Quick n’ Dirty Guide To Successful AdWords Settings

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane

The biggest frustration I have with new advertisers who are using AdWords settings for the first time is their lack of clear goals.

They’re not sure what numbers they need to hit to be successful, and they never think about the customer lifetime value or how much they can afford to acquire a new customer.

Before even beginning to think of building a strong AdWords campaign, you must know the following:

What are my goals?

What’s the max I can pay per conversion?

If I use AdWords for search engine marketing lead generation, then how many leads do I need before I close a deal?

You might not know the answers just yet, and that shouldn’t prevent you from starting, but you should know that you’ll be better off the quicker you can get those questions answered.

The great thing about Google AdWords is that you can track which keywords, which ads, and which display placements that drive conversions and/or phone calls.

You can then go back and give more budget to the things that are working, and take away budget from the things that aren’t.

It’s pretty sweet.

To make things easier for you, it would be great to have an AdWords account open while reading this as things may get a tiny bit technical.


The Main Difference Between The Search & Display Network

When you create a new AdWords campaign, the first choice you have to make is what network you want to target.

Search network or Display network? Or both?!

[Tweet “You should never target both Search and Display networks in the same AdWords campaign. It reduces your control and the granularity you want.”]

The Search network is like Google.com and other search engines you can opt into, our out of.

It primarily holds text ads and a max of 11 at a time.


google ads

You’ve seen these ads before, right? 🙂


The reason why the Search network is so competitive and expensive compared to the Display network is because of keyword intent.

It has a search bar that the display network doesn’t have, where as an advertiser, it’s easy to understand what someone is looking for.

On the Display network, you’re targeting more based off demographic, interest, and website placement data.

If someone searches for “balloon animal artist” on the Search network, then there’s a good chance they’re planning their spoiled kids’ birthday party and looking to hire someone.


I never had a balloon artist for my birthdays – image source


The search is the actual demand, and the advertiser that has a solution, is the supply.

On the flip side is the Display network.

The Display network is the largest collection of publisher sites on the web, equaling more than six billion impressions every day.

It houses text, image, rich media, image ads and more.

If you’ve ever been on a site, left it, and have ads following you around, then that’s the Display network showing you retargeting ads.

The cool thing about AdWords is that there’s a cycle to how people ultimately convert on your site or optimized landing page.

If you take a look at the Chuck Norris PPC Action Cycle below, you can see that Search network visitor may already have skipped a few steps and is now searching for what they need, being really close to converting (aka “Taking Action”).



This is the conversion cycle, Chuck Norris style.


Whereas a Display visitor is just starting their curiosity and may be a few steps back in the conversion cycle compared to a Search network visitor.

[Tweet “You can say that the AdWords Display network is made for demand generation, and the Search network is made for demand harvesting.”]

It’s very common that a Display network visitor becomes a Search network visitor and ultimately converts via a Search network ad and not a Display network one.

The opposite can be true as well.

Last but not least, make sure you select “All features” in the campaign settings.

Otherwise you won’t be able to control some VERY important aspects we’re about to cover.


The Crucial Campaign Settings

Now that you know the difference between the Search and Display network, it’s time we move on to the other parts of a strong AdWords management campaign set up.


This is where you decide what geographic areas you want your ads to show.

You can select entire countries, regions, states, counties, cities, zip codes, or even a certain kilometer or mile radius around an address.

[Tweet “Each AdWords geo area performs differently. Eventually, you should bid differently for each city to make more money.”]

Location options (advanced)

Note: If you’re not seeing this option, it’s because you haven’t selected “All features” at the top of the campaign settings.

The only thing you have to make sure about here is that your Target setting is set to: “People in my targeted location”.

This will make sure that people from foreign countries aren’t seeing or clicking your ads.


You’d think this is a no-brainer, but it’s far from it.

Although your preferred customers may be English speaking, their browser settings and the Google domain they’re using determines who sees what PPC ads.

Someone who’s an English speaker may be using a .mx, .ru, .dk, etc Google domain, and because of that, Google will determine their language interface to not be English.

Best Advice: Switch your campaign setting to “All languages” and see how the search term reports are looking (more on that tomorrow).


Bid Strategy & Budget

If you’re brand new to AdWords, then always go for the manual bid setting.

It keeps you in control and not Google.

Your default bid is something your first keywords will be using.

This is the max amount you’re willing to pay for a click.

My advice, keep it small to begin with.

Last thing here is your daily budget.

I recommend setting it as an individual budget at an amount your comfortable with.

[Tweet “AdWords allows itself to go 20% over your budget on any given day. But it will never exceed your daily budget multiplied by 30.4 for the month.”]

If you’re on the more advanced side, then check out these AdWords flexible bid strategies here.


Delivery method (advanced)

Note: If you’re not seeing this option, it’s because you haven’t selected “All features” at the top of the campaign settings.

You have two options when it comes to the delivery method of your ads:

You can allow Google to balance your spending so your daily budget can last throughout the times of the day you’ve set.

This means you could miss out on certain impressions and clicks throughout the day, but your spending will be more balanced.

This is called the “Standard” delivery method.

Or, you can choose “Accelerated” delivery, which means that Google will always show your ads when your targeting criteria is matched as fast as possible until your daily budget is exhausted.

This means that your budget may exhaust itself halfway through the day.

To start, select Accelerated delivery and consider increasing your budget as soon as your cost per conversion is where you want it to be.


Ad Extensions

Ad extensions allow your text ad to take up more real estate space on the search engine results page (SERP).

Since people only take a nanosecond to click on an AdWords ad (nobody really reads them these days), it’s always a good idea to beef up what you can.


adwords ad extensions

Use as many ad extensions as possible – image source

A general (yet amazing) rule of thumb is to always take advantage of all the AdWords ad extensions possible.

For the average advertiser, this includes the ad extensions of:


  • Sitelinks
  • Call extension
  • Callout extensions

If you have an app, reviews, or a specific business location, then you can also take advantage of those extensions.

Advanced Settings

Note: If you’re not seeing this option, it’s because you haven’t selected “All features” at the top of the campaign settings.

There are two extremely important options you have here:

Your ad scheduling allows you to decide which days of the week and which hours of day you want your ads to show.

Start off by only having your ads active when you’re able to service the request of someone converting on your landing page or site.

Your ad delivery allows you decide how Google should rotate your ads in the ad groups.

By default, Google has it set to “Optimize for clicks” which means that the ad with the highest click through rate (clicks divided by impressions) will be shown most often on the SERP.

This makes it difficult for your new ads to get enough impressions to be tested to improve your performance.

[Tweet “Set your AdWords ad rotation settings to Rotate evenly to get rhough new ad testing even faster.”]


Getting Even Better Performance Tomorrow

Now that you’re a wizard when it comes to AdWords campaign settings, you’re next thing to dominate is how to set up the highest performing ad groups.

Confused by some of the AdWords terminology?

Then grab your free AdWords Glossary here >>

P.S. Did you learn something new? Share it with your followers so you look even smarter :)