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What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad groups and ads?

Community Manager
# 1
Community Manager

Hi Community,


I hope most of you are aware of the free AdWords courses that we offer within our Help Center. They're great resources, especially if you're new to AdWords and online marketing.


We're going to start a weekly quiz series where we ask a question that can be answered through one of our courses. This week's question is from Online Marketing 101.


Question of the week:

What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad groups and ads?


Anyone can answer (you don't have to have taken the course) - so let's see who can get the most stars for their response!



4 Expert replyverified_user

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

[ Edited ]
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 2
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆

The first thing you should do before jumping into the AdWords interface is figuring out your GOALS, once you established your advertising goals, you will find it much easier to set up your AdWords account.

Now, take the time to build a mental profile of your customers, where are they located? what language do they speak? where are they on the internet? when are they on the internet? what devices do they use?
Based on all of these answers, you can now take the first step in setting up an adwords campaign by picking the right campaign type and choosing the right settings that suit your goals.

Then, you need to structure your account in the right way through creating campaigns by product or service, campaigns that mirror your website structure, each campaign has tightly- themed ad groups , those ad groups contain relevant keywords that directly related to your ads and your landing page.

Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author KathleenG
September 2015

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

I'd like to explain point by point:

A. When Setting Up Your Campaign:
- Define your goal/objective. Is it to increase your brand awareness on online? Increase your website traffic? Get some leads from your website or increase your sales volume from website
- Set your relevant target audiences, you can targeted user by location, language, demographic and their online behavior
- Determine your ad spend, suit your budget based on your marketing budget on online
- Choose the right platform based on your product/brand characteristic & goals.
You can set Google Search campaign if you have concern on user who needs your product or if your main goal is for conversion.
If your goal is to create more awareness & visual message, i suggest to create GDN campaign.

B. Create Relevant & Specific AdGroup
- Groupped keywords that have some similar characteristic into one adgroup
- Put around 10 - 20 keywords for one ad group. Do not put too many keywords on an adgroup. With less keywords you can be more focus controlling your adgroup performance
- Set your adgroup bid based on your product competition, set your bid higher if your product is on high competitive level on Google Search and please remind your bid would affect your ad position (ad rank = QS x Max CPC)

C. Create Relevant Ads
- Tailor your ads based on your adgroup & keyword. For example, if your adgroup contains keywords related Mountain Bike, you should create your ads that promote the Mountain Bike too.
- Make it clear & Easy to remember for user
- Use call to action to persuade user when they look on your ads
- Use proper grammar, punctuation and capitalization to avoid misleading message
- Create at least two ads versions for one adgroup. Thus you can rotate and evaluate which one performs the best for your campaign.


Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star
When starting a campaign I would give my main focus to client prospective, Discussing with client and identifying their goals exactly would be the 1st step in campaign which leads easier campaign setup.

Keyword Research

Keyword research will take a major part of your campaign setup because you need to capture all the target market defined by your client and for that you need to do a extensive research on the subject

Ad copy

Ad copy would be the communicating interface between you and the customer. So being creative on making the ad copy will be one place you need to give attention. And when it comes to adcopies its always about testing, testing and testing. So do some A/B testing with different ad copies. Check what will work for you best. Oh also don't forget to check what your competitors using!

Additional features like sitelinks and callout extension.

Once you complete the basis its not a bad idea to check and create adwords extensions. Such extensions like sitelinks and callouts can give your ad better chance to display among the competitors and with the race!
Then its better to send some sample questioner to client asking about their target groups and seasonal offers, nearby attractions etc to gather information.

Then you can decide what kind of campaign you really need to setup. if client is seeking for branding you can go for branding display campaigns or if your client is asking for positive ROI/ROAS with predefined budgets its always good to focus on targeted search campaigns or even very well themed display and re-marketing campaigns in order to achieve the goal.

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

The Best Practice that an advertiser needs to consider while setting up Campaigns is
1. Account Set up is basic step , remember your ID and Password .
2 . Campaign Set up Best Practices - Choose Correct Daily Budgets ( Make sure to double check zero's you put in end to avoid any Over spends ) , Location , Language as per your Target Audience Location , Impression Cap, You can always try your ads with accelerated mode and then you can change settings as per performance of your campaign.

Ad Group Best Practices - Always make tightly themed Ad groups , By tight themes i mean Ad groups should be created in such a manner that related keywords fall in the bunch of same ad groups. We usually call this Keywords Buckets . v v important to organize your campaign and get more CTR .

Ad copy Best practices - Make Ad copies relevant to keywords being used , Make ad copies considering your landing page Promotional offers in mind . Make sure you have read google policies before hand while making Ad copies.

Last but not least Monitoring of campaign on daily basis is best practice which every one of us should follow to get most out of Google ad words campaign. Also never be too lazy to open your google ad words account and make changes because we human beings sleep but campaigns run 24 hours , so it is very important to make changes on urgent basis when desired. The best practice can be to schedule your ads . Make sure to pause your ads on times when your offices are closed to take any calls to avoid any open spends of budgets .

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Participant ✭ ☆ ☆
# 6
Participant ✭ ☆ ☆

The Structure should be planned from broad to narrow. First, create the outlines like the Goals, Audience to target, location of target and the budget. By using the outlined points like target location etc. set up a Campaign for each Goal. The budget of a campaign should be decided keeping in mind returns on investment from the campaign and budgets should be cleverly distributed among the campaigns starting from high priority to low priority.


Now, you have to plan the Ad Groups and then, Ad Copies for Ad Groups in a campaign.


Each Ad Group in a Campaign has a set of keywords of a product or services that you want to advertise. The keywords in an Ad Group should be closely related to each other because all the keywords in an Ad Group show a similar Ad. Using different match types and negative keywords you can avoid irrelevant clicks and thereby costs.


Ad Copies are a way to bring audience to your site/landing page. You have to think in your audience perspective while writing the Ad copies. Make sure to highlight that what makes you unique, include call-to-action and also provide them all the additional details along with the Ad by using Ad extensions.

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Ok Wow, I feel like a book could be written on the subject, but I think for the sake of brevity I'll just list a number of the most important aspects when setting up each of the 3 categories.


These will dictate the structure of your whole account, so ensure you set them up correctly and name them adequately (UK - Search - Vehicle tracking for example). Clarity in a naming convention here will save much confusion later on.

Split your display and search campaigns, as these will tend to be optimised differently, require different setting and budgets.

Make sure that you go through the settings of each campaign and have them set up correctly, such as location targeting and the like.

At this point note what settings are at the campaign level as some of these you will come back and use later on once you have data, such as ad scheduling.

Budget can be set here or use the shared budget function which will be set up at a later stage. Decide which method of budget control is best for you.

Ad groups:

Make sure these are relevant to the campaign that you include them in.

Ensure that they are tightly themed, a best practice is to have one root keyword in each ad group and all subsequent keywords should be a variation of that root keyword in order to ensure that you do not deviate from the theme of the ad group to far.

I personally prefer splitting ad groups by match type, but in the beginning I usually do not include many exact matches as I like to data mine the user's queries coming in in order to ensure that I am catching the relevant traffic for the account.


Ensure that you have multiple variations of ads running in each ad group. This is done so that you are able to constantly be testing your ads and improving on them.

I personally avoid using DKI as I have seen the nasty effects of choice fatigue that happens because of so many lazy advertisers who overuse DKI, thus all the ads for certain keywords look almost Exactly the same! Write ads that stand out, think out the box and don't take the easy way out. Ads are your first point of contact with the user! That being said, relevance is a factor to keep in mind, unless your crazy ad idea is getting insane CTR without using the exact keywords in your ad group with the text of the ad.

Beyond testing different variations of your ads should test different destination URL's (usually the same landing page with slight variations)

Ensure that you are using all the relevant ad extensions. Sitelinks are the big one here, as you now have 2 lines of text for each sitelink, so you could actually have 5 ads in one, on top of that seasonal sitelinks tend to perform better. Make your ads Relevant!

Be sure to use your ads to segment your audience. If you are selling a niche product or have a higher LSM, make sure the user knows it. Mention price for example, this may get you less clicks but the clicks you get will be more relevant. If your CTR suffers heavily then revise your keywords or use negatives to eliminate unwanted audiences.

Make sure to include CTA's, encourage the user to perform a desired action (NOT click here)!

As of October 15th, mobile ads will perform differently, (sometimes exclude your second line of text) so if you are targeting mobile then make use of mobile preferred ads and ensure they are readable with either the first line of text or both lines of text.

There are many more aspects to consider but I fell like these are some of the most important things to keep in mind and execute when setting up your campaigns/ad groups/ads.

I look forward to seeing some of the other responses!

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Rising Star
# 8
Rising Star

Campaign Best Practices:


  • Choosing the right campaign type based on the objective (like direct response/Branding)
  • Choosing appropriate locations, may be split them to later use bid adjustments
  • Choosing languages other than English if you're able to create ads in that language
  • Choosing an initial daily budget based on how much you'd like to spend and keep reviewing if the budget sufficient to show ads throughout the day/as per schedule (whichever suits the business)
  • Select the right bidding strategy (Automatic if you dont want to be monitoring it all the time and Manual if you're okay with changing them from time to time)
  • Use advanced settings like Ad Scheduling, delivery method(standard/accelerated) and ad rotation
  • Use call extensions for businesses driving phone calls
  • Use location extensions for a businesses looking for traffic by foot (like a brick & mortar store)
  • Use site links extensions provided you have a variety to showcase
  • Use App extensions if you'd like to drive app downloads
  • Call out extensions, to showcase USPs


Ad Group Best Practices:


  • Creating tightly themed ad groups, to use relevant ads and keywords. For Eg: If a business has 5 products/services, create one ad group for each of them, so you can create relevant ads and keywords within them.
  • Creating one ad group per keyword match type is also fine, as it adds to a tight theme
  • Creating ad groups based on branded and non branded keywords is also a good practice


Ad Text Best Practices:


  • As the other name for ads (creatives), use the best of your creativity to write attractive and unique ad text, to capture the attention of a user.
  • Essentially, keywords, ads and landing page within an ad group should be relevant (For instance: keyword about a specific mobile phone model should trigger an ad that describes the product, rather than an ad that has generic info about mobile phones)
  • Use two to three ad variations in an ad group, to increase relevance
  • Try using some keywords inside the ad text, as it helps increase relevance
  • Using keyword insertions is a good practice, as it helps increase relevance again
  • Inter-capitalization, as in first letter of each word to be capital, to give a better look
  • Use call to action (like call now! or free quote) to clearly define the motive
  • Mentioning promos or discounts within the ad text
  • More importantly, using the most relevant landing page (For Instance, ads about scuba diving should lead to a page that describes the service, rather than the home page that has a variety of services)



- Sumanth


Sumanth Sridhar

Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 9
Rising Star



Here are some best practices that I follow when setting up a campaign(s):


Step 1: Initial Checklist

- Understand the Objective behind setting up the account/ Understand the Marketing
- Objective- Branding/ Sales/ Lead generation etc.
- Understand the product/service you are going to market
- Is the website user friendly and optimum from a SEM perspective?
- Check the potential & reach of the product/service you are about to market for
- Who is the targeted Audience - Age Group? Male or Female?
- Estimate the total budget for the flight dates (length of the total campaign)
- Is there a CRM that will be used to record all SEM lead data? If yes, ensure additional tagging parameters are   implemented in the account along with the obvious Auto tagging


Step 2: Account Structure

- According to the potential observed, decide whether it is necessary to run only Search or GDN campaigns as   well
- Your overall account structure should mimic the website structure that way you can map each category in      your account easily


2a. Campaign Structure

- Campaigns should be split according to a key category amongst your product/services
- If you are targeting individual key categories in different locations. Ensure each category campaign is          targeted to the right geography


2b. Ad group & Keywords

- Shortlist an exhaustive list of relevant keywords for your themes
- Create tightly themed ad groups using the shortlisted keywords
- Each ad group should contain at least 5 - 6 keywords related to each other with a max of 10-12    keywords/ad group
- Make sure to use a good mix of all matchtypes to ensure you are covering all possible relevant queries


2c. Ad Copies

- Create relevant ad copies for each of the ad groups
- Make sure all ad copies adhere to the ad policies put in place by Google
- Each ad group should contain at least 2 ad copies with different messaging to ensure there is sufficient testing  of ad messaging
- Make sure to use keywords from the ad groups in your ad messaging along with a strong CTA which can  entice your users into clicking on your ad
- Try and make good use of the ad extensions as much as possible. Sitelinks are a great way to drive traffic to  your other pages on the website


2d. Landing Pages

- Check to see the usability aspect for all your landing pages
- A SEM dedicated landing page is always advised as it can drive the user to go straight ahead and carry out  the conversion action
- Check to see if additional tagging parameters need to be added to your landing page URL's. If yes, ensure all  URL's are tagged with the right information

Step 3: Bids & Budgets

- Once the budgets are finalized, you need to decide budget allocation for each campaign
- Allocate a good part of your budget to the campaign with the most potential & reach
- Bids for your keywords should depend on their themes. A higher bid for more competitive keywords & a high  enough bid for your brand keywords to rank in the top 3 for your keywords
- Also think about setting bids for keywords according to the matchtypes for each keywords within the ad group
- The priority for matchtype bids should be Exact, Phrase & then Broad. This ensures your bids are high  enough for the most relevant of the targeted keywords


Step 4: Settings

- Ensure you are targeting the right geography depending on your clients needs for each of the campaigns (if  you are targeting multiple locations)
- Check if the campaign settings for your audience targeting is accurate. E.g - People in my targeted locations  vs People in and searching for my targeted location
- Check for Ad Rotation settings. To start of the campaign, 'Rotate Evenly' or 'Rotate Indefinitely' would be a  good option
- Ensure Ad Delivery settings is set in accordance to your marketing objectives. You can opt for 'Standard' if  you wish to show ads throughout the day and record as many conversions as possible or you can opt for  'Accelerated' and choose to show your ads as many times as possible before the day ends
- Check for device level bid modifications, if explicitly required





Shashank Singh, AdWords Rising Star |
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Re: What are some best practices for setting up your campaigns, ad gro

Community Manager
# 10
Community Manager

Hi Everyone,

Thanks everyone for your fantastic responses! So detailed, so insightful! 

This week's winner with three stars is @RyanBatchin - Awesome job Ryan!


This week's question is up - check it out here and give us your best responses!