There’s a lot of Google Ads campaign settings, and a lot of conflicting advice out there about how to set them up.
And unless you set the right campaign settings, your performance will be limited, regardless of the high intent keywords you choose or superior ads you write. Your incorrect setting will get in your way, bringing any progress you might have made to a screeching halt.
That doesn’t look fun. So I’m here to set the record straight and show you the best settings for your Google Ads campaign.
Additionally, this article is up to date. So you won’t be looking at screenshots from the old Google Adwords interface.
1 – Campaign Goal
I’ll be honest, it really doesn’t matter what you choose here if you know what you’re doing. But it’s technically a campaign setting, so I’m going to cover it.
When you create a new campaign, the first thing you’ll need to do is set your campaign goal.
Google Ads provides you with six different settings, but only allows you to pick one.
Each of these campaign goals represents a different guidance system that aims to help you better manage your Google Ads campaign. However, selecting a goal doesn’t affect the way your account performs it only changes the suggestions Google Ads provides.
Each goal is listed inside a box that can be hovered over to reveal more information.
As you can see in the picture (above) each goal is listed inside a box that can be hovered over to reveal more information.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what each campaign goal does.
- Sales – Suggests changes to your bidding and budgeting strategies that may increase clicks from potential customers.
- Leads – Advises improvements to audience targeting, extensions, and ads.
- Website Traffic – Instructs you to set up dynamically generated headlines, extensions and bidding strategies that may increase clicks.
- Product and Brand Consideration – Provides advice for automated bidding, targeting and visually appealing ads that help drive engagement.
- Brand Awareness and Reach – Suggestions for creating compelling visual ads and bidding strategies aimed at attracting more views.
- App Promotion – Advises changes to bidding strategies that may increase clicks and potentially app downloads.
- Create a Campaign Without a Goal’s Guidance – Self-explanatory.
Keep in mind, campaign goals and the suggestions they provide may or may not be helpful or dare I say accurate. Sometimes they’re downright misleading. So air on the side of caution before taking Google’s advice or do what I do and create your campaigns without a goal.
2 – Campaign Type
Okay, this setting definitely matters, because once you choose your campaign type, you will be stuck with it. You can’t change a display campaign to a search campaign or vice versa so pay close attention and make sure you pick the right campaign type.
If you’re like most advertisers, you’ll want to start with the search network.
So many campaign types.
Selecting the search network as your campaign type allows you to show your ads on Google.com, Google’s search partner sites, and the display network. However, you’d be doing yourself a favor to opt out of including your ads on the display network.
Visitors who click on your display ads are not in the same stage of the buying cycle as visitors from the search network. It’s going to be very difficult to get them to convert on a high threat offer. Whereas visitors from the search network are very much ready to make a purchase.
Network options for search campaigns.
Search partner sites are okay to include at first, then after a few weeks, you can check your ads reporting to see how Search partners compare to Google. If you see that search partners are hurting your performance, you can always turn it off.
3 – Networks
Selecting a campaign type also automatically limits you to certain networks. So this section is less about recommending a setting and more to inform you about each network.
There are five different networks to choose from inside the Google Ads umbrella. Here’s a quick breakdown of each for you to consider before selecting a campaign type.
Search – Shows your text ads on Google.com and search partners.
Display – Shows your banner ads across thousands of sites across the web.
Shopping – Allows you to display product-based ads that appear above other ad types in search results.
Video – Plays your video ads on YouTube and other partner sites.
App – Advertise Android or iOS mobile apps.
Each network serves a different purpose and allows you to show your ads anywhere your prospects might hang out. For this reason, and many others Google Ads has become the number one PPC platform.
4 – Your Campaign Name
Naming your Google Ads campaign might seem unimportant, but there’s actually a right and a wrong way to do it. Especially if you plan on using single keyword ad groups.
In this case, the less complicated your campaign names, the better. If you sell office furniture name your campaigns according to the items in each campaign.
For example, you could put ad groups related to office chairs in one campaign named Office Chairs.
You can also break out your campaigns into different categories as follows:
Generic Terms – Keywords that are closely related and don’t contain your brand name or competitors brand names.
Branded Terms – Keywords that contain your brand name.
Competitor Terms – Keywords that contain your competitors branded terms.
The easiest way to do this is to preface your campaign name with the category. For instance, let’s say you sell ULINE branded office chairs. You could group all the keywords related to ULINE office chairs into their own campaign. Then you could name the campaign ‘ULINE Office Chairs.’
Pro Tip: If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not you need to create a new campaign start by asking yourself, will these ad groups require their own landing page? If the answer is yes, you should consider creating a new campaign to house them. If the answer is no, then consider keeping them under one roof for now.
5 – Locations
Targeting the right geographic areas is vital to your campaign’s success. You can get everything else right, but if you target the wrong locations, none of it will matter.
Like my karate teacher always said, it doesn’t matter how hard you can kick if you miss the target.
Alright, let’s get your locations set up the right way so you don’t end up like this guy.
By default, Google Ads will be set to the United States, which is okay if you want to target the whole country, but for more specific targeting you’ll want to select Custom.
Advanced search is the way to go.
From here you can add locations using the search bar or click ‘Advanced search’ to open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Inside the advanced search window, you can include or exclude locations, use radius targeting, and add locations in bulk.
Your location options are endless.
However, one of the least known secrets is the ability to select locations by clicking directly on the map.
You can enable this feature by clicking ‘Show all areas’ in the upper right-hand corner of your map.
Gotta love hidden features.
After you’ve enabled this feature, you can choose how you pick locations from the dropdown. You can choose from the following options:
- Postal Codes
- Congressional District
The map will then be divided accordingly, and all you have to do is click on the areas you wish to include or exclude. This is perfect for targeting areas in unfamiliar locations and should save you the time of ever looking up another zip code.
6 – Location Options
Here’s the thing, even if you set up the correct location targeting using the tips from the above section Google can still show your ad to people all over the world.
Luckily there’s a quick fix for this, but you’ll need to expand the location options and change your location settings. Google Ads will default to the first setting – people in, and showing interest in, these locations. However, this would allow someone halfway across the world in Bangladesh to see your ads and click on them.
Only show ads to people in your locations.
So be sure to change this setting to the second option – people in these locations. This will prevent you from wasting ad spend on people outside your targeted locations and give you better control over who sees your ads.
7 – Language Choice
Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to target the English language just because your ads are written in English.
Instead, you should opt to target ‘all languages’ because your keywords act as the only real language filter you need. If someone searches for your keyword in another language, it won’t trigger your ad anyway.
All languages for the win.
However, If you set your language to English, then you’ll be excluding anyone whose browser or device settings are set to another language. This also includes people with devices from other countries who might be searching from a different Google domain (google.au, google.mx, google.fr, etc.).
Bottom line, you don’t want to miss out on a customer just because their device is from another country or their settings weren’t set to English.
8 – Budget
Your daily budget doesn’t matter much. But you already knew that right?
If setting a budget is giving you mad anxiety then start low and increase it over time, but remember the more you spend, the faster you’ll be able to make improvements and see results.
Additionally, there are a few easy formulas that you can use to pick a starting daily budget if you really don’t know where to begin.
Take your max CPC (cost per click) and multiply it by ten or twenty whichever amount suits your wallet best. For example, let’s say your max CPC is around $5, a reasonable starting budget would be somewhere between $50 – $100 per day.
To calculate how much you’ll spend in a month multiply your daily budget by 30.4 or the average number of days in a month. Keep in mind, Google Ads can spend up to twice your daily budget in a day, but will never exceed your budget for the month.
To demonstrate, let’s say your daily budget is $50. This would allow Google Ads to spend up to $100 on some days, but it would never spend more than $1520 ($50 x 30.4) for the month.
Pro Tip: A larger daily budget increases your impression share. Because you can afford to pay for more clicks in a given day your ad is more likely to appear in search results.
9 – Delivery Method
If Google Ads were like bowling, then your budget would be the number of times you get to bowl and your delivery method would be your technique or how you bowl.
And leaving your delivery method set to Standard is like trying to get a strike with your fingers superglued to the ball.
I’m not one to use bowling metaphors, but this one really stuck with me.
Standard allows Google to show your ad evenly dispersing it throughout the day so that your budget isn’t depleted too quickly. This sounds good in theory but could mean your best customers miss seeing your ad.
Accelerated means Google will show your ads every time someone searches for keywords you bid on. Although this can spend your budget faster, it gives you more control over when your ads are shown and ultimately leads to better results.
Control when your ads are shown.
In your Google Ads campaign settings just below your budget click on ‘Delivery method’ to open the dropdown and change it from Standard to Accelerated. This will ensure that your ad is shown every time someone searches for your keyword or as often as possible.
Pro Tip: If you find that your running through your budget to quickly then look to shrink your ad schedule and lower bids during times of the day that cost money, but don’t drive conversions.
10 – Bidding Strategy
Currently, there are nine different bidding strategies to choose from which can be downright overwhelming. In reality, however, there are only two types of bidding strategies you need to understand – manual and automated.
Manual: You’ll set your own keyword level bids and decide how much to pay for clicks.
Automated: Google will automatically adjust your bids and decide how much you should pay for clicks.
Automated bidding strategies present themselves as a helpful shortcut that will save you from spending hours manually adjusting your bids.
While it’s true that automated bidding will save you time, it won’t save you money, and it certainly won’t get you the best results. Long story short, automated bidding strategies will trip you up and prevent your campaign from reaching its full potential.
However, setting Manual CPC as your bid strategy will lead to a lower CPC and help you maximize your campaign’s results.
Manual bidding is best.
Google Ads will default to an automated bidding strategy so you’ll need to make a few quick changes to unlock manual bidding.
- First, click on ‘select a bid strategy directly.
- Next, open the dropdown and select ‘Manual CPC from the list.
- Lastly, uncheck the box to disable Enhanced CPC.
That’s it your all set for manual bidding.
11 – Ad Schedule
When you set up your first Google Ads campaign, it’s usually a good idea to leave the ad schedule set to its default setting. This runs your ads 24/7/365 and allows you to gather data about which times perform best.
Schedule when your ads are shown.
If you’re running a lead generation campaign, it might be tempting to limit your campaigns schedule. For example, setting it to run only during office hours. However, you may still be able to drive high-quality conversions even with limited office hours and call only campaigns. You’ll just need to be diligent at returning their call the following business day, but you’ll never know if you limit your ad schedule from the start.
Bonus Tip: Start and end dates can also be used to run seasonal campaigns or limited time promotions.
12 – Ad Rotation
Since the switch to Google Ads (formerly Adwords) many new features have been added and several old features removed.
It’s best to test your ads manually.
You now have two options when it comes to Ad rotation.
- Optimize: Prefer best performing ads
- Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely
Google Ads defaults to first setting and will attempt to pick the best performing ads for you automatically. However, this setting is like most other options that put Google in control, I don’t recommend it.
Instead set your ad rotation to ‘Do not optimize’ and use an ad script to flag your winning and losing ads. This will give you a more accurate way to A/B test your ads and ultimately lead to the best performing ads.
Pro Tip: Contrary to what some people (erhm.. Your Google Ads Rep) you don’t need to have three ads running for each ad set. In fact, most of the time you’ll want to stick with a simple A/B test. Unless you have enough traffic to justify splitting your traffic out to three ads. If you don’t have enough traffic, then splitting your traffic three ways will slow down your test results and hurt your performance.
13 – Ad Extensions
What if you could make your ads bigger than all your competitor’s ads without spending more money? Sounds pretty far fetched am I right?
Well, that’s exactly what I’m about to teach you.
Google ad extensions are hands down one of the best ways to improve your click-through rates (CTR) and maximize your campaign performance. You see, ad extensions bulk up the size of your ads so you can forget about your scrawny competitors.
Your competitor’s tiny ads vs. your ads with ad extensions. – image source
Ad extensions are additional lines of text that appear below your ads description. As a result, they make your ad bigger and more noticeable in search results. The more prominent your ad, the more likely it will be clicked. This results in a domino effect that improves nearly all your key performance indicators from increased CTR, to decreased CPC, to lower costs per conversion.
The best part is ad extensions are easy to create and add to your campaign.
Lots of ad extension choices.
You’ll have nine different ad extensions to choose from all with their unique characteristics and advantages. Their free to use so try to use as many of them as you can.
14 – IP Exclusions
IP exclusions allow you to block specific IP addresses from seeing your ads. This is useful if you think your competitors might be clicking on your ads. It’s also a good idea to exclude your IP address, so you don’t skew the data by accidentally viewing your own ads.
If you want to check in on your ads, then use the Ad preview and Diagnosis tool.
The right way to search for your ads.
Still not sure how IP exclusions work? Think of IP exclusions like this chain, and this guy like someone with an excluded IP address trying to click your ad.
IP exclusions can be added to your Google Ads campaign settings after the initial set up process is complete.
Competitors don’t need to see your ads.
To set them up, navigate to your campaign settings, click additional settings, and select IP exclusions. Then enter the IP addresses you wish to exclude and click save.
15 – Campaign URL Options
This setting allows you to add URL tracking parameters on the campaign level. Which can be useful if you need to track something specific on only one campaign. However, you can save yourself some time and redundancy by adding your tracking template at the account level. This will apply the same tracking template to all campaigns in your account.
Nonetheless, you can find your campaign URL options on the campaign settings page under additional settings.
Easily add URL tracking parameters.
You can use a tool or build your tracking template from scratch. Once you have the code snippet copy and paste it into the tracking template field and click save. Now Google Ads will automatically append this to every URL in your campaign.
Tracking parameters give you additional insight into prospects. They can also be used to complete hidden form fields on your landing pages.
Conclusion On Google Ads Campaign Settings
If you followed along and created your campaign with all the correct settings, then I’ve got some good news for you.
You can easily apply these settings to all your future campaigns.
Quick and easy!
Click the button to create a new campaign. Then click ‘Load campaign settings’ to quickly load settings from your existing campaigns. This will save you the hassle of running through all your settings each time you make a new campaign.
Choosing the right setting for your campaigns will improve your Google Ads performance and help you maximize your ROI.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and learned something too.
Do you have questions about your Google Ads campaign settings that I didn’t cover in this article? If you do, leave them in the comments below!