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How to set up your 1st Google Ads campaign on the search network when you’re not an expert

Google Ads is Google’s online advertising platform that enables businesses to create ads to reach their target audience via the Google Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and more.

Whether you’re launching a new product or service, or you’re facing a key period in your industry, you’d like to be the first to appear on Google, or you’d simply like to be more visible online.

A few figures to get you started:

Over 90% of the population searches online. There are 99,000 queries per second, 46% of which are local. Google Ads is therefore a powerful advertising platform that can really boost your company’s online visibility.

However, for novices, creating a campaign can be daunting. The search network focuses on displaying text ads in Google search results, targeting users based on their search queries. In this article, we’ll take you step-by-step through the main steps involved in setting up your first Google Ads campaign on the search network.

Part 1: Research network

1. Define your campaign objectives

Before diving into the creation of your campaign, determine what your campaign objectives are. Do you want to :

  • increase online sales: if you run an e-commerce site, your main objective may be to increase product sales.
  • attract qualified leads: for service companies, the objective may be to generate leads or quote requests.
  • increase traffic to your website: some companies simply want to increase the number of visitors to their site to promote their brand or content.
  • promote your brand: your company may want to stand out from the competition
  • boost your brand awareness: especially if you’re just starting out, a Google campaign can give you great visibility
  • increase consideration (discovery of your products or services): if you’re organizing an event or promotion, you’ll want to draw attention to this specific offer.

And ask yourself, what are your long-term resources?

Google Ads will allow you to choose from several campaign objectives, which will help structure your campaign optimally.

2. Create a Google Ads account

The first step is to create a Google Ads account if you haven’t already done so. Go to Google Ads and click on “Get started”. Follow the instructions to set up your account. You’ll need a Google account (like Gmail) to sign up.

3. A campaign on the search network

For a first campaign set up with Google Ads, we recommend starting with a campaign on the search network. This type of campaign displays your ads on Google search results pages when users search for terms related to your company.

If this is your 1st campaign in the tool, Google Ads will offer to assist you in creating your campaign. Google Ads offers two main modes: Smart mode and Expert mode. The choice between these two modes depends on your level of experience and the complexity of your advertising objectives.

Smart mode:

Smart mode is designed for beginners or for those looking for a quick, simplified solution. This mode automates most campaign management processes, including targeting, bidding and ad creation.

– Benefits:

  • Easy to set up and manage.
  • Ideal for beginners or those with little time to devote to campaign management.
  • Uses Google’s artificial intelligence to automatically optimize performance.

– Disadvantages:

  • Less control over campaign parameters.
  • Less flexibility in targeting and bidding strategies.
  • Less detailed data and analysis tools.

Expert mode:

Expert mode is designed for advanced users who want total control over all aspects of their campaigns. It allows detailed customization of bids, targeting, ads, and offers advanced analysis tools.

– Benefits:

  • Total control over all aspects of the campaign.
  • Advanced personalization of bids, targeting and ads.
  • Access to detailed analysis tools for ongoing optimization.

– Disadvantages:

  • More complex to set up and manage.
  • Requires in-depth knowledge of Google Ads and digital marketing.
  • Can be time-consuming.

4. Select relevant keywords

Keywords are at the heart of your Google Ads campaign. These are the terms that users will type into the search bar, and which will trigger the display of your ad or not.

In “smart” mode, you don’t need to use more than 10.
In “expert” mode, you can download a list of all your relevant queries/keywords. You can even list the keywords for which you don’t want your ad to appear by placing a “-” sign in front of the relevant keyword(s).
In the multilingual Luxembourg market, you’ll need to consider the language of your campaign. In some cases, you’ll need to set up different campaigns so that they appear for your different target audiences.

To find the relevant keywords your target audience is searching for in Google, there are several methods. Here are 6 to get you started on your keyword list:

  • brainstorm and write down all your ideas
  • ask around: how would you sum up my site in 3 words?
  • ask your customers and prospects what terms they use in their Google searches
  • use Google and its free tools: related searches, suggestions, keyword planner, Google Trends
  • audit your competitors’ sites to see which keywords they are promoting
  • think about your personas (ideal customers): what are their problems, how can they be solved?

The more generic your keywords, the more competition you’ll have, and the harder it will be to rank.
E.g.: travel

With ‘intermediate’ keywords (mid-tail), you’ll find it a little easier to position yourself because they’re more detailed.
E.g.: travel in Tuscany

Finally, ‘long tail’ keywords are much less sought-after, but have higher purchase intent. It will therefore be easier to position yourself.
E.g.: best itineraries for a romantic weekend in Tuscany.

Use keyword planning tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify relevant keywords for your business. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify relevant keywords to analyze: Think about the terms your potential customers might use to find your products or services.
  2.  Analyze competition and search volume: Use Google Keyword Planner to see how many people are searching for these keywords and how competitive they are.
  3. Select long-tail keywords: Specific, less competitive keywords can attract more targeted traffic and be more profitable.

So give preference to keywords specific to your product or service to reach a targeted audience.

5. Write effective ads

Your ads need to be clear, relevant and engaging. Each ad has three main elements: the title, the visible URL and the description.

  • Title: Grab attention with a catchy title. Use your main keywords.
  • Visible URL: Make sure the URL is clean and gives a clear idea of the landing page.
  • Description: Use this space to detail the benefits of your product or service and include a clear call to action.

Need help writing your ad ?

6. Define your budget

Google Ads lets you define a daily budget for your campaigns. If you run your campaign in “smart” mode, Google will give you 3 daily budget proposals and an idea of the return on investment. If you’re in “expert” mode, remember to set limits on your daily budget to avoid unpleasant surprises. Start with a modest amount to test the effectiveness of your ads. After that, you can always adjust your budget as you go along, if necessary.

7. Configure geographic targeting

To maximize the effectiveness of your campaign, target the geographic areas where your potential customers are located. You can target entire countries, specific regions or cities, or even radii around particular locations. Remember what we said in the introduction to this article: a large proportion of searches are ‘local’. Example: Esch-sur-Alzette or Luxembourg city.

8. Configure ad extensions

Ad extensions add extra information to your ads, such as additional links to your site, your phone number or customer reviews. They can increase the click-through rate of your ads by making them more useful to users.

Here are a few types of extension:

  1. Related link extensions : Add links to specific pages on your website.
  2. Teaser extensions: Include additional phrases to highlight the benefits of your product or service.
  3. Call extensions: Add a phone number to allow users to call you directly.

Location extensions: Display your company’s address to attract local customers.

9. Performance monitoring and analysis

Once you’ve launched your campaign, monitor its performance regularly via the Google Ads dashboard.

Configure Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking lets you measure the effectiveness of your ads by tracking what users do after clicking on your ad. Here’s how to set up conversion tracking:

  1. Create a conversion action: In your Google Ads account, go to “Tools and settings” and select “Conversions”.
  2. Define conversion parameters: Choose the type of conversion you’d like to track, such as purchases, registrations or phone calls.
  3. Add the conversion tag to your website: Follow the instructions to add the tracking code to your website.

Also track key metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and conversions. Use this data to adjust your keywords, ads and budget to optimize your campaign.

How to interpret CPC? A high number of clicks or visits on your links means that they are attracting visitors’ attention. Setting a sensible maximum CPC allows you to manage your advertising budget effectively, as it can limit expenditure while promoting the quality of the traffic acquired. A good CPC is generally one that is competitive with the average in your sector, while offering you a positive return on investment.

What is a “good CTR”? The click-through rate measures the attractiveness of a clickable link: a high rate improves the performance of your digital strategy. A good CTR is over 3%, while an excellent CTR is over 6%.

10.Test and optimize

Advertising on Google Ads requires an iterative approach. Test different ads, keywords and bidding strategies to see what works best. Use A/B testing to compare different versions of your ads and continuously optimize your campaigns for best results.

Launch and Optimize the Campaign

Once everything is set up, you can launch your campaign. But the work doesn’t stop there. Here are a few tips for optimizing your campaigns:

  1. Track performance: Use Google Ads reports to track clicks, impressions, conversion rates and cost per conversion.
  2. Adjust bids: Modify your bids according to keyword performance to maximize ROI.
  3. Test ads: Create multiple versions of your ads and use A/B testing to determine which are most effective.
  4. Optimize keywords: Add new high-performance keywords and exclude those that don’t work.
  5. Use demographics: Adjust your demographic targeting parameters to reach the best-performing market segments.
You don’t have the time or resources to do it ?

11. Traps to avoid

When launching a Google Ads campaign on the search network, there are several common traps that can reduce the effectiveness of your campaign and unnecessarily increase your costs. Here are the main pitfalls to avoid and tips on how to get around them:

1. Poor keyword selection

Problem: Choosing keywords that are too broad or irrelevant can attract unqualified traffic, increasing costs without generating conversions.

– Use specific keywords (long tail) to attract a more targeted audience.
– Carry out in-depth keyword research with tools like Google Keyword Planner.
– Use keyword match types (exact, phrase, and broad) to better control when your ads appear.

2. Ignore negative Keywords

Problem: Not using negative keywords can result in clicks from users who aren’t actually looking for what you’re offering.

– Identify and add negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches.
– Regularly analyze search terms to add new negative keywords.

3. Poorly structured ad groups

Problem: Grouping too many different keywords in the same ad group can make your ads less relevant.

– Create specific ad groups with closely related keywords.
– Write customized ads for each ad group to maximize relevance.

4. Neglecting Ad extensions

Problem: Not using ad extensions can reduce the visibility and appeal of your ads.

– Use ad extensions such as side links, teasers, callouts, and locations to provide additional information and improve click-through rates.

5. Budget and mismanaged auctions

Problem: Spending your daily budget too quickly or choosing inappropriate bids can drain your resources without significant results.

– Set a realistic daily budget and monitor it regularly.
– Use bidding strategies adapted to your objectives (such as target CPA or maximize clicks).

6. Ignore conversion tracking

Problem: Not tracking conversions makes it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign and optimize your ads.

– Set up conversion tracking to measure important user actions.
– Analyze conversion data to adjust your keywords, ads and bids.

7. No test and no optimize

Problem: Launching a campaign without A/B testing or regular optimization can limit the performance of your ads.

– Perform A/B tests to compare different versions of ads and landing pages.
– Continuously optimize your campaigns based on performance to improve results.

8. Ignore the importance of the destination page

Problem: Directing users to unoptimized or irrelevant landing pages can reduce conversion rates.

– Make sure your landing pages are relevant to ads and keywords.
– Optimize landing pages for a smooth user experience and maximum conversion.

9. Do not use demographic data

Problem: Not segmenting your audience can lead to inefficient targeting and unnecessary costs.

– Use demographic data to target specific segments of your audience.
– Adjust your ads and bids according to demographic performance.

10. Lack of brand consistency

Problem: Ad messages that are inconsistent with your brand can create confusion and diminish user trust.

– Make sure all your ads consistently reflect your brand’s voice and image.
– Maintain a consistent message across all ads and customer touch points.

Setting up your first Google Ads campaign may seem complex, but by following these steps, you can create an effective campaign even if you’re a novice. The key is to clearly define your objectives, choose relevant keywords, write attractive ads, and regularly monitor performance to adjust and optimize your campaign. With a little practice and analysis, you can master Google Ads and achieve significant results for your business.

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