Over 10 years we helping companies reach their financial and branding goals. Onum is a values-driven SEO agency dedicated.

Blog Posts

Launching Your First Google Ads (Search) Campaign


O Before you create your first Google Ads campaign, it’s important to have a few other things in place. Let’s take a look at those quickly before we dive deeper into the campaign launch and settings.

(1) A proper website/landing page:

If your website is incomplete or still has placeholder text/links, Google will likely disapprove your ads and it may show a ‘Destination Not Working’ policy violation.

(2) Set up Conversion Tracking:

It’s essential to track conversions (leads/sales/etc) when you’re running ads so you can evaluate how well your campaigns are performing, AND you will also use this conversions data later to optimize campaigns

(3) Keyword research:

You should spend some time researching targeted, high-intent keywords for whatever product/service you are promoting. You can brainstorm some basic keywords and use Google’s Keyword Planner to get more keyword ideas

(4) Write 2 Ads:

It’s best to have 2 ads running side by side so you can compare over time which one performs better. This process allows you to optimize your ads for conversions and CTR. Make sure your ads are aligned with the offer/text on your landing page; otherwise, users may click through to your website and then leave right away if they don’t find what they came looking for.

Launching the Campaign

Now that you have the basics covered, let’s go inside Google Ads and launch our first campaign!

Please note that Google frequently changes the initial settings on how you create a new campaign. But most of the options remain the same so if you understand what options you need to set, you won’t face any issues.

When you click that BLUE + button to launch the campaign, you will come across this screen next where you have to select a goal. I would recommend going with the last option (Create campaign without a goal’s guidance). We don’t want Google to restrict what features/options we can use in our campaign

Next, Google will ask you where and what type of campaign you want to run. There’s Search, Display, Shopping and other types. For the purpose of this article, we will use Search.

Next you will be asked about what result you want to achieve. Even if you don’t select any option here, you can still CONTINUE. But I would suggest you select Website Visits and then add your website domain/URL. Google will use this later to give you some keyword ideas.

Next we choose the name of the campaign. While you can name it anything you want, if you do things right, you will later end up creating quite a few campaigns. And when you’re looking at a dozen campaigns, believe me, you REALLY want to know which is which. So even though it doesn’t make any difference to the campaigns’ performance, it’s best to name them so you can immediately identify what that campaign is about. In the example below, I’ve named the campaign so I would know this campaign contains my brand keywords, it’s a Search campaign and I’m running it in the US.

Next we choose the name of the campaign. While you can name it anything you want, if you do things right, you will later end up creating quite a few campaigns. And when you’re looking at a dozen campaigns, believe me, you REALLY want to know which is which. So even though it doesn’t make any difference to the campaigns’ performance, it’s best to name them so you can immediately identify what that campaign is about. In the example below, I’ve named the campaign so I would know this campaign contains my brand keywords, it’s a Search campaign and I’m running it in the US.

By default, Google will make your campaign show ads on Google Search as well as Search (Partners) Network and the Display Network. When you are creating a campaign, you would come across the option of turning them on or off.

Search Partners include smaller search engines like Ask.com as well as other websites that opt-in for the AdSense for Search program and power their internal site search with that program. For the most part, Search Partners perform very well, comparable to Google Search. So, I would recommend keeping it on.
Display Network, on the other hand, is a totally different beast! It mainly runs with banner ads, and the targeting options work very differently for them. In many cases, your offer might perform very well on Search Network but not so much on Display.
For this reason, it’s recommended to turn off Display Network in Search Campaigns and run them separately in their own campaigns if needed. In the example below, you can see the Search Partners ads on the left side while a Display Network banner ad on the right side. I searched for ‘plumber nyc’ in this site’s search box and you can see the text ads on the left (Search Partners) are highly relevant. However, the banner ad on the right side is not really something I am interested in.

Next you would see a Show More Settings link. In most cases you wouldn’t need to change these settings except for the Ad Schedule setting. If you want to run ads on specific times/days, then this is where you can set up the schedule. Campaign URL options are mainly used when you want to push data from Google Ads into your CRM, while Dynamic Search Ads allow Google to automatically find keywords related to your webpages and show your ads on them (don’t run this unless you know how to manage it).

Next Google will ask you to set location targeting. There are mainly 2 ways to set location targeting: by selecting the specific location (like a city) itself, or by setting a radius around a location. You can select Enter Another Location and then it will allow you to type in your location. To set a radius click on the Advanced Search and set it from there.
Click on the Location Options link to select how Google targets your selected location. By default, Google chooses ‘People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations. But beware of this setting as it would also show your ads to somehow who’s NOT physically in your selected location but Google thinks they are interested in your location. For example, if you’re a lawyer and have set your location to New York City. With this recommended setting, even if someone is outside the US but searches for ‘lawyers in NYC’ your ads will appear. If you don’t know how to check the performance of these searches, I would suggest setting it to ‘People in or regularly in your targeted locations. That’s safer for someone who’s new to Google Ads. You can leave the Exclude options to default.


Unless you have a bilingual/multi-lingual audience, I would suggest setting the Language to All Languages. If you have a bilingual audience, then you can create separate campaigns for each audience and use that language in the language settings, which will tell Google what ads to show to each audience (and you can write ads in that selected language for each campaign).


If you’re a beginner, I would recommend adding Audiences in Observation mode (for Search campaigns). You can Search for audience ideas or Browse through the different types. If you have remarketing code set up on your website and some remarketing lists created in your account, I highly recommend at least some of those remarketing audiences (in Observation mode). This allows you to collect data on how those audiences perform, and you can later bid low or high on them as per their performance.


How campaign budgets work is often a confusing thing for new advertisers. Most small businesses have considered a fixed budget for Google Ads, which is typically low in the start ($1000-2000/m is usually a good testing budget for the start). The important thing to understand is that budget is set at campaign level and per day. So if you have a $1000 monthly budget, that means around $33/day across all your campaigns. And if you have 2 campaigns, then you will have to divide that $33/day across those two.
Another important point to remember is Google does NOT always respect whatever budget you have set. On some days Google may spend more, while less on other days. Google officially acknowledges they may spend up to twice as much on given days but will adjust later (by spending less on other days); I have heard about cases where they spent even more than twice on a given day. So you need to keep an eye on your spending.
A while back they tested allowing advertisers to set a monthly budget (rather than daily) but then they ended that option after some time (https://searchengineland.com/google-ads-ends-monthly-campaign-budget-test-332017).


This is another confusing area for most beginners. If you are starting and don’t have conversion tracking set up, Google will recommend going with the Maximize Clicks bidding strategy. But you can click on the blue link below to select a different bidding strategy.

Just remember a few things. Bidding strategies are either manual or automated. For manual bidding, you would have to constantly monitor and adjust bids based on performance. With automated bidding, you allow Google to set bids, but give it some directions as to what your top priority is and Google will set bids taking that into consideration. It may seem like automated is the way to go, but Google’s automation is not always perfect.
Every automated bidding strategy has a specific purpose and may work well in some cases, while it may fail in other scenarios. So it’s important to know what works when before you go with automated bidding. The common thing across all automated bidding strategies is that they rely on conversions data to optimize your bids. If your conversion data is inaccurate (overcounting or undercounting conversions) or if it’s insufficient (like 5-10 conversions in last 30 days), then the automation may not work very well.
Another word of caution: some automated bid strategies (like maximize clicks or target impression share) focus on goals other than conversions or conversion value. So I wouldn’t recommend using them unless you have a specific reason and know what you’re doing. If you are new, I would recommend clicking that blue link to select another bidding strategy and then going with Manual CPC.

If you set bids that are too low, Google will usually show you a notification in the Status column that says ‘below first page bid’ and will recommend what bid you should set. Even if you don’t set what Google recommends, you may still get some clicks but raising bids will give you more (though you will also be paying more for each click then).

Next Google will ask you if you want to set a specific conversion action for that campaign. Next, it will ask what Ad Rotation setting you want to use. Both of these are advanced settings and I wouldn’t recommend changing them if you are new to Google Ads.

Finally, Google will ask you to add some Ad Extensions. There are different types of Ad Extensions but their primary purpose is to increase your clickthrough rate. Setting them up is pretty straightforward but you can launch the campaign without setting them (and can come back and set them later whenever you want).

Hence you Save and Continue to the next step, Google will ask you to add keywords (and set bids if you select Manual CPC). If you add your website during the campaign set up, you will see some suggested keywords. Or you can add your website now to get some keyword suggestions. You can also use the Keyword Planner later to see what bids Google is recommending for your keywords and then set something around that.

You can add keywords in different ways, known as Match Types. You can read about them in detail here but it might overwhelm you if you’re new to all this. So I would suggest just adding a plus (+) sign with all the words in the keywords; that’s safer than the default setting but will also not limit your exposure unlike some of the more restrictive match type settings.

Save & Continue to proceed to the next step: ad creation. You will notice multiple places to add Headlines and Description Lines. Google frequently changes new types of ads with different formats. All text ads usually have headlines and description lines. You will also notice character limits to show how many characters (including spaces/punctuation) you can have in each headline/description.
If you are having difficulty getting your ads approved by Google (or even otherwise), you should go through their Editorial Guidelines
As per writing the ad, just make it simple. Most people skim through Google Search results quickly. Try to use keywords in Headline 1. Make sure you mention your USP, giving people a compelling reason to take your offer. Finally, include a call to action in the ad copy that matches the call to action/offer on your landing page.
Just make sure your keywords, ads, and landing pages are highly relevant to each other. If you show your ads to the right audience, and the offer on your website is compelling enough (and better than your competitors), then you should start getting conversions soon!

Written by:
Affan Laghari