When it’s time to choose the best settings for a Google AdWords campaign, go to the “Campaigns” tab in your AdWords Account and click the big blue “+” button. You’ll get a lot of different options thrown at you, but we’ll review the main settings that you need to focus on. And don’t worry — you can adjust or reset most of these settings later.
You have five options for new campaigns:
- Search network
- Display network
- Universal app
If you’re a first-time user, start with the first option, “Search network.” This is the most straightforward approach and is the area you should be looking to master before branching out into other areas of Google’s networks.
Next, choose “All Features.” (Don’t leave your campaign set to “Standard.”) This will ensure you have full access to every setting and feature later on.
Choose a name that’s meaningful and useful to you.
Choice of networks
For now, turn this off so your ads will show only on Google’s main search pages, such as Google.com, Google.co.uk, etc.
Ads will show on all eligible devices by default. You’re not able to adjust that here; this is done later, once your campaign is set up.
As tempting as it may be to broadcast your ads across the entire world, it’s much easier to start with a single location and expand from there as your clickthrough rates and conversion rates improve. Choose the single country that represents your main target audience. Or, if you’re a local business, choose the town or city that you serve.
The “language” of the users is dictated by the language their browser is set to. Again, don’t try to reach the world with your first campaign; choose the main language(s) of your primary market only. If, for example, your market is the UK, then choose English. If it’s Canada, go for both French and English.
The default option is “I will manually set my bids,” and this is the setting you should start with. You can look over the advanced options later.
This option allows you to tell Google the maximum amount you’re prepared to pay for a single click. This is tricky, especially if you’re just starting out: You may not yet be 100 percent settled on an answer to this question. You can and will adjust this multiple times over the coming weeks and months, so don’t worry about trying to find the perfect number. Just pick a sensible starting point. If you’re unsure, start with $1.00. You can change it later.
Google has a very specific goal: They want to spend 30.4 times your daily budget each month. This is a fact. Sure, your daily spend will be a bit higher on some days and lower on others, but by month’s end, it will even itself out.
Again, you can change this setting later. So choose what you think is a sensible starting point that won’t melt your credit card. If you’re not sure, $10 per day ensures that your overall spend won’t exceed $304 per month until you’re ready to increase their budget.
You have two options for how Google spends your daily budget:
- Standard. This spreads out your ad spend evenly over 24 hours.
- Accelerated. Starting at 12:01 a.m., Google will show your ads quickly, even if it means you hit your daily budget before sunrise.
“Standard” is usually the best option, unless you have a very high daily budget. With “Accelerated,” Google will stop showing your ads early in the day if you’ve met your budget. That could be a problem if, for example, all your best prospects go online only in the evening.
You’ll be invited to add ad extensions at this stage; pass on this for now.
Once your campaign is running, you can adjust any of the above options. You’ll also find some additional settings that are available to tweak. Here are two.
Start and end dates
Typically, you can leave this setting alone. But, if you’re running a time-sensitive promotion, set an end date here. That way you won’t have to remember to turn your ads off.
The most common use of scheduling is to turn off your ads at certain times of the day, or even entire days of the week. That’s a powerful money-saver if you know that there are certain times where you’ll burn through your budget if you let your ads show.
We recommend that you leave this setting alone to begin with. While your number of impressions and clicks may vary quite a bit depending on the time or day, conversion rates are usually consistent. Once you’ve gathered a significant amount of data on your campaign, then and only then would you have good reason to make adjustments.
You can also use this setting to specify an end date for your campaign. This is useful if you sell a product or service that’s only relevant to a specific time of year, such as snow shovels, lawn mowers or Valentine’s Day-themed gifts.