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    How to create a search campaign from scratch

    Want to create an elaborate Search campaign on your own for your business or for one of your clients? The following tutorial will guide you step-by-step in preparing a search campaign and uploading it to your Google Ads (formerly Ad Words) account. Your campaign will respond to inquiries from potential or current customers of your products.

    In the following tutorial you will find the answer on how to create a well-executed Search campaign in Google.

    how to create search campaigns

    1. Create a keyword list

    Users will look up the products they are interested in by typing various phrases into the search engine. You need to anticipate what phrases they will use when looking for products your business can provide them with. An open mind with ideas will help you reach new users or convince an audience that has already encountered your products.  Fortunately, we are not left to our own hunches and ideas, with help comes the Keyword Planner – one of the features of Google Ads Panel (formerly Adwords).

    In the planner, you can easily check the monthly number of searches for a given phrase, as well as predictions of interest in the following months. You will easily compare which phrases are more ‘caloric’ – thus determining which words should be used in the ad, and which are better left out. More figuratively, you will find out whether, for example, the phrase ‘dog food’ or ‘dog meal’ will work better. After typing in some of the most basic phrases, the keyword planner will suggest other frequently searched phrases. 

    If your business has a website that has been in operation for a while, it’s a good idea to enter the address of the website or web page so that the planner can help pinpoint keywords that match the site. 

    Finally, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the landing page of our future campaign ourselves, and add to our list phrases that may not have been suggested in the planner before, and that have search data from previous months. 

    Campaign keyword lists are best created in Excel, which allows easy and quick editing of even very complex campaign structures, and then instant uploading of the structure to your Google Ads account by using the Google Ads Editor.

    Keywords should be grouped into separate ad groups, while ad groups should be grouped into individual campaigns. Such an arrangement allows you to easily manage campaign costs, reduce or increase rates at the ad group or keyword level, set different budgets for individual campaigns (as you can see, one campaign actually consists of several campaigns from the technical side), pause ineffective ad groups.

    The ad groups can also be used to increase or decrease the rates for individual campaigns.

    Campaign keyword structure should include a Brand campaign (the main keyword is the name of the brand you are advertising), a campaign with phrases related to the product category, a Brand-Category campaign (Brand phrase related to phrases related to the product category); may include a campaign with keywords related to competing brands.   

    2. Select type of keyword matching

    Keywords can be matched to users’ searches using different match types. We have a choice of match types: exact, phrase and approximate.

    Keywords in strict matching usually have the lowest cost of implementation in a campaign, but also the narrowest reach. Keywords in approximate match will generate higher costs, but at the same time catch more searches from search engine users. In any campaign, it is recommended to use keywords: in close and approximate match or in close and phrase match. The first variant usually turns out to be more effective in terms of campaign implementation, but may generate a higher cost than the second variant, and in the case of such a campaign structure, it is advisable to frequently check the report of user search terms and exclude phrases that are inappropriate for our campaign. 

    With the word merge function in Excel, we can efficiently add labels indicating the type of match in a given ad group (it can be  _E for strict match groups and  _B for approximate match groups, so it will be easier to target individual groups already during the campaign).

    The match type designation is easily added thanks to the ‘Link’ function, then dragging the inserted function onto the cells located below, and finally pasting the resulting list into the fields of ad groups as values.

    At the very end of creating the structure in the groups of ads with approximate matching, we add the keywords from the groups of ads with strict matching to the negative list.

    By going step-by-step through the above-mentioned steps, we get a ready-made and complete list of campaign keywords that takes into account match types and negative keywords. The resulting list can then be used to prepare the ad structure in Excel, after which we can instantly upload the keywords and ads to the Google Ads panel through the Google Ads Editor.

    The list can be used to prepare the ad structure in Excel.

    3. Create campaign ad structure

    A handful of information on how to create a good search engine campaign ad structure in points below:

    a) It is recommended that each ad group contain at least two flexible ads. With that said, each of the flexible ads can have up to 15 headlines (it is recommended to use five headlines as a minimum) and up to four ad descriptions (using at least three descriptions is recommended). Both headlines and ads display in rotation, with Google displaying the ads that have the best execution to users after the campaign has collected statistics.

    b) It is good practice to make the name of the ad group as close as possible to the group of keywords in it. Then, in turn, that the keyword to which the ad group relates appear in at least one of the headlines and in one of the descriptions of the ad in question.


    c) It is definitely worthwhile to use the character count limit in the content, or at least approach this limit in headlines (30 characters) and ads (90 characters).

    d) You cannot use exclamation marks in headlines.

    e) One of the ad descriptions may contain an exclamation mark.

    f) In the headlines, it is useful to focus on the most important selling points:

    – Emphasize what differentiates you from the competition.

    – If our offer is temporary, state the end period of the promotion.

    -If the company has an attractive return policy, product replacement, extended warranty, fast shipping and the like, it is worth including this kind of information in the headlines of the ads.

    g) In the content of ad descriptions, it is definitely worth using so-called call to action, i.e. phrases like: check out, learn more, buy now, learn details.

    h) The content of ads in Search campaigns should be consistent with the site or page to which we are directing users, both in terms of content and the nature of the message. There is no problem if we want to use slogans present on the website in the ads.

    i) Individual groups of ads can direct to different subpages of the site if desired.

    4. Add keyword-list-and-campaign-ad structure-to-campaign-ad account

    The finished keyword list and campaign ads should be in your Google Ads account. You can easily and quickly place them in your account using the Google Ads Editor, initially uploading the keyword structure to your account, then the ads. The option to make multiple changes to your account at once makes the process of putting keywords and ads into your account very fast.

    Choose the option to make multiple changes, then select that your data includes campaign columns or ad groups, and click ‘Paste from clipboard’ so the Editor will import the content you previously copied from an Excel file.

    5. Set campaign targeting

    Using the data available to you, determine who your current and potential customers are, you will use this knowledge in your campaign targeting settings. If you’re launching a new product where you’re not sure if your assumptions about the product’s target audience will actually be in line with market realities – then it’s a good idea to set up targeting to a broader audience. When targeting our campaign to specific audiences, we take into account demographics, interests and available remarketing groups (if available in the account or we have the ability to set them up), such as:

    a) Gender

    b) Age range

    c) Location

    d) Interests

    e) Remarketing: users who have been on our website in a given time period

    f) Remarketing: users who converted 

    Keep in mind that some Google users do not share their data, in which case the gender and age of such users is marked as unknown in the campaign statistics. Search ads, unlike Display ads, are part of inbound marketing i.e. they are displayed to users who have already shown some degree of interest in at least our product category, and perhaps our brand or even a specific product of our brand. Therefore, in the case of a Search campaign, as opposed to a Display campaign, which works by outbounding, increasing the reach of the campaign and reaching the potential product audience first, a strong narrowing of the target audience is not recommended.

    6. Add ad extensions

    The more search engine placement your campaign gets, the more visible it will become to a potential customer. For this reason, you should remember to add campaign extensions. These extensions can include, among others, links to subpages, price extensions or links:

    7. Check general campaign settings

    Make sure that the correct campaign end date, individual campaign budgets and ad group rates are set. Choose one of the campaign strategies. Remember that you have the option to set a daily or hourly schedule for displaying ads and adjust the rates for each device. 

    8. Activate campaign

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    Norbert Waleszczyk
    Norbert Waleszczyk

    I have been passionate about technology and programming for many years. I specialize in JavaScript and TypeScript, which allows me to create dynamic and flexible web applications. Over the course of my career, I have gained experience in a variety of projects, from simple websites to complex systems integrated with databases. I'm also a fan of JAMStack technology, which allows me to create fast, secure and scalable applications, which is crucial for me when it comes to the quality and usability of the products I create. In my free time, I love experimenting with new technologies and constantly evolving.