A 6-Step Guide On How To Set Up Google Ads

How to setup Google ads
Ravi Davda Rockstar Marketing CEO

Written by Ravi

Jun 21, 2021

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Google Ads reach 90% of Internet users. That staggering statistic shows Google’s dominance in the PPC space. It also shows why it’s important to know how to set up Google Ads. Google Ads are a tremendous marketing platform. It has great reach and when done right, produces phenomenal return on ad spend.

The takeaway though is ‘done right.’ It can very easily go the other way. There are brands galore that cannot break even on PPC and end up making a loss. Is it because PPC is difficult? Does it have a steep learning curve? Is there some secret strategy to success in PPC?

The answer? It’s a combination of all of these.

On the face of it, Google Ads seem straightforward. That changes when you start to design campaigns. Suddenly, you see a multitude of choices. There are different types of Ad extensions. You need to nail keyword research. Google offers you a whole bunch of goals to choose from. You need to know which bidding strategy suits your business.

How To Set Up Google Ads – 6 Steps!

Did we overwhelm you? Don’t sweat. We are going to grab your hands and show you exactly how to set up Google ads. So strap in and enjoy the read.

Step 1 – Set up a Google ads account

First things first, log on to ‘ads.google.com’. If you have a Google account, you can sign in to it. If you don’t, then sign up for one now. You cannot run Google ads campaigns without a Google account. Thankfully, the sign up process is pretty straight forward. What’s better is that Google encourages new businesses to use their platform.

Learn to setup Google ads without creating a campaign

When you sign up on Google Ads, Google asks you to set up a campaign straight away. But we are going to skip this for now. Look for a link that says, ‘Create an Account without a campaign’ and click on it. We will show you how to set up Google ads campaigns shortly.

For now, let’s get used to the interface. In the next step, you will enter your business information. Ensure that you enter this correctly. You cannot change it once you click submit.

You may notice an invitation to set up an onboarding call with a Google ads specialist. That’s just an upsell. We recommend that you skip it for now and finish your account set up.

Step 2 – How to set up Google Ads – Use your free Ad Credit

Remember what we spoke about encouragement? Google gives new businesses £75 in free ad credits when you generate your first ad bill of £25. This is only applicable for new businesses though. This means that your ad account must be brand new. That’s all it takes to qualify. If you spend £25 on Google Ads, you can avail £75 worth of free ads.

When you sign up, look for the free ad credit email in your Gmail inbox. Copy the coupon code mentioned in the email. Head to the “Billing & Payments” page in the dashboard. Now click on settings. Under “settings” look for a tab called “promotional codes”. Now click on manage promotional codes. Paste the coupon code here and then click Apply.

That’s it. You just got a nice free bonus even before you started to spend.

Step 3 – Creating your first Campaign

Now you know how to set up Google ads account and get a free bonus. It’s time to create your first campaign.

Click on the large ‘+’ symbol. A prompt window appears with the question, ‘What’s your main advertising goal?’

Your options are –

  • Get More Calls – Best suited for services and businesses looking to generate leads on the phone. If you select this, Google will show you the option to set up your phone number. The number shows right under your ads.
  • Get more website sales or sign-ups – Best suited for e-commerce merchants and business websites that have an online conversion funnel.
  • Get more visits to your physical location – Best suited for businesses looking to increase footfall to offline outlets.

You can select one of these and set up a campaign. But it will be a ‘Smart Mode’ campaign with limited features. Let us explain…

Smart Mode

Smart Mode is an automated mode. Google allows you to select your goals and automates everything else. Google’s machine learning algorithms select the best keywords, bids and strategy for you. Most new accounts are set up in the smart mode. The smart mode is a hands-off way to run Google ads campaigns. It’s pretty effective too like Facebook Ads automated campaigns.

But we don’t recommend it one bit. It gives Google too much control over your ad spend. Someone wise once said that you don’t ask the fox to guard the chicken coop.

Switch to expert mode to learn how to setup google ads

Expert Mode

Expert mode is for experienced PPC marketers and Google ads specialists. We use this mode to create streamlined campaigns for our clients. It gives you more control over the finer details. The caveat is that the learning curve is steeper. If you want to use the expert mode, we recommend hiring a Google ads expert team.

You might want to take a look around though. Click the tools icon on the top right. You will see the link to ‘switch to expert mode’. Take a look and familiarise yourself with the dashboard. The left-hand panel houses most of the important links and tabs. Further customisation options are available for each main link.  

Step 4 – How to set up Google ads – Keyword Research for your new campaign

what are keywords in seo

Keyword research can make or break your ad campaign. Bid for the wrong keywords, and you will flush your ad dollar down the drain. Bid for the low hanging fruit and your ad spend will produce excellent returns. There are numerous ways to conduct keyword research. Let’s start with the most basic ones.

  1. Use the business website – You can use the business website to find relevant keywords. This is generally the first thing we do while researching keywords for our clients. You can also use the business website to group keywords into themes. This is an excellent way to structure the campaign.
  2. Tools – There are many keyword research tools out there. Each one claims to be the holy grail of keyword research. If you are new to this, just get started with Google Keyword planner. The important metrics to watch out for are search volume, competition and the average cost per click. If you spend some time with keyword research, you can find long-tail keyword phrases. These are keywords with more than three terms. For instance, ‘best managed support company in the UK.’ Long-tail keyword phrases are lower in competition and cost. But these are generally more targeted than two to three-word keywords.
  3. Step into your customer’s mind – Think as your customer would do. What are the terms that they would use to find your business? Check out Ubersuggest. It’s an excellent free tool for keyword suggestions.
  4. Branded Keywords – Branded keywords and product names are hands down, the cheapest traffic out there.

Use a combination of these techniques to create an initial seed keyword list. Work your way deeper using this list.

Step 5 – How to setup Google ads campaigns – Choose your placements

Google ads offer different placements for your ads. These are the different websites under the Google platform that will show you ads. Your choices are:

  1. Search Network – Ads will show on Google search & search partner sites
  2. Display Network – A network of more than 2 million websites, apps & videos that will show your ads.
  3. Search & Display – A combination of both
  4. Google shopping – Ads displayed in Google’s shopping listings
  5. Google Video – Ads on Google Vide0

Since we are looking at how to set up Google ads for beginners, select search network only. Adding the display network brings in more traffic. Not all of it can be as targeted as search traffic though.

Devices – Your ads will be set to display on all devices by default. This includes mobile, laptops and tablets. You can use bid modifiers to exclude a device type. This is easier than it sounds. Just reduce the bid on the device you want to exclude to £0. That’s it.

Locations – Where do you want your ads to show? You can use a broader location such as the United Kingdom. If you are a local business, you can set your ads to show within a 5-10 mile radius of a specific pin code.

Step 6 – Bidding Strategy

Last but not the least, we have bidding strategy. Google recommends by default that you automate the bid strategy. Remember what we spoke about the fox and the chicken coop? This may work for some businesses. But chances are you are looking to reduce your ad spend. Not hand it over to the company that wants you to spend.

That’s why you need to select a better strategy. Like, maximise clicks for traffic. Manual CPC for controlling the spending for every click. Or maximise conversions for conversion-specific bidding.

To know how to setup google ads, its important to learn bidding strategy

Bidding strategy is tricky. But it’s THE most important aspect of a successful PPC campaign. At Rockstar Marketing, our team of PPC experts in Birmingham select the most appropriate strategy for a business. We constantly monitor performance and track metrics. This allows us to adapt and make changes on-the-fly.


Once you know how to set up Google ads, it’s time to dive in deeper. Setting up winning ads is an art. There are so many different components involved. There’s ad copy. There’s keywords. You must use the right Google ad extensions. Do not forget to track conversions. Like we said earlier, the learning curve is steep. If you want to eliminate guesswork out of it, speak to our PPC specialists now.


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