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Google Ads Tutorial for Beginners (2024)

Gone are the days when businesses relied solely on billboards and radio jingles. 

Today, there’s a powerful, omnipresent tool at your fingertips – and no, it’s not Thor’s hammer, it’s Google Ads

If you’ve ever marveled at how some ads just ‘get you’, then welcome to the intricate web spun by Google Ads wizards.

Before you raise an eyebrow, thinking this is just another mundane tutorial, think again. This is more than just another “Google Ads tutorial for beginners”, it’s a journey.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

The Power of Google Ads

Imagine having the ability to display your business to a person who is actively searching for what you offer. 

That’s like having a coffee stand right outside a massive tech convention filled with caffeine-deprived developers. 

Perfect match, right? But it’s more than just about location.

  • Precision Targeting: With Google Ads, you’re not just yelling into the void. You’re speaking directly to someone, engaging them right when they’re interested. It’s like matchmaking but for businesses and customers. Think of it as a Cupid’s arrow, hitting the right person at the right time, causing them to fall in love with your product or service.
  • Expansive Reach: Google isn’t just a search engine; it’s an empire. From the vast landscapes of the Google Display Network to the bustling streets of YouTube, your ads can be omnipresent. Did you know that the Google Display Network alone reaches over 90% of internet users worldwide? That’s like having your ads displayed in every major city globally! 🌍
Google Display Network

If you’re itching to unlock this power and learn Google Ads, the journey has just begun.

Personal Touch

While the vast expanse of Google’s advertising might seem intimidating, like standing at the foot of Mount Everest with only a pair of sneakers, it’s essential to remember the human element. It’s not just about reaching millions; it’s about touching individual lives.

  • Understanding Needs: Every click on your ad tells a story. Maybe it’s a new mother at 2 am looking for baby products, or a student hunting for a study lamp. By understanding these narratives, you can tailor your ads to resonate and build connections. Picture this: A tired student, eyes squinting in the dim light, sees your ad for a perfect desk lamp. Bingo! An instant solution to their problem.
  • Genuine Value: Beyond the metrics and the conversions, what truly matters is the value you offer. That’s the heart and soul of advertising. Make it count. It’s like handing out umbrellas on a rainy day. Be that beacon of hope and solution amidst the chaos.

Hold tight, for this is not just a ‘how-to’. It’s a ‘how-to with heart and strategy’.

From setting up your first campaign to allocating that perfect Google Ads budget, we’ll traverse it all, with a sprinkle of personal insights to make the magic happen.

Ready to advertise on Google like a pro? Dive in!

Ah, the million-dollar question (quite literally for many businesses): Why Google Ads? With so many advertising platforms popping up like daisies in spring, what makes this digital juggernaut stand head and shoulders above the rest?

And no, it’s not just because Google rhymes with “doodle.” Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and decode the undeniable allure of Google Ads.

ROI Potential

For many businesses, particularly the frugal startups run by college students from their dorm rooms, every penny spent needs to show a tangible return. So why invest in Google Ads?

  • Immediate Visibility: Unlike SEO, which is the tortoise in the race (slow and steady, but oh-so-painfully-slow), Google Ads is the hare. It gets you immediate visibility. Spend today; appear at the top of search ads tomorrow. Remember those times you hastily typed a search term and clicked on the first link? That’s the power of Google Ads at play. Instantly connecting the searcher with what they’re looking for.
Paid ads in Google results
  • Pay Only for Results: With Google Ads, you’re not shelling out cash for a billboard that everyone and their dog might glance at. You pay when someone clicks on your ad. This Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model ensures you only part with your cash when someone shows genuine interest. Imagine setting up a lemonade stand where you only pay rent if someone actually stops and buys. Sweet deal, right?
  • Granular Targeting: “Keywords” aren’t just tech jargon; they’re your arrows, aimed with precision. Whether you’re selling “handmade unicorn slippers” or “gluten-free vegan pizza,” you can ensure your ads show up for those exact terms, maximizing relevance and ROI. It’s like being a sniper in the world of advertising. Aiming, targeting, and hitting the bullseye every single time.

Real-life Scenario

Meet Jessica. She started a small, eco-friendly skincare brand from her kitchen.

Like many, she thought just setting up an Instagram page would get the sales rolling in.

But the digital world was more crowded than she anticipated. Enter Google Ads.

After setting up her campaign, Jessica started seeing immediate results. Whenever someone searched for “eco-friendly skincare,” there she was, right at the top. A month in, and her sales soared. She could directly correlate every dollar spent on Google Ads with $5 in sales. A 5:1 ROI? Jessica was on cloud nine.

  • Spot-On Relevance: Jessica made sure her ads only showed up for highly relevant search terms. This ensured her budget wasn’t wasted on folks looking for “eco-friendly cars” or “DIY skincare recipes.” This is the beauty of Google Ads. You don’t just cast a wide net and hope for the best. You cast a smart, tailored net.
  • Geo-Targeting: Jessica’s products were only available in the US. So, she ensured her ads only appeared to searchers in the US. No point advertising to someone in Australia who couldn’t purchase, right? Think of it as setting up a food truck. You wouldn’t set it up in the middle of a desert, but rather in a bustling city square.
Geo-targetting the United States

Jessica’s success story isn’t unique. There are thousands of Jessicas out there, reaping the rewards of advertising on Google. Ready to join the club?

Want to dive deeper into success stories and the top agencies that make it happen? Check out this comprehensive list: Top 10 SaaS Google Ads Agencies.

So, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a well-established brand, the question isn’t, “Why Google Ads?” but rather, “Why not?”

Setting the Groundwork: Understanding the Basics

Diving into the world of Google Ads can feel like plunging into the deep end of a pool, especially when you’ve forgotten your arm floaties at home.

But fear not, my friend! It’s time to lay down some solid groundwork and make sense of the basics.

Let’s demystify the process and embark on the exhilarating journey of setting up that first ad campaign.

Creating Your First Campaign

The first step? Initiating your first campaign. Ah, that rush when you create something new! Here’s how to kickstart your Google Ads journey:

  • Google Ads Account Setup: Much like how every superhero has an origin story, every ad starts with an account. Create your Google Ads account, it’s where all the magic happens. Imagine this as the home base for your digital marketing exploits. Every ad, every keyword, all under one roof.
  • Establish Your Goal: Whether it’s driving website visits, getting more calls, or increasing store visits, clarify your intention from the outset. It’s like setting your GPS before you start the journey. Ever been on a road trip without a destination in mind? While fun, it can be a tad aimless. Aim your advertising efforts with precision!
  • Budgeting: Ah, the tricky part. Deciding how much to invest can be daunting. Start modestly, observe, learn, and iterate. Adjustments can always be made down the line. Think of your budget as your ticket to the advertising ball. Too little, and you might miss out on the fun. Too much, and you might be left with buyer’s remorse. Find that sweet spot.

Battle-Tested Tip

Hold onto your hats, because here’s a gem that many learn the hard way: negative keywords. These are terms you DON’T want your ad to show up for. For instance, if you’re selling gourmet chocolate, you might want to exclude terms like “chocolate dog treats” or “DIY chocolate recipes.”

  • Why It’s Crucial: By specifying negative keywords, you’re fine-tuning where your ads appear, ensuring relevancy, and keeping that budget in check. It’s like putting up a “no entry” sign for irrelevant traffic. Say goodbye to the visitors who aren’t a fit and welcome those who truly matter.

For more on the art of using negative keywords, don’t miss out on this guide: Negative Keywords in Google Ads.

Quality Over Quantity

Here’s where things get spicy. Google assesses your ad’s quality and decides where it appears based on the Quality Score. It’s like a digital report card for your ad.

  • What It Considers: Your ad’s relevance to the search term, the click-through rate, and the quality of the landing page all factor in. Picture a meticulous teacher (Google) assessing your assignment (ad) and grading it. You want that A+, right?

Learn all about nailing this score: Quality Score Decoded.

Analytical Insight

You’ve set up your ad, but now what? Time to wear your detective hat and dive into analytics. With Google Ads, the data-driven insights available are akin to finding a treasure map in the world of digital advertising.

  • Deciphering Data: Understanding metrics like click-through rate, conversion rate, and return on ad spend can provide actionable insights to refine and optimize your strategy. Imagine being Sherlock Holmes, but instead of solving crimes, you’re solving the mysteries of your campaign’s performance. The clues? They’re all in the data.

For deeper insights that can transform your SaaS business advertising, make sure to explore: SaaS Marketing Insights.


Armed with these foundational tools and insights, you’re ready to take the digital advertising realm by storm. Remember, every Google Ads journey begins with a single step. And with the right basics in place, you’re setting yourself up for success. Onwards, digital warrior!

The Secret Sauce: Optimization

Let’s get one thing straight: Launching a Google Ads campaign is somewhat like cooking. You’ve got your ingredients (keywords, search terms, ad copy) and your kitchen tools (your Google Ads account). But what truly transforms a bland dish into a 5-star masterpiece? Optimization. Like any secret sauce, it’s the element that packs the punch. Dive in, and let’s uncover the ingredients of this powerful brew.

Landing Page Magic

Ever been invited to a grand party only to find out it’s in a dingy, cluttered garage? That’s what a bad landing page feels like. An ad can only do so much. It gets people to knock on your door; the landing page invites them in.

  • First Impressions Matter: Keep it clean, professional, and aligned with your ad’s message. Consistency is key. Don’t be that chef who advertises a chocolate cake and then serves a lemon pie. Keep the flavors consistent!
  • CTA – Your Golden Ticket: Your Call-to-Action button should be visible, enticing, and clear. Think of it as the “taste me” sign on a delicious dish. Make it irresistible!
Example of a good and a bad call-to-action
  • Optimization Checklist: Regularly consult checklists to ensure your landing page is up-to-date with best practices. A well-optimized page can increase conversions dramatically. Need help? Here’s a handy landing page checklist to get you started.

Expert’s Playbook

Every pro has their playbook – a set of strategies tested over time. And when it comes to Google Ads, there’s no room for amateur hour.

  • The Power of Negative Keywords: Think of negative keywords as the spices you avoid to prevent ruining a dish. They refine your ads, ensuring you don’t appear for irrelevant searches. Say you sell apple pies. You don’t want someone looking for “apple smartphones” landing on your page. That’s where negative keywords come into play!
Negative keywords list in Google Ads
  • Using Google Display Network Wisely: This is your chance to display ads beyond just search results. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility – target wisely. Imagine your ad as a traveling food truck. You wouldn’t set up in an empty alley, would you? Choose your locations (websites) with care.

Conversion Optimization

No chef is satisfied with just cooking; they want rave reviews! In the Google Ads world, those reviews are conversions.

  • Track, Test, Tweak: Regularly monitor how users are interacting with your ads and landing pages. Are they taking the desired action? If not, tweak and test again. Your recipe might need a touch more salt or a sprinkle of sugar. The key is to keep tasting (testing) and adjusting.
  • Educate Yourself: Conversion rate optimization is a vast field. Dive deep into its nuances for best results. A good starting point? Check out this guide on conversion rate optimization.

From Physics to Conversions

Ads, much like physics, operate under certain laws. And understanding device optimization is akin to mastering gravity.

  • Device Optimization: Different devices mean different user behaviors. An ad that’s golden on desktop might sink on mobile. Imagine serving a 7-course meal at a fast-food joint. It just doesn’t fit. Optimize for the device! Here’s a guide to get you started with device targeting optimization.

Targeting and Extensions

Optimizing your Google Ads is like tuning a guitar – get the right notes, and your music (ads) will resonate perfectly.

  • Ad Extensions: These are like the extra toppings on a pizza. They enhance your ad, providing more reasons for users to click. Whether it’s location, call buttons, or ratings, use them judiciously. Toppings can make or break a pizza, and the same goes for ad extensions. Choose wisely!
  • Geo-Targeting: Location, location, location! Ensure your ads appear where your audience is, especially when starting a new campaign. You wouldn’t advertise ice cream in the Arctic, right? Be smart about where your ads show up. Using Google Ads allows you to target with precision.

A Mistake to Avoid

Every chef has that one dish they burnt, over-salted, or just messed up. In Google Ads, mistakes can cost you. One of the top blunders when starting a new Google Ads campaign? Not keeping an eye on ad rank and placements. Check out these top 5 Google Ads mistakes to sidestep potential pitfalls.

And with that, fellow Google Ads chefs, our secret sauce is ready. Pour generously, savor the flavors, and watch as your campaigns turn from bland to grand!

Scaling Your Campaigns

Picture this: You’ve just planted a sapling in your backyard. With the right care, it grows, thriving and turning into a colossal tree. Similarly, choosing the right Google Ads campaign type is like planting a sapling. With attention, strategy, and a pinch of magic, they can grow, capturing a larger audience and generating robust ROI. But scaling isn’t about pouring endless water (or budget) onto your sapling; it’s about the right methods at the right time.

The Growth Strategy

Every tree has its growth strategy, dictated by nature. For your Google Ads campaigns, you’re Mother Nature. 🍃

  • Setting the Right Foundation: Before you start using Google Ads and even think of scaling, ensure your google ad campaign is rooted deeply. A solid Google Ads dashboard will reflect this. It’s all about a solid base. Imagine building a treehouse on a wobbly tree. Disaster, right? Before scaling, ensure your campaign’s foundation is rock-solid.
Google Ads dashboard
  • Understand Your Audience: Scaling is not just about reaching more people, but the right people. Each ad group should cater to a distinct segment. Segment your audience, and create targeted ads for each group. It’s like knowing which soil, sunlight, and environment your tree (campaign) will thrive best in.
Market analysis pie chart

Practical Application

Theory is great; action is better! Here’s how to take those growth strategies and actually apply them.

  • Refine Your Keywords: The larger you go with your Google search ads, the broader your keyword net will be. This can make a difference in search engine results. But remember, relevance trumps quantity. If you were fishing in a vast ocean, you wouldn’t use a net with enormous gaps, would you? The same goes for keywords when you scale. Be specific, relevant, and precise.
  • Adjust Your Budget Strategically: Don’t just pump in more money. Identify what’s working and channel more funds there. Think of it as nurturing the healthiest branches of your tree while pruning the weaker ones.

The Power of Remarketing

Ah, remarketing! Especially for beginners, it’s like that tutorial for Google Ads that brings back the one who got away. A touch mystical, a whole lot practical.

  • Recapture Interested Users: Some users might visit but not make a purchase. Remarketing allows you to cast your net again, luring them back with a more compelling offer. Imagine a bird almost perching on your tree but flying away. With the right bait (or ad), you can get that bird to nest. Discover the magic with this step-by-step guide on remarketing ads.
  • Leverage the Google Display Network: Use the Google Display Network to remind users of what they’re missing out on. This is especially true when you advertise on Google; the display network offers immense visibility. It’s like placing little reminders around a forest, directing animals to your majestic tree.

Data-Led Approach

In the world of Google Ads, data is your compass, guiding you through the foggy woods of advertising.

  • Analytical Decisions: Let your Google Ads account dashboard insights lead the way. As a beginner, you’ll find it instrumental in understanding how Google Ads work. It provides a wealth of information, from which ads perform best to where your audience is most engaged. It’s like the rings on a tree trunk, each telling a year’s tale. Dive deep into the story your data narrates.
  • Continuous Testing and Refinement: The digital landscape changes, and so should your campaigns. Regularly test new ads, landing pages, and search terms. A tree adapts to the seasons, and so should your campaigns to the digital climate. Stay agile, and don’t be afraid to shed old leaves (strategies) for new growth.

And there you have it, the art and science of scaling your Google Ads campaigns. Like that tree in your metaphorical backyard, with love, care, and strategy, your campaigns can tower tall, offering shade (ROI) to all beneath. Ready to soar? Dive deeper into the vast world of scaling with this comprehensive guide on scaling Google Ads.

Additional Tools and Insights

Picture this: You’re in a mysterious jungle with just a compass and map, ready to uncover hidden treasures. The Google Ads landscape can feel a lot like this unknown territory.

But fret not, brave adventurer! The tools and insights Google offers are like the state-of-the-art gadgets you see in spy movies – they make the mission not only possible but thrilling!

Bidding & Budget

Mastering Google Ads bidding and managing a budget can feel like a tightrope walking while juggling. But with Google Ads’ advanced tools, you can transform this circus act into a choreographed ballet.

  • Automated Bidding: Google Ads offers options that automatically set your bid amounts, aiming to get as many clicks on your ad or conversions within your budget. This is great for those setting up their first Google Ads campaign. Magic, right? Imagine a smart robot adjusting the tightrope’s tension to ensure you don’t fall. That’s Google’s automated bidding for you. Get to know more about this magical tool here.
  • Allocating Budget Smartly: Instead of evenly distributing funds, invest more in high-performing campaigns. Think of it as placing more weight on your stronger foot while tightrope walking. Stay balanced with this comprehensive budget allocation tracker.

The Profitability Angle

When you begin using Google Ads, it’s not just about spending money; it’s about making money. Make every ad click count. Enter the realm of profitability, where every dollar spent needs to show its worth.

  • Cost-Per-Conversion: This metric allows you to see the average amount you’ve paid for a conversion. It’s the heart of understanding your ROI. It’s like knowing the exact price of each golden coin in that treasure chest you discovered in the jungle.
  • Lifetime Value: Understand the long-term value of a customer, not just the immediate sale. This can redefine how you advertise on Google. Imagine finding a plant in the jungle that doesn’t just give fruit once but keeps producing season after season. That’s a customer’s lifetime value for you!

Transparent Reporting

Your Google Ads journey must be as transparent as a crystal-clear jungle river. And guess what? Google offers tools that make murky waters shimmer with clarity.

  • Custom Reports: Tailor-make your reports to focus on metrics that matter most to you. Dive deep or get a bird’s-eye view; the choice is yours. It’s like choosing between a telescope and a microscope during your jungle expedition. Discover more about transparent reporting here.
Google Ads custom reports
  • Real-Time Insights: Get updates on your campaign performance in real-time. Adjust and refine instantly. Imagine having a magic mirror that updates you on every move of the hidden treasure. That’s real-time insights for you.

Trust in Numbers

In the mystical Google Ads jungle, numbers are your trustworthy sidekicks. They don’t lie, they don’t deceive; they guide.

  • Data-Driven Decisions: Let the figures and facts dictate your path. Emotions are great, but in the wild terrains of advertising, numbers lead the way. It’s like choosing a path in the jungle based on signs and markers, rather than gut feelings. Your chances of finding the treasure just skyrocketed!
  • Use Predictive Analytics: Google Ads can forecast future trends based on current data. Equip yourself with this foresight and plan your next moves. Envision a mystical orb in the jungle, showing glimpses of tomorrow. That’s predictive analytics for your campaigns.

With these tools and insights, the vast Google Ads jungle transforms from an intimidating labyrinth to an exhilarating adventure park.

Strap on your explorer boots, take a deep breath, and march ahead with confidence and flair. The treasures await!

Summary

Navigating Google Ads requires a strategic approach rooted in data and audience understanding. 

By leveraging the platform’s tools and continuously refining your campaigns, you can optimize ROI. 

Equip yourself with the insights provided to maximize your advertising success.

FAQs

How to set up a Google Ads campaign?

To set up a Google Ads campaign:
1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
2. Click the ‘Campaigns’ tab and select the ‘+’ button.
3. Choose the type of campaign you wish to run (Search, Display, Video, etc.).
4. Define your campaign settings, such as location, budget, and bidding strategy.
5. Select your target audience and keywords.
6. Create your ads and ad extensions.
7. Review and launch your campaign.

What type of campaigns can I create in Google Ads?

Google Ads offers several campaign types:
Search Campaigns: Ads that appear on Google search results.
Display Campaigns: Visual ads that appear on Google partner sites.
Video Campaigns: Ads that show on YouTube and other video partner sites.
Shopping Campaigns: Product listing ads for online retailers.
App Campaigns: Promote mobile apps across Search, Play, YouTube, and more.

What type of ads can I create in Google Ads?

Based on the campaign type, Google Ads offers a variety of ad formats:
Text Ads: Appear on Google Search results.
Responsive Search Ads: Automatically adjusts content to fit available ad space.
Display Ads: Visual ads for the Display Network.
Video Ads: Video content for YouTube and other platforms.
Shopping Ads: Showcase products directly in search results.
App Promotion Ads: Drive app downloads or in-app actions.
Call-only Ads: Encourage calls to your business.
Rich Media Ads: Interactive ads with engaging features.

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder is a Google Ads and SaaS marketing consultant. He has been managing $700k+ monthly ad spend and has worked with 200+ SaaS companies. The thing that makes him unique is his data-led approach and his focus on SaaS businesses.