How to Create a Google Ads Account in 2024 (in 18 Easy Steps)

Want to master Google Ads without getting tangled up in tech-speak? Welcome aboard.

Imagine this as your speedy guide to launching, monitoring, and fine-tuning your first Google Ads campaign.

Our aim? To turn you into a Google Ads pro. You’ll learn to create ads with the flair of a seasoned artist and unravel analytics with the keen eye of a detective. 

Above all, we’re here to boost your confidence, helping you take wise steps in your advertising efforts.

Now, without wasting any more of your time, let’s dive straight in:  

Step 1: Head Over to Ads.google.com and Hit the Blue “Start Now” Button. 

Google Ads Step 1: Head Over to Ads.google.com and Hit the Blue "Start Now" Button.

Remember setting up your account is just the beginning. 

Google nudges you towards a Smart campaign immediately—tempting, right? Especially if you’re not keen on the heavy lifting. But here’s the thing: investing time to customize your campaigns will always pay off. Ignore the prompt asking for your “Main advertising goal”. Go for the gold by switching to “expert mode” instead. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Go for the gold by switching to “expert mode” instead. Trust me, it's a game-changer.

Step 2: Choose Your Google Ads Campaign Objective

Step 2: Choose Your Google Ads Campaign Objective

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Before you whip up your campaign, Google gently nudges you to pick an objective. What’s your goal? Depending on that, you’ll see which campaign types are ready for the taking. For this guide, we’re zeroing in on driving website traffic, so we’re going with Website Traffic.

Click ‘Continue’ once done. 

Step 3: Select a Campaign Type

Just like your kitchen isn’t limited to just scrambled eggs, your Google Ads account isn’t a one-trick pony. There’s a whole menu of campaign types to choose from, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Looking for some variety in your advertising diet? Here’s what’s on offer:

Step 3: Select Google Ads Campaign Type

Different campaign types in Google Ads:

  • Search (we’re focusing on this one for our guide)
  • Display
  • Video
  • App
  • Shopping
  • Local
  • Discovery
  • Performance Max

We’ll choose ‘Search’

Click ‘Continue’ once done. 

Pro tip: Just a quick heads-up. While you’re getting your Google Ads account to shape up, remember it helps to mix things up. Don’t get stuck with just one type of campaign. Aim for a variety depending on your PPC goals. It keeps things fresh and effective, pretty much like having a balanced diet. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s no different for your ads account. 

Step 4: Enter Your Business’s Website

Step 4: Enter Your Business’s Website

Scroll down a bit and you’ll spot where to plug in your business website’s URL, simple as www.yoursite.com. Next up, think about what you want visitors to do when they visit your site — that’s your conversion goal. Google Ads will throw some suggestions your way based on what you’ve told them so far, but you’ve got the final say. Just tick the goal that best aligns with your business vision.

Step 5: Choose your website traffic conversion goals

Start by choosing your top website traffic goals. Once you make your pick, Smart Bidding jumps into action, making sure your ads reach folks likely to help you hit those targets. It’s all about getting your message in front of the right eyes—especially those keen on exploring a page on your site, be it a blog post or a product showcase. Want the lowdown on how Smart Bidding can work its magic for you

Check the Page View checkbox. 

Check the Page View checkbox.

Step 6: Enter Your Campaign Name

Next up, you’ll find a box asking for a Campaign name. Feel free to use any name that comes to mind. The trick is to pick a name that’s descriptive enough to remind you what the campaign is about at a glance. 

Step 6: Enter Your Campaign Name

Say you’re in the sports gear game and you’re pushing running shoes, something like “Running Shoes – Website Traffic-1” hits the mark perfectly. After you’ve got all your info in, hit ‘Agree and Continue.’ You’re off to the races!

This next step is where the magic happens — setting up your bids, choosing keywords, deciding on a budget, and tweaking a few more settings to get everything just right.

Step #7: Set Up Your Bidding

Step #7: Set Up Your Bidding

Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click basis, meaning you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. No click? No charge. Once you’ve got your first campaign rolling, it’s time to talk bidding strategy.

You’ll face a few options tailored to different goals. Here they are:

  • Conversions: Perfect if you’re keen to see how many folks take a specific action on your site, like buying something cool or signing up.
  • Conversion Value: Choose this if you want to keep an eye on how much those actions are worth.
  • Clicks: Go for this one if your main aim is to boost those ad clicks.
  • Impression Share: This one’s all about getting your ad out there, and helping it grab a decent share of views.
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No click? No charge. Once you’ve got your first campaign rolling, it’s time to talk bidding strategy.

Lastly, there’s an option to set a target cost for each action (totally up to you). Tick the box, and you’ll be prompted to fill in your ideal cost-per-action. Keep it simple, choose what suits your goals, and you’ll be on your way to ad success.

Step 8: Set a Target Cost Per Action (Optional)

Step 8: Set a Target Cost Per Action (Optional)

Now, consider setting your target cost per action, but it’s okay if you skip it for now. When you tick that option, a prompt will appear, ready for you to key in what you’re comfortable spending to get someone to take action—think purchases or sign-ups. This cost per action bit? It’s all about setting a budget for your ambitions. 

Google Ads takes this number and tweaks your bids to help hit your mark. For now, we’re holding off on deciding our target cost—we need a bit more data to make an informed choice. Just hit “Next” when you’re ready. The following step lets you dial in your ad’s audience and keywords, getting you closer to those clicks.

Step 9: Define Your Campaign, Locations, and Settings

Next up, we’re jumping into the fun part: choosing your campaign settings, locations, and the all-important keywords. The first stop is the Networks section. Here’s where you get to decide the virtual playgrounds where your ads will hang out. Got two choices:

  • Search Networks: Pop your ads right into Google’s search results.
  • Display Networks: This lets your ads chill on a bunch of websites and apps that are buddies with Google, showing ads.

Step 9: Define Your Campaign, Locations, and Settings

If keeping things simple and sticking to Google Search is your jam, tick the box marked “Search Network.” More into visuals and want to go wide? The “Display Network” box is your friend. But hey, why limit yourself? Ticking both boxes gives your campaign the best of both worlds. Trust us, it’s a good move.

Step 10: Select Your Location

Set your ad’s geographic reach by choosing where it will show. This could be in specific countries, regions, cities, or around a chosen area.

 In the Location Options, decide how you want to target your audience. You can target people based on whether they are in or have an interest in your location, or only target those actually there. 

Step 10: Select Your Location

For businesses aiming to connect with people both present in and interested in a location, the first option is ideal (Presence or Interest). Lastly, pick the languages of your audience. If your business is English-speaking, simply select “English”.

Step #11: Your Audience Segments

This phase allows for the detailed specification of your audience segments, aiming to pinpoint particular demographics or interest groups. It will help you connect with a more focused audience group, thereby increasing the chances of running a successful ad campaign. 

Under search, enter your industry or your target audience’s interest, like music, marketing, beauty, etc, and check relevant boxes.  

Step #11: Your Audience Segments

Within the “Browse” section, you can specify your audience demographics based on:

  • Who They Are: Covering aspects like parenthood, marital status, education level, homeownership, and employment status.
  • Their Interests and Hobbies: What captures their attention or pursuits they are actively involved in or researching (In-market).
  • Interaction with Your Business: The ways they’ve engaged with your business offerings (Your data segments).

The objective here is to refine your targeting, ensuring your advertisement reaches individuals most aligned with your campaign’s goals. By doing so, Google Ads can better tailor your campaign, exposing it to an audience that resonates with your message better.

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For instance, if your campaign is aimed at marketing discounted baby products, targeting parents of young children with a keen interest in parenting or family-oriented activities would be beneficial. Conversely, for a new tech product launch, focusing on tech enthusiasts with a penchant for online shopping would be more advantageous.

Step #12: Broad Match Keywords

Step #12: Broad Match Keywords

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Go down to toggle Broad Match Keywords. This option shows your ad for similar searches to your chosen keywords, not just exact matches. 

For instance, if you pick “running shoes,” your ad might show up for “best running shoes” or “running sneakers.” It’s suggested to keep this on to widen your ad’s visibility. Click ‘Next’ to proceed with your campaign setup.

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Step 13: Selecting Keywords and Organizing Ad Groups

In this step, you’ll select keywords and organize them into ad groups. Keywords are what people search for on Google, and choosing the right ones will help your ad show up in those searches. Ad groups help you organize these keywords by theme, making your ads more targeted and your campaign more organized.

Begin by inputting your website’s URL. Google will quickly scan your site and recommend keywords that match your content. 

Step 13: Selecting Keywords and Organizing Ad Groups

Then, type the keywords relevant to your products or services into the following box and click “Get Keyword Suggestions.” A list of suggested keywords related to your site’s content will appear. Choose the ones that fit your business objectives before proceeding.

Then, type the keywords relevant to your products or services into the following box and click "Get Keyword Suggestions." A list of suggested keywords related to your site's content will appear. Choose the ones that fit your business objectives before proceeding.

Use the keyword planner for additional relevant keyword ideas, and to understand their search volume and competition level. Enter as many related keywords as possible in the text area, mixing broad and exact-match keywords for optimal outcomes.

Step 14: Crafting Your Ad Copy

Further down, you’ll find a section for writing your ad copy. This is your chance to craft the message that will appear in your advertisement. Aim for clear, straightforward language and direct call-to-action like “Shop Now” or “Sign Up Today.”

Step 14: Crafting Your Ad Copy

First up, enter your final URL—the web address Google will use to generate headline and description suggestions for your ad.

Next comes the display path. first, submit your website’s URL. Then, input the specific page path you wish to show in your ad. For instance, if “www.example.com” is your site and you’re advertising “www.example.com/shoes”, simply add “shoes” in the provided space.

Step 15: Write Your Ad

Step 15: Write Your Ad

Under “Display Path,” you can add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Keep headlines under 30 characters and descriptions under 90 characters.

Use this space to highlight what makes your offer unique or any special deals, and include keywords to attract attention. Make sure your ad follows Google’s guidelines. You can preview your ad for different devices at the bottom. 

When happy with your ad text, click ‘Next’ to proceed to the last step of your campaign setup.

Step 16: Customizing Your Ad Further

Step 16: Customizing Your Ad Further

You can personalize your advertisement in several ways. Start by adding your business name and logo. If these are not provided, your ad will display the URL from Step 11 instead. Enhance your ad with additional site links, letting customers quickly access various website sections.

Incorporate callout extensions to spotlight your business’s unique offers or features, making your ad more appealing. For direct customer engagement, consider adding a call extension, enabling instant phone calls to your business — ideal for those with storefronts. Complete your ad customization, then proceed by clicking ‘Next’.

Step 17: Determine Your Daily Budget and Choose a Bidding Strategy

Decide the maximum amount you’d like to spend daily on your ad campaign. Adjustments are allowed, so the initial choice doesn’t need to be final. Next, select how you want Google to spend your ad budget. 

Step 17: Determine Your Daily Budget and Choose a Bidding Strategy

You can use the recommended option or set a custom budget.

Step 18: Launch Your Campaign

Step 18: Launch Your Campaign

Well done! You’ve successfully prepared your Google Ads campaign. The last step is to double-check your settings and launch. Review your targets, keywords, ad texts, and budget carefully. 

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When you’re all set, hit ‘Publish’ to begin your ad campaign. Remember to keep an eye on how your campaign is doing, making tweaks where necessary. Utilizing tools such as Google Analytics can help track your success and fine-tune your strategy for optimal performance.

Additional Tips for How to Run a Successful Google Ad Campaign

  • Continuously monitor and adjust keywords for better ad targeting and to reach relevant audiences.
  • Experiment with ad copy, including CTAs and headlines, to identify top performers.
  • Employ negative keywords to exclude your ad from irrelevant search queries.
  • Implement ad extensions, like callouts and site links, for additional information and to encourage clicks.
  • Use Google’s remarketing feature to re-engage past website visitors and boost conversions.
  • Regularly evaluate and adjust your budget and bidding strategy for optimal campaign performance.
  • Keep in mind that achieving a successful Google Ads campaign demands time, dedication, and ongoing optimization.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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