Google Ads Tutorial

google ads tutorial

When you are getting started with Google Ads, you need the right information. Our free Google Ads tutorial will help you get started. We cover everything from setting up your account to publishing your first search campaign.

Google Ads Tutorial

In this article, we will walk you through getting started with Google Ads. We have updated this tutorial with new content for 2019, and cover everything you need to know about creating your first campaign. Google Ads can be difficult to navigate; especially for beginners – but Surfside PPC has created a comprehensive guide to help you get started.

Our tutorial includes information on:

  • Google Ads Account Set-Up
  • Link Google Analytics and Google Ads
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Campaign creation
  • Keyword targeting
  • Ad Creation
  • Campaign publication

Google Ads Account Set-Up

In our previous tutorial, we received quite a few questions about setting up a Google Ads account. To begin, visit the Google Ads page and click on the “Start Now” button. You will see the New Campaign screen; which enquires about your advertising goals. We recommend not selecting from the three drop-down options. Using these selections will take you to Google Ad Express. Although it can be a useful tool, you do not have as much control over your campaign and receive less data using the Express format. Instead, click on “Already Experienced with Google Ads” to begin.

You will then see a screen for new campaigns and a prompt to select a campaign type. In this article, we will focus on Search Campaigns; with more content on the way for the different campaign types. Follow the prompt for creating an account without a campaign, and you will proceed to confirm your business information including country, time zone and currency.

Now that you have this confirmation, the first task you will need to accomplish is setting up your billing information. Click on “Explore Your Account” and open the menu for Tools > Setup > Billing & Payments. You can technically create a campaign without your billing, but it will not publish until you have an active payment method in the system, so it is best to get this step completed first.

Before creating a campaign, it is best to have a clear goal in mind for your advertising efforts. For example, in this article, we will be creating a campaign for our affiliate marketing website Our goal for this campaign is to drive traffic to the website and have visitors click-on product ads. Since this is an affiliate site, we do not have products or any inventory listed. We are simply pointing visitors to different sites where they can find the products they want; earning us a commission for each sale. We will have different metrics, but the concept is still the same. We will continue to refer to this example throughout the remainder of the article.

Link Google Analytics and Google Ads

Your next step will be to set-up a Google Analytics account for your website if you haven’t already done so. Simply visit the Google Analytics site and follow the prompts; it is a fairly easy process. Once you have both your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts created, you will need to link them together.

In Google Analytics, click on “Admin” and you will see a screen with various options. By selecting “Google Ads linking”, you can create a new link group and confirm that your Google account numbers match. If you are using the same Google email address for both accounts, this step will be a breeze. Visit Link Configuration > Link Group Title and enter your website name. During this step be sure to select “All website data” and make sure auto-tagging is enabled.

Once you have completed the link information, go back to your Google Ad Words account and view the “Linked Accounts” section under the Tools menu on the top of your screen. Here you will double check that the account link is completed, and your Auto-Tagging is enabled. Both tools are now able to communicate with each other and track conversion data.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

We will cover conversion tracking below. Our preferred method is to import conversions from Google Analytics. You can set-up your conversions as Goals in Google Analytics and then optimizing your campaign for conversions.

Creating Goals in Google Analytics

Next, you want to set up Conversions—the that starts with goals. First, go into your Google Analytics account, view your Admin screen, and click on “Goals”. Goals measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include making a purchase (for an ecommerce site), completing a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submitting a contact information form (for a marketing or lead generation site).

For example, e-commerce sites that use Shopify or other platforms should set a purchase goal and enable e-commerce during this part of the process. By enabling e-commerce and enhanced e-commerce reporting under e-commerce settings, you are able to utilize these services in conjunction with both Google Ads and Google Analytics. Most e-commerce platforms have guides available to assist with your conversion options.

When you are creating a new goal, you can use the template option or a custom goal that can be tailored to items including Destination, Duration, Pages Per Session and Events. You can also utilize Smart Goals once your site has reached a certain level of traffic.

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The Surfside PPC site is currently running a campaign with a Destination goal for our newsletter. By entering, you can receive a free e-book at the end of sign-up users are directed to a confirmation page to verify their email addresses. This is the destination. If you look at the corresponding image you will see campaign details on the Surfside PPC Google Analytics page. In essence, every time a user gets to the confirmation page, it’s counted as a goal.

Once you have Goals created in Google Analytics, you can import your Goals into Google Ads, which will allow you to do conversion tracking for your campaigns. If you go in your Tools menu and click on “conversions” and use the “Add a New Conversion” button to review your options – you can see website, app, phone calls and import. When you click on “Import”, you will see a list of sources available to you.

For our Farmhouse site example, we are using the goals of Duration and Page Views; so, you will see them listed on the screen; we will select both and click “continue”. We have now imported those two goals into Google Ads. This is an incredibly important step to complete; as conversion tracking will help you optimize your Google Ads campaigns and get the most out of your budget.

Optimizing For Goals

For this tutorial, we will focus on optimizing the Page Views goal in Google Ads. From your Conversion action page, we will select the Page Views goal; you are then presented with the Conversion action settings page; which will go into detail about your goal tracking. With Page Views you can measure user engagement by treating the number of pages or screens per session as a goal. Users who view more than the specified number of pages or screens will generate a conversion.

On this page you will also see a “category” option. While advertising for Surfside PPC, we will set “category” to purchase and sale because an elevated number of page views typically results in revenue for our business. But, depending on what type of business you are advertising, the “category” option can be changed and personalized.

In addition, on settings, you can also set the same value and currency as Google Analytics for your specific goals. In the corresponding image, you will see that 6-page views are worth $5 dollars in revenue. It’s not a perfect science, but it’s close enough that when you start smart-bidding and running campaigns; you can see how valuable it is to your business.
There may be multiple conversion actions you’ll want to track because they reflect valuable activity for your business. In the settings for each conversion action, you’ll see a “count” setting. You can change this setting when you set up your conversion action, or you can edit the setting for an existing conversion action. Count examples include:
Every conversion: With this setting, Google Ads counts every conversion (per tracked conversion action) that happens after an ad interaction. This is a good choice if you’d like to track and improve your sales, because every sale likely adds value for your business.
One conversion: With this setting, Google Ads counts only one conversion per ad click. This is a good choice if you’re not interested in the number of sales, but instead whether or not a certain kind of lead was generated. This is because usually only one, unique lead per ad click likely adds value for your business.

Attribution Models

Moving on from counts; you will see Attribution models. These give you more control over how much credit each ad and keyword gets for your conversions. There are several different models, including: Last click, first click, linear, time decay, position-based, and data-driven.

From experience with Surfside PPC and running other affiliate websites, we recommend using time decay. Time Decay gives more credit to clicks that happened closer in time to the conversion. Credit is distributed using a 7-day half-life. In other words, a click 8 days before a conversion gets half as much credit as a click 1 day before a conversion. You can learn more about the other Attribution models in Google Analytics with the Model Comparison Tool; comparing the value of each to determine which would meet your business needs.
When you finish these steps, connect your accounts, and import your conversions; you are now ready to create a new campaign.

Creating Your Campaign

To begin, go to the Campaign screen and click on “add a new campaign”, then select “Search campaign”. In the example image you will see that we have set our goal to Sales. You can also choose Leads, or Website Traffic; but we typically choose Sales or Leads because it will let you optimize your budget and your campaign more effectively. We then need to determine how we are going to measure our goal.

For example, using our Farmhouse affiliate site, we have selected “website visits”. Our ultimate goal is to get sales; so, we are going to do that by getting more traffic. (this is using farmhouse)

Next you will need to name your campaign. It is very important to remember that in this prompt, under “networks”, do not include the Google Display Network – only the Search Network. If you include the Display Network, you are going to waste your budget.
In this area, you also set your location targeting, language targeting, and additional audiences. For our Farmhouse site we are using the United States, but you can target any city, region, or country that you choose. The options are limitless. We will go through some more of these options in detail on future tutorials on the Surfside PPC YouTube Channel.

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Under Budget you will need to decide on an average of what you want to spend each day. Now remember, Google looks at your budget as a monthly cycle; so be sure to keep a 30-day spend total in mind when you are setting your daily budget. The spending can ebb, and flow; don’t be alarmed if you happen to spend more in the first several days; it will average out over the course of a month.

For Delivery Method, we usually keep the setting at standard, as the accelerated setting will spend your budget much faster.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Here you will also begin setting your bidding – which is one of the most important items when you are creating a new campaign. You will want to tailor our bidding strategy to your conversion goals. Our preferred bidding strategies are Target CPA bidding and Target ROAS bidding.

Target CPA bidding

Target CPA is a Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy that sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) you set. While setting this up, you will need to enter a monetary amount that indicates what a conversion is worth to your business. You can also set maximum bid limits to ensure you are not over bidding.

Target ROAS bidding

Target ROAS lets you bid based on a target return on ad spend (ROAS). Your bids are automatically optimized at auction-time, allowing you to tailor bids for each auction. For this strategy, if you set it at 100 percent, for every dollar you spend you will gain a dollar in revenue. So, we typically start around 110 percent when beginning a profitable campaign; and we will scale up from there. You can also set maximum bid limits in Target ROAS to make sure you are not overpaying for clicks. Your overall bid is determined by your score and ad rank as you enter the auction.

Google Ad Extensions

Now we move down to extensions. Extensions expand your ad with additional information—giving people more reasons to choose your business. They typically increase an ad’s click-through-rate by several percentage points. Extension formats include call buttons, location information, links to specific parts of your website, additional text, and more. For more information about extensions and to see some real-world examples, click here. Some common extensions we use at Surfside PPC are sitelink and callout extensions.

Sitelink extensions – To add more links to your ads, create sitelink extensions. Sitelinks can take people to specific pages on your site—your store hours, a specific product, or more. When someone clicks or taps on your links, they skip right to what they want to know or buy. Sitelinks will show in a variety of ways, depending on device, position, and other factors. When your sitelink extension appears with one of your ads on a computer, your ad will show no fewer than 2 links due to the minimum 2-sitelink requirement to serve an ad. Your ad can have up to 6 links. Sitelinks may appear on the same line or fill up to two lines of your ad.

When your sitelink extension ad shows on a tablet or mobile device, it similarly must have at least 2 sitelinks to serve, so your ad will show at least 2 links. Your ad can show up to 8 links. These sitelinks will appear side-by-side on a single line in a carousel format. People can swipe left or right on the carousel to browse your various sitelinks. If your ad appears in the very top position, your sitelinks are eligible to show in a more prominent tappable row, with only one sitelink on each line. Sitelinks appear in ads at the top and bottom of Google search results.
Callout extensions – With callout extensions, you can promote unique offers to shoppers, like free shipping or 24-hour customer service. When customers see your ads, they get detailed information about your business, products, and services.

Once you create a callout extension, it’s eligible to appear with your ad on a computer or mobile device. With callout extensions, you can show up to 10 callouts in addition to the text of your ad, depending on the character spacing, browser, and device you’re using. Callouts also show in a variety of ways depending on the device and other factors. While callout extensions on a computer are separated by dots and listed on a single line, callouts on mobile and tablet devices wrap in paragraph form. Ads with callout extensions can show at the top and bottom of Google search results.

With Google Ads Extensions, you will want to try and use as many as you can. Each separate extension explanation and usage is quite detailed; so Surfside PPC will be developing new content for each extension in the coming months.

For our Farmhouse site example, we have included several image examples to give you a better idea of how to build your Sitelink Extensions and Callout Extensions in Google Ads.

Creating Ad Groups

After creating your extensions, you will move along to setting up your Ad Groups. You can optimize for a great quality score and Ad rank by setting up organized Ad Groups and campaigns. The better you group your keywords into Ad Groups, the better the user experience you are giving to potential customers. For those of you who are not familiar with keywords, we recommend watching Surfside PPC’s Keyword Planner Tutorial. One of the top things to remember is to set up different ads in different groups; and keep your keywords placed properly in these groups.

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For our Farmhouse site, we will be creating groups for several topics, including Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sinks, Farmhouse Copper Sinks, Farmhouse Sinks, Farmhouse Dining Tables and Farmhouse Cabinets. We are making sure to separate each of the different pages we want to advertise into different Ad Groups. You do not want to have all of your pages in the same target—the better you target your pages, the higher your scores and ad ranks will be. That will help you get the most out of your budget.

In Google Ads; we will copy our various page links into different Ad Groups. When you are setting up each group you can click into the group and add different keywords, with the option to use keywords based on Google’s recommendations. We recommend keeping your Ad Groups to a five-keyword maximum.

You can also use the Keyword Match Type features; which includes the modified broad match, broad match, phrase match, and exact match keywords.
Broad match – Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. At Surfside PPC, we never use broad match keywords.

Modified broad match – Similar to broad match, except that the broad match modifier option only shows ads in searches including the words designated with a plus sign. So, for our Farmhouse sinks example, we simply take our broad keywords and add a “+” sign in front of each word. We highly recommend this option; it will expand your reach.

Phrase match – Ads may show on searches that match a phrase, or are close variations of that phrase, with additional words before or after. Ads won’t show, however, if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way.

Exact match – Ads may show on searches that match the exact term or are close variations of that exact term. Close variants include searches for keywords with the same meaning as the exact keywords, regardless of spelling or grammar differences between the query and the keyword. Close variations here may also include a reordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning, and the addition or removal of function words (prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and other words that don’t impact the intent of a search), implied words, synonyms and paraphrases, and words that have the same search intent.

Now, we will point out that adding different Ad Groups for your campaigns can be very time-consuming. At Surfside PPC, we have run campaigns with hundreds of different groups. While it is an investment of your time, you will see much better results out of your Google Ads campaign.

Creating Google Ads

Now that all of the Ad Groups are set up and you click “continue”, you are now ready to start creating Ads for each group. For each group, the fields include Final URL, Headline 1, Headline 2, and Headline 3. You can also enter a display path and have two description fields. More advanced options include tracking templates, customer parameters, and a final URL suffix. In addition, you can use a final URL for mobile. This is a good option for sites if have a separate mobile page or a subdomain for their mobile app.

For each group, it is recommended that you create three ads that most closely relate to the theme of your keywords. For our Farmhouse example, we developed different ads for each group; making sure we have filled in all of the information outlined above.

Make sure you have your Final URL completed, use all three headlines, display path, description fields, etc. While you are creating each set of ads, you can also save time by using the copy function on your first ad and making minor adjustments for each subsequent ad.

Once you set-up your ads, you can click submit and your campaign will be created.

Publishing Your Google Ads Campaign

Once your campaign is published and you are seeing your results and conversions come in, you can change and tailor your bid strategies and your budget to obtain a greater ROI. Your ultimate goal is to lower your CPA and increase your budget. Again, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep things as organized as possible. It might take you several hours to set up your first complete campaign, but using the Surfside PPC YouTube Tutorial will help you work through this process more seamless.

Make sure you subscribe to the Surfside PPC YouTube Channel!

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