Google AdWords Guide

Google AdWords Guide

Google AdWords Guide for Beginners

The allure of building your own Google AdWords campaign is understandable. Their are several benefits to an AdWords campaign for the small-business owner or beginning marketer:

  1. Ability to easily and precisely target your ideal customer
  2. Only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement
  3. Ability to set a hard budget and never go over it
  4. The potential to reach a huge audience of new potential customers

The majority of businesses are a great fit for getting results in AdWords. Unfortunately, trying to set up a new campaign is a daunting task if you have never tried before. Several elements make up a successful AdWords campaign:

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Analytics and Tracking
  3. Marketing Strategy

These elements are often full-time jobs for employees of larger companies, and there is a lot to learn. However, it is possible to run your own AdWords campaign for your small business if you take the time to learn the basics. Our Google AdWords guide for beginners will cover the essential information you need to get started in your online marketing endeavors.

What is Google AdWords?

AdWords is a form of digital marketing that allows a user to create advertisements that will be shown to users through search-engines and websites affiliated with AdWords. (Known as their Search and Display Networks)

Depending on certain settings you can choose (which we will go over in a later section), your ads will appear in various locations:

Text Advertisements

google adwords example

This first example of ad placement is what we most commonly associate with Google AdWords. You create a short text ad like in the image above, and tell Google what kinds of searches you’d like that ad to appear in.

Ideally you want your ad ranked #1 so it is displayed at the top of the search engine results page (often shortened to SERP). In a later section, we will go over how to accomplish this.

Search engine ads typically only show text, with an exception being specific e-commerce products occasionally showing images of the product beside the ad.

Image Advertisements


Banner and other image ads are shown in Google’s “Display Network” – over a million sites that have agreed to show Google advertisements.

Image ads can have small interactive elements, such as the “Find A Hotel” or “See Deals” buttons on the ads above.

Video and Rich Media Advertisements

Google AdWords Display Network Video and Rich Media Ads

The Display Network also allows for video and ‘rich media‘ ads, which are simply ads with added features and interaction, such as the survey advertisement above.

Making Your First Google AdWords Advertisement

Your first step is to create an AdWords account. Head to the main AdWords site and click “Start Now.” (If you have already created an AdWords account, but need help with the next steps, skip down to the next section)

Once you’ve entered your business’ website and email, you will be taken to a page to create your first campaign.

An AdWords “campaign” is an advertisement (or group of ads) created around a general theme. For this example, I am going to create an advertising campaign to sell online personal training services.


Google auto-populates a few fields for you, based on your business’ website. As we customize these fields, the values in the highlighted box will change.

If this is your first foray into digital marketing, the next steps are sure to be a bit confusing. In this section we will be going over each one so that you have full control over your ads:

  1. Setting a budget for your campaign
  2. Selecting geographic locations you want the advertisement to show
  3. Selecting if you want the ad to show in SERPs, the Display Network, or both.
  4. Choose what searches you want your ad to display on
  5. The maximum amount of money you want to pay for a click on your ad
  6. Creating the ad itself

Set a Budget

AdWords is based off of a daily budget you allot to a campaign. In our experience working with small businesses, most think in terms of monthly or quarterly budgets instead of daily – ourselves included.

So, if you are working with a quarterly budget of $1000, simply divide this by the roughly 90 days in a quarter – about $11.10 per day. (I used $10 in this example)


One of the greatest benefits of an AdWords campaign is that you only pay when a user clicks your advertisement, and you will never go over your daily budget. If your ad gets $10 worth of clicks by 3PM, it simply stops showing until the next day.

Clients often ask us how much money is appropriate for an AdWords budget, which is a tough question to answer for your first campaign. Generally the first few months of your campaigns are experiments to see what keywords are converting well, which ad copy is performing better, etc.

Typically to receive good data and feedback on how well your ads are doing, a budget of at least $1000 per month is ideal.

However, we have worked with many clients whose starting budgets were $300 – $500. This does make success harder to measure – depending on your industry and competition, you may only be receiving 30 – 300 clicks per month on such a low budget. On the other hand, if you are just starting out in digital advertising, your first goal may be to just get a handful of new visitors to your site, or reach a few new customers that will hopefully make repeat purchases. (If you’d like to learn more, there are many opinions on low AdWords budgets from AdWords professionals in this reddit thread.)

Select Geographic Locations

Where you want your ad to show will vary largely on your industry. For instance, if you are an online store and do not provide international shipping, you would want to constrain your ad to only your home country. Alternatively, if you are creating a campaign to specifically gain more business in Russia, you would want to target there are surrounding countries.

For most local businesses in the U.S., you will be fine keeping your advertisements to the United States. You can also keep your ads to a specific city or region if you only offer services locally, which is a very handy feature. For my example business, I will be targeting primarily English-speaking countries:


Select Where Your Ad Displays

This guide has already touched on the two networks you can choose to have your advertisement shown on – the Search Network and the Display Network. As a refresher, the Search Network is various SERPs (AOL, Google, etc), while the Display Network is any of the millions of AdWords affiliate sites (Youtube, The New York Times, etc)

In later steps you can choose to create a video or image advertisement, however during your initial set-up you can only create a text ad.

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