Your AdWords Settings Are Wrong,
Here’s How You’re Losing Money

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane

The AdWords settings can be an unknown universe in and of itself.

You may be getting ready to launch your first Google AdWords campaign, and you sorta understand the gist of how everything works.
Except, you’re not quite sure.

You create your AdWords account and then notice the “Create your first campaign” button. You click it, and then fear strikes your blood.

What the heck is “Search Network with Display Select – Standard”? And what about those other networks?

It can be a daunting experience when you’re a brand new advertiser, and the AdWords settings you choose could make or break your PPC success without you even knowing it. 

[Tweet “12 easy steps to ensure your #AdWords settings are set for success. What did you miss? #PPC”]

As the owner of a top PPC Agency i’m here to help give you an easy-to-digest breakdown of what everything means, so that you can make the right decisions to grow your business in the most effective way possible.


#1 – Choose Your Type of Campaign

The type of campaign is one of first things you’re confronted with when creating your first AdWords campaign. If you’re like 90% of most AdWords advertisers, you’ll want to opt into Search Network only.


adwords search network

The first step of your AdWords settings is to decide your type of campaign


This means that your ads will only show on when people type in the keywords you want your ads to show for (more specifically, the keywords you’ll be bidding on), and not on random sites and/or apps that you can’t control.

Here’s a breakdown of all the types of campaigns:

Search Network with Display Select: Has your ads show on and on other sites within the Display Network that Google deems relevant to your keywords.

Sometimes this means that Google will show your ads on relevant sites, but sometimes it also means that your ads could be showing on mobile apps that have nothing to do with your service/product. And you’ll be paying for those clicks. Yikes!

Search Network only: Has your ads show on, with the option of opting in to Search partners.

Display Network only: This is Google’s juggernaut of partner websites like blogs, forums, and other sites that offer ad space on their pages. You can target specific websites you want to advertise on or let Google automatically find sites for your ads to be on.

If you’re trying to create awareness for your service/product or have a low friction offer (like a guide), then the Display Network could be a great avenue for you.

Shopping: Are you an online store selling oranges in bulk? Or maybe you’re an online children’s clothing store? If so, shopping campaigns would be great to use as they are meant to create a faster and simpler way to showcase your entire inventory as ads without having to create them one by one.

adwords shopping campaign


If you ever wanted to buy bulk oranges online. Now you know.

The great thing about Shopping campaigns is that they give searchers a visual ad compared to regular Search Network text ads. You can see the Shopping campaign ads on the right in the screenshot above and the regular Search Network text ads on the left.
You could decide to run both at the same time. If you do, you’ll want to create two separate campaigns – one Shopping, one Search Network.

Online Video: This type of campaign allows you to target YouTube search and YouTube videos with your own video ads. If that’s what you want to do, you’d select this type of campaign.


#2 – Choose Standard or All Features

You’ll find two radio buttons next to the type of campaign dropdown you just decided on. There’s Standard and then there’s All Features. You’ll want to choose “All Features”.

This will allow you to determine what days and hours you want your ads to run, along with other functions that are necessary to make sure you don’t burn through a ton of cash with nothing to show for.

The Standard option will show your ads 24/7 – 7 days a week, and potentially have your ads show in countries. You don’t want that.

In my opinion, choosing All Features is probably the most important part of all the AdWords settings.


#3 – Choose Your Campaign Name

Now to the hard part. What should you name your campaign?

I recommend going for the standard:

Here’s To My First Million Dollars” or “Fort Knox Got Nothin’ On Me” – The choices are endless.

Cash is extremely comforting – image source

#4 – Choose Search Partners?

I recommend using the search partners in your Search Network campaign. This means that your text ads could be marketed on search engines like,, Google Maps, etc.

Because you’re still controlling the fact that people have to type in your keywords in order to see your ad, opting into the search partners could help get you more traffic for cheaper cost per clicks (CPC) since not all your competitors are using that channel.

adwords search partners


Search partners include engines like, and many others

[Tweet “Not targeting #AdWords Search Partners? You could be missing on high quality, cheaper #PPC traffic”]



#5 – Choose Your Location(s)

This is where you get to choose what geographic areas you want your ads to show in. Are you geographically constricted where your customers have to come to you or you drive to them? Then choosing a certain kilometer or mile radius from your address might be the best way to go.

To choose what geographic area(s) you want to target, you can either select All countries and territories (very few advertisers do this), United States and Canada, United States only, or “Let me choose”. The default location options vary depending on what country you’re in.

If you want to choose specific cities, states, or add that radius, you’ll want to select “Let me choose” and then hit “Advanced search”.

adwords locations


Here’s a 50 mile radius targeting around Huntington Beach, CA

If you do decide to use radius targeting, you’ll want to make sure you hit “Add” on the map to include that targeting.

Besides radius targeting, you also have the option for Search, Location groups, and Bulk locations. Here’s the breakdown of how each of those work:

Search: Allows you to type in any geographic areas and add them longingly. This could be zip codes, cities, counties, states, or countries.

Location groups: Allow you to target specific areas of interest like specific colleges/universities, airports, or central commercial areas. You can also target by the demographic criteria of household income or by the location extensions you’ve set up (where your address shows with your ads)

Bulk locations: This allows you to upload multiple cities, zip codes, or whatever you want, at once.

Select the type of geographic area that best suites your targets. If you want to test the waters and see how things pan out, I’d suggest you target smaller geographic areas so you don’t spread yourself too thin.

Another important thing to remember is that each geographic target responds differently to your ads. Florida could have a much higher ROI for you compared to California.



#6 – Choose Your Location options (advanced)

If you don’t see the option of “Location options (advanced)” it’s because you didn’t select “All features” at the top where you were selecting the type of campaign you wanted to create.

The advanced location options are critical in that they can prevent your ads from showing in random countries (even if you’ve set your location settings to a specific area in the U.S. for example). 

To make sure you’re not wasting money on clicks you can’t do anything about, be certain that you have your Target option set to “People in my targeted location”.

[Tweet “Are your #PPC ads showing up in unwanted areas? Check your advanced location options inside #AdWords”]

adwords location setting


#7 – Choose Your Languages

You’ll think that this is pretty self-explanatory and that you should only target the English language because your ads are in English.

Fortunately, you’re wrong, and I’ll tell you why.

Many people use different devices to search for things, and sometimes, these devices have different settings. And sometimes these settings are language based.

If your language setting is set to English, then you’ll miss out on people who are in your geographic target area who use different Google domains to search (,, You’ll also miss out if the visitors browser or computer settings are set to a different language.

Who knows if that mega customer has a device from another country? You’d be missing out if you’re not targeting him.

The great thing is that the keywords you choose to bid on still act as the filter that requires your ad to show. If someone typed in your keyword in a different language, your ads wouldn’t show.


#8 – Choose Your Shopping Channel

These AdWords settings only apply if you’re an ecommerce advertiser. If you’re a regular lead generating search advertiser, go ahead and skip this part.

You have two options here: One is an Online checkbox that you should check if you only sell your products online and not in store.

The Local checkbox is if you sell your products locally only and use Google as a directory to drive foot traffic.

Check both boxes if you offer both options.

Uncheck both if you offer neither, or leave them as they are and nothing will happen.


#9 – Choose Your Bid & Budget Strategy

This is where you get to tell Google how much your max willing to spend per click and per day.

The bid strategy is by default set to “AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget” – Make sure you set it to “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks”.

This will allow you to be in control whereas the other option gives Google free reign to decide how much you should be paying for clicks. You might as well sell your home and find that RV down by the river to live in.

[Tweet “Allowing Google to automate your AdWords? Get ready to sell your house and live down by the river”]

After you do that, you’ll notice that you have Basic options and Advanced options. I’d recommend you keep everything on the Basic options since the Advanced options are more for advertisers that have ad history and want to set things on “auto-pilot” – which is another thing I don’t recommend you do.

Now to the budget part. This is simply where you decide what your daily budget should be. Did you already figure out what your monthly budget is? Take that number and divide it by 30.4 and you’ll get your daily budget.

Be aware that Google allows itself to go 20% over your budget on certain days, but will never go over your average monthly budget.

For example, your daily budget is $100. This means that some days, Google could spend $120, but it would never spend more than $3040 ($100 x 30.4) for that given month.



#10 – Choose Your Delivery Method (advanced)

For this, you have two options, Standard or Accelerated.

Standard means that Google will evenly disperse your ads throughout the day so that your budget isn’t depleted too fast.

Accelerated means that Google will show your ads as fast as possible every time the keywords you’re bidding on are being searched. This could lead to your daily budget being used very fast.


#11 – Choose Your Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are additionally lines of text you can use with your text ads. I highly recommend using as many as you can since it helps increase the real estate space of your ads. Here’s a breakdown of each one:

Location: Allows you to add your physical address to your ad.

Sitelinks: Allows you to add additional links to different places on your site or landing page.

Call: Allows you to add a phone number to your ads.

App: Allows you to add the iOS App Store or Google Play link to your app so people can download it.

Reviews: Allows you to add a snippet of text from a 3rd party review. Some people use their BBB rating for this.

Callouts: Allows you to add an additional line of text that highlights some benefits and/or features of your offering. These aren’t clickable.

adwords extensions


Beef your ads up with clever ad extensions – image source

#12 – Choose Your Advanced AdWords Settings

The advanced AdWords settings at the bottom help you decide on some last touches before you push your campaign live.

Are there specific days and times you want to advertise and others you don’t?  Use the Schedule function.

Do you want Google to automatically show the best performing ads more often or maybe rotate them all evenly? Use the Ad delivery function.

I recommend you set it to “Rotate Evenly” so you can allow your ads to get equal impressions. You’ll then have to pause underperforming ads and allow the better ones to run more often.

AdWords Experiments allow you to label new tests you want to run like bid or keyword changes and see the performance of that test. You can read more about that here.

IP Exclusions are helpful to use if you have a feeling or know that your competitors are clicking your ads to cost you money.
If you have their IP addresses, then put them in here.

Dynamic Search Ads allow you to automatically have Google create ads and decide what keywords to bid on depending on Google’s organic search index of your site. This hardly ever looks good and doesn’t allow you to be creative in your ad messaging. I recommend not using this to begin with.

You also can’t see what destination URLs are being used within Google AdWords to check if the system is actually sending the right traffic to the right place.

The Tracking URL for dynamic links is mostly used by ecommerce advertisers who want to track performance in a more dynamic fashion. You can read more about the benefits here.

So there you have it! The 12 AdWords settings steps you need to follow so you don’t fall flat on your back.

adwords fail


Staying on the rocking horse is no longer as difficult – image source

Let me know if you’ve found other great AdWords settings advice!