How to Create a Google Ads Account

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How to Create a Google Ads Account

In this post I’m going to breakdown how to setup a Google Ads account. This will specifically cover the following: What Google Ads is, How to Setup a Google Ads account, and how to setup specific campaigns within Google Ads, including Google Search, Display campaigns (including remarketing) and YouTube video campaigns. .

What is Google Ads

Google Ads is the rebrand of Google AdWords. It’s the same extremely powerful platform of Google AdWords, but with the rebrand of Google Ads. Google Ads is extremely powerful as through Google Ads you can advertise on Google search, run display campaigns – including remarketing,  and advertise on YouTube.

How to Setup a Google Ads Account

When you go to, to sign up for your account, watch out for any promotions Google Ads is offering. For example, when I checked this on September 7th, 2018 I saw a $75 credit promotion, when advertisers spend $25. Take full advantage of this, because when you start advertising you’ll need around some cash to understand what works and what doesn’t. Consider this free testing money. Additionally, write down the Google Ads support number, in this case it’s 877-763-9808. They offer great support to help you get off the ground, and it’s free. If that number doesn’t work, here’s a support number I typically use 1-866-246-6453.

google ads

Follow the prompts to setup your Google account, by entering your email and website. If you’re signing up without a gmail account, it will ask you to create a Google account.

AdWords Express vs. AdWords

As you’re going through the process, you’ll see Google give an option for AdWords express or standard AdWords (i.e. Google Ads). Whatever you do, do not click AdWords express. This is a significantly toned down version of Google Ads which strips out significant opportunity to optimize and further hone in on your audience. The intention behind the platform is good, make it easier for advertisers, but you’ll miss out on a ton of optimization levers.

Click the plus button to select new campaign

Google Search

Under campaign goals, select sales, then select Google search

Google Search settings      Google Search Campaign

As you follow this, it will show which networks to choose. Google will automatically default you into the Google Display network. Make sure you opt out of this. What this setting does is automatically serve your ads on sites containing content similar to your keywords. It sounds good, but it doesn’t work, far from it. The reason is you’re not targeting people as they’re actually searching your products.

You can however, select google search partners. This will include other search engines that Google has partnerships with, Google Ads doesn’t disclose the list but it’s sites like AOL, Comcast,, etc.

Google Search Campaign

As you proceed down the the process of creating a campaign, you’ll find a few settings that I want to bring to light. The next is location targeting:

The first is audience targeting. While with search we’re targeting users based on keywords they’re searching, we can also add in audience signals. There are two ways we can do this

In-Market Audiences: These are audiences that Google created where you can search for people who are in-market for certain products or services. For example, if you’re a gym, you an target users who are in-market for health and beauty products.

Remarketing Audiences: These are users who visited your site, you need to implement AdWords remarketing pixel on your site, but once you do this, you can also hone in on users who are not only searching your keywords, but have also visited your site.

The last bit is to make sure you’re targeting these audiences based on “observation” and not “targeting”. If you select targeting, your campaigns likely won’t serve much. Reason is you’re telling Google Ads in order to serve your ad, the user has to search your keyword and they have to be within the audience list. This doesn’t happen to frequent, which is why I recommend “observation”, which will allow you to check how these audiences perform, and you can place bid adjustments (i.e. increase bids if users have perviously visited your site).

Google search settings

After you create these settings, it will guide you to create ads, setup ad extensions (appendages to your ads) and select keywords. For these, I highly recommend this blog post on how to create a search campaign, which goes into much more detail on specifics on what to think about when creating this campaign.

After you setup a search campaign, if you follow the process below you can setup display campaigns, including remarketing. As a refresher, remarketing is a display advertising tactic which will allow you to advertise banner ads to users who visited your site but didn’t convert.  It’s a highly effective advertising strategy that’s proven to work since it’s inception around 10 years ago.

To get started, follow the steps below.

When you create a new campaign, click the objective of “sales”, click “display” then “standard” display campaign.

Google remarketing settings

As you follow the process, you’ll get to the point to target the audiences you’re looking to reach. For a remarketing campaign, click website visitors. If you want to expand outside of remarketing, you can research other audiences. My recommendation is to start with remarketing. Once it’s rocking and driving sales, you can expand with in-market audiences or content targeting. In-market audiences allows you to target users who are in-market for specific categories and content targeting allows you to serve ads on relevant sites, based on content you choose.

display audiences

Now, in order to have website visitors populate as a targeting option, you need to implement an adwords pixel, instructions here.  As you go through the process and add audiences, you’ll be able to create banner ads. The good news is you don’t need to hire a creative shop.  Simply select, “responsive ads”. This will guide you through the process to upload a couple images, headline, description, logo and Google will create highly effective ads for your business. Google also has stock photos you can select and gives you the option to even scan your website for images.

responsive ads

After you created your Google ads search campaign, Google Remarketing, now it’s time to share how you can advertise on YouTube. YouTube is a great platform to share your brand’s story with video. You can target users who are into the products and services you offer and you can serve them a video promoting your brand.  The best part about YouTube advertising is you can set this up where you only pay per view. This means you only pay if someone has either watched 30 seconds of your video or clicked on your ad to go to your website.

Let me break down how to get started.

After you follow the same steps as above, selecting a new campaign to create, follow the instructions based on your goals. In this case, most of the goals will allow you to create a YouTube video campaign. In this instance, I’m going to go with Brand Awareness, as YouTube ads are great at driving brand awareness.

YouTube Video Promotion

As you’re following the prompts, I’m going to call out a few notable highlights.

First, you can select your bidding preference, in this case (for the brand awareness goal selected earlier), I can bid based on a cost per view. I personally like this option as I can bid to a cost per view I’m willing to pay. It’s not uncommon to get a cost per view down to $.04. However, if your focus is leads, you can bid based on a CPA, which is cost per acquisition, if you have conversion tracking setup.

Next, you can define the audience you would like to reach. You can use the same audience targeting as you can for Google’s display campaigns including but not limited to:

  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Keyword targeting – targeting videos that are contextually relevant to the videos you’re targeting
  • Topic targeting – targeting topics of videos
  • Audience targeting
    • In-market audiences – users who are in market to buy certain products or services
    • Affinity audiences – users who have an affinity towards certain products or services
    • Remarketing lists
    • Email lists that you upload
    • Life events (i.e. folks that just moved, etc.)
    • Similar audiences (users who are similar to your remarketing lists)

Once you establish the audience you’re looking to target, we’ll setup the creative. All you need to do is insert a YouTube URL. This means that the video you want to promote has to be uploaded to YouTube. Next, you can upload a companion banner, which is a 300*60 ad that will accompany the ad, and lastly a URL users should go to upon click.


There are a few different types of YouTube ads, I’ll break them down for you.

    • In-stream ad – In-stream ads play before, during or after a video on YouTube.
    • Video discovery ad – these are ads that you click to watch the video, which can appear in the search results page on YouTube, on the YouTube homepage, or next to related videos.
    • Bumper ad – bumper ads are :06 videos that will play before, during or after a video.
  • Outstream ad – these ads are on mute and can play on a top of a page (i.e. off of YouTube)

My recommendation is to start with in-stream ads, these are the ads are the most popular on YouTube and are one of the best in terms of driving brand consideration.

Once you go through this process, you’re all setup to run a video ad.

I hope this article is helpful to break down how to create a (Google search campaign, Google Remarketing and other display campaigns) and a YouTube campaign.

For those who want even more support, I created a course on SkillShare on how to Advertise on Google. Click below for free 2 months access to SkillShare.

Google Ads Course

Google Ads is a powerful platform and many advertisers make millions from it every year. However, it’s highly nuanced and super competitive. For any novice getting started with advertising, I highly recommend proper training before you start advertising to make sure you’re making money from Google, verse wasting money on a mismanaged campaign.  Throughout this course I offer 2 hours of video content providing information on how to create your Google Ads account, how to setup a search, display (i.e. remarketing), and YouTube campaign (youtube), setup proper measurement via Google Analytics.