Chapter 5

Setting up a Search Ad Campaign

  • To setup a Search campaign go to the AdWords console and click on the “+ Campaign” Red Button and select “Search Network Only” as indicated in the illustration below.
  • After selecting “Search Network Only”, the next screen will ask you to select specific objectives for the campaign like Mobile App Installs, Mobile App Engagement, Dynamic Search Ads and Call Only Ads. Apart from these, there are a couple of options in the Campaign Sub- Type – “Standard” and “All features”. ‘Standard Features’ lets you use targeting of basic location, language, bidding, budget settings and some ad extensions. Standard Features is a simplified version of search campaigns which enables you to get off the block faster.
  • We recommend using the ‘All Features’ option which includes all Standard Features along with Mobile Settings, Ad Delivery Method, all Ad Extensions and also target Google Search Partner websites. This gives you a better control on your campaign.

5.1 Keywords Targeting

  • Search Campaigns use keywords or phrases that are relevant to your product or service, to show ads to potential customers searching for similar terms on Google or its search partners’ websites. Targeting will vary based on the keyword match type.
  • These campaigns will show up when a search is initiated. It’s very important to map out what your different personas would be looking for and to then make sure your ads will show up once prospects are searching for your brand or solution.

Keyword Classification

  • Keywords can be classified into top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel. This classification is necessary because not all keywords or phrases are equal.
  • At the bottom of the funnel are keywords which are closest to conversions e.g.: direct brand searches such as “Buy AirKing Air Conditioner” or direct need searches such as “Buy Air Conditioner” or “Buy Quiet Air Conditioner” where the intent of the search is very clear – the customer has already decided what solution they need and is ready to act.
  • The middle of the funnel keywords shows an intent whereby the prospective customer is looking to compare and view reviews of products or services e.g. “Review of Air Conditioner Companies or “Reviews of Best Quiet Air Conditioners” – these customers need to be nurtured before they are ready to buy.
  • The top of the funnel keywords is those that are keywords or phrases used for initial research about a product or services and are the farthest away from buying or converting e.g.: “Air Conditioners” or even further, phrases used for broader research at an unaware stage such as – “home improvement”. Note however that we do not recommend using GSN for unaware stages. We recommend focusing on the GDN for very broad top of the funnel keywords such as home improvement as the chances of generating ROI for such terms on GSN are scarce. This classification of keywords helps you to decide on the bids as well as the content of the landing pages to take the customer close to buying.
  • The cost per click, competition and conversions are all different for keywords depending on which phase of the funnel they are in. If it’s the bottom of the funnel keywords – they usually have higher cost per click, the competition is higher and the conversions are also higher. Whereas if it’s the top of the funnel keywords the cost per clicks are lower, the competition is lower and the conversions rate is also very low.
  • Therefore, it is very critical to classify your keywords and write ads differently for each of them and to have separate landing pages for each stage.

Campaign Structuring and Keyword Categorization

  • Your AdWords account consists of campaigns and ad groups. Each campaign has its own budget, settings and where the ads are shown. While ad groups are a set of tightly themed keywords which you want to show your ads, For example, AirKings can structure their campaign based on search terms used by customer to look for air conditioners like Best Air Conditioners, Quick Cooling Air Conditioners, Quiet Air Conditioners, Air Conditioning Companies, etc and then create ad groups of tightly themed specific search terms like in the Best Air Conditioners Ad Group – will have these keywords – Best Air Conditioners, Best Air Conditioning, top 10 best air conditioners, air conditioners best, etc.

Keyword list development / Keyword Research

  • First, list down all the possible terms a customer associates with your product or service. Second, align your keywords with marketing objectives. Go for broader keywords to target a larger audience and more specific keywords when you want to target a precise customer segment. Thirdly, you need to group keywords that are closely themed or similar in nature into ad groups. Keep in mind that whatever you choose - broad or specific, your keywords should be relevant to your ads, website and those keywords or their synonyms should also be present on your website ideally. Keywords of two or more words (phrases) tend to work effectively.
  • You can use the Keyword Planning Tool on AdWords to get keyword ideas and other keyword data like search volume, bid suggestions, competition for keywords, keyword grouping ideas, etc. The Keyword Planning Tool also helps you to see how a list of keywords may perform and choose competitive bids and budgets.
  • Now let’s look at how to develop a keyword list. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and list out the various keywords and terms that they use to identify and describe your business / service. Continuing with the AirKings example – AirKings can describe its offering as “Air Conditioners”, “Quiet Air Conditioners”, “Efficient Air Conditioners”, “Quick Air Conditioners”, “Heating and Cooling Air Conditioners”, “Home Air Conditioner Units”, “Residential Air Conditioners”, etc. AirKings can expand this keyword list by adding destination names to the keywords – like if they are looking for USA, New York, etc. related keywords – the keywords / phrases will be “Residential Air Conditioners in USA”. “Home Air Conditioning Contractors in New York”, etc. and they can add product names and specifications as well like “3-ton residential air conditioners” “central air conditioners”, etc.
  • It’s recommended that you select specific keywords that are close to your business to start off – as specific keywords very closely related to your business will generate relatively less traffic than broad keywords and therefore the campaign will quickly move to generate conversions. For example, AirKings should choose specific keywords like “Air Conditioning Companies” and “Quiet Air Conditioners” – which closely describe what they are offering – rather than choose broad terms like “air conditioners”, “air con units”, etc. Note that the more specific the search terms the lower the traffic volume there will be – so if you only choose search terms that are too specific to your business you will find it difficult to reach many people. Once the campaign has been successful with a set of keywords that are closely related to your business / product / service – then we can expand the keywords to include broader keywords to increase coverage to a larger audience.
  • Keywords need to be grouped into tightly themed ad groups based on your products / services. This will enable you to keep your AdWords account better organized and relevant for customers who are searching for your products. Example – all “quiet air conditioner” related keywords needs to be clubbed into an ad group. Ideally the number of keywords per ad group should be between 5 and 20 and keywords that have 2 or 3 words perform better than one word keywords or keywords / phrases that are 4 words or more.

Keyword Planning Tool

  • You can use the Keyword Planning Tool in AdWords to research your keywords. The Keyword Tool can be accessed by clicking on the Tools Link in the header of the AdWords Console. The Keyword Tool provides you related keywords, ad grouping ideas and traffic estimates including historical statistics and traffic forecasts, thus helping you in deciding the keywords list that you need to be targeted in your campaign.
Keyword Planner Tool in AdWords
  • The Keyword Planner can be used to generate a list of keyword for a new campaign or expand the keyword list for an existing campaign. The keyword list can be generated based on an initial list of keywords (also known as seed keywords) or a website or a category. As the keyword planner lists a lot of related keywords you can specifically select individual keyword or ad groups based on how closely related they are to the product / service you are advertising for.
  • The Keyword Planner also helps you forecast the clicks you can get from a given budget by means of reviewing the shortlisted keywords and giving a max bid and budget for the campaign. So you can technically give different bids to see how many clicks you get. The Keyword Planner forecasting also allows you to estimate the budget required for the campaign.

Keywords Match Types

  • ‘Broad match’ type targets a wider audience, while on the other end ‘exact match’ targets very specific audience.

Broad Match

  • ‘Broad Match’ keyword type is a default keyword match type in AdWords. With ‘Broad match type’ your ads will be shown to search terms which contain your keywords in any order or with any other keywords. Your Ads will also be displayed for any closely related or close variations of the keywords being targeted. The ads are shown for searches including misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations.
  • Example: If your keyword is Air Conditioner, your ad will get triggered when people search for air conditioners, but it also triggers the ad for unrelated searches like hair conditioners.

Broad Modified Match (BMM)

  • ‘Broad Modified Match’ keyword type uses a modifier ‘+’ – a plus sign to any search term that is part of the broad match keyword phrase. By adding this plus sign in front of any word within a term, you can control the ads to be shown on terms which include the words marked with the plus sign. The ads are shown for searches which contain the terms within any variation, but not synonyms or related search terms.
  • Example: If your keyword is “+Best +Air +Conditioners”, your ad will be displayed when people search for any variation using the all three keywords. For example, when people search for “best companies for air conditioners” (using only some of the words for example “companies for air conditioners” will not trigger the ad).

Phrase Match

  • Phrase Match Keyword Type enables ads to be shown to searches which are exactly the same as the keyword and also those that include terms before and after the targeted keyword. Phrase match enables you to target specific search terms along with closely related ones and reduces your ads being shown for unrelated search terms. Phrase match keyword is used with quotation marks before and after the keyword like “keyword”. Close variations of the keyword will also trigger the ads.
  • Example: If your keyword is “best air conditioner”, your ad will be displayed for search terms like “best air conditioners in USA”, but will not trigger ads for searches like ”air conditioners” or "best way to use air conditioner".

Exact Match

  • Exact match keyword type triggers an ad only when the search term is exactly the keyword you are targeting without any other term with your keyword. When the search terms are close variations of the keyword you are targeting, then the ads are triggered as well. Ads won’t trigger when there are additional words in the search term unlike phrase match. To use exact match keyword type, add “[ ]” brackets around the keyword like [keyword].
  • Example: If your keyword is air conditioners, your ads will be displayed for the search terms [air conditioners] and not for [best air conditioners].

Negative Match

  • Negative Match type can be used to not show your ads when certain terms appear in a search. Negative match is used to be more specific with keyword targeting and remove all irrelevant traffic. For using the negative match just add a “–“ sign before the keyword.
  • Example: If your keyword is “air conditioners”, you can use negative match for the term “cheap” by adding “–cheap”. So your ads will not trigger for keywords that contain the term “cheap” like “cheap air conditioners”. This way you will restrict people who are looking for a budget or cheap deals on air conditioners.
  • Negative match type can be used with other match keyword types as well. For example, you don’t want to trigger your ads for specific exact search terms – you can add them as negatives this way “– [cheap]”.
  • Example: If your negative match keyword is –[commercial], your ads will not trigger for search terms [commercial air conditioners] and ads will trigger for search terms [residential air conditioners].
Quick Recap of the Match Types
Match Type Symbol Ads for searches Example Keyword Example Search Terms for which Ads will show
Broad None including misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations air conditioner best air conditioners, air conditioners for homes, etc.
Modified Broad +keyword contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order +air
best air conditioners, residental air conditioners
Phrase "keyword" are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase "air conditioner" "best air conditioners", "residental air conditioners"
Exact [keyword] are an exact term and close variations of that exact term [home air conditioner] [home air conditioner]
Negative -keyword are searches without the term -cheap air conditioners - >will trigger the add, while [cheap air conditioner will not trigger the ad]
Keyword Match Types as they appear on the AdWords Console

Bonus Tip:

Conduct Competitor Keyword Research

What keywords are your competitors using?

There are various tools that can be used for conducting competitive research from simple website visits, Google searches to tools like SpyFu, SEMrush, iSpionage and many others.

The trick is not to believe all the data fully from the tools - as these tools pickup data from various sources and not directly from your competitor’s AdWords account. We recommend collating all information from the tools and average-out the findings and use it more as a directional resource.

5.2 Location, Language and Device Targeting

  • Location Targeting helps focus your ads where potential customers are located. Location Targeting allows you to target the entire country (e.g. USA), or specific regions, states or cities (e.g. Chicago City or New Jersey State) or certain distances around your business (e.g. 10 Miles around New Brunswick in New Jersey State).
  • The same way you include location targets, you can also exclude location from targeting. For Example, AirKings wants to run ads for people across USA, but exclude Alaska – they will be able to do it by adding Alaska as an exclusion location target. Location Targeting.
Location Targeting in AdWords
  • There are advanced location targeting options available which will help you fine-tune your location targeting further by including or excluding these options. The ‘Include’ options are: People in, searching for and interested in your target location; people in my target location; and people searching for and interested in your target location. Google targets people based on their physical location as well as people who are searching for or show interest in a target location.
  • Example – If AirKings is targeting customers from Chicago and has set their location target for Chicago City and neighborhoods for Home Air Conditioners.
  • In the first advanced location targeting option of “People in, searching for and interested in your target location” is chosen, AirKings ads will show to a person who is physically located in New York City, but since she is searching for Air Conditioner companies in Chicago.
  • If the second advanced location targeting option of “people in my target location” is chosen, AirKings ads will not show for a person who is physically located in New York City, but since she is searching for Air Conditioners.
  • If the third advanced location targeting option of “people searching for and interested in your target location” is chosen, AirKings ads will show to a person who is physically located in New York City, but since she is searching for Air Conditioners in Chicago.
  • Similarly, the exclusion of advanced location targeting also works. You can exclude people in the target locations you have excluded or you can exclude people in, searching for or who are interested in your excluded locations.
Advanced Location Options in AdWords
  • Language targeting helps you to focus your ads to customers who speak a particular language. Note that AdWords doesn’t translate ads, so you will have to create ads in the language you are targeting.
Language Targeting in AdWords
  • Device targeting lets you target customers specifically on desktops, tablets and mobiles. For example, if your customers are on-the-go, targeting mobile devices will make sense. Most mobile devices today have full browsers and apps enabling you to target customers with different mobile ad types. Desktops and Tablets are clubbed together and ads created are by default targeted at Desktops and Tablets.
Device Targeting in AdWords

5.3 Budget and Bidding

  • You set a daily budget for each campaign indicating the amount you are willing to spend on an average per day for a particular campaign based on the marketing goals. You can get the daily budget by diving the monthly budget by 30.4 (average number of days per month). It is ideal to start small and scale based on performance.
Setting Daily Budget in AdWords
  • The budget you set can also be controlled further through an advanced setting of how the budget has to be used – Standard and Accelerated. The Standard setting allows budgets to be spent evenly throughout the day and ensure that your ads are shown round the clock. While on the other hand, Accelerated setting allows to target all the search volume, may be using up the budget before the end of the day – thus if you choose this option be sure that you have set a substantial daily budget and so that your ad shows throughout the day.
Budget Delivery Method in AdWords
  • There are a few Bidding strategies you can choose from based on your campaign’s marketing objective / goal. You can also use advanced strategies like bid adjustments to bid more or less competitively across locations, time of day and devices. 
  • In general: The higher the bid → higher ad position → higher number of clicks and traffic to your website.
Bidding in AdWords 
Marketing Objective and Bidding Strategy in AdWords
Marketing Objective Bidding Strategy
Drive Potential Customers to your website Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bidding
Brand Building and Awarness Cost-Per-Impression (CPM) Bidding
Maximise Conversions on your website Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) Biddingg
  • Now let’s look at the various bidding options in detail. Basically, there are three broad bidding options available in Search Campaigns:
  • Focus on clicks
  • Focus on conversions
  • Flexible bidding strategies

Focus on Clicks

  • The Focus on Clicks (Cost Per Click or CPC) option to drive traffic to your website provides two bidding strategies:
  • Manual Cost Per Click Bidding - a default option in AdWords that enables you the flexibility to bid differently for each of your ad groups and keywords individually.
  • Automatic Cost Per Click Bidding - the simplest bidding option whereby Google AdWords automatically manages bids to maximize the number of clicks you can generate with the given daily budget.

Focus on Conversations

  • Focus on Conversions (Cost Per Acquisition or CPA) is an advanced option that enables you to bid an amount that you are willing to pay per conversion or acquiring a new customer.
  • There are a few AdWords requirements to enable CPA based bidding like conversion tracking should be implemented and the campaign must have received at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.

Flexible Bidding Strategies

  • Flexible bid strategy enables you to utilize automated bidding across campaigns with specific goals in mind. There are 6 flexible bid strategies available on AdWords and they are:
  • Maximize Clicks
  • Target Search Page Location
  • Target Outrank Share
  • Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC)
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Maximize Clicks Flexible Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to get maximum clicks for a particular budget set. This is a flexible version of the automatic bidding option. This strategy can be used to increase clicks from low traffic keywords in ad groups and campaigns.

Target Search Page Location Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to target the first page or the top of the first page by automatically adjusting bids. This strategy can be used to get high visibility for your ads.

Target Outrank Share Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to outrank a particular domain which is also advertising on a specific set of keywords through automatic bid adjustments. This strategy can be employed for getting more visibility for your ads than a particular competitor domain.

Target Cost Per Acquisition Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to get maximum conversions around a particular Cost Per Acquisition set in the campaign by automatically adjusting bids. This strategy can be employed to get more conversions at a target Cost Per Acquisition.

Enhanced Cost Per Click Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to automatically increase or decrease your bids based on the likelihood of conversions. This strategy can be employed to get more conversions while being in control of keywords bids.

Return on Ad Spend Bidding Strategy

  • This strategy enables you to maximize the conversion value by automatically adjusting bids to reach a target return on ad spend. This strategy can be employed when you generate a target conversion value on ad spend.
Ad Scheduling in AdWords

5.5 Ad Rotation Settings

  • This setting is used to define how different ads in your ads groups should be rotated and on what basis. The options available are:
  • Optimize for Clicks
  • Optimize for Conversions
  • Rotate evenly
  • Rotate indefinitely

Optimize for Clicks

  • This option enables ads to be shown which are providing the highest clicks and which have the highest click through rate (clicks divided by impressions – we will explain this in detail later).

Optiamize for Conversions

  • This option enables you to show ads that are converting the most. This is a recommended option to be used for generating higher conversions by using the automatic conversion optimization of AdWords based on conversions.
  • Important Note - this option has to be used when no other optimization solution or AB testing is being conducted, as those will provide wrong signals to AdWords and automatic optimization may not yield results in the long run.

Rotate Evenly

  • This option ensures that your ads get an equal share of impressions for a period of 90 days and that post 90 days they will be optimized for conversions. Using this ensures that there is statistical significance for AdWords to automatically start optimizing for conversions. This option can be used when there are other conversion optimization tools or methods executed simultaneously such as A/B testing for a landing page.

Rotate Indefinitely

  • This option shows all ads equally and doesn’t optimize at all. We don’t recommend ever using this option.
Ad Rotation in AdWords
  • Once we have input the campaign settings – click on the Save and Continue button.

5.6 Creating Ad Groups

  • Now that you’ve selected and created your campaign and completed your settings, we can start creating our first ad group. To create an ad group – click on the red “+ AD GROUP” button.
  • The next step is to give the ad group a name and proceed to create your first ad copy.
Creating Search Ads and Ad Groups in AdWords
  • First let’s get to know the basics of a Search ad. A typical text ad consists of a headline, two description lines and a display URL (web address). There are restrictions to the number of characters in the headline and description lines.
Headline: 25 characters
Description Line 1: 35 characters
Description Line 2: 35 characters
Display URL: 35 characters
  • We will go into details of how to write ad copy and Copy Testing of Ads later in the chapter.

Types of Ads

  • There are several ad types that can be created on Google AdWords depending on the type and objective of the campaign. The different ad types are: text ads, image ads, video ads, and rich media ads (flash ads). Each of the ads types are self-explanatory.
Ad Type Used in Campaign Type Benefits
Text Ads Search Reaches Customers who are looking for your product
Image Ads Display Visually showcases your product/service to customers who are browsing online
App Ads Search, Display Reach your Customers on-the-go
Video Ads Display Reach your Customers while they are browsing online with a rich experience
Rich Media Ads Display Reach your Customers while they are browsing online with a rich experience
Product Listing Ads Search Reach your Customers while they are searching for your products/services with a visual
Call Only Ads Mobile Search Reach your Customers on-the-go to drive phone calls
  • All Ads are reviewed by Google to see if they meet all Google policies and only approved ads are eligible to be shown to the customers. The time taken for ad approval can vary from a few minutes to a few hours.

5.7 Ad Copy Writing

  • Now is the time to combine what you have already defined regarding your company USP and target customer personas, with your current campaign offering.
  • Here are key points to consider:
    • What makes this offer different from that of your competitors
    • What action do would do you want your prospects to take?
    • What do you want your target personas to feel about our offering?
    • What is the deadline for the offer / promotion / exclusive?
    • How does this offer solve your target personas needs/ wants/ pain points?

Technical Rules of Thumb:

  • Include at least one keyword in your ad to make it relevant for potential customers to click your ads.
  • Match the content of your designated landing page to the ad text in order to ensure there is a message match.
  • Include a killer CTA (call to action) - tell potential customers how they can buy from you or contact you. Use words like Get a Free Quote, Call Today, etc.
  • Make sure to experiment with your ad copy. Try different ad texts, use different messages and create 3-4 ads per ad group.

5.8 Types of Ad Extensions

  • Ad extensions provide additional information about your business within your ads. This normally results in higher clicks/ traffic to your website.
  • The various Ad extensions are Call Extensions, Site-link Extensions, Location Extensions, App Extensions, Review Extensions and Callout Extensions. All of the above are manual extensions, while there are some automated extensions as well like ratings and social (Google+) extensions.
Creating Search Ads and Ad Groups in AdWords
Extensions What is it?
Call Extensions Display of phone number and click-to-call feature
Site-link Extensions Links to other related sections/pages of your website
Location Extensions Helps customers to find your business - Map Pin and navigation assistance
App Extensions Link to Download App
Review Extensions Showcase positive 3rd party reviews from well known sources
Callout Extensions Description of what you have to offer
Ratings Extensions Displays Consumer and Seller ratings
Social (G+) Extensions Displays number of Google+ followers your business has
Ad Extensions selection in AdWords

5.9 Conversion Tracking

  • By installing a conversion tracking code on your website, you can easily track the conversions / goals that have come through your AdWords campaigns. Conversions can be any of these desired actions taken by the potential customer after clicking through from your ad - purchase of your products / services, fill out a call back form, downloaded your eGuide or signed-up for newsletter.
  • Conversion tracking is very granular and lets you know which campaign, ad, and keyword has caused the conversion. Armed with this information you can optimize your AdWords campaign by retaining the ones that provide the best results and removes the ones that performed poorly or wasted money.
  • To enable the conversion tracking – go to the Tools section on top and click on the Conversions section.
  • Once on the conversions page click on the +Conversions button.
  • You will have to select the Conversion you want to track - a website conversion like purchase, form submission. You can setup conversion tracking for Mobile App Downloads, Phone Calls and also import conversion tracking data from other conversions tracking systems.
  • Once you select the conversion you want to track, you will be taken to this screen for giving the conversion name and save it.
  • After you save it – you will be provided with an html code that has to be inserted into the html code on the Thank You page, the page that is displayed after the visitor has completed the Conversion event like Purchase or Form Submission.
  • Once this code is inserted into the Thank You page – you can then start tracking conversions that are generated through AdWords.
  • Now the campaign will be ready to go live. Congratulations - You have created your first Search Campaign!