Google Adwords setup checklist

Google AdWords Setup Checklist

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AdWords Setup Checklist (+30 Points)

Step through this checklist for every campaign you build

Last updated: May 2020 | Level: Introductory | [Download]

Just getting started with Google AdWords? We have setup and reviewed hundreds of client accounts and frequently see the same configuration issues leading to poor performance and burnt budgets.  Here we lay down out Google Ads Setup Checklist to help you avoid some of the common mistakes.

google adwords setup checklist download

Note: Be sure to check out the accompanying post for How to setup a Successful PPC campaign in Google AdWords

1. Create your Google Mail Account for Ads

Like all things Google you need a gmail account to get started. Assuming you already have a one login to your account and then enter the following url:

google ads setup checklist

Click Start Now to create your first campaign

2. Create New Campaign

With the core account in place now you can move on to the fun stuff, i.e. the actual campaign setup. The first stage of this will be Google asking you to select a campaign goal from the off. Choose between

google ads create new campaign

Choose Google Ads campaign goal

2a Choose Campaign Type

Select the appropriate campaign type, this can depend upon factors such as your goals and your target market. Choose between:

  1. Search and Display Network Select
  2. Search Only
  3. Display Only
  4. Shopping
  5. Video
  6. Universal App Campaign

2b. Select Feature Level

Choose the sub-category or feature set that best suits the campaign objective. Search options include Dynamic Search Ads, Call-only. Display campaigns include options for brand awareness, influence consideration and drive action.

2c Select Device Targetting

When selecting target devices consider where people are most likely to be when they see you ad. Are you looking to target people whilst they are on the move? Or are people most likely to search for you whilst at their desk?

2d Select Location Targetting

Do you want to reach people local to your business, or is your campaign national or even international? You can specify target locations by country, county, city or a radius around your business.

2e Select Relevant (and irrelevant) Languages

You can select which language you want to target - but remember you have to write the ads in the relevant language (Google does not translate them). It makes sense to select the language that your website is written in.

2f Set Bid Strategy

Your objectives will help you to decide bid strategy, cpm - for views, cpa - for conversions, cpc - for clicks.

2g Set your [daily] Budget

A few factors will influence your budget not least what you can actually afford to spend. Another key component is how much a lead or sale is worth to you as it helps you to decide how much you are willing to pay for a click or a conversion.

2h Add Extensions for sitelinks, callouts, location, reviews, offers etc..

These allow you to add additional information to appear below your ad.

Locations - highlight the different locations of your business with a map or the distance to your business which can also link to your location page.

Sitelinks - Link to other pages on your website for example other linked products, opening hours, etc.

Callouts - Add buttons with your phone number which people can tap or click on to call your business directly.

Callout: allows you to add relevant extra information such as 'free delivery', 'qualified experts', etc.

2g Set Campaign Targeting options

This is where your earlier work on identifying your market comes in handy. some examples of targeting on the Display Network include:

Placements - where you target people whilst they are browsing particular sites

Topics & Interests - allows you to reach people whilst they are browsing content in similar interest categories and

Demographics - which enable you to target by gender, age and whether they are a parent or not.

2h Add Exclusions (e.g. Adult Content, Gambling etc..)

Perhaps you need to consider what industries or products you may want to disassociate from (e.g. gambling, defence, oil). Also for some campaigns you may want to exclude an audience (e.g. exisiting customers for new customer messages).

Whilst on the subject of exclusions you will probably wish to exclude your IP address to avoid paying for in-house clicks.

2g Define display Schedule

Limiting the time your ads show to the times your potential customers are most likely to be browsing or around your opening hours helps to make sure you reach the most customers at the best time. It also ensures that your budget is spent effectively.

2h Set Ad Delivery profile

You can choose to show your ads evenly across the day or accelerated so they are shown more earlier in the day.

2j Choose Ad Rotation option

Select whether you want to rotate your ads until they are optimised or indefinitely, bear in mind the latter would need close monitoring.

2k Set Bid Adjustments

Set bid adjustments to get the most out of your preferred targets. You can choose to adjust bids up or down according to factors such as time, location and audiences.

3. Ad Groups

Ad Groups are a set of ads targeting shared keywords. In each Campaign create separate Ad Groups to target a set of keywords around a specific product or service.  These keywords are typically very similar in nature and should match the ad copy, tone and intent of you ads within each group.

3a Create First Ad & Check Landing Page URL

It may sound obvious but check your landing page URL takes you to the right page with the information your customer expects to find.

3b Choose Keywords

Identify keywords that define your product/service based on what customers would search for. Keywords are the basis of your targeting, if you've done your homework it should be an easy step to copy them from your keyword analysis and drop them into your ad group.


3c Add Negative Keywords

If there are search terms you know are not relevant you can add them as negative keywords, especially if your product name can have an alternate meaning e.g. pipe (smoking or plumbing?).

3d Define Keyword Match Types

Use match-types to tighten or broaden your keyword scope. Choose between broad, phrase and exact.

3e Add Remarketing Audiences (optional)

Define lists of people you may want to remarket to e.g. shopping cart abandoners, people who have visited your site before, etc.

3f Set [manual] CPC Bids (optional)

If you want to bid more or less aggressively for certain keywords in an ad group, you can set keyword-specific max CPC bids to overide the default.

3g Create Ad Variants

Create at least three variants of each ad. This allows you to compare performance and retire poor performing versions.

3h Specify Custom Tracking Parameters

This is optional, but useful if you are using Google Analytics. These parameters allow you to pass additional variables into your tracking URLs e.g. ad variant.

4. Final Checks

There's plenty of opportunity for error and oversight in the setup process and given how quickly this will go public it's worth taking a few minutes to do some final checks and make sure everything is in place.

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In this Article:

30 Things to check before activating a new Google Ads campaign

  1. Must-check List
  2. Checklist in pdf format

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