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Paid Search Marketing 101: How to Set Up a Google Ads Campaign

Paid Search Marketing 101 How to Set Up a Google Ads Campaign

Sometimes I sit down to write a serious blog about marketing. More often than not, my blogs are about pay-per-click (PPC) and everything you should know about running digital ads. However, this isn’t the right time of year for a serious blog, at least not if you live in New Orleans. It’s Mardi Gras time! All I really want to do is write about King Cakesuper Krewes, and fancy balls, but I have people to answer to, so I’ll make this somewhat educational. Let’s set up a Google Ads campaign together for a Mardi Gras Krewe that I love, Orpheus. This partial tutorial will allow you to follow my thought process as we build the campaign. 

What is Paid Search Marketing?

Before we dive into the “how to” of setting up a Google Ads PPC campaign, let’s take a minute to define what paid search marketing is and how it benefits businesses. 

Paid search engine marketing is an advertising model that allows businesses to display ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) based on keywords and phrases used by potential customers. The ads are “paid for” in that they require payment from the advertiser to the search engine before appearing in the SERPs. This type of marketing provides a beneficial return on investment (ROI) for businesses as it enables them to reach their target audience more quickly and efficiently.

Paid search marketing involves creating keyword-driven campaigns, which will result in ads being displayed when people use those specific keywords in their search query. Keywords are chosen based on relevance to your business, products, services, or content, helping you better connect with your target audience and prompting them to click through to your website. Ads can be tailored according to various factors such as location, device type, and user demographics, giving businesses more control over who sees their message.

With paid search marketing, businesses benefit from increased visibility because their ads appear at the top of SERPs. This helps brands stand out among competitors, driving more website traffic and generating more leads or sales. Additionally, ad campaigns can be customized according to budget and objectives, so businesses can focus on reaching specific goals, such as increasing brand awareness or improving customer engagement.

Ads also offer measurable results since metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions are tracked. Businesses can review campaign data to determine which strategies work best for them and make modifications accordingly for further improvement. Paid search marketing is an effective way for businesses of any size or industry to reach their target audience quickly and cost-effectively.

So now that we understand how paid search marketing can help you reach a wider audience and attract customers to your website, let’s get into a fun example of how to build a PPC campaign!

PPC Search Marketing Steps

First up, we need to know who we are marketing to. Without this knowledge, it’s impossible to begin. This one is fairly easy; we want to show our ads to people looking to see a parade and learn more about the Krewe of Orpheus. We will also need to set a goal to judge our success. Let’s say we aim to get as many people to the parade as possible. Sure, that’s not a thing we can easily count, but for the sake of this blog, it will work just fine.

Now that we have a goal and a rough idea of who our target audience is let’s see what our budget looks like… I’ll be restricting us to $30 a day, which is not a lot. Sorry, but I’m the type of person who plays video games set on the highest difficulty. If we made this super easy, what would be the point? 

Alright, we are set. Now, let’s go through the steps in setting up the ad:

1. Set Up the Ad Structure

Now that we know the who, why, and what our budget is we can start to make some PPC decisions. The first big decision here is our structure. We have a very limited budget, so we want to ensure we don’t build too big and stretch our funds too thin. My suggestion is that we run a single campaign. There are different reasons you might create a campaign, more often than not, my campaigns exist to serve a specified region

Let’s create our campaign and title it “Gulf Coast & Louisiana 2023.” In our campaign settings, we will add some targeted locations to match the name of our campaign. Let’s see where that would put us:

Google Ads:

Campaign: Gulf Coast & Louisiana 2023 
Targeting: Louisiana, USA; Gulf Port, Mississippi; Biloxi, Mississippi; Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

This is a solid start. We have the base of a simple one campaign structure. There are some additional campaign settings we can start to mess with, but we will double back to them later. Let’s continue.    

2. Set Up Ad Groups & Keywords

With the campaign built, we can turn our attention to the ad groups. If the campaign is the trunk of a tree, the ad groups are the branches. Another way to look at it is that if the campaign tells us where we can run our ads, the ad groups tell us what our ads will be about (this is true for this example, but not all cases).   

Let’s start to look ahead to our keywords. Yes, we won’t have anywhere to place them until we have our ad groups, but if we have a general idea of our keywords, we will know how many ad groups we need. In many ways, this is a chicken or egg situation. 

My approach to this is fairly simple. I have the luxury of working with our SEO team, and often times keyword research is done before I ever touch an account. I like to look over the research and pick 3-5 primary keywords that each have 4-10 keywords related to them. Those primary keywords become my ad groups. 

I understand this is confusing, so think of it this way:

Primary Keyword: Mardi Gras Parade 

Related Keywords: Mardi Gras Parade King, Where to see a Mardi Gras Parade, How long is a Mardi Gras parade, how many Mardi Gras parades are there, etc.

Primary Keyword: Krewe of Orpheus   

Related Keywords: When is Orpheus, how many floats are in Orpheus, Harry Connick Jr founded Orpheus, celebrities in Orpheus, the history of the Orpheus krewe, etc.

Hopefully, it’s starting to make sense. Ideally, there are 3 to 5 of these that we can build each ad group around. Taking these keywords and creating the ad groups is fairly simple. Here is how I would do that using the same examples from before:

Ad Group #1: Mardi Gras Parade

Keywords for Ad Group #1:  Mardi Gras Parade, Mardi Gras Parade King, Where to see a Mardi Gras Parade, How long is a Mardi Gras parade, how many Mardi Gras parades are there, etc.

Ad Group #2: Krewe of Orpheus

Keywords for Ad Group #2: Krewe of Orpheus, When is Orpheus, how many floats are in Orpheus, Harry Connick Jr founded Orpheus, celebrities in Orpheus, the history of the Orpheus Krewe, etc.

You should be able to see what I did here. I took the primary keyword and created an ad group around it, I then put each of those related keywords in that ad group, including the primary keyword. So, in this case, the primary keyword is both the name of an ad group and a keyword within that ad group. Feel free to take a minute to process this. 

Now would be a good time to review your keyword match types. What are keyword match types? Match types tell Google how to relate your chosen keywords to a user’s actual Google search query. The match types that you use for you use depend entirely on what you want to achieve. Your three match types are Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match.

The easiest way to explain how each of these works is to show you an example of how they work:

Keyword: Orpheus Parade 

Search terms your ad would show for depending on your match type:

Broad match: Lundi Gras Parade, the parade called Orpheus

Phrase match: the Orpheus parade, krewe of Orpheus

Exact match:  Orpheus parade, parade Orpheus 

In other words, broad match will show your ads for search terms with a related meaning to your keywords. At the same time, phrase match will show your ads for search terms with a similar meaning as your keywords. Finally, exact match shows your ads for search terms that are either exactly the same as your keywords or contain exactly the same meaning as your keywords. 

For this example, I’m going to recommend that we use broad match for a majority of the keywords but use exact match for “Orpheus parade” and “krewe of Orpheus”. It’s noteworthy that Google has been pushing most people to use broad match for most keywords. Google believes they are getting really good at understanding search intent, and they want you to trust them to deliver. 

For more information on your keyword matching options check this out

3. Create the Ads

Let’s recap; we now have a campaign with ad groups under it. Each of those ad groups has a list of keywords within them, and we know what match types we want to use for those keywords.  

Now it’s time for the creation of the ads. Yes, there are different ad types, but most search ads you will encounter are now responsive ads, so that is what we will give our attention to.  

For this example, let’s build a great ad we will run in our first ad group, “Mardi Gras Parade”. Unlike older expanded text ads which limited you to only a few headlines, responsive search ads allow you to write up to 14 eye-grabbing headlines, and then Google will decide the best 3 to show for any given search query. Ensure your headlines are a mix of keywords, text from your landing page, and relevant information.

Headline 1: Huge Mardi Gras Parade  

Headline 2: See The Krewe Of Orpheus 

Headline 3: Learn More

Headline 4: Top Mardi Gras Parade

Headline 5: Lundi Gras Super Krewe 

Headline 6: The Orpheus Parade

Headline 7: How To See Orpheus

Headline 8: Everyone’s Favorite Parade

I like to start with 8 headlines to start. In the future, when we have more data, we can add more headlines. 

Take note of my use of a keyword variation in the headlines. Chances are someone who is searching for Mardi Gras Parade info will see a headline like that with a keyword they used in their search, and they will want to learn more.  

So, now we can come up with 2-4 descriptions that will appear with this ad. These will be longer than the headlines and will tell a potential parade goer just enough to get them to click on your ad. We need two of these:

Description 1: The Krewe Of Orpheus Is The Mardi Gras Parade You Won’t Want To Miss. 

Description 2: Come See Harry Connick Jr And Friends At This Year’s Parade. February 24, 2023.  

I made sure to include a keyword or two in the description as well, but I didn’t go overboard. 

Again, starting with two descriptions is fine, but please remember to add at least one more after your ad has been running for a few weeks and you have a better idea of what people have been searching for.

At this point, it is safe to say we have an ad on our hands. Let’s see how it all stacks up:

Campaign: Gulf Coast & Louisiana 2023

Ad Group: Mardi Gras Parade

Ad: Huge Mardi Gras Parade | See The Krewe Of Orpheus Live | Learn More

The Krewe Of Orpheus Is The Mardi Gras Parade You Won’t Want To Miss. Come See Harry Conick Jr And Friends At This Year’s Parade. February 24, 2023. 

Not too bad.

4. Set Up Ad Extensions (Assets)

So we have the basics down, but now let’s look at what we can do to take our campaign to the next level. 

Ad extensions (also called ad assets) are the additional bits of information that you can add to your account, campaign, ad group, or ad that have the potential to show when your ad shows. These extra bits of info can improve your ad rank and make your ad more eye-catching. 

Here are some of the possible assets you can include in your campaign:

  • Sitelinks – A tried and true extension that can add as many as four additional links to your ad. This is great for companies that offer multiple services or have “why choose us” pages that you want to show with your main ad. 
  • Callout extensions – Think of this as a small amount of bonus text that can run near the end of your ad. These are great for including things like “Free shipping” in a product ad.
  • Call Extension – This places your phone number in the ad so people can call you without visiting your website. 
  • Location Extension – If you have a physical storefront, this is a great way to let people know where you are before they click on your ad. 
  • Structure snippets: More bonus text but this time used to highlight more products and services that you offer. 
  • Image extension: Draw more eyes to your ad by including a relevant image. 

Please keep in mind that even though you have created assets, they are not always going to appear when your ad appears. 

5. Set Bid Strategy

We are so close to being ready to start this campaign! Let’s just check a few basic campaign settings real quick. 

There are a lot of settings you should eventually become familiar with, but a blog is just not an appropriate place to review them all. However, this is the perfect place to discuss the “Bidding” setting, where you will select your preferred bid strategy for your campaign. This is the setting where we tell Google how to spend your budget based on your goals. 

Here are some of our options:

  • Maximize Conversions – An action-based bid strategy where you tell Google you want to get as many conversions as your budget will allow. In this case, a conversion can be anything from a form fill/phone call to a sale of a product.
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS) – Another action-based strategy where we tell Google that we want to focus on our ROI or, in this case, ROAS.
  • Target cost per action (CPA) – This is my go-to strategy for many clients. Here you tell Google how much you believe you think you should be spending per conversion, and Google tries to make the numbers work. 
  • Maximize Clicks – This strategy focuses on clicks rather than conversions. It’s a great choice for the first few weeks of a campaign to help it get traction. 
  • Target Impression Share: Sometimes, all we care about is where our ads show, and with this strategy, we can say, “We understand it will cost more to show our ads at the top, and thus our ads will show less, but we would prefer to show at the top when we do show.” 

For our campaign, we will choose Maximize Clicks as our bid strategy. 

Let’s see how we did:

Campaign: Gulf Coast & Louisiana 2023

Bid Strategy: Maximize Clicks

Ad Group: Mardi Gras Parade

Broad Match Keywords: Lundi Gras Parades, Parades in New Orleans, Parades with celebrities, Mardi Gras Monday Parade 

Ad: Huge Mardi Gras Parade | See The Krewe Of Orpheus Live | Learn More

The Krewe Of Orpheus Is The Mardi Gras Parade You Won’t Want To Miss. Come See Harry Conick Jr And Friends At This Year’s Parade. February 24, 2023. 

While not everything could be covered in this one blog, you should have enough to begin to build your first campaign, OR you can just do some Google searches on Mardi Gras and get yourself a King Cake sent your way. However, if you don’t want to build a campaign yourself, I’d be more than happy to talk to you about the process and how SMA can work for you. 

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