So your boss assigns you the task of building out your company’s Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) account. Your heart sinks to the bottom of your chest, as flashbacks from high school of sitting in math class attempting to solve problems that appear unsolvable (because you failed to study) re-surface from the back of your mind.
Hey! Chill out! Building out a Google Ads account structure is not as intimidating as it may appear. Yes, the Google Ads interface can be a bit tricky to navigate at times, but this step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to do to create a well-structured account. Also, remember the structure of your account is not permanent, and will likely continue to change and evolve over time.
Let’s take a step back – what is even meant by account structure and why is it so important?
I’m glad you asked. Put simply, the way you structure your Google Ads account allows you to control how you want your ads to be triggered and when and where you want them to appear. Not having a well-structured account is like attempting to drive a car that’s not properly built – accidents are bound to happen. Keep in mind that having a well-structured account will:
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It’s important to have a full understanding of each component of account structure before even dreaming of getting started, so let’s quickly review the basics.
Now that we’ve reviewed the basics, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what you need to do when building out your account. If you’re completely new to Google Ads, start off by creating an account. This part should be pretty self-explanatory, but follow this guide if you need assistance.
This question arises constantly: What is the perfect account structure? I hate to break it to ya, but there is truthfully no magic recipe for structuring your account, and more than one strategy can prove successful. Luckily, there are a few different methods that work well:
Of course, there are many other tactics to structuring your account, but it’s all about taking the time to come up with a rational structure that will be easy to manage, track, and optimize to get the best results over time. So take the time to ponder various structuring techniques, and decide on the one that works best for your business. Once you’ve decided I’d recommend actually mapping out the structure on a piece of paper or in an Excel doc to get a full visual of the campaigns and ad groups you’ll be creating.
Not sure of the best way to structure your account? We can help! Check out detailed walk-through here:
So you’ve drawn out a beautiful account structure with campaign themes and ad group topics. Now it’s time to fill up those ad groups with keywords, but how does one choose which keywords to use? Perhaps, just randomly selecting keywords that sound related? Hmm, not quite the approach I would take. You need to do some thorough keyword research to ensure you’re choosing keywords that aren’t too competitive or that have low Quality Scores or search volume.
Start by going through each ad group and keeping an organized list in an Excel document. Then use either Google’s Keyword Planner or WordStream’s Keyword Tool to find relevant keywords for each ad group. Be sure to keep in mind that it’s best to start small with the number of keywords you use per ad group (10-20 max). But, why? Isn’t it best to bid on more keywords to get better results? Picture a party that was way too crowded; the food was eaten up before you could get any, you could barely move without breathing all over your neighbor, and others likely stepped on your feet not even realizing you were there. Google reacts the same way when too many keywords are in an ad group – the party is simply too crowded and the chances of getting traffic and results out of each keyword are slim to none. You’re also going to want to use a variety of match types, bidding higher the more restrictive you go with each match type.
Once you have a keyword list for each ad group in place it’s time to dive in and start building.
Now that you’ve spent time mapping out your Google Ads account structure with a detailed keyword list, it’s time to get the ball rolling and build out your first campaign. Start with the one that is highest priority, and then work down from there.The first thing you’ll want to do is review your campaign settings. This part sounds self-explanatory, but advertisers tend to make careless mistakes, which can cost a huge chunk of marketing budget. Moral of the story, use caution and go through your settings diligently. Double-check the following items:
To get your campaign running properly you need ads (duh!). As we went over before, ads are tied to a list of keywords within an ad group, so the first thing we’ll need to do is create a new ad group. Under the campaigns tab in Google Ads, you’ll see an “Ad groups” tab and a red +Ad Group button. Select that and refer to your previous work to title your first ad group (for example, going back to our tennis example, perhaps this ad group is Women’s Tennis Rackets).
Then you’ll need to create your first ad, because of course an ad group won’t be able to run unless there’s at least one advertisement in that group. To get started with ad text creation keep the following pieces of advice in mind:
On the same screen you’ll see a white box titled “Keywords” where you’ll want to add in the previously created keyword list. As a reminder, this list should be short (no more then 10-20 keywords) and extremely relevant to the ad text and landing page that the users are being directed to. Also keep in mind that by default, new keywords are added on broad match. To specify match types use the designated punctuation; for example use quotations around a “phrase keyword,” brackets to specify an [exact match], plus signs to +specify +modified +broad, and broad keywords can simply be added as is.
Once you’ve already created an ad group with ads and keywords, if you want to go in to add more keywords, navigate to the ad group in the left sidebar, and then go to the “Keywords” tab and select the red “+Keyword” button.
Once you’ve finished creating your first ad group, ad text, and keyword list, select Save and continue to billing.
Congrats! You’ve successfully created your first campaign, ad group, text ad, and keyword list, but you’re not out of the woods quite yet…
Wondering how your account measures up? Find out for free with our AdWords Performance Grader!
Now that everything’s up and running in your first ad group, you need to create at least one or two more ads. You want to run at least two or three ads in each ad group to compare performance. Your ads should be similar, but just worded slightly different – perhaps putting the call-to-action in a different place or highlighting a different key point in each ad. This will allow you to test your ads and see what resonates with your audience. Keep in mind that you still want to follow the bullet points listed in #4 regarding creating ad text, but just made each ad ever so slightly different.
To create a new ad, first make sure you’re in the “Campaigns” section of your Google Ads account, on the left hand side of the page select the ad group which you just created, and navigate to the ads tab. From their select +Ad and start creating your new text ad.
Once all of your ads are created for that ad group, you’ll want to navigate to the Campaign settings, by selecting the campaign on the left hand sidebar, and then selecting settings. From there you’ll notice “Delivery method” – this specifies how you want your ads to be delivered on the SERPs. Make sure your ads are being delivered on standard delivery to not spend your budget too quickly throughout the day.
One last setting to adjust is your “Ad delivery.” This setting specifies how your ads will be rotated. I would recommend rotating your ads indefinitely so you can evenly compare them to each other to see which ad text resonated more with your audience.
Don’t kick your feet up just yet! It’s time to rinse and repeat. As explained above, you’re going to want a few ad groups per campign to spread out the relevant keywords to the subsets of the campaign theme. Refer back to your account map that we created at the beginning of the build-out, and keep building upon your stellar account structure.
What strategies have you found successful when building out an Google Ads or Bing account?
Feel free to leave your comment, questions, and concerns below. I’m here to help!
Margot is a content marketing specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking.
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