A Guide to Google AdWords: How to Start a Campaign (A Practical Tutorial)

May 30th, 2013

Guide to Google AdwordsSearch advertising in Google AdWords provides a never-ending source of quality traffic for your site. If you’ve ignored or even dared try AdWords until before, pay attention now. We’ve created a series of articles on how to get started with AdWords, enhanced with a number of practical examples. We’ll show you how companies dramatically increased their profits thanks to advertising on Google.

In the first part of this guide to AdWords, we’ll guide you through setting up your campaign. Read carefully, because choosing certain options can make your campaign earn great results, yet others can cause it to drop. There are only four steps, four decisions that can save you a big wad of cash.

1. Getting Started – Set Up Your Account in AdWords

After you sign up in Google AdWords, you’ll need to set your email address and password and a time zone and currency. After you’re done with this, you’re ready to build your campaign.
TIP: Set the currency and time zone carefully, this setting cannot be changed later.

2. Select a Network Based On Your Objectives

Login to your account and click on “Create your first campaign”. First name your campaign. Then comes the first important decision: Which network should I advertise in? You can choose between sponsored links in Search and Display partners in the Google Network. The Display Network is comprised of many different websites focusing on a plethora of topics, where you can display your banners and text ads.

Ads in the Search Network reach great performance because they speak to people who desire exactly the product they are looking for. Travel agencies target people who are searching for their next vacation destination. Hairdressers, restaurants, fitness centers and language schools have the opportunity to reach their target audience at the moment they are searching and making decisions. A good example is the following search query: “London hair salons”.

Search query

Display campaigns have their own characteristics. Who is the Display Network campaign suitable for?

  • It may be perfectly good for e-shops selling clothing and fashionable accessories. Visual advertising convinces more than text.

  • The Display Network is also useful for companies that want to build their brand or product awareness. They don’t expect a direct response to the ad (i.e. clicks on the banner and the subsequent purchase or registration). Examples are mobile network operators.
  • The Display Network could also be a good opportunity to promote a new product on the market. New products in the start-up phase are not searched for. Therefore, you have to get people to know about it in another manner.

TIP: If you want to advertise in both networks, create a special campaign for each. AdWords offers the chance, among other things, to use basic or all system functions. Selecting “All features” will definitely come in handy.

3. Target the Right People – Choosing Location and Language

In the next step, you have to choose the location of your customers and what language they speak, meaning the language of the browser.

Choosing Location

Stop and think about where your customers are. What situations can arise?

  • Local campaign

Focus on one city or region An example of a local company was already mentioned as hairdresser, fitness center, or car repair. When we started our campaign for our customer Pilar from Spain, who runs an allergy clinic in Valencia, we targeted the campaign only to Valencia (city, not the province). Searches from one city with very closely specified keywords are not many. There was a daily gain of only a few visits, but she was satisfied with the result. These visits bring new clients at little cost.

  • Targeting a single country

Most online stores provide shipping nationwide. For example, set the territory “United States”.

  • International campaign

Hotels and other accommodation facilities are good examples to use this option. One of our customers, Vítor, runs luxury hotels in Portugal. Customers came directly from Portugal, but not many. Northern Europeans traveled mostly to the town. So we set up a campaign for Norway, Denmark and Sweden (the campaign was in English).

  • Local campaign with international targeting

This last gem can be useful for foreigners. Let’s take the example of a school that wants to advertise a “Czech for foreigners” course. The campaign will be local, targeted to one city, but multiple languages. You’d need to reach people who speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.

Local campaign with international targeting

TIP: When setting the language, always correctly choose the local language plus English. Many people have browser settings in English and they would otherwise not see your ad.

4. Setting the CPC and Budget

Now we come to the sensitive issue of money. In this section, you choose how much you want to pay per click and how much you want to invest a day in advertising. We recommend minimal help at the start by letting the system set the bidding itself. Switch to advanced settings. Select the second option, “Adwords will set my bids…”.

TIP: Be sure to specify the maximum cost per click that you don’t want to cross. Keep your costs in check.


A huge advantage to AdWords is the chance to set a budget to meet your needs. You can even start with only $2 per day. Of course, the amount depends on your goals. For example, a carpenter might work on a task for a week, maybe two weeks. On the contrary, a shop selling a large range of products will make a number of sales every day. Therefore, the budget will have to be higher.

TIP: Start with a smaller budget. Wait how the campaign will behave and optimize it. Then gradually increase the budget.

All set. Now you are ready to create your ads and set your keyword list! You’ll see how to do it in the next part of our series, which will be released next Tuesday.

Don’t forget to read the instructions on how to monetize your website step by step.

Online advertising