Oct 17, 2022

Google Ads: A Beginner-Friendly Guide To Setting Up Your Ads

by Digital Marketing Institute

Competing online to gain new customers is no easy feat. There are a lot of savvy marketers out there who know all the ins and outs of paid (PPC) marketing

Naturally, this level of knowledge makes it a lot easier for experienced advertisers to gain that market share you have been struggling to capture.

But while this may be the case, you can get in on the action if you can learn to use the same tricks as the pros.

One of those tricks is learning how to use Google Ads to engage customers effectively and get them thinking about your brand.

Did you know? Paid campaigns drive 65% of clicks received by Google Ads. So, with the right approach, you can accelerate the growth of your business through this most popular of platforms.

Inspired? Here are some tips on how you can take advantage of Google Ads and get it working in your favor.

Yes, let’s find out how to do Google Ads.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google's paid online marketing and advertising platform (or ecosystem). Using the platform will allow you to set up a dynamic mix of online advertisements aimed at specific segments of your target audience.

It’s possible to bid for relevant keywords or terms to increase your chances of serving your ads to the right customers at the times when they’re most likely to engage with your brand. You can manage your campaigns and create your ad content from one place while keeping track of your performance through the platform’s in-built analytics tools.

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If you’re looking to drive engagement, boost your brand awareness, and earn more sales, Google Ads should be a pivotal part of your paid marketing strategy.

Tip: The recent Google update is set to forbid businesses from using cookies to track consumer data. To continue tracking your ad performance with Google Analytics and gaining valuable data for your future campaigns, check out our guide to setting up GA4.

Why use Google Ads?

Google Ads has something for businesses of all sizes with different budgets, advertising goals, and target audiences. The service offers many benefits to digital marketers:

  • It has a huge reach. These days, when consumers have a query, their first port of call is Google. Your business could offer valuable solutions to some of these queries. When you advertise on Google Ads, relevant searchers are more likely to find you, click on your ads, and convert
  • It’s not complicated to use. Google Ads makes everything straightforward and easy to understand
  • It helps you build brand awareness by reinforcing your brand name and making it visible to consumers, which in turn helps to build trust
  • It helps you to manage multiple client accounts efficiently and in one place
  • It enables you to put constraints on your daily budget, so you don’t have to spend more money than you want to. You can decide how much you want to spend, and only pay when someone interacts with your ad

How do you advertise on Google Ads?

Now that you’re up to speed on what the platform does and why it’s worth using, let’s look at how to advertise on Google Ads.

Step 1: Learn the basics

Before you start to create your ads, it’s important to get to grips with the platform basics. By learning the platform’s fundamental processes and functions, you will gain a better chance of choosing key terms, setting parameters, and creating content that will resonate with your target audience, earning you a consistently healthy return on investment (ROI) in the process.

To get a head start, check out our quick introductory lesson on Google Ads.

Step 2: Setting up the account

In most cases, it’s best to begin with a manager account because it’s free and it allows you to build a number of child accounts within it. Even if you only need one child account at the start, you may find in time that you need a second one or a third one. These can be easily added within the manager account.

To create a Google Ads manager account:

  • Go to this link: https://ads.google.com/home/tools/manager-accounts/
  • Click Create a Manager Account and follow the instructions
  • Sign up using your Gmail address
  • Note: You can’t set up a manager account with an email address that’s already assigned to another Google Ads account. It must be an email address that’s not associated with any Google Ads account. Ideally, you should use a new email address to set up your manager account. Then you can link all of your other Google Ads accounts to your manager account, not to your email address.
  • Add on additional child accounts as you need for your Google advertising efforts
Google Ads home page
Google Ads home page

Step 3: Finding keywords to target

When it comes to knowing how to advertising on Google effectively, targeting the right keywords is essential.

With the platform’s Keyword Planner Tool, you can:

  • Gather search volume data on specific keyword and phrases
  • Understand how much it will cost per click to bid on specific search terms for your Google Ads
  • Discover new keywords and terms that could perform well in your ad campaigns and make a real impact with your target audience

To get your Google Ad keyword research just right and earn the best possible ROI for your efforts, explore our five-steps of keyword research infographic. You can also download our essential keyword research toolkit

Step 4: Choosing the type of ad you want to run

The next step in setting up Google Ads for success is choosing which type of ad you want to run based on your specific marketing goals.

Here is a quick guide that will help you decide:

  • Search: Text ads on search results page
  • Video: Video-based ads on YouTube and Google search result pages
  • Shopping: Product listings, usually displayed in a carousel at the top of a Google search results page
  • Display: Image-based ads or ad-based content displayed on websites, apps, and platforms across Google’s extensive Display Network
  • Discovery: Highly visual ads displayed on user feeds across the Google Display Network
  • Local: Google ad content that is served to highly-targeted regional audiences

Step 5: Strategize on budget and bidding strategy

To squeeze as much value from every one of your ads, you must choose the right bidding strategy.

When it comes to Google Ads, you can place your bids manually or with the platform’s automated bidding functionality.

If you have a limited ad budget, using a manual bidding process is a good idea as you can place a definitive cap on your cost-per-click (CPC). But, if you’re looking to save time and optimize your ads across multiple campaigns (and your budget is a little more flexible), automated bidding could offer excellent returns. Just keep in mind that automated bidding will cost you more to run your ads.

Tip: Check out Google’s bidding basics guide to optimize your strategy based on your goals and budget.

Step 6: Creating the ad

This is the point in our How To Do Google Ads when we come to creating the content itself. To create ads that stand out and inspire your prospects to take action, you must plan to:

  • Write an effective headline that includes relevant keywords and actionable phrases
  • Craft body copy that outlines the key USPs, is conversational, represents your brand tone of voice, and encourages people to click through
  • Include high quality visuals (images, graphics or video content) that bring the product, service or event you’re promoting to life

Remember: To ensure your ad resonates with the right audience, you should consider who you’re speaking to when creating your Google Ads. Our practical buyer persona template will help you get started.

Step 7: Preparing your website landing page

When someone clicks your ad, the destination must be equally as valuable and compelling as the ad itself. Your landing page should deliver on your Google Ad promises and expand on its messaging.

Not only should your landing page be consistent with your ad in terms of branding and tone of voice—but it should also be optimized for the best possible user experience (UX).

Did you know? You have a mere eight seconds to make a good first impression on your landing page. So, setting it up the right way is vital.

To set up your landing pages effectively and increase your conversion rates, check out our guide to best practices for great landing pages.

Step 8: Test the ads and optimize

Last but certainly not least, you should always test your ads to discover how you can optimize your future efforts for maximum results.

One of the most effective ways of finding out which variations of your ads drive the best results is through something called A/B testing.

A/B testing is a process where you test two versions of the same ad content, with slightly differing elements (copy, images, design, color schemes, call-to-action buttons, etc.). In doing so, you can see which elements perform better and optimize your ad accordingly.

Our A/B testing lesson will tell you all you need to know to get set up and start optimizing your Google Ad campaigns.

Another impactful way of testing and optimizing your ads is through ad group testing. This swift and scalable approach to testing will empower you to compare your ads and ultimately, discover which content performs best in each specific ad group. Google’s in-house guide to ad group testing is a useful resource that will guide you through the process.

Do’s and Don’ts when running your Google ads

Now that you know how to set up and run a Google Ads campaign, we’re going to look at some dos and don’ts to set you on the right path.


  • Make sure your landing page is cohesive with your ad and delivers on its promises
  • Use an extensive negative keyword list when using generic keywords
  • Use geographic targeting where you can
  • Use a keyword planner tool
  • Test, measure and optimize your efforts
  • Track your conversions and use themed ad groups


  • Choose broad and irrelevant keywords for your ad campaigns
  • Try to outbid your competitors without a concrete plan
  • Send traffic to a generic or homepage rather than a dedicated sales or landing pages
  • Choose your keywords based on search volume alone
  • Write or create ads without a target consumer in mind

How to do Google Ads masterclass

We hope our guide on how to advertise on Google Ads helps you get ahead of the competition and for the best possible chance of success, download our Google Ads creator template.

To further hone your Google Ads skills and learn how to master the art of paid advertising across platforms, take our flexible and industry-recognized short pay-per-click (PPC) course.

Updated 2022

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