enough.  The ad is what you want your potential customers to see when they enter search criteria that align with your product or service.  A group of ads is, imagine this, an ad group.

An ad group contains one or more ads that share a similar target. It’s a wise idea to run more than one ad at a time. You can then compare results and incrementally improve your ad performance.  Also, if you have various products or services to offer, you will likely want to create different ads for each. Group these ads together into ad groups. Oh, but that is not all. You also want to create campaigns.

An ad campaign is a set of ad groups that share a budget, location targeting, language, and more. A campaign could be used to advertise different categories of products or services that you offer. If you’re a plumber, but you also offer air conditioning repair, you will want to create a campaign for each.  Each campaign would contain groups of ads (ad groups) aimed at a specific target.  Each ad group would contain one or more ads.  See?  Simple!

In the end, Google’s advertising structure is pretty easy and you will encounter onscreen prompts as you begin to create your advertising strategy inside Google Ads.  Just give this some thought before you begin, so you won’t have to redo your work once you get started.

Where are your customers?

As you set up your first ad campaign you will be asked to set up locations where you want your ads to run.  For some businesses, this is pretty simple.  If you have a plumbing business in Albuquerque, you will select Albuquerque and the surrounding areas for your ads to display.  On the other hand, if you run an online business, you may want a very wide range of states and even countries to display your ads.  Know where your customers are before creating your ads.

Words matter

Remember, Google is a search engine.  The premise for a search engine is that people enter words relevant to what they want to learn and Google returns everything it can, based on those words.  The words you use in your ad, and while setting up your ad by selecting business categories, will make a difference.  Think about what your customer is likely to enter in the search bar when they want to find you.  Try to use those words in your ads.  If your customer has a leaky pipe, they might just enter those words in the search - it may be wiser if they entered “plumber near me” but hey, they’re frazzled right now! 

What are you willing to pay?

During the setup process, Google Ads will ask you to select a daily budget for your ad campaign.  They even show you what that would look like on a monthly basis - nice huh?  They will make a suggestion and it will likely be more than you think it should be.  They are not just being greedy.  They know, from years of experience, what kind of traffic, or clicks, you can expect from the ad you just created.  Play with the numbers.  Change the daily rate to something more palatable and you can see their estimation of the number of clicks drop right along with it.  Plug in a higher number and see the inverse happen.  Each company will value the results of their ad differently.  If each click on your ad results in a new customer that will purchase hundreds of dollars of product - go ahead and spend a few bucks to get that customer.  But if a single click on your ad brings very little value to your business you may want to consider spending less or even trying a different advertising platform.  Google Ads can get you the widest possible audience, but not necessarily the greatest number of clicks.

It’s simply a matter of what it’s worth to you.  There are lots of ways to refine and improve your advertising strategy and we will discuss many of those ideas in future posts.  For now, go to Google Ads, create an account, set it up and start to create an ad campaign, some ad groups, and some ads.  Give it a try with a budget you are comfortable with.  Then come back here and we’ll help you work through the issues.

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, 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