Creating a PPC Campaign from Scratch with Google Ads

Pay Per Click Flat Concept for Web Marketing. Vector Illustratio

The purpose of this article is to list out the steps of setting up a PPC campaign within Google Ads. Some of the settings will be tricky, so this neat little guide will help avoid confusion and possible mistakes when setting up a new campaign. 

Google has several automated and “optimized” settings – Be careful. These settings often times make you spend unnecessary money. For many businesses, each dollar is important. Our PPC experts like to avoid wasted spend so we want to teach you how to be most efficient.  

Let’s dive into how to create a PPC campaign from scratch in Google Ads:

  • On the campaigns page, click on the blue circle button with the “+” to create a new campaign
  • For a new client, you’ll want to use the “Website Traffic” setting. 
    • We recommend waiting until you actually have sales coming through from your PPC campaigns to change the goal to “Sales” or “Leads.” This will give Google history and data to better optimize.
      • Website traffic encourages exactly that. It gets the most people on your website which should ultimately lead to more sales at the beginning phases of a campaign.

  • Click on “Search” and enter your client’s URL to begin setting up the campaign (we’ll cover Display, Shopping, Video and Discovery campaigns another time. The focal point of this blog is to focus on setting-up a PPC campaign from scratch)

  • Under “Campaign Name,” name your campaign something that looks clean and easy to find. For example, if your client is The Media Captain and the service you are running the paid advertisement for is SEO, you’ll want it to look something like this: The Media Media Captain | SEO | TMC | 3.20.2020”
    • You’ll also want to include the date the campaign was created for organizational purposes 
    • If you’re an agency, include your company name in the campaign to indicate you created it
    • If you’re creating more than one campaign for a client, include which product or service the ad will be promoting as well (ex. “The Media Captain | SEO | TMC | 3.20.2020”) 
  • On the Networks box, Google uses this to make ads appear on all websites, not just Google. This is one of the ways Google can trick you into spending more money when it’s not necessary. Be sure to uncheck both Search and Display Network boxes while setting up a campaign
  • Ignore the caution messages that read “Most advertisers include their ads on Google search partner sites” and “Don’t miss the opportunity to reach more people across 3 million sites and apps”
    • Google’s trying to increase their revenue 🙂 

  • For the Locations box, you’ll want to change two things: 
    • Make sure to use Radius Targeting, NOT just typing in a city name. You’ll miss a lot of potential clients because Google has weird targeting definitions for cities that often include smaller pockets surrounding the city.  
      • You can get to this option by clicking on the blue “Advanced Search” button.” You’ll miss a lot of key areas with city-level targeting and cast a wider net with the radius. 
        • Keep in mind, targeting a radius might not be best for your business. If you are a car mechanic in a suburb of Columbus, it’d likely be better to target zip codes versus the entire city as people won’t travel far distances to get their old changed.

    • See the comparison below of targeting Columbus vs. a 20-mile radius around Columbus

  • For the majority of our clients, in the “Location Options” setting, we recommend selecting “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” instead of “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended)”
    • This is different per industry. For The Media Captain, most of the people looking for us via Google Ads in Columbus or within Ohio as they are looking for a local firm to work with. We don’t want people outside of Ohio as we’ve noticed it’s primarily solicitors calling and wasting our money on Adwords. For home builder clients we represent, the same doesn’t hold true. If someone is relocating from Indianapolis to Columbus, there’s a good change they will be searching for “Columbus Homes for Sale.” Each industry is different but 75% of our clients we recommend choosing the option in bold above. If you are unsure of which option to choose for your business, schedule a free consult with one of our experts. 
  • The default language setting for Google Ads is English, so leave this blank 
  • You won’t add an Audience unless it’s a Retargeting ad, so leave this blank too 
  • Enter whatever budget the client has given you here. 
    • Keep in mind that Google keeps track of daily budget yet most people work off a monthly budget. Simply divide that number by 30 (or the numbers of days in a month) and enter it here.
    • You don’t need to worry about the “Delivery Method” button since Google’s usual setting is Standard delivery 
      • Changing the delivery method to Accelerated may cause your budget to run out early in the day. We only recommend moving it to accelerated if you are having trouble hitting daily budget. 
  • The last box controls your bidding strategy. 
    • Click on the button for Or, select a bid strategy directly (not recommended) then select Manual CPC from the drop-down that comes up after (don’t be scared)
      • In many instances, we go with maximized clicks or enhanced CPC along with manual CPC. It depends on the campaign but we like manual CPC because it gives us full control to bid strategically on each and every keyword. We like to keep our ad groups tight with 10-15 keywords so it’s not too difficult to manage. That being said, if you have 50+ keywords in an ad group, don’t go manual CPC, go enhanced or maximized clicks.
      • Ignore the following Caution message: “Setting bids manually may result in lower performance. Use Smart Bidding to help improve results by using more signals to optimize your bids.” 

  • Next, click “Save and Continue” to begin creating ad copy and extensions to start bringing in leads for your client! Following these steps should save you money with your campaigns. 


Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

Related Posts