What It's Like To Launch Your First Google Ads Campaign
About a month ago I had to launch my very first Google and LinkedIn Ads campaigns to drive traffic to my company's corporate website and test which platform yielded better results to determine appropriate budget allocation. I won’t go through the process of setting up the campaigns - there is an immense amount of information online, including both platforms’ resources. Instead, I will share my experience and the things I learned because for a first-timer, I have to say, it was quite overwhelming. In this post, I will focus on the Google Ads experience, but stay tuned for part 2 about LinkedIn Ads which I will be uploading next week.
Before I start - if you do want to know what resources I used before launching the Google Ads campaigns - here they are:
Quick and easy checklist for setting up Google Ads
An extensive Google Ads guide by HubSpot
Google’s Academy for Ads - for any other questions you may have
We all start somewhere, and while I would be thrilled to be starting with someone experienced guiding me – this was not the case. My guides were the above-mentioned resources. Such is the reality of working at a startup. So – I knew I had to start somewhere and I started with research. I have already accumulated some information and had a theoretical understanding of Google Ads from my courses at university and some readings I’ve done before, so I reviewed those and then went on to keyword research. I looked at the keywords associated with our business and determined which ones I would pick. I did not want those that had too high competition as our budget was not large for me to bid the average bids and make it worthwhile. So I went for those with medium competition primarily. Then, I typed these keywords and screenshotted the ads that came up to see how they were doing it. One of the ads was by Adobe, so naturally – I looked at how they constructed the ad – whether it was a question or a statement or perhaps a statistic. I figured I am willing to learn from anywhere. After doing that a couple of times, I went on to set up my Google Ads campaign.
So what tips can I provide you with after going through this experience?
During the set-up and throughout the campaign:
Prepare as much as possible but at some point, you will just have to go for it and try.
Research the importance of “broad” vs “phrase” vs “exact” match. It may seem trivial - it is not.
Type the keywords you want to rank for into Google and see which ads show up - some might be big companies who are experienced in digital advertising - see how they phrase and structure their ad. Get ideas from their best practices!
Remember the negative keywords - you don’t want your ad being triggered for irrelevant searches.
Check how things are progressing and performing daily if you can. You could do every other day, but I think any first-timer is quite interested in how things are going.
Adjust to what is happening. Maybe you missed a negative keyword - add it. Maybe you want to try another ad copy - go for it. You will learn best by trying.
After the campaign has ended:
Look over the performance metrics AND all the other insights you get access to: clicks, impressions, average CPC, CTR, which ads performed best, which keywords triggered most ads, which device clickers used most often, from which countries were the clicks, etc. This can give you valuable insights into what type of audience is interested in your products.
Create a key-takeaways file where you can note down all your key insights and learnings. Likely you will need to present that or a report to management anyway, so might as well do it for yourself to help quickly remember for future campaigns.
Note down what you would like to test in your next campaign. For example, I noticed that ads with specific (related to ad text) landing pages performed way better in terms of CTR. So I noted that for the next campaign I will make ads for each of our products/solutions and not general company ads.
In retrospect, I think preparation was the key step (and also the most anxiety-inducing one) because once the campaign was launched everything went relatively smoothly. I monitored the ads and their performance, made some adjustments and just kept observing. So if you have to launch your first campaign make sure to prepare and when it is time - just go for it!
I hope you found this post helpful and if there are any insights you’d like to share from your first experience with Google Ads - sound off in the comments!