Google Ads

Checklist: How To Set Up A Profitable Google Ads Campaign [2020 Update]

This Google Ads Campaign Setup Checklist will help you to set up a profitable Google Ads campaign.

When setting up correctly, Google Ads can be a very powerful tool to send quality visitors to your site that actually convert!

Follow these steps to get a head start on your competitors.

2020 update: New version available 

So, we have updated our Google Ads campaign checklist for 2020!

You can find the updated version here: Google Ads Campaign Setup Checklist.

Step 1: Set budgets and goals

First of all, we are deciding what the goal is of the Google Ads campaign.

Which budget is available and what the planned duration is of the campaign?

The campaign goal is a maximum cost you would like to pay per conversion, which could be a sale, lead or anything else you define as a priority on your site.

Limit yourself to maximal one goal per Google Ads campaign. Having two goals for one campaign often makes it harder to optimise because the goals might clash with each other.

If you have more goals you want to achieve, then add another campaign within the same Google Ads account and focus this one on the new goal.

Step 2: Keywords


Step 2.1: Create a large keyword list

Add as many relevant keywords to each ad group. Don’t forget using plurals, different match types and maybe even misspellings!

To build the keyword list you can use the Keyword Tool within Google Ads.

Step 2.2: Group keywords into ad groups

There isn’t one right way in classifying the ad groups: a good layout of the ad groups makes the ad copy’s fit the keywords and makes it easier to optimise the Google Ads campaign later on.

Ad groups can be divided based on the type of keyword and relevance with the product.

It is not advisable to put specific and general keywords in the same ad group.

Step 2.3: Use different match types

Don’t rely too much on broad match keywords. Keep control over when your ad is being shown with phrase and exact match keywords.

Screenshot of how to change the match types in Google Ads.

Step 2.4: Add negatives

Makes sure you add negative keywords to your keyword list.

These negative keywords help you to stay in control of when Google shows your ads.

Step 3: Ads

Step 3.1: Use keyword in each ad copy

A good ad copy makes, obviously, people click the ad. It is difficult to describe the perfect ad copy’s, this varies per Google Ads campaign, product and keyword.

By testing and optimising the ad copy’s you can find out which ad copy is the best for which ad group.

Screenshot of how to use the keyword insertion in Google Ads.

TIP: Use the keyword insertion tag in your ads!

Step 3.2: Use specific landing pages for each ad group

Link your ads to the most specific landing pages on your site. If needed, consider creating new landing pages.

Step 3.3: Set up an ad testing structure

By testing and optimising the ad copy’s you can find out which ad copy is the best for which ad group.

Start with adding least 2 ad copy’s per ad group so that you start testing straight away.

Step 4: Campaign Settings

Step 4.1: Check that Campaign Type is set to Search Network Only
This checklist is made for search campaigns, so make sure you’re not showing your ad on the display network instead.

Step 4.2: Disable search partner
In general, the search partners will give you a poorer conversion rate. Let’s turn this off to start with, if you need more volume you can enable this again.

Screenshot of how to change your campaign settings in Google Ads.

Step 4.3: Set mobile bid adjustments to -100%
It depends on the product, but mobile often leads to lower conversion rates as well. Same as with the search partners, you can turn this back on if you need more volume. If you do so, it’s recommended to target mobile in a separate campaign.

Step 4.4: Set ad rotation to Rotate indefinitely
This will split out your ad rotation to 50/50, which we will need to get clean data to optimise your ads later on.

Screenshot of how to optimise your ad settings in Google Ads.

Step 4.5: Set language targeting to the appropriate language
You can start with targeting the language of your ads and website.

Step 4.6: Set location targeting to the appropriate location
Choose the location you would like your ads to be shown. Google offers the ability to run ads in every possible location. Make sure to not target a too small area as the search volume will decrease.

You can set bid adjustments per location if you want to have your ad shown higher in more relevant locations.

Step 5: Tracking

Always measure the results of your Google Ads campaign!

Google provides two ways which help you to easily measure your results.

Option 1: Google Ads Conversion Tracking Code

The conversion tracking code measures the result of the Google Ads campaign.

The conversion tracking code can be placed on a ‘Thank You’ page that appears when a conversion is completed.

Option 2: Google Analytics Tracking Code

Google Analytics is a free software provided by Google that measures the statistics of the whole website (so not just the visitors from AdWords).

Setting up a Google Analytics for your website is highly recommended. Google Analytics is by far the best program (mainly because it’s offered for free) for measuring the statistics of your website.

Step 6: Launch

Set your campaign live!

Step 7: Optimise!

You thought you were done now? Unfortunately not. 

The power of Google Ads lies in the ongoing optimisation of your campaigns. Now that you set up your campaigns, you can actively optimise this based on the data.

This means you will need to pause underperforming keywords, change your keyword bids, optimise your ad copy’s, change your settings and much more. 

Do you need any help with optimising your Google Ads campaigns? Feel free to get in touch.


What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google's pay per click (PPC) advertising platform, formerly known as Google AdWords. By using Google Ads you can reach potential customers on the Google Search and Display Network.

What is the Google Quality Score?

The Quality Score is a number from 1 to 10 that shows how relevant your keyword to a particular search query. A low Quality Score shows that your keyword is totally irrelevant, while a high Quality Score means that it’s spot on and that you’re offering exactly what visitors are looking for.

How does the Google ad auction work?

Google uses hundreds of factors to decide the ad ranking and this is being re-calculated for each search query. In general, Google looks at the bid and the relevancy of each advertiser for a particular keyword.

How can I improve my Quality Score?

If you can increase the relevance of your campaign, you will get higher Quality Scores. This will significantly decrease your cost per click so that you can squeeze more clicks and conversions out of your budget.



Jeroen Minks

With over 10 years experience in digital marketing, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.