My Google Adwords Set Up Checklist

I’ve been loving getting my geek on and spending a lot more time with Adwords lately. As a Google Partner, our company gets regular one-on-one time with Google’s technical team and we have a great contact there called Scott who has been keeping me up-to-date with the countless changes.

Learning Adwords is...

If you devote the time to it, Adwords is actually not as bad as nerdy cat suggests. I love the more logical, data-driven nature of PPC when compared to SEO, not to mention the instant results(!) However, one thing I do find is that it is easy to forget one of the many important steps when setting up a new campaign, so I’ve compiled a bit of a checklist to help.

1. Add Billing Contacts

You’ve got your credit card details in, but have you set up your billing contacts? This is important as if there is a problem with your account (e.g. the card fails), you’ll want to get notified asap or you risk your Ads being stopped.

2. Ad Scheduling

By creating specific time periods from the beginning, you will start collecting insightful data for decisions later on. For many clients I like to select 12am-6am, 6am-9am, 9am-12pm, 12pm-5pm, 5pm-9pm and 9pm-12am for all days. Once you have enough data, you can review whether you need to increase or decrease your bids at particular times of day (or remove them altogether).

NB. Running campaigns in different time zones? Remember the ad schedule you set up is for the account’s time zone (found within Preferences) so you will need to take this into account and adjust if necessary.

3. Conversion Tracking

Without it, you can’t measure ROI, and without ROI, what’s the point?

4. Link up Google Analytics

Yes conversions are your main KPI but you will also want to see what the Adwords traffic is doing once it’s on your website. Once you have Analytics linked, you can add Bounce Rate, Av Time on Site and Pages/Session to your data columns.

5. Set auto bids

You can’t look at your keywords 24/7, so it’s good practice to set up some automations to take care of the simpler stuff. For example:

  • If a keyword falls under the estimated top page bid, increase it by 10%
  • If a keyword’s average position is worse than 3, increase the bid by 10%

Make sure you cap the automation with a maximum amount to ensure it doesn’t go crazy.

6. Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions have become even more important since Google took away the right-hand side ads and put everything on the left. They are extra snippets of text that basically make your Ads take up more real estate. Bigger ads = more attention grabbing = more clicks.

Ensure you add Sitelinks, Call Extensions, Callouts and Structural Snippets (if relevant to the business). Under Location Extensions, set up Google My Business to allow local business information to be shown, e.g. address, hours etc.

Ad Extensions Example

This Ad has three types of extensions: Review, Callout and Sitelinks.

7. Reporting

Google has it’s own reporting functionality but Raven Tools is also very good for automated reporting, particularly if you are doing Adwords for a client.

Within Adwords itself, make sure you have your table columns set up with all the necessary data for future analysis.

Adwords Keyword Columns

I love data so I do get carried away with this sometimes…

Obviously this checklist doesn’t take into consideration actual Ad Group/Ad creation or keyword strategy, but it ensures none of the set up basics get missed.

For more information on how to set up your Adwords campaigns, check out Google’s help centre.

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