Tech Recipe: Creating your first Google Ads campaign
In today's digital age, online advertising has become a crucial component of effective marketing strategies. Google AdWords is one of the most powerful tools for this purpose, allowing businesses to reach potential customers right when they're searching for what to do, where to go, or what to buy. This recipe will guide you through the process of setting up your first digital ad campaign on Google AdWords.
Admin access to your website
Digital content (images, videos, text)
Sign up for a Google AdWords account using your business email.
You’ll need to have access to a credit card, business verification docs (EIN or similar docs), and other identify verification documents
Navigate to the "Campaigns" section and click on the plus button to create a new campaign.
Choose your campaign type based on your business goal (Sales, Leads, Website traffic, etc.)
The rest of the campaign creation flow will be tailored depending on which type you pick.
Sales is best for a customer flow where you can trace the click to the final sale. Leads are for expanding your customer base and getting them to take some kind of action on your website. Website traffic will focus on getting more users to visit your site. There is also a brand awareness campaign type which is more tailored to making your business more well known or recognized. You can also run a “local” campaign which is meant to drive foot traffic to a physical location.
For our Banana Stand we want to get people to visit the landing page we made in our last recipe and sign up for our mailing list. This best maps to the “leads” goal.
Learn more about all of the campaign types on Google.
Set up your ad group by selecting your target audience based on demographics, interests, and search behaviors.
Google allows you to browse for audience segments, or you can search their list if you know what you are looking for. For first time users we recommend using Browse.
Our Banana Stand has been on the Pier for a while. We know our current visitors are mostly nearby residents. We want to target more people who want to visit the beach, are into health and fitness but still want something sweet:
Google will crawl your website and automatically suggest keywords and start to prepopulate the keyword and ad content for you.
Finalize your ad by adding relevant headlines, descriptions, images or videos, and your business website URL.
The best ads are descriptive, clear, match keywords that people would search for and link to a great landing page.
The ad interface will show you how you’re doing and even suggest language based on what Google found on your website:
Be sure to take advantage of a feature called “Responsive Search Ads.” Google takes in multiple headlines and automatically chooses the most appropriate one based on what the user searched for.
In a previous recipe we asked ChatGPT to write some ads for our banana stand. We will use those ads here.
Choose your bidding strategy and set your budget.
Match your bidding strategy to your business goal. For example “Leads” or “Sales” are better suited to “cost per click” or even “cost per action.”
Google will suggest bid amounts based on your goals and potential audience. Google’s suggestions may perform well, but it’s better to spend some time understanding the entire customer journey.
Unless you set up conversion tracking, you want to avoid just bidding your “margin.” Even with conversion tracking, that may not be the optimal strategy. Instead consider your customer lifetime value, “LTV.”
Tracking total marketing leads and total marketing enables you to calculate customer acquisition cost, often abbreviated “CAC.”
For our banana stand the lifetime value of a customer is calculated by considering the average order size, average number of visits per person and the margin the banana stand makes. We limit the window to a year to make the calculation easier.
The general rule of thumb is that marketing is successful if CAC is lower than LTV. For more reading on this topic, this blog post is a good starting point.
Review and confirm all the details, then launch your campaign.
Monitor your ad performance regularly using Google AdWords' tools and make necessary adjustments to optimize your campaign.
Ad metrics to track include:
Impressions - the number of times your ad has been seen
Clicks - the number of times your ad has been clicked
Page views - this should map to the number of clicks but may not, for example if the same person comes back to your page
Cost - how much money have you spent so far
For “cost per action” or deeper insights you will need to implement Google Analytics on your website.
This will enable you to understand where users go and what they do across your site with metrics like “time on page” and “other pages visited.”
Be sure to collect data for at least a few weeks. You want to see 100 or so visitors to start to see trends emerge. Below that you should be using your best judgment to make sure the customer journey you want to guide people on is as clear and straightforward as possible.