How to Create a Google Ads Campaign – Step-by-Step Tutorial

Introduction: The Power of a Strong Google Ads Campaign

With billions of searches per day on Google alone, google ads has become  the most powerful platform for digital advertising. Instead of reaching a passive social media audience, google ads offers the potential to reach a wide and relevant audience that is actively looking for your product or service. Statistics reveal that businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads, showcasing the platform’s effectiveness in driving not just traffic, but valuable conversions. As a leading google ads agency, we understand the impact well-managed campaigns can have on your business.

 

Overview of Google Ad Campaign Types

Before diving into the specifics of Performance Max, let’s explore the traditional Google Ads options:

1. Google Ads Search Campaigns

These are the most common types of ppc ads appearing in search results when potential customers look for related keywords. They are highly effective for capturing high-intent traffic.

google ads search ad example

2. Google Ads Display Campaigns

Utilizing a vast network of websites across the internet, display ads are excellent for building brand awareness and retargeting previous visitors with visual ads that catch the eye.
Google Ads display example

3. Google Ads Video Campaigns

By running ads on platforms like YouTube, businesses can engage users through compelling video content, ideal for storytelling and brand promotion.

google ads video ad example

4. Google Ads Shopping Campaigns

These are essential for e-commerce businesses, displaying product listings directly in search results, making it easy for users to make purchase decisions.
google ads shopping ad example

5. Google Ads App Campaigns

Designed to drive app installations, these ads appear across Google’s properties, including the search network, Google Play, YouTube, and more.
google ads app ad example

Each of these campaigns has its strengths, tailored to meet specific marketing goals such as boosting website visits, increasing sales, or promoting app downloads.

Introducing Performance Max Campaigns : A Game-Changer in Digital Advertising

Enter Performance Max, a revolutionary addition to Google’s advertising suite. What sets Performance Max apart is its ability to unify various advertising channels into a single campaign. This means advertisers no longer need to manage multiple campaign types separately. Instead, they can leverage every possible Google channel — from the Search and Display Networks to YouTube and even Google Maps — to maximize reach and impact. Our google ads agency can expertly manage these campaigns to ensure businesses get the most out of their advertising budget, optimizing for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

What Makes Performance Max Special?

This innovative approach not only simplifies the advertising process but also enhances the ability to target more accurately and achieve better results from advertising spend.

Creating a Performance Max Campaign: Starting Steps

When creating a new Performance Max campaign in Google Ads, the process begins by defining the objectives that best align with your business goals. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough starting from the very beginning:

Step 1: Selecting Your Campaign Objective

Google Ads campaign objective screen with options: Sales, Leads, Website traffic, App promotion, Awareness, Local store visits

When you click “New Campaign,” you’ll be prompted to choose your campaign objective. This is a crucial step as it tailors the campaign settings and optimization strategies to your specific goals. 

Brief overview of the objectives you can choose from:

Sales

Ideal for driving transactions online, in-app, by phone, or in-store.

Leads

Focuses on acquiring leads and other conversions, encouraging customers to take action such as filling out a contact form.

Website Traffic

Aims to increase visits to your website, which is perfect for enhancing site engagement.

App Promotion

Increases app installs, engagement, and pre-registrations.

Awareness and Consideration

Expands your reach and builds interest in your products or brand, suitable for broad audience targeting.

Local Store Visits and Promotions

Drives foot traffic to physical locations like local stores, restaurants, or dealerships.

No Goal's Guidance

Allows you to choose a campaign type without predefined objectives, offering more control over campaign settings.

Step 2: Defining Your Conversion Goal

Once you’ve selected the primary campaign goal, the next step is to define your specific conversion goals within Google Ads. This will involve specifying what counts as a conversion for your campaign, such as completing a lead form or making a phone call. It’s important to have a clear definition of these actions to accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

Brief on Conversion Tracking

Setting up conversion tracking is crucial to monitor the success of these goals. You can use tools like Google Tag Manager to facilitate this process. This setup allows you to track user interactions on your website that you’ve defined as conversions, giving you valuable insights into how well your campaign is performing.

Note: Detailed steps on setting up conversion tracking and using Google Tag Manager will be covered in a separate post. This will ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of how to implement and utilize these tools effectively.

Google Ads conversion goals screen showing options: Book appointments, Contacts, Phone call leads, Submit lead forms

Step 3: Choosing the Campaign Type

For this example, I’ll focus on “Performance Max” which is designed to reach audiences across all Google platforms with a single campaign. This campaign type is particularly effective as it leverages Google’s extensive reach to display ads on Search, Display Network, YouTube, and more.

Google Ads campaign type selection screen with options: Search, Performance Max, Display, Shopping, Video, App, Smart, Demand Gen

Why Choose Performance Max for Website Traffic?

In this tutorial, our primary focus is to drive traffic to a specific landing page designed for conversions. This objective is especially effective for service providers and businesses that want to convert visitors directly on their landing pages. Here’s why Performance Max is suitable:

By focusing on driving website traffic, especially to a campaign-focused landing page, you can effectively measure the success of your campaign based on the direct interactions and conversions that occur on that page. This approach is particularly beneficial for businesses that have a clear conversion action, such as signing up for a service, registering for a webinar, or making a purchase.

Step 4: Choosing the Destination URL

One of the critical steps in setting up your Performance Max campaign is selecting the destination URL, the web page to which users will be directed after clicking on your ads. This URL should be thoughtfully chosen to maximize conversion rates.

Google Ads screen asking where users should go after clicking ads, with a field to enter the final URL

The Importance of a Conversion-Focused Landing Page

Choosing the right landing page design is crucial for the effectiveness of your campaign. While directing users to your homepage might seem straightforward, it can often lead to suboptimal results:

Quick tip

Maximize your ad campaign's effectiveness with a dedicated landing page that aligns closely with your ad's message, features clear calls-to-action, and includes specific tracking for continuous optimization. This focused approach ensures better engagement and higher conversion rates.

Choosing the right destination URL that leads to a specific, conversion-focused landing page is more effective than using a generic page like the homepage. This approach will help you capture and retain the interest of prospects, significantly increasing the chances of achieving your campaign goals.

Bidding Strategies for Google Ads

Google Ads bidding settings screen with options to focus on conversions and set a target cost per action

When setting up a Google Ads Performance Max campaign, you have two primary bidding options:

Setting a Target CPA

Focusing on New Customer Acquisition

Google Ads customer acquisition settings screen

Campaign Settings: Strategic Location Targeting

Effective location targeting is vital for the success of your Google Ads Performance Max campaign. Choosing the right geographic areas ensures your advertising efforts are directed towards the audience most likely to engage with your business.

Google Ads campaign settings screen showing location targeting options
Pro Tip: Local Service Providers

If you're a local service provider, it’s crucial to target your specific service areas. For example, if you only serve customers within a certain city or region, make sure to target these areas exclusively in your campaign settings. This precision prevents wasting resources on non-serviceable areas and enhances the effectiveness of your ads.

Automatically Created Assets: A Practical Perspective

In my experience, you can activate Google’s automated features like Text Assets and Final URL Expansion to help populate your ads, but don’t set your expectations too high. These tools can generate a variety of ad components quickly, but often the results are underwhelming.

 

From what I’ve seen, the automated titles and descriptions usually don’t match the effectiveness of a carefully crafted, manually tuned ad. So, while it’s fine to tick the option and see what Google produces, always be ready to step in and refine the outputs to better meet your campaign’s needs and reflect your brand’s voice.

Google Ads settings screen for automatically created assets, with options for text assets and final URL

Asset Generation with Google AI: Practical Insights

Google AI offers a feature to generate ad assets like images and text, based on details you provide about your campaign. While this tool can save time by suggesting content for your campaign, my experience suggests that the automatically generated assets often lack the effectiveness of manually crafted materials.

Key Considerations:

Google Ads asset generation screen with a prompt to let Google AI help generate new images and texts
In short

Use Google’s AI-generated assets as a starting point but rely on manual input to ensure the quality and relevance of your campaign materials.

Preparing Assets for Performance Max Campaigns

Before diving into the setup of a Performance Max campaign, I recommend having all your assets prepared and ready to go. This includes titles and descriptions, video content, and photo images. Preparing these assets in advance ensures a smoother campaign setup and allows you to focus on optimizing and testing each element for the best performance.

Importance of Responsiveness

Optimizing your video and photo assets for responsiveness is crucial given the diverse ways users access content today. A responsive design ensures consistency and engagement across all platforms—from smartphones to desktops.

Pro tip: Keep Key Elements Visible

Ensure that crucial elements such as logos, text, and calls to action are prominently visible on all device formats.

Having your assets ready and ensuring they are responsive are key steps to creating a successful Performance Max campaign. This preparation helps maximize the reach and effectiveness of your ads, providing a seamless experience for all potential customers regardless of how they encounter your content.

Step 1: Setting Your Final URL and Calls

The first step in creating your assets for a Performance Max campaign is to set the Final URL and add an optional phone number for calls. This setup is crucial as it directly affects how potential customers interact with your campaign.

Final URL

"Google Ads screen for setting the final URL where users go after clicking your ads, with a field to enter the URL

Adding a Phone Number

By setting a strategic Final URL and incorporating a direct call option, you can enhance the user experience and potentially increase the effectiveness of your campaign. Make sure these elements align well with the goals of your campaign and the expectations set by your ad’s messaging.

Step 2: Understanding Headline Types for Performance Max Campaigns

In Performance Max campaigns, headlines are critical elements that can significantly influence the effectiveness of your ads. There are two main types of headlines you can use:

Google Ads screen for setting up headlines and long headlines

Strategies for Crafting Effective Headlines

Pro Tip 1: Optimize for Display Constraints

Keep one or two of your short headlines under 15 characters. This ensures that they can fit comfortably on any device and are less likely to be truncated, making your ad more flexible across various platforms.

Pro Tip 2: Ensure Combinatorial Relevance

Try to create headlines that make sense when paired together. Since Google will test different combinations to determine which ones perform best, designing headlines that are coherent in various combinations can enhance the overall impact of your ads.

Pro Tip 3: Utilize Power Words and Urgency

Incorporate power words and phrases that evoke emotion or a sense of urgency, such as "Instant," "Discover," "Exclusive," or "Limited Time Offer." This approach can make your headlines more compelling and increase click-through rates.

Pro Tip 4: Focus on Symptoms, Not Just Solutions

When crafting your headlines, consider using terms related to the symptoms or problems your potential customers are experiencing, rather than just the solutions you offer. This tactic can make your ads more relatable and capture the attention of those who are actively seeking relief or help for their issues.

By understanding and applying these strategies to both your short and long headlines, you can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your Google Ads Performance Max campaign. This thoughtful approach ensures that your headlines are not only eye-catching but also strategically aligned to perform well in various combinations and settings.

Step 3: Optimizing Images for Performance Max Campaigns

Images are a cornerstone of compelling ad campaigns, especially in visually driven platforms like Google Ads. For Performance Max campaigns, it’s crucial to use responsive images that adapt well across different devices and orientations. This ensures your ads look appealing and perform well, regardless of where they appear.

Importance of Responsive Images

Using responsive images helps maintain the visual integrity and attractiveness of your ads across various screen sizes and formats. This adaptability increases engagement rates and improves the overall effectiveness of your advertising efforts.

Recommended Image Setup

For a robust ad setup, it’s advisable to include a diverse set of images that cover different orientations and aspect ratios:

example of a recommended landscape image setup for ads

Lanscape Images

Aim for 4 images with an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. These are wider than they are tall and are ideal for display on desktop interfaces or within certain mobile and social media feeds

example of a recommended square image setup for ads

Square Images

Include 4 images with a 1:1 aspect ratio. Square images are versatile and perform well on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where square and rounded square presentations are common.

example of a recommended portrait image setup for ads

Portrait Images

Provide at least 2 portrait images with a 4:5 aspect ratio. These are taller than they are wide and are particularly effective on mobile devices, fitting well in vertically oriented feeds such as Instagram Stories or Facebook Mobile News Feed.

Best Practices for Image Selection

By following these guidelines and including a variety of image formats in your Performance Max campaign, you can significantly enhance the visual appeal and responsiveness of your ads, ensuring optimal performance across all device types and orientations.

Step 4: Optimizing Video Assets for Performance Max Campaigns

Creating effective video content for Performance Max campaigns is crucial, especially given the variety of device orientations your audience may use. Here’s how I handle it:

Using Google Ads' Automated Video Creation

When to Use Automated Videos

Creating Custom Videos

By strategically using Google’s automated video creation and considering custom video uploads, I ensure that my Performance Max campaigns are equipped with high-quality, responsive video content that effectively engages my target audience.

Step 5: Utilizing Sitelinks and Calls-to-Action in Performance Max Campaigns

Sitelinks and calls-to-action (CTAs) are essential components of a Google Ads campaign, providing additional pathways and prompts that can significantly enhance user engagement and conversion rates.

Sitelinks Explained

Sitelinks are additional links you can include in your ads that take users directly to specific pages on your website. These are particularly useful for providing quick access to relevant information that complements the main message of your ad.

Best Practices for Sitelinks: Relevant Linking

I recommend linking to pages that directly relate to or complement the main offer in your ad. For example, in a campaign promoting dental clear aligners, it’s effective to include sitelinks to other dental aesthetic services like teeth whitening, veneers, and other related treatments. This strategy not only enriches the user's experience by providing them more options but also increases the chances of engagement by catering to varied interests related to the main service.

Step 6: Calls-to-Action

A strong call-to-action in your ad encourages users to take a specific step, such as “Book Now”, “Learn More” or “Get Offer.” The CTA should be clear and compelling, directly related to the main action you want users to take.

 

By thoughtfully selecting sitelinks that align with the main offer and incorporating persuasive CTAs, you can create a more engaging and cohesive ad experience that drives better results.

Step 7: Enhancing Performance Max Campaigns with Additional Asset Types

Adding more detailed assets to your Google Ads Performance Max campaign not only improves ad performance but also makes your ads more interactive and informative. Here’s a quick guide on how to effectively use additional asset types:

Promotions

Example of a Performance Max google ad

Prices

Structured Snippets

Example google ad using structured snippets

Lead Forms

Example of google ad with lead form

Callouts

By integrating these additional assets into your Performance Max campaigns, you can provide a richer, more engaging user experience that not only informs potential customers but also drives them towards making a purchase or engaging with your business. Each asset type should be used thoughtfully to complement the information presented in your main ad copy, ensuring a cohesive and effective advertising strategy.

Understanding Signals in Performance Max Campaigns

Signals in Performance Max campaigns are critical inputs you provide that help Google’s machine learning algorithms optimize your ads. These signals can include audience data, location specifics, and other relevant information that informs Google about whom your ad should target. Effectively using signals allows you to leverage Google’s automation capabilities to enhance ad targeting precision and improve overall campaign performance.

How to Use Signals Effectively

Conclusion

As we wrap up our comprehensive guide to Performance Max campaigns, I hope you’ve found the insights and strategies discussed here both useful and actionable. Thank you for taking the time to explore these concepts with me, from choosing the right assets to understanding the strategic use of signals.

 

If you’ve read this far, your commitment to enhancing your digital marketing skills is evident, and I truly appreciate your engagement. If you found this guide valuable, please consider sharing it with someone who might benefit from it as well. Whether they’re new to Google Ads or looking to refine their approach, this guide could provide them with essential insights to improve their advertising efforts.

 

Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions, or suggestions for future topics. Your feedback helps us ensure that we’re providing the most relevant and helpful information.

 

Thank you again for your time and attention. Don’t hesitate to pass this guide along to colleagues or friends—it’s all about spreading knowledge and helping each other succeed in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing!

Rawad Hossaiky

With over a decade in the marketing realm, and as an educator in digital marketing at Quebec's colleges for over 6 years, combined with his 20 years of dedication to realism, Rawad expertly bridges strategy with creative insights.

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