Google Ads For Startups: The Ultimate Guide.

Google Ads is one of the most efficient ways to get sales or leads for your startup business. Learn how to get started and how to scale your business with Google Ads.

Are you already running Google Ads for your startup business, or are you considering setting up an account?

Compared to more traditional ways of advertising it’s far better targeted, as you only show your ad when people are actively searching for your product or service. This reduces unnecessary marketing spend and makes it more likely that people will contact you.

Here are some tips to help you get more results out of your campaigns.

About this guide

This article is divided into two sections. The first section will provide instructions on how to create a Google Ads campaign with the correct structure to begin optimising.

The second section will provide tips and tricks for ongoing optimisation of the account, which will help to increase conversions while staying within budget.

About me: My name is Jeroen and I’m the founder of Vazooky Digital, a Google Ads agency in Sydney, Australia. Running Google Ads campaigns for my clients is what I do for a living. In this article, I will describe the steps that I typically follow to set up high-converting Google Ads campaigns for my clients.

Clients I have worked with include:

Google Ads for startups: an introduction to startup marketing

First, let’s start with a quick introduction to 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 Google Search and the Google Display Network.

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click. It is an online advertising model that lets advertisers pay only when an ad is clicked. Google Ads is one of the most common platforms that use the PPC method. However, many other online advertising platforms are using the same method.

How can Google Ads help your startup business?

Google Ads uses a disguised auction model.

Each advertiser can put in a bid on how much they are maximum willing to pay for a click on a particular keyword. Based on a complicated algorithm (which takes into account multiple factors like the bid and relevancy) Google decides the ad ranking of each advertiser.

How Google Ads works step 2

1. Search

Potential clients visit Google to search for a local plumber.

How Google Ads works step 1

2. Find

Your ad is shown on Google and they click to visit your website.

3. Convert

They provide you with all the lead details you need to follow up with them.

Now, let’s get started with the first part: the setup of your Google Ads campaign.


Setting up your first Google Ads campaign for your startup

  • Deciding on your budget and goals
  • Structuring your account
  • Get started with your first keywords
  • Setting up an ad testing structure
  • Tweaking the settings
  • Setup conversion tracking

Deciding on your budget and goals

First of all, we are deciding what the goal is of the Google Ads campaign. What budget is available, and what kind of ROI are you targeting to scale you startup business?

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.

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.

Structuring your account

Now, think of your Google Ads account as a folder structure.

Your keywords and ads are the core of your campaign, however the way you structure them in your campaigns and ad groups can help you optimise your campaigns in the future.

There’s no limit in the number of ad groups and campaigns you can add. So, make sure you create a lot of ad groups. You will be able to write more relevant ad copies for each of your ad groups and get more control over when Google triggers your keywords. A win-win situation.

Google Ads account structure explained.

Get started with your first keywords

As mentioned, our keywords are the core of your campaigns. The entire structure of your account is built to make your keywords perform the best they can.

We wrote another article on how to build a killing keyword list, but here is the short version:

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

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

Screenshot of Google Ads keyword planner tool.

Also, have a look at our Google Ads checklist when setting up the Google Ads account for your startup business.

Setting up an ad testing structure

Now, your ad copies are the only thing of your campaigns that is visible to your potential customers. You want to make sure that they appeal to your customers, but that you also follow best practices.

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.

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

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

Tweaking the settings

Unfortunately, the standard settings of Google Ads are not always the best to use for your campaigns. Before you launch your campaigns you will need to double-check these and make some changes here and there.

To be on the safe side, I would recommend starting off with the settings that work the best. You can always change and open things up at a later stage.

Please note, these settings really depend on the type of startup that you’re running. You might want to adjust this based on your product, service or market. In general, these settings will eliminate traffic that is less likely to convert.

  • Check that Campaign Type is set to Search Network Only
  • Disable search partners
  • Set mobile bid adjustments to -100%
  • Set ad rotation to Rotate indefinitely
  • Set language targeting to the appropriate language
  • Set location targeting to the appropriate location

Again, it depens on your startup but this should give you some guidance.

Tracking your conversions

The great thing about PPC is that you can track all of your results. You can see how many impressions you are getting, how many clicks, what your spend is and… how many leads or sales you got.

Most of this data is being pulled into the dashboard automatically when you launch your campaigns. However, your conversion tracking (leads/sales etc.) is something you will need to set up yourself.

Make sure you set this up before launching your campaigns, as the conversion data is the most important data to use when optimising your campaigns.


Tips to optimise the Google Ads campaigns for your startup

  • Use negative keywords
  • Build a dedicated PPC landing page
  • Add ad extensions
  • Test your ad copies
  • Pause keywords with high costs and no conversions
  • Pause keywords with a low Quality Score
  • Add more keywords

Use negative keywords

Negative keywords will prevent your ad from being triggered. It’s very important that you build a large negative keyword list, especially if you’re using a lot of broad match and negative keywords.

Google Ads negative keywords explained

By adding this as a negative keyword list to your campaigns, people who include this in their search query won’t see your ad.

This will help you focus on clicks that will give you actual potential customers.

Build a dedicated PPC landing page

Even if your site looks great, you might want to consider building a PPC dedicated landing page.

As you will be paying quite a bit for a click, you want to make sure your conversion rate is as high as possible.

This means you want to build a landing page that is focused on one goal: generating leads.

It’s fine if people want to browse around your site, however they can do this once they gave you their details as well.

An ideal landing page would have a relevant headline and sub-headline, a short contact form with call-to-action and some basic details about your product or service. This should contain unique selling points (USP’s), testimonials, a short description of how it works etc.

Use the less-is-more principle for these pages. The more information you add, the bigger the change that people don’t fill in the form.

Add ad extensions

Ad extensions are free. They will give your ad more real estate in the search engine. This will increase the likelihood of people clicking your ad.

Maybe not all ad extensions are applicable to your business. However, ad extensions like the sitelinks extensions and callout extensions will be useful for every business.

Ad extensions will also have a positive impact on your campaign’s Quality Score, so it’s really a no-brainer to add them to your campaigns.

Test your ad copies

Testing and optimising bits and pieces of your PPC campaign is the backbone for success.

Your ad is often the only thing from your PPC account that’s visible to the customer, and a great starting point to start A/B testing and optimising your campaign.

Ad testing is an ongoing process. Make sure you’re not just testing, but also improving your campaigns. If you keep testing 2 totally different ads you’re just testing.

Ideally, you keep the best performing parts of your ad and start testing smaller components of your ad instead. You can start with testing 2 completely different ads for a while and, once you have your best-performing, move into testing smaller parts of your ads.

Header image of how to improve your Google Ads ad copy article.

Pause keywords with high costs and no conversions

Now, let’s begin by saving you some cash!

Analyze the keyword data from your account and separate out the keywords that generated conversions. Now, concentrate on the keywords that didn’t bring in conversions. Are there any keywords that you’re spending a lot of money on? Pause them from your account.

Reducing unnecessary clicks is the initial step to optimizing your campaigns.

Pause keywords with a low Quality Score

Google Ads operates on a cost per click (CPC) basis, so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

To ensure that only relevant ads are shown, Google uses the Quality Score to determine ad ranking.

Factors that calculate the Google Quality Score.

Keywords with a low Quality Score will negatively impact your campaign’s result. So to improve your Quality Score, start with pausing keywords that have more than 200 impressions, a Quality Score below 5 and no conversions.

Add more keywords

It’s important to remember that relevancy is key when it comes to building a keyword list for your search campaign.

You don’t want to just add any keywords; they should be relevant to the products or services you are trying to sell. However, even with relevant keywords, you can often create a large list.

Consider the entire long tail, different word order, plurals, and even misspellings. With a bit of effort, most businesses can create a keyword list with a few thousand keywords, which will significantly increase their reach.

Long tail of Google Ads keywords.