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How to Set Up a Google Ads Search Campaign

Welcome to one of our free Shopify Marketing tutorials. Earlier, we have walked you through the process of configuring your Google Ads account, setting up proper conversion tracking, and creating target audiences. Now, it’s time to set up the first Google Ads Search campaign for your Shopify store.

Consider this: 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused. It means that Google search ads can help your online business increase sales by maintaining a consistent flow of traffic, both new and returning. 

 

Fun Fact Google Ads

And while Google tries to make it as straightforward as possible, creating search campaigns might seem quite difficult if you’ve never done it before. But no worries, as always, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s Zima Media’s complete course on how to create Google Ads Search campaigns, step by step!

We’re here to guide you through the proper Google Search ad campaign setup process, but first, here is why it’s so important.

Why Use Google Ads Search Campaigns?

Running Google Ads Search campaigns for your online store can help you:

  • Attract relevant traffic to your website
  • Increase online sales
  • Compete on par with your competitors
  • Discover new audiences and demographics
  • Enter new markets
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Get more insights into the website performance
  • Improve your ROI
  • Expand your reach
  • Test new products and ideas

Google Ads Search Campaign Structure Insights

Before we move to creating your first Google Ads campaign, here are some things you need to know about the structure of your future campaigns and their setting options.

Google Ads Campaign Structure Infographic

Main Campaign Settings

Once you start digging deeper into the Google Ads search campaign setup process, you’ll encounter multiple setting options. And it might be quite overwhelming at first. So, whenever you feel lost or want to refresh your memory, feel free to refer to this section.

Campaign Goal:

  • Sales → Drive sales online, in-app, by phone, or in-store
  • Leads → Get leads and other conversions by encouraging customers to take action
  • Website Traffic → Get the right people to visit your website

Networks:

  • Search Network → Ads can appear in Google Search results and other Google sites when people search for terms that are relevant to your keywords
    • Search Partners → Google search partners are sites in the Search Network that partner with Google to show ads on their search results (We do not recommend adding Search Partners to your search campaign)
  • Display Network → The Google Display Network is a collection of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps. (We do not recommend adding a display network to your search campaign)

Locations:

  • Target Locations → Locations you want your ads to appear in
  • Excluded locations → Locations where you don’t want to run your ads

(e.g If you want to target the whole US but you cannot ship to Alaska, include the USA as a target location and exclude the state of Alaska.)

Languages

Language targeting allows you to restrict where your ads can appear based on the user’s language settings and the language of the site. 

Note: Keep in mind that Google doesn’t translate ads or keywords. So, if you choose a target language “Spanish”, Google will be showing your ads to users who have Spanish as the main setting in Google. However, your ads will still be in English, unless you created them in Spanish.

Budget

The amount of money you’re willing to spend per day on your campaign. Some days you might spend less than your daily budget, and on others, you might spend up to twice as much. However, for the month, you won’t pay more than your daily budget times the average number of days in a month.

You might want to check out this resource: How to Determine Your Google Ads Budget?

Bidding Strategy

Metric you’d like to focus and optimize your campaign for.

  • Automated Bidding Strategies:
    • Maximize clicks
    • Maximize conversions
    • Maximize conversion value
    • Target CPA
    • Target ROAS
    • Target impression share

→ Start with max conversions for smaller profit items or max conversion value for bigger profit items depending of your products 

Keywords:

  • Search Keywords → Keywords that you’d like your ads to appear for in Google search results. We recommend using Keyword Planner to find out the search volume of each keyword and predict their performance.
  • Negative Keywords → Keywords that help you exclude certain search terms from your campaigns to avoid paying for irrelevant clicks and target what matters the most to your potential customers.

Keyword Matching Types → help you control how closely the keyword needs to match with the user’s search query.

  • Broad Match → aka loose matching, ads can show up for queries that relate to your target keyword
  • “Phrase Match” → aka moderate matching, ads can show up for queries that include the meaning of your keyword
  • [Exact Match] → aka tight matching, ads can show up for queries that are the same meaning as your keyword

Note: We recommend choosing a “Phrase Match” for most of your keywords to make your Google Ads campaign management easier. 

Ad Groups & Ads:

  • Dynamic Ad Groups → Ad groups that contain dynamic expanded ads and dynamic ad targets. We recommend including at least one Dynamic Ad Group per search campaign.
    • Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) → Ads that contain a dynamically generated headline, landing page, and display URL + 2 descriptions that you provide. We recommend at least two Dynamic Search Ads per Dynamic Ad Group.
  • Standard Ad Group → Ad groups that contain expanded text ads and target specific and related keywords. We recommend including no more than ten keywords per ad group to keep your ads relevant.
    • Responsive Search Ads → Ads that contain up to 15 headlines, 4 descriptions, and 2 URL display paths. Since February 19th, 2021, these types of ads are default in Google Ads. We recommend including at least one Responsive Search Ad per ad group.
    • Expanded Text Ads → Ads that consist of 3 headlines (30 characters each), 2 descriptions (90 characters each), 2 display URL paths (15 characters each.) We recommend including at least 2 expanded search ads per ad group.

Ad Extensions

  • Sitelink Extension → Shows links to specific pages on your website. Each sitelink extension consists of a Headline (25 characters), two description fields (35 characters each), and a final URL. We recommend adding at least two sitelink extensions to each campaign.
  • Callout Extension → Shows descriptive text (e.g., Free Shipping). Each callout extension has 25 characters. We recommend adding at least 5 callout extensions to each campaign.
  • Structured Snippet Extension → Highlight specific aspects of your product or service. You can add up to ten values (25 characters each) in this extension. You can also choose to classify them by selecting one of the following header types:
    • Amenities
    • Brands
    • Courses
    • Degree programs
    • Destinations
    • Featured hotels
    • Insurance coverage
    • Models
    • Neighborhoods
    • Service catalog
    • Shows
    • Styles
  • Call extension → Encourage calls to your business.
  • Lead form extension → Get leads from people who submit your form. You can customize your form and later download leads from your campaign in a CSV file.
  • Location extension → Show business information (e.g. address, store hours.) You’d need to have Google My Business set up to use this extension.
  • Affiliate location extension → Show affiliate locations
  • Price extension → Show prices of your products or services. Each price extension item consists of a header (25 characters), currency, units (7 options available), description (25 characters), and a final URL. You can add up to 8 price extension items and choose the type of your price extension from:
    • Brands
    • Events
    • Locations
    • Neighborhoods
    • Product categories
    • Product tiers
    • Service categories
    • Service tiers
    • Services
  • App extension → Encourage downloads of your app. If you have an app in addition to your ecommerce store, it’s a great way to increase your sales.
  • Promotion extension → Show special sales and offers. Each promotion extension shows a promotion occasion, type, item being promoted, final URL, promotion details, and displayed promotion dates.

How to Create Google Ads Search Campaign?

There are a few ways you can set up search ad campaigns, including Google Ads Dashboard and Google Ads Desktop Editor. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the setup process using Google Ads Dashboard. At this point, you should already have your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts linked, your conversion tracking configured, and audiences created.

If you haven’t done it yet, please refer to our previous guides:

Step 1: Add New Campaign

Step 1

Log into your Google Ads account → Press “Add New Campaign”

Step 1.1: Select Your Goal

Step 1.1

Here, choose “Sales” as your campaign goal. If you’re planning on getting contact form submissions or phone calls first, choose “Leads” as a goal.

Step 1.2: Select Campaign Type

Step 1.2

Today, we’re creating a Google Ads Search ad campaign, so select “Search” during this step.

Step 1.3: Select the Ways You’d Like to Reach Your Goal

Step 1.3

As a Shopify store, choose “Website visits” and specify your website in the provided field.

Step 2: Select Campaign Settings

Search campaign settings are integral to your campaign performance. Make sure you set them up properly to avoid wasting money.

Step 2.1: Name Your Campaign

Step 2.1

We recommend naming your campaign following this structure: Type of Campaign_Target Location_Product/Service Advertised. This will help you distinguish between various campaigns and keep your Google Ads account clean.

Step 2.3: Exclude Search Partners and Display Network

Step 2.3

Uncheck the “Include Google search partners” and “Include Google Display Networks” boxes.

Note: By default, Google adds its search partners and a Display Network to your campaign. However, from our experience, they don’t usually contribute to conversions and just increase your daily ad spend. That’s why for this campaign, we only use Search Network.

Step 2.2: Add Dynamic Search Ads Settings

Step 2.2

Under the “Networks” click on “Show More Settings”, choose “Dynamic Search Ads setting” add your domain → Select the language of the Dynamic Search Ads within this campaign → Select a targeting source “Use Google’s index of my website”

Step 2.3: Ad Schedule

Ad schedule: leave “All Day”

Step 3: Choose Targeting and Audiences

Step 3.1: Select Locations

Step 3.1

Enter your target locations and if needed exclude parts of the target locations you don’t want your ads to appear in → Press “Location options” → Target: Presence “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” → Exclude “Presence: People in your excluded locations.”

Step 3.2: Select Target Language

Step 3.2

Step 3.3: Add Observation Audiences

Step 3.3

If you followed our previous guide, you should already have quite a few audiences in your account. Select all of them and add them as observation audiences. If not, you can create them on the spot or leave this step for later.

Step 4: Set Up Your Budget & Bidding

Step 4

Decide on your Google Ads daily budget and select the “Maximize conversions” bidding strategy for the start. 

Note: Once you have more than 100 conversions in your Google Ads account, you can switch to the “Maximize conversion value” bidding strategy. This is a more advanced bidding strategy, and we’ll talk more about it in the Google Ads Account Optimization tutorial.

Step 6: Create Ad Extensions 

Extensions make your search ads look bigger in search results and provide more information about your products. They can ultimately help make users more likely to click on your ad and make a purchase.

Step 6.1 Add Sitelink Extensions

Step 6.1

We recommend adding at least two sitelink extensions to your search campaign. For example, it can be links to different collections, about page, contact page, etc.

Step 6.2 Add Callout Extensions

Step 6.2

We recommend adding at least two callout extensions to your search campaign. However, the more the better. These could be your unique selling points and calls to action. 

Step 6.3 Add Structured Snippet

Step 6.3

One structured snippet is enough for a search campaign. However, if you have many collections and services, you can create more and add them to separate ad groups. 

The extensions mentioned above are the main ones for your ecommerce store. You may also add phone call, location, and price extensions if they’re applicable to your business.

Save and continue.

Step 7: Create Dynamic Search Ad Group

Step 7

Add dynamic ad targets by using exact URLs from your website pages →  press “ADD” → Save and continue 

This ad group will help you to automatically bid for relevant traffic and keywords you might have missed.

Note: we’ll come back to other ad group types later.

Step 8: Add Expanded Dynamic Search Ads

Step 8

We recommend creating three expanded Dynamic Search Ads to provide Google with enough options to test. Once you’ve done that, press “Done” → Save and continue.

Step 9: Review & Publish

Review what you have just created and publish your campaign. But don’t get too excited yet, we still have a few things to do before your search campaign is ready.

Step 9.1 Pause Campaign for Now

Step 9

To avoid running an unfinished campaign, pause it for now.

Step 10: Do Keyword Research

Step 10

Go to Tools → Keyword Planner → Discover New Keywords 

Note: You can start from keyword ideas or input your website to get inspiration. Also, you can use some of the keywords from the SEO Keyword Research you did for your Shopify store. 

 

Open another tab with the keyword research and now look for specific keywords that you found in the website keyword overview.

Step 11: Group Keywords in Standard Ad Groups

Step 11

Select the keywords you want to target. Ideally, those would be the keywords with lower CPC and higher monthly search volume →

Press “Existing campaign” and choose your recently created campaign from the list →

Create New Ad Group →

Name your ad group accordingly so that you and your team understand →

Change the keywords match to “Phrase match” → Press “Add keywords”

Note: We recommend adding no more than 10 keywords per ad group to keep it super relevant to your ads.

Step 11.1 Add More Ad Groups

Step 11.1

If you want to add more ad groups, repeat the process described above again.

Tip: Create as many ad groups as categories you have in your online store.

Step 12: Create Ads in Standard Ad Groups

Step 12

Choose one of your standard ad groups and press “+ NEW AD”

Step 12.1 Create a Responsive Search Ad

Step 12.1

Note: Make sure to use the keywords from your ad group in your ad copy.

Add Final Landing Page Url → Add 2 paths to create a Display URL →

Add 15 headlines including your target keywords →

Expanded Text Ad Descriptions

Add four descriptions →

Check ad strength → Save ad

Note: We recommend adding at least one responsive search ad per each ad group.

Step 12.2: Create 2 Expanded Text Ads

Step 12.2

By default, Google Ads will take you to the creation of another responsive search ad, but since you already have one, you need to create expanded search ads. To do so, first, click “+ Responsive search ad” and then press “Switch back to text ads”.

Expanded Text Ad 1

Add Landing Page URL → Add three headlines → Add two URL display paths → Add two descriptions

Expanded text Ad 2

Create a second expanded search text ad →

Google Ads Ad Group Structure

 

Repeat the process for the rest of the standard ad groups. 

Note: Each of your ad groups should consist of 1 responsive search ad and 2 expanded search text ads.

Step 13: Add Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords List

Go to Tools → Shared Library → Negative Keyword Lists →

Press “+” to add new keyword list → Name your keyword list → Add keywords for which you wouldn’t want your ads to show up in search results (use “phrase match”) → Click “Save”

Or you can download our Free Negative Keywords List consisting of nearly 500 keywords to ensure you’re not paying for clicks from irrelevant or vulgar Google searches.

Negative Keywords List

Choose your newly created list → Click “Apply to campaigns” → Choose your campaign → Click “Apply”

Step 14: Enable Your Campaign

Step 14

Your Campaign Is Ready to Go. Turn It on Whenever You Want!

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