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Planning Your AdWords Campaign

Before you start building your Google AdWords landing page, it's important that you plan out your campaign and define your goals.

Did you know that over three billion search requests are made on Google each day? Which makes it no surprise that many people use Google AdWords to reach their target audience.

Setting up an ad campaign on Google is fairly simple, but before you start you should map out your campaign and goals.

In this chapter we’ll go over six steps to follow when planning your Google AdWords campaign. Whether you're new to AdWords or a digital marketing pro, following these 5 simple steps can help you drastically improve the performance of your ad campaign.

Step 1 - Define Your Target Customer

Consider this scenario — You’re in charge of marketing for a country music artist and want to get their new single played on the radio. Would you start by trying to promote their music to every radio station in the U.S? Of course not! You would do your research, find out which radio stations play country music and target them specifically.

This same philosophy applies to AdWords. Before you start your campaign, break down your ideal customer profile and create a clear picture of who you want to reach. To define your target audience, begin by asking yourself these four questions:

1. Where is your target customer located? Do they live in a specific city, region, or country? Example: A restaurant in New York City would show ads locally, while an electronics company in Canada might only show ads in countries they ship to.

2. Would your target customer search for your product or service on a mobile device, desktop, or both? Example: An Android developer may only show ads to users on mobile, that way they can download the app right away.

3. What information would your target customer want to know about your product or service? Example: For a tech/software company, a user might want to know about pricing, product features, user reviews, and ratings from a trusted source. For a real estate agent, someone searching for a new condo might want to see floor plans, features and amenities, images of the space, and places to eat and shop nearby.

4. Are they an individual, family, or a business? Example: A recruiting agency might want to target businesses only, whereas a dentist would target individuals and families.

Now let’s run through a full real world scenario –– Let's say you’re setting up an ad campaign for a car dealership in Miami, Florida. Given the questions above, what would their target customer look like?

1. Lives in Miami or a nearby city

2. Might search from a desktop (laptop) or mobile device

3. Wants to buy a new or used car, and see what cars you have in inventory

4. Could be an individual or a family

Think through all of this information and gather as much insight as you can, so that you properly target your ideal customer.

Step 2 - Research Your Target Keywords

Think back to the last time you searched for something online. Maybe it was for a pair of shoes? Or perhaps it was for legal advice? Either way, you were shown results based on what Google determined to be the intentions behind your search.

This is what we refer to as user intent or keyword intent.

Keyword intent is one of the most critical aspects of search engine marketing (SEM), and it’s how marketers target users with ads on Google. If you properly leverage keyword intent, you’ll attract more qualified prospects, drive more sales, and generate more leads based on where users are in the buyer’s journey.

Types of Keywords

Here are the two most common types of keywords:

1. Short-tail keywords – These are generic keywords (usually 1-3 words in length), and are vague indicators of user intent. An example would be “shoes” or “lawyer."

2. Long-tail keywords – These are niche and unique keywords (usually 3 or more words in length), and are generally strong indicators of user intent. An example would be “black leather dress shoes” or “Atlanta personal injury attorney.” Collectively these type of keywords make up majority of searches made on Google.

Short-tail keywords generate more traffic and impressions, but visitors may be less likely to convert depending on where they are in the buyer's journey. On the other hand, long tail keywords tend to produce less traffic, but usually have a higher conversion rate due to the fact that they catch people further along the buyer’s journey.

For example, say you own a shoe store and you’re putting together a list of keywords to target. A person who searches for “buy mens shoes” is probably browsing, and isn’t quite ready to make a purchase. Whereas, someone who searches for “buy blue Nike running shoes” is more likely to convert and click the checkout button.

Your goal should be to research and find keywords that indicate that the user is looking for your product or service exactly and is ready to convert.

Research Tools

Now, you might be wondering how to find keywords related to your product or service. Well you’re in luck! Google provides marketers with a free tool (called Keyword Planner) that makes it easy to find relevant, high-demand and long tail keywords.

Just type in a word, phrase, or URL related to your business, and Google will generate a list of suggested keyword terms along with data points for each one like search volume, competition, average CPC (cost per click), etc.

Here are a list of other tools to help you find quality keywords:


Be sure to make note of the competition rating for each keyword on your list. That number is an indication of how many users are bidding on that keyword. A higher competition rating equals higher cost. Targeting competitive keywords can drain your budget, especially if major companies are also going after them. To maximize your reach and your ad spend, focus on keywords with high demand but fairly low competition.

Competitor Research

An easy way to research the competition for your target keywords is to simply search for them on Google. Make sure to take notes on what you discover and identify weak points in their campaign that you can capitalize on. Think of ways you can position your product or service in contrast to your competitors.

These opportunities can be quantitative in nature (like lower prices and more features) or qualitative (like higher ratings and better customer satisfaction). This can help you better understand what you're up against, and allow you to be proactive in optimizing your campaign.


Want to find all of your competitors’ target keywords? Use free online tools like Spyfu.com or KeywordSpy.com to unveil your competitors' most profitable ad copy and keywords.

Keyword Match Types 

Keyword match types are custom rules that you use to tell Google to which extent you want your ad to appear for different searches. There are four different keyword match types in Google AdWords: broad match, broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match.

For a deeper explanation and review of keyword match types click here.

Now, let’s refer back to our ongoing example with the car dealership in Miami. Here are a few example keywords they might want to target:

• Short tail keywords: “used cars” or “car dealers"

• Long tail keywords: “Miami used car dealerships” or “buy pickup trucks in Miami"

• Negative keywords: “toy car” or “remote control car”

Step 3 - Define Your Unique Value Proposition

Now that you know you’ve defined your target customer and keywords, it’s time to zero-in on your "sales pitch” or unique value proposition (UVP). This is a way to tell your customer why they should care about what you have to offer.

Here are the four most common types of value propositions:

1. Financial Value — What’s the monetary benefit of your offer? Is your product cheaper than your competitors? Be sure to clearly define how you’ll save them money.

2. Practical (Functional) Value — What value does the customer experience from your product or service? How does it make their life easier? How is better than the competition. Focus on things like convenience and ease of use.

3. Emotional Value — Think of how can you tap into a buyer’s emotions. Use social proof to build trust. Place the focus on what you value or stand for. Do you give back to the community? Are you eco-friendly? Is your product a luxury item that communicates social status? Do you have positive customer reviews or video testimonials? Have you received high ratings or won awards?

4. Guaranteed Value — What’s your long-term guarantee or promise to customers? Are you guaranteeing them full refunds or replacements? Focus on quality assurance. Be sure to communicate that you understand your customer’s priorities.

Let’s go back to our real-word scenario. A unique value position for the car dealership in Miami could be:

UVP #1: "Free oil changes on any new vehicles for the first year" –– The value provided to customers is both financial and practical.

• UVP #2: "Discounts for local high school students who are first time drivers" –– The value provided to customers is both financial and psychological.

Step 4 - List Out Your Call-to-Actions (CTAs) 

A call-to-action (CTA) is a short command that encourages someone to interact with your business. It should always begin with a clear, no-nonsense verb (i.e. signup, join, learn, visit) that leads to a simple and easy-to-follow next step. Remember, your CTA should align perfectly with the goal of your ad campaign.

For example, let’s say you are selling tickets to an event on your landing page. A good CTA for your ad campaign would be something like “Register Now” or “Purchase Tickets".

Don’t forget to use the principle of urgency and scarcity in your CTA. Here are a few different ways you can use this principle to motivate users to complete your call-to-action:

1. Make you offer time sensitive 

2. Focus on scarcity or limited supply

Referring back to our real-word scenario. An example of a CTA for the car dealership could be:

1. "Call Today" to speak with one of our award-winning vehicle consultants.

2. "Click Here" for a complete list of limited-time special offers.

Step 5 - Measure Results

There are numerous ways for you to track and measure your campaign's performance in Google AdWords. What you measure should be based on your ad campaign goals.

To start, list out the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track, such as:

• click-through-rate (CTR)

• conversion rate

• cost-per-click (CPC)

• cost-per-acquisition (CPA)

• Return on ad spend (ROAS)

• total conversions (leads or sales)

Your CTR and CPC are automatically tracked in Google AdWords. To monitor some of the other KPIs listed you will need to set up conversion tracking in your Google AdWords account. These KPIs can be paired with specific metrics used to gauge overall success. A good example of how this all comes together:

• A lawn care company can measure performance by counting each call they received from a new customer as a conversion.

• A clothing brand can use return on ad spend to measure profit and determine the success of their ad campaign.

Use these results to identify areas of improvement in order to optimize your ads and landing pages, increasing conversion rates. Now that you have planned out your ad campaign, you are now ready to learn how to build a high-converting Google AdWords landing page. 

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