how to create a google adwords ppc campaign

How to Create a Google AdWords Campaign

So, you want to start a pay-per-click advertising campaign. Let’s walk through each step on how to create a Google AdWords campaign. Then, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies to optimize the campaign.

To start, go to You’ll be guided through a wizard to start the process. In one of the first steps, you may see a message that says We recommend AdWords Express for your business. If you see that message, click Switch to AdWords. The Express option streamlines the process but as a result, is more limited. This guide outlines the process for the standard AdWords tool, not the Express version.

AdWords Recommendation

Go through the remaining steps. Decide how much to spend, choose your target audience, set your bid and write your ad.

AdWords Steps

Setting Your Budget

The first item on the list is setting your daily budget. This is the maximum you are willing to spend on this campaign each day. You’ll be able to alter this (and the other items) later if you change your mind.

Targeting Your Audience


The next items help you target your desired audience. You start by selecting locations to include or exclude. Google provides a convenient direct type-in drop-down to help with your selections. You can start typing a state, county, city, or whatever region you are trying to target and you will see options to include or exclude the particular area.


Under Networks, you may want to deselect the Display Network option to focus your efforts on the Search Network.


The last item under targeting your audience, is choosing your keywords. Google will suggest some terms. You can use those as a place to start if you need it. If you’ve already performed keyword research for your organic efforts, that’s a good list to start with. By default, when you add keywords they are added as broad match. I’d recommend specifying the match type to target your queries further. Broad match terms can go through your budget quickly and sometimes the queries are not very relevant.

Here are the different match types:

Broad Match

This is the default match type when you add a term. This type matches queries with synonyms and relevant variations. If you added the broad match term boy’s shoes it would match the search query buy kids sneakers.

Modified Broad Match

The modified broad match adds a ‘+’ character in front of words that must be included in the query. It actually includes close variants of the term as well but not synonyms. Also, the words within the phrase can be in any order. So, the modified broad term +boy’s +shoes would match the search query shoes for boys.

Phrase Match

The phrase match wraps the query in quotes (“). This type matches a phrase and close variations of the phrase. The phrase match “boy’s shoes” would match the search query buy boy’s shoes.

Exact Match

The exact match type wraps the query in square brackets ([). This match type makes it so the query only matches the same exact query. It does still include very close variants such as plurals and type-o’s.

I find myself very rarely using broad match but the other three match types are quite useful. If you have a small budget, start with exact match. If budget is less of a concern, modified broad terms can help you find new terms that convert well to add to your campaign.

Set Your Bids

The next step is to set your bids. You have two options, you can allow AdWords to automatically adjust your bids for you or you can choose to manually set the bids. My preference is to set them manually. The automatic adjustments haven’t been optimal in my experience. I do believe it’s likely they could work well under the right conditions. It’s a good idea to test and see what performs best for your campaign. I have found a lot of success using my own manual bidding system, so I continue to go that route. If you choose the manual route, Google will suggest a bid amount based on your budget. You can go with this or you can set it to an amount you feel comfortable with. If you use manual bids, you’ll end up changing them on a keyword by keyword basis based on what makes sense for each individual keyword. Because of the ongoing adjustments, this initial field isn’t as important. It’s simply the bid the keywords will default to.

Create Your Ad

The final step of the initial setup wizard is to create an ad. Keep your ad text relevant to your keywords and use the same messaging the users will see on the landing page. Make sure to add a call-to-action such as sign up now in your ad text description.

Start Your Google AdWords PPC Campaign

The next section will require you to put in payment information. If you don’t want to begin spending money at this point, what you need to do is immediately pause your campaign. You’ll go through the payment process and then the next screen you’ll see is the campaigns panel. There will be a green status icon, you’ll want to click that and change it to pause. When you’re ready to start spending money simply switch the ad group back to enabled and you’re good to go!

AdWords Campaign Status