Setting Up Your First Search Campaign in Expert Mode


by Ash Smith

December 1, 2019

Before you start…

If you’re getting started with Google Ads for the first time, it can be daunting to know how to get your account set up properly, so we’re here to walk you through the first stage after you create your account. This article will show you exactly how to build your first campaign in expert mode; if you’d prefer a more simplified campaign setup, we suggest checking out our article on setting up campaigns in express mode.

Before we jump into it, if you haven’t checked out our article on getting started with Google Ads, we highly recommend giving it a read before moving ahead, as it will give you a solid basis for planning out your campaigns.

Take a moment to consider a few things…

When it comes to creating your first campaign in Google Ads, take a moment to consider a few things…

Firstly, consider the business and the different products/services you offer. A great place to start is to look at your site’s navigation and see the different offerings listed under ‘products’ or ‘services’ (or whatever is relevant to your business). These products or services would very likely be a good starting place when determining your campaign structure (ie one campaign for every service or for every major product category or brand).

Next, consider how much you want to spend per campaign. Google Ads runs to daily budgets, so if you work to a monthly spend, divide that number by 30.4 (average number of days in a month) to get your daily budget.

Lastly, you will need to think about exactly which locations people should be in to see your ads. Using Google Ads, you’ll have the ability to target as broad as full countries, down to cities, postcodes, and even custom radius’s around a particular area. If your business serves an international market, you may want to have campaigns to target individually target these locations in their own language as well. If you have a local audience, radius and postcode targeting may be a better fit for your needs.

Now that you’ve given your campaign some thought, you’re ready to start building!

Let’s start building!

Once you’re logged into your Google Ads account, navigate to ‘campaigns’ in the left hand menu, and click on the blue plus button and select ‘new campaign’.

Once you’re logged into your Google Ads account, navigate to ‘campaigns’ in the left hand menu, and click on the blue plus button and select ‘new campaign’.

Google Ads Campaign Setup Expert Mode

Next, choose a campaign type from the following options:

  • Search – you’ll reach customers via text ads
  • Display – run different kinds of image based ads across the web
  • Shopping – promote your products via shopping results in Google
  • Video – reach and engage viewers on YouTube and across the web
  • Smart – create a Smart campaign that Google will optimise
  • Discovery – run ads across the Google Discovery network

*For the purpose of this post – we’ll be focusing on ‘search’ only as this is by far the most popular choice for the majority of businesses.

Google Ads Campaign Setup Expert Mode

Next, let Google know how you’d like to reach your goal – will it be via website visits, phone calls, shop visits, or app downloads? Or will it be a combination of these?

After this, give your campaign a name. Next, choose how you want to reach your audience via the Google Network. The Google Network is broken into the Search Network and the Display Network. The search network will show your ads at the top of search engine results pages, while the display network requires visual or text ads that will be shown via Google’s network of supporting websites and will display your ads based on the website content or audience. ntent.

It’s generally good practice to choose “Include Google search partners” but not “Include Google Display Network” – if you want to test ads on the Display network, it’s generally best to do that in a separate campaign rather than advertising on both Search & Display in the same campaign.

Note – you’re automatically opted in to the Display Network. To opt out, simply deselect the box next to “Display Network”.  

Next, you’ll need to set your targeting and audiences in order to specify where you want your ads to be shown. Think about where your audience is located – do you service a local area, or are your services available to a national or even international audience?

To apply targeting to your campaign, follow these steps:

Under locations, you have the option to:

  1. Select the appropriate pre-set option.
  2. Enter another location to target
  3. Use the advanced search to use location or radius targeting

To target certain areas within a country, like states or provinces, particular cities or regions, specific postcodes or a country not shown in the pre-set options:


  1. Select advanced search
  2. Type the name of the area or postcode in the text box.
  3. Click Add to add the location.
  4. To add additional locations, follow steps 2 and 3.
  5. Click Save.

To target a particular area

To target a particular area, such as a specific driving distance from your business, you’ll want to use radius targeting:


  1. Click Advanced search.
  2. Click Radius targeting.
  3. Change the radius to a desired distance around your business
  4. When you’re ready, click Add to add the radius target.
  5. Additionally, you can set a radius around a particular location or postcode – simply type them into the search bar and change the desired distance.
  6. Click Done at the bottom of the window.
  7. Click Save.

You can also exclude locations

You can also exclude locations you don’t want your ad to show for by following these steps:


  1. Select advanced search.
  2. Type the name of the area or postcode in the text box.
  3. Click Exclude.
  4. To exclude additional locations, follow steps 2 and 3.
  5. When you’ve finished, click Save.

Setting the Language

Now that you’ve got your locations locked down, add the language you want to advertise in and the audience you want to target via ‘audiences’.

Add your daily budget and bidding options

Next, you’ll be asked to add your daily budget and bidding options. If you’re working towards a monthly budget, you’ll need to divide that number by 30.4 (average number of days in a month) After setting your budget, you’ll need to add your bidding options. Your bidding choice will impact the price for your clicks so it’s wise to know exactly how these work – Google’s got a full article on bid types which you can check out here.

You can also set a maximum cost per click bid amount, doing so will grant you more control over your budget, ensuring that you don’t spend any more than you’re willing to for a single click.

What is our recommendation? Maximise clicks until some data starts rolling in, then if tracking conversions, move to tCPA or tROAS. For more information. check out our quick reference guide on Google’s automated bidding.

Add ad extensions to your campaign

Finally, you’ll have the option to add ad extensions to your campaign. Extensions add additional, valuable information to your ad which can see it result in better click throughs. There are many different types of extensions, so take a look and consider which ones might be best for your business goals.

Hit save and continue!

Nice work! You’ve completed the first steps of building out your campaign settings.

You’ll remember from our previous article about getting started with Google Ads that ad groups sit within campaigns and contain keywords and ads; so it makes sense that next you’ll need to create the first ad group to sit within your campaign.

Give your ad group a name (something that is relevant to the grouped keywords within that ad group) and add the keywords that you want your ads to be triggered by.

When you’re adding keywords, make the most of ‘match types’ to help control the kinds of searches that your ad will appear for. Take a look at the different match types that are available and consider how wide you want to cast your net when it comes to advertising. The broader your match types, the more visibility you will get, but this will likely result in increased spend – so be careful.

You’re ready to get creative building your first ad.

It’s easy to create an ad in Google Ads, but it requires a lot of consideration to create a great one. An expanded text ad (ETA) contains a final URL, 3 headlines, and two descriptions while a responsive search ad (RSA) contains up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Each of these (except for your final URL) have maximum character counts that you’ll need to work within – we recommend trying to get as close to the maximum as possible in order to make use of the ad real-estate available.

To create an ETA, first, you need to add your final URL. This is the page on your website that traffic will land on once clicking your ad.

When it comes to building out your headlines, we suggest using a keyword from your list as the first headline so that there’s a clear and visible match between the search query, and your ad. For your second headline, consider a unique selling point/benefit for your product or service and include it here. Finally, your third headline should be a call to action.

Finally, add two descriptive lines that will entice the user to click through to the landing page. What you describe in your ad should be relevant to the product or service that is described in more detail on the landing page you are leading traffic to. Our best tip here for creating good descriptions is to focus on one key benefit for each, e.g. your first description could focus on the experience of your team, and the second could focus on convenient locations. Be sure to add a call to action at the end of your descriptions to motivate click-throughs to your site.

And that’s it! You’ve set up your first campaign!

Once you’re happy with your ad, hit save and continue and you’ll have the chance to review your completed campaign from a top level view, complete with your ad group, keywords and ad before pushing it live. Repeat the process to ensure that each ad group has two ETA that can be tested against each other to find one that outperforms the other.

Next, you’ll need to create at least 1 RSA for your ad groups. Use our Responsive Search Ad Builder to automatically create an RSA from your new expanded text ads!

And once both ETAs and RSA ads are ready, that’s it! You’ve set up your first campaign!

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how to take your PPC to the next level, feel free to reach out to us at – we’re here to help!

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