How to successfully create your first Google search ad

Google search ads are an invaluable tool for any business. Find out how to successfully create your first Google search ad. A step-by-step detailed walkthrough.

Step 1: Go to the Google Ads website.

And click on the Sign In button at the top right corner of the screen.

You need to be logged in to your Google account associated with the ads account you are trying to access to be able to successfully log in in the next step.

google ads website 2

Note: If you have multiple Google ads accounts already set on your Google account, then you will see the following screen after you click on “Sign In”, from which you need to click on the Google ads account that you want to log into.

selecting the google ads account 2

If you have only one Google ads account associated with your Google profile, you will be automatically logged into the account after you click on “Sign In” in Step -1.

Step 2: Once you have logged into your Google Ads account, click on the link “Campaigns” on the left menu panel of the screen.

Creating a google ads campaign

Important Note: If you are not able to find the necessary links or buttons (as shown here) at the top/left menu of your Google Ads account, then you might have been, by default, switched to the new design of your Google Ads account. Though the new design looks good but since it’s still in the experimental phase, the UI might get complicated or erroneous, so we will recommend that for the time being you can simply switch back to the more stable older version.

To do so, please go to the option “Appearance” at the top menu, and from the dropdown, click on “Use previous design”.

Switching to the old UI design

Step 3: Once you are on the Campaign screen, click on the “+” button, and then from the dropdown menu click on the option “New Campaign”.

Create a new campaign Click on new campaign

Step 4: On the next screen, you will need to select the objective of your campaign; this will define the way the campaign’s goals and settings are designed.

For our example here, let’s say we will go with the objective “Website Traffic”; in that case, click on the required objective to proceed.

Selecting the campaign objective

Step 5: Your already set conversions on the ad account will be displayed, and they will be automatically associated with the new campaign.

You need to click on the “Continue” button at the bottom right corner of the screen to proceed.

Setting the conversions

Step 6: From the Campaign Type options, select “Search” by clicking on it.

Selecting the campaign type - Search ads

Step 7: As the next windows open up, provide the necessary details like the website URL and a meaningful name of the campaign, and then click on “Continue” to proceed.

Providing the names url details for the campaign

Step 8: On the next screen, you can decide on whether you want to keep the bidding option set to “conversions” (which is set as default, as you have conversions set up on your ad account) or you want to be bidding based on the “clicks” on the target landing page.

Every Google ad has a certain amount of learning phase, and that learning phase defines the main success of the campaign at later stages. So, it is preferable to start with “Clicks” first as this will give the Google ads machine learning some time to analyze the type of target audience who are clicking more on the ad and who are converting amongst them.

Once it has a good amount of data, then it be switched to “conversions”.

Google search ads setup - selecting bidding options

You have the option to set the maximum cost per click limit also, but during the early days, you might not have an idea about the correct CPC bid as you have no prior ad data to analyze. At a later stage of your Google ads journey, when you are sure about the perfect limit for the CPC, you can use this option.

Click on the “Next” button to continue.

Step 9: On the next screen, for the first option of “Network”, make sure to uncheck the option of “Display Networks”.

Display networks tend to provide unsatisfactory results in terms of search ads, and they chip off a chunk of your budget without giving any return, so it is advised to uncheck the option before you continue.

Search networks, on the other hand, in terms of search ads, can provide a good boost to your results, as they are still focused on users’ search terms, though maybe on websites other than Google.

Google search ads setup 2

Step 10: Scroll down to set the Locations and corresponding data for the Google ads.

  1. By default the ads campaign location is set to “All countries and territories”, but you want to specifically target the countries from where you expect your main target audience. For that, click on the “Enter another location” radio button.
  2. Start typing the desired country names in the search box and click on the correct ones from the search list that is displayed in the dropdown. The ones selected will be displayed above the search box.
  3. Important: Always ensure to click on the “Location options” link to expand the lower half of the menu. Here you must select the option “People in or regularly in your target locations”.

Failure to set that will deplete your budget on unwanted audiences who are actually not from your target location.

Google search ads setup 3

Step 11: In the next segment, you can target your audience based on the desired language of communication.

Google search ads setup 4

Step 12: Be sure to expand the following section (Audience Segments) to customize your target audience even further.

Audience segments

On the following screen, search for keywords that can define traits of your audience, and then from the list, expand each option and select the ones that are nearest to your audience trait.

For example, say we are planning to target users who are searching for “Advertising & Marketing services”.

You can do that in two ways:

  1. Search for the relevant term, and from the search results, select the ones that are nearest to your trait.
  2. Click on Browse -> What they are actively researching or planning (in-market)->Business services->Advertising & Marketing Services.

Google search ads setup 4 - audience segments

For the initial setup and learning phase of the Google ad, keep the Audience segment option as “Observation”. This allows you to not limit the audience to the specific trait selected and the ad can be in the observation phase. You can decide on later changing it to Targeting based on the performance.

If you are completely sure about the traits selected and do not want the ad to be shown to people beyond those traits, then from the initial stage itself, you can set it to “Targeting”.

Step 13: Scroll down and click on the “More settings” option.

Here, you can use the options according to your requirements, especially if you want to set an End date to the campaign (not preferred as you can pause any campaign at any time) or alter any ad schedule, etc.

Google search ads setup 5

Once done, click on the “Next” button.

Step 14: Before we proceed further, let’s explain in brief the structure of your Google ad campaign and the 3 main elements involved in it, i.e., Campaign, Ad Group, and Ad:

A Campaign is the top-level object used in Google Ads, and it houses all of the different ad groups. It allows you to define the overall budget you want to spend on your campaigns, along with other settings such as location targeting, language targeting, network targeting, and more.

An Ad Group is associated with a single campaign, and it’s responsible for organizing related ads together. Every ad group has its own budget, which can be used to keep track of spending on individual keywords or products or keyword themes, etc. Ad groups can also target different audiences with different messaging by using unique sets of keywords or custom offers, etc.

Finally, an Ad (or “Advertisement”) is created within an ad group, and it’s what actually appears on search results pages when a user searches for one of the keywords related to or matching those on your keyword list. It consists of a headline, description lines, display URL (which doesn’t need to match the landing page), final URL (which does need to match where you land visitors), and various other options such as Sitelinks extensions, etc..

Now on this step, we are creating our first Ad group for the campaign. Use this screen to provide a meaningful name to the Ad Group you are creating.

Delete the default set of keywords that will be populated based on your landing page, and then paste the set of keywords you want to use for this Ad Group. To explore how to research keywords for your Google Ad campaigns, follow our guide.

Google search ads setup 6

Step 15: Now, you have to set the individual ads. To create effective search ads, you need to understand the main 5 components of an Ad copy.

Google search ads setup - ads example

  1. Headline The headline is the most important part of a Google ad copy because it will be the first thing people see and read. It should concisely capture the attention of potential customers and make them interested in your product or service. To write an effective headline, focus on specific keywords, include action words (such as “Buy” or “Download”), and keep the length to no more than 30 characters.
  2. Description The description is where you can convey additional information about your product or service that may not have fit in the headline. You want to give readers enough detail so they know what they’re getting but avoid overcrowding with too many words. Use persuasive language to explain why they should choose your offering over others. Keep the description to no more than 90 characters.
  3. Display URL The display URL lets viewers quickly understand where they are being taken when they click on your ad. Use this space wisely by including relevant keywords while also keeping it short (no more than 35 characters). This URL appears in green font, so it’d be helpful if you could make sure not to misspell any words here!
  4. Call-outs Call-outs are short bits of text used for highlighting additional features of your product or service that aren’t already included in the headline or description. They can include things like free shipping, loyalty programs, etc., depending on what makes sense for your business. Each call-out should be no longer than 25 characters and focus on communicating one key selling point per call-out line.
  5. Sitelinks Sitelinks are additional links that appear underneath your ad and direct users to other pages on your website related to the offer they clicked on. They can be used to provide a more detailed look into what you’re offering, allowing users to navigate deeper within your site without having to start their search all over again at Google’s homepage. Each sitelink needs its own unique description line of no more than 30 characters, so make sure each one conveys as much information as possible!

Step 16: Scroll down to the ad creation segment, and for the initial part, provide the URL of your landing page in the “Final URL” segment, and in the Display URL area, provide the URL structure that you want your viewers to see while seeing the ad.

Google search ads setup 6

Step 17: Scroll down and start providing the details for the ad, starting with Headlines. As mentioned earlier, as this is the main segment that a viewer first sees, it has to be concise yet aligned with the user search and has keywords related to the action expected from the user, too.

  • You have to provide at least 3 headlines, but to make the best use of this segment, try to provide as many as possible.
  • Ensure each one of them is unique and is aligned with the keyword theme of the ad group.
  • Provide action keywords like “Book”, “Buy”, etc. in a few headlines.
  • Try to cover the maximum keywords in unique headlines.

Google search ads setup 7

Step 18: Scroll down to the segment where you need to add the description part of the ad.

  • Provide more information about the service/product here.
  • You can provide 2-4 descriptions, but each has to be unique.

Google search ads setup 8

Step 19: Now click on the “+Sitelinks” button at the bottom of the next segment to start adding sitelinks to the ad.

Google search ads setup 9

On the next screen, press the “+New Sitelink” link to proceed.

Google search ads setup 10

On the next screen, fill out the necessary details for the Sitelinks and then click on the Save button.

  • Provide a Sitelink text, which will be the main text heading that will define the sitelink purpose.
  • Provide two 35-character texts to describe the sitelink.
  • Provide the final URL of the sitelink.

Google search ads setup 11 - Campaign level sitelinks setup

Once done, you will see on the next screen the sitelink will be auto-selected to be added to the ad.

Now click on the “Apply” button to proceed.

Google search ads setup - sitelink apply

Site 20: Now we need to set the Call-outs for the ad.

Click on the “+ Callouts” button.

Google search ads setup - creating callouts

Then click on the “+ New callout” button on the next screen.

New callout for search ads

On the next screen, fill out the necessary callout texts that you want to pop out on your ads to the viewers and click “Save”.

Google search ads setup 12

Once done, you will see that the newly created callouts are auto-selected.

Google search ads setup 13

Click on the “Apply” button at the bottom of the screen to continue.

Google search ads setup - applying all settings

Step 21: You can click on the “More assets” link to expand the other available assets that you can add to your ad, depending on your requirement and type of business.

There are different assets like:

Promotions: Promotions are used to display any ongoing discounts offered on products, services, or subscriptions. You can create promotions that appear in search results with the promo code and timeline available. This creates a sense of urgency amongst the viewers and might lead to enhanced conversions.

Prices: Prices let you showcase the price of a product/service right on the ad itself. This feature can be used to highlight special offers or call attention to certain products and services in an ad group. This can be used especially if you have a price differentiator from your competitors and you want to showcase that and stand out. Also, online stores can definitely use this feature to showcase the product and corresponding prices.

Calls: Calls enable potential customers to connect with your business directly from their mobile devices by tapping the “Call Now” button in the ad. It’s a great way to make it easier for people with specific needs and queries to connect with you quickly and easily. It can definitely work best for businesses like restaurants where you want your customer to call and book their order or reserve their place.

Structured Snippets: Structured snippets allow advertisers to include additional information about their products, services, or locations in their ad text. This feature enables you to align customer expectations even before they click on an ad so they don’t experience disappointment upon landing on the page after clicking the ad. You can add different groups of snippets under types like Amenities, Brands, Courses, etc.

Lead Forms: Lead forms help qualify leads and get customer contact information without requiring them to leave the platform, like what happens when using calls or click-to-website options. With lead forms, you can capture leads quickly and easily and then follow up later via email, phone call, etc., as needed. For this setup, you must create an additional form on the Google Ads platform that you will associate with your ad.

Apps: If you have an app that you want to promote with your Google ads, then this is an asset you need to use. Apps enable you to increase engagement with potential purchasers both in-app and pre-install app ads and re-engage existing users through app engagement ads that link directly back into key parts of an app once clicked on by potential customers.

Google search ads setup - more asset types

You can click on the ones that you want to add to the ad and then follow the 2-screen setup easily in the same way as we did here for the assets like Sitelinks and Callouts.

Step 22: Now click on the “Done” button at the bottom of the screen to proceed toward saving the ad.

Done changes

Once the ad is saved, it will appear in the following format. Then click on the “Next” button to proceed.

Preview ads

Step 23: Now, on the next screen, you must fix your ad’s daily budget.

Google will give you a few set options from their end, but you need to click on the radio button “Set custom budget” and, in the text box, fill up the daily budget you want to set for your ad.

As you alter the budget, you will see how the expected results displayed below the budget change, too. Set the budget according to the estimates and your desired result.

You might ignore the warning given as Google showcases the minimum budget based on the large-scale performance of the ad. It is just a warning, but you can set the ad based on the estimates and desired results.

Setting up budgets

Once done, click on the “Next” button to continue.

Step 24: On the next screen, verify the details of your ad and then click on the “Publish Campaign” button.

Publishing campaign

Your ad will be then in “Published” and “In-review” phase first. Once the Google review is complete, you will see the ad status changes to “Bid strategy learning”, which is the initial learning phase of the ad, and once it is completed, you will have some recommendations and analysis to look into.

You can change the add at that time to ensure you get the optimum result.

To avoid issues during Google’s ad review, avoid the following:

  • Capitalization (do not use Ad Headlines like “FREE gifts with each purchase”)
  • Abbreviations or acronyms
  • Bad or Wrong URLs
  • Slang terms or colloquial language
  • Excessive punctuation, symbols, and special characters (e.g., avoid using “!” in ad headlines)
  • Brand names or trademarks that have not been authorized by you (e.g., do not use brand names like Nike, Amazon, or WordPress in your texts if they are not owned by you)
  • Misleading language or unsubstantiated claims
  • False information, inaccurate content, or fluffy phrases
  • Offensive language (including profanity)
  • Incentives to purchase goods or services (This is a tricky one, but it mainly suggests avoiding texts that suggest something on the lines of paying your customer to take an action)

Why is it important:

Google search ads are an invaluable tool for any business. By leveraging the power of Google’s search engine and its vast user base, you can put your products or services in front of potential customers in a highly targeted and effective way. With the right strategy, you can see increased traffic to their website or store, resulting in more leads, sales, and profit.

The advantages of Google search ads come from targeting users based on their exact search query. This means that you can easily tailor your ads to reach the users who are already looking for the type of product or service you offer. Ad targeting can be further refined with demographic data, geographic location, and more, allowing businesses to focus not only on those who are actively searching but also on those who have shown interest in similar products or services in the past. This ensures that campaigns are reaching the most relevant users possible.

Things required before you start:

    • You should have an existing personal Google account with the necessary login information (email address, password).
    • You need to have an already set Google Ads account, and if you haven’t done it yet, then follow our guide to do so.
    • You should have set up conversion tracking for your Google ads account, and if you haven’t yet, then follow our guide to do so.

Steps to successfully create your first Google search ad

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