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How to Set Up a Google Ads Account (Updated 2021)

August 28, 2021

Think you’re ready to take the plunge and start a Google Ads account? If the next three statements describe you, than you have my blessing!

You have a website that is relevant, easy to navigate, and fairly well built out.

Your Google Ads account will help you to bring qualified searchers to your landing pages. Once they’ve made it to your site, it’s your job to convince them to convert. To achieve this, you must create landing pages that will compel visitors to take action. If your landing pages are cluttered, lack relevant information, or do not facilitate a conversion, you’re throwing money into a black hole and your paid search efforts will be in vain. If you know that your landing pages need a little TLC, check out these tips. (Bonus points if you have mobile-optimized landing pages, too!)

You’re willing to commit to this project for the long haul (financially and time-wise).

You won’t see the full potential of your account from the start. Cliché as it may be, it’s important to recognize that PPC is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to establish a strong structure, expand keyword lists, identify negatives, and test ads/landing pages. Plus, you are likely to start off with poor Quality Scores, which will hurt your average position and CPCs. You will see your Quality Scores start to shift once you’ve established your Google “street cred” and proven that you’ve built an account that offers a positive user experience (this typically takes 4-6 weeks).

You are willing to dedicate some extra manpower to PPC for the next few weeks.

Sure, once your account has been up and running for a while, you can sit back and relax. However, your first month will require a bit more heavy lifting. If you’ve never managed a PPC account before, I recommend taking a few weeks to do some studying (maybe even get certified, if you’re feeling like a true overachiever!). Once you know the ropes you can embark on the account build-out, which may also be a fairly time-consuming process and then, for the first few weeks, you will need to monitor your performance pretty heavily. Though it may be tough right off the bat, the hard work will be well worth your while!

If you fit the descriptions above, we recommend taking some time to develop your strategy and identify your paid search goals. One of the most important things to consider is how you will define a conversion. A “conversion” is the action that you want the searcher to take after they’ve clicked on your ad and visited your landing page. Different advertisers track different types of conversions. An e-commerce site might want to drive purchases, whereas a plumber may be looking for form fill-outs or phone calls. It is also important that you identify the value associated with a completed conversion.

3 Steps to Set Up a New Google Ads Account

OK, for you brave souls who have done your research and are ready to get started, here’s how you can the ball rolling:

Step 1: Choose or create your Google account

When creating an account, you have the option to create it under your existing Gmail account or set up a new account. Personally, I like to set up a new Gmail account ahead of time, which I use specifically for Google Ads management. This way, my personal email isn’t bombarded with emails from Google Ads. So if  you'd like to create a new account for your ads, do so now. Otherwise, skip to step 2.

set-up-google-ads-account-create-google-account

Step 2: Sign up for Google Ads

Head to this signup link to create a new Google Ads account. You'll be asked to choose which account to sign up with. Here is where you can use the new Google account you created or an existing account. Once you've chosen your account, you'll enter into the process to set up your first campaign. Don't worry about the details with this campaign; once you set it up you can pause and stop it right away. You'll first be asked to choose the main advertising goal for this campaign.

create-google-ads-account-new-campaign

From there, you'll be asked to provide your business name and website. Note: you must have a website in order to set up a Google Ads account. Not only do you need landing pages to link to from your ads, but Google also will scan your website to learn more about it and verify it as a real business. Once it scans your website, you'll see a screen like this:

setup-google-ads-account-website

From this screen, click "Next" and you'll be brought to the setup window for your first campaign. The default ad type is now a Responsive Search Ad, which allows you to create up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Again, don't worry about perfecting these, as this is just a dummy campaign. Plus, since Google has already scanned your website, it offers suggestions in a drop down menu that you can choose. Once you add your headlines and descriptions, click "Next."

Step 3

In the next window, you'll be given the option to select keyword themes, so Google can find ads that target those keywords. You don't have to choose a keyword theme, especially if this is a dummy campaign. Click "Next" and you'll then be asked to choose a location, and set a budget and duration. Once you get through those steps, Google will allow you to preview your ad.

google-ads-setup-review-campaign

Finally, you are prompted to set up billing information. You can elect to have payments drafted from either a credit card or a bank account. Keep in mind that Google must verify the bank account, which can take a little while. If you are eager to get your ads up and running, your credit card may be a better option.

Congratulations, you are now an official PPC advertiser and can start building out your account. Click on "Explore Campaign" in the congrats screen to see your dashboard (but don't forget to pause and stop your dummy campaign!) 

set-up-google-ads-account-congrats
Erin Sagin

Erin Sagin

Erin Sagin worked at WordStream for five years with roles in Customer Success and Marketing. She lives in California.

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