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How to Start a Successful AdWords Campaign

businessman pointing at upward graph for a pay per click campaign
In order to run a successful AdWords campaign, you need to follow certain steps. Your first step is to determine your goals. What are you trying your ads to do? You certainly don’t want to use homepage as your landing page to send visitors to. You either should have a specific webpage or create a unique landing page relevant to your ads.

Starting Your Google AdWords Account

In order to create a Google AdWords account, go to: and create an account.

To create a campaign, you have to make decisions about the following settings:


Come up with a name that works for your company so you can easily scan and identify your campaign. You may have several campaigns in the future running at the same time.


Google allows their users to set their ad type based on goals such as Search and Display. Search will give you a better ROI than Display.

Location and Language

You can choose options for your ad to display only for people searching in certain areas. The language is related to the areas selected for your ads to be displayed. If you live in U.S. and this is your first time using AdWords, you can choose the entire country unless you want to sell locally. You can adjust this setting later as you see what areas are more profitable.

Network and Devices

You can target all or certain devices, such as desktop/laptop, tablets, or mobile. If you don’t want your ads to be displayed on mobile phones, use –100 for this device.

Bidding and Budget

You will need to set your bids and budgets. Your bid is the amount you’re willing to pay per click for ads in your Ad Group. Your budget is the amount you want to spend each day. You can start with a daily budget as low as $5.00.

Ad Extension

You can include additional information on your ads such as phone number, sitelinks, etc.

This is just to give you overall ideas. However, it takes more than just ideas to start and run a successful campaign.

Define Your Audience

By defining your audience, you can focus more on keyword research specific to your target market.

Based on the goals of your campaign, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target audience for this campaign?
  • Am I going to be targeting based on physical location (Globally, certain country, certain cities, etc.)?
  • Am I going to be targeting based on device (desktop/laptop, tablet, mobile)?
  • What solution to a problem or questions will my ad address?
  • Do I want to generate leads, or sales?

By answering the above questions, you can have a better understanding of your ad copy, landing page copy, and some of the search keywords for your target audience.

ads displayed are generating lots of traffic

How to Choose Your Keywords

The best place to start is with brainstorming, looking at your company’s brochures, catalogs, and any marketing material you might have to come up with a preliminary list of keywords and phrases.

You need to put yourself in place of your customers and think as one of your potential customer in order to create a better list of keywords. If you’re a customer looking for that specific product or service, what term would you choose to enter into the search box?

Take your preliminary list out and start entering those keywords and key phrases into the Google’s search box to see what sites will shows up and what suggestions Google provides. This is the time to start adding additional keywords and key phrases to your preliminary list.

Google AdWords ( provide a Keyword Planner under ‘Tools and Analysis’. This is a free tool, but you have to create an account before you’re allowed to access and use it.

The tool shows you relevant keywords, average monthly searches, competition, and average cost-per-click (CPC). You can start entering keywords and key phrases from your preliminary list you have created into this tool to get the actual keywords people use relevant to your offer. The information you gather with Keyword Planner can help you determine which keywords are your best bet for your campaign.

When you’re ready to start your campaign, you need to combine closely related keywords together to form Ad Groups. The best practice is to have 10-15 keywords per Ad Group.

You also need to choose negative keywords. Meaning, you should choose keywords that will not trigger your ad. For example, if you are selling digital cameras, you don’t want keywords such as free, cheap, used, and so on to trigger your ads. Negative keywords help you with unwanted clicks and non-customer traffic. It helps you with your budget because you will pay each time someone clicks your ad to visit your landing page.

Once you have selected your keywords, ask yourself:

  • How relevant is this keyword to my product or service that I am offering, and to the content of my landing page?
  • If someone searches for this keyword, will he or she find my offering irresistible?
  • Do I have a landing page relevant to this keyword or will I have to create a new and unique content?

Analytics graph is displayed on a laptop

Creating Your Ad

You have limited space for your PPC ads to entice potential customers to click. Google allows 25 characters for headline and two 35-characters lines for description.

It is a good practice to write two ads to test your copy as you start your campaign. After getting adequate clicks, you can pause the underperforming ad at any time you decide.

Here are some rules to keep in mind whenever writing ads:

  • Use a great benefit, a bold claim, or a question for your headline.
  • Use one of your main keywords in your headline.
  • Use benefits for your headline, and features for description.
  • Use clear, easy-to-understand words.
  • Use emotional language.
  • Have a clear enticing offer and CTA.
  • Use abbreviations carefully.

Always make sure to test your headlines because it is the most important element of your ad. Then test the description. Keep testing until you’re satisfied with your CTR and conversion.

Remember that a wining headline grabs the attention of your target audience. About 80 percent of people will only read the headline and only 20 percent read the whole ads. Try to use emotional language in your headline and speak directly and clearly to your target market. Let them know that you have the real solution to their problem.

Your ad copy is also critical in order to trigger clicks and conversions. It must show value, honesty, credibility, and must stand out. It must speak directly to your audience and include a compelling reason for them to act.

businessman is pressing computer button to enter keywords

Creating a PPC ad

You should now be in a position to actually create your ad using Google AdWords.

1. Sign in to your Google AdWords account and click Create Your First Campaign.

2. Fill in the following information:

  • Campaign Name: Include a name that you can easily remember.
  • Campaign Type: Choose Search Network Only. This is the best choice to start your campaign.
  • Location: You can choose the entire country, or local areas. You can later adjust your geographic area.
  • Language: English is selected by default. However, you can choose the language based on your targeted area. Remember that Google does not translate your ads. If your ad is written in English, then go by default.
  • Bid Strategy: Set your own bid. This is a better choice than allowing Google to set your bids for you.
  • Budget: Enter your daily budget you can afford. You can start as low as $5 per day, and later increase your daily budget.
  • Ad Extension. You can add sitelinks to your other relevant content, your phone number, etc.

3. You next step is to select your keywords, ad groups, and create the ad. It is a good idea to start with two ads to perform A/B split tests to determine the better ad, and pause the underperforming one after you have adequate number of clicks.

4. Google AdWords has a preview screen on the right side so you can see what your ad looks like. If you’re happy with your ad, click Save and Continue, then enter your billing information.

You can easily adjust your ad, so it’s important to monitor the results in order to optimize your ads.

By Stanford – 2019 – Update 2020
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For additional articles written by John Stanford, see
John Stanford is the author of Ultimate Guide to Profitable Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

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