Create an AdWords campaign to reach the right customers

Before you begin

Before you create your ad campaign, take a few moments to get familiar with these essential AdWords terms and concepts:

Essential AdWords terms

Essential AdWords concepts

Understanding your campaign settings

The campaign settings you select will apply to all ads within the same campaign. The type of campaign you choose determines which settings are available to you.

The settings cover three basic areas related to your ad:

  • How much you’ll pay by setting your budget and bid (you can always adjust them later)
  • What, besides text and a link, to include in your ad using ad extensions
  • Where you want your ads to appear using settings for geographic locations, languages, and placement on the web (called Networks)

Here’s an overview of the campaign settings you’ll need to address when you set up a new AdWords campaign:

Setting Description Learn more
Campaign name This is where you enter a name for your campaign. Although AdWords enters a default campaign name for you, you should choose a name that clearly describes the theme of the campaign so that you can easily find it in your account. Your campaign name isn't visible to your customers.  

The campaign type determines which settings we'll show you as you create or edit your campaign. The type you choose tailors the campaign setup to just what's appropriate for your goals, eliminating unrelated features. We recommend new advertisers start with a "Search Network with Display Select" campaign type, which offers a wide variety of potential placements for your ads.

You’ll also choose a campaign sub-type or marketing objective. The sub-type or objective determines which settings and options are available so you can focus on the features most relevant to your your business goals. If you prefer a simpler overview of your campaign and feature options, consider using the “Standard” campaign subtype; use “All features” if you want to see everything about your campaign and feature options.

Choosing the campaign type that's right for you
Networks The Networks setting indicates where you want your ad to appear based upon the campaign type you chose. For example, with the Google Search Network, your ad can appear on Google search sites and non-Google search sites (like AOL) that partner with Google to show search ads, called search partners. With the Google Display Network, your ad shows on other sites that partner with Google to show ads. To change your Networks, you’ll need to change your campaign type or create a new campaign.

Search Network

Display Network

Devices Campaigns target all types of devices, which include desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Later, you can choose to customize ads for different devices. Types of mobile ads
Locations and languages Your campaign’s ads are eligible to show to customers in your targeted geographic locations, or to customers who have selected your targeted language as their interface language. We recommend choosing the language you serve your customers in. Location and language targeting
Bidding and budget Choose to manually set your bids for clicks on your ads or let AdWords do it for you. Depending on your campaign type, you may see additional bidding options to choose from.

Your bid strategy controls how you pay for users to interact with your ads.Your default bid is the most you’ll pay per click for ads in an ad group. Your budget is the average amount you’re comfortable spending each day on your campaign. The budget you choose is entirely up to you, and you can adjust it at any time.
Setting your bid and budget
Ad extensions Include even more information with your ads, such as location information, links to pages on your website, and your phone number. Enhance your ad using extensions
Advanced settings Once you’re comfortable using AdWords’ most essential settings, consider adopting one or more of these optional features to help get your ad campaign on the same schedule as your customers (these settings are available for campaigns with "All features" enabled):
  • Schedule: Set a campaign start and end date.
  • Ad scheduling: Choose certain days or hours of the week for your ads to show.
  • Ad delivery: By default, AdWords shows your ads when they're more likely to get clicks or conversions, but you can choose to show your ads more evenly throughout the day.
Using custom ad scheduling

Creating a campaign

Now that you understand your campaign settings, you’re ready to create your campaign and set your budget and bids. You'll need to make at least one campaign before you can create ads in your account.

Don't have an AdWords account yet?

If you're new to AdWords, visit AdWords at and click Get started now to create your account. During this process we'll also walk you through creating your first campaign.

Get more information about setting up your first campaign during account creation, or learn more about creating your AdWords account.

Create a campaign and choose your campaign settings
  1. Visit AdWords at
    • If you've already created a campaign in your account, click the Campaigns tab. Then proceed to step 2.
    • If you have an AdWords account but haven't created a campaign yet, click Create your first campaign. Then proceed to step 4.
  2. Click the + Campaign button on the Campaigns tab.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select the campaign type you want to use. Most advertisers use "Search Network with Display Select" (recommended for new advertisers), "Search Network only," or "Display Network only," though other campaign types are available. Learn more about choosing your campaign type.
  4. You'll be taken to the "Select campaign settings" page. Give your campaign a name.
  5. If you'd like to change your campaign type, click the drop-down menu next to "Type." Then, choose a campaign subtype, such as "Standard" (recommended for new advertisers) or "All features." Your subtype options will vary depending on the campaign type you choose. For "Display Network only" campaigns, choose a marketing objective such as "Drive action" and then "Call your business." Learn more about campaign subtypes.
  6. Make your choices for the following settings (you can find additional information about these settings in "Understanding your campaign settings" above):
    • Locations
    • Languages
    • Bid strategy
    • Budget
    • Ad extensions
  7. Click Save and continue. You can edit your campaign settings at any time.


If you've already set up a similar campaign and you want to use the same settings, you can save time by loading the settings from your existing campaign into your new campaign. You'll see the "or load settings from" option and drop-down menu just under the campaign type.

Or you can quickly copy and paste an existing campaign from the “Edit” drop-down menu on the “Campaigns” tab. Just check the box next to the campaign you want to copy, select “Copy” from the “Edit” drop-down, then select “Paste” from the drop-down to create the new campaign.

Try it now

Create your first ad group

After you've saved your campaign settings, you'll be taken to the "Create ad and keywords" page. This is where you’ll create the first ad group within your campaign. Each ad campaign consists of one or more ad groups. If you create a "Search Network only - Standard" campaign, you can add multiple ad groups on the "Create ad groups" page.

Ad group

About ad groups

An ad group is made up of a set of keywords, ads, and bids. Each ad campaign consists of one or more ad groups.

Ad groups allow you to group your keywords with the most relevant ads. This helps ensure that you show the most relevant ad when someone searches for a particular word or phrase. We recommend creating separate ad groups for the different product types you offer.



Let’s say you’re a caterer and you want to promote both your wedding and party catering services. You might want to create two ad groups, one for wedding catering and another for party catering.

In your wedding catering ad group, you’ll include keywords related specifically to wedding catering, such as “wedding banquet caterer” or “wedding party.” Then, you’ll create several ads specifically about your wedding catering service. Because your wedding-related keywords and ads are in the same ad group, your wedding catering ad will show to people searching for that specific service.

You’ll do the same in your party catering ad group, with keywords and ads that specifically address your party catering service.

Create your ad and choose keywords

On the "Create ad and keywords" page, you’ll choose your ad format, create your ad, and select the keywords you think your customers would use when searching for information related to your products or services.

We’ll cover how to create a text ad (the ad format we recommend for newer advertisers), but you can choose from many different ad formats depending on your advertising goals. These formats include video ads, image ads, digital content ads, and more. Learn about all available ad formats and how to choose what’s right for you.


Got writer's block? Need some help deciding what your ad text should say? Explore these tips for creating successful text ads.

Creating a text ad

To create a text ad, follow these steps:

  1. In the "Create an ad" section, select Text ad.
  2. Type in your headline, description, display URL, and landing page. The display URL is the web address, usually your website’s home page, that’s shown to customers with your ad. For the landing page, enter a destination or final URL, which takes customers to a specific page within your website. Both URLs should contain the same domain name. For example, an ad with as the display URL and as the landing page is acceptable because they share the domain name, “” Ad Text and Headline
  3. Enter your keywords in the "Keywords" section. We recommend starting with 10-20 keywords. You can always edit or add more keywords later. Learn how to choose keywords and placements when you create a campaign. Entering Keywords
  4. Click Save. If this is your first campaign, click Save and continue to billing. Your ads can't run if you haven't submitted your billing information.


Keep in mind

Once you’ve finished creating your campaign, including at least one ad group, ad, and keyword, and completed your billing information, your new campaign is enabled by default. When your ad is approved, it will be eligible to show to customers. You can pause your campaign at any time. Learn how to edit your campaign status.

Understand how your AdWords account is structured

It’s no secret that organization is an essential ingredient for success, and AdWords is no exception. Before you begin creating your campaigns and ads, it's important to learn how AdWords is structured to help you create effective campaigns that target the right audience.

AdWords is organized into three layers: account, campaigns, and ad groups.

  1. Your account is associated with a unique email address, password, and billing information.
  2. Your ad campaign has its own budget and settings that determine where your ads appear.
  3. Your ad group contains a set of similar ads and the words and phrases, known as keywords, that you want to trigger your ads to show.


Unique email and password
Billing information





Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group

Ad Group





Help your ads reach the right people by understanding your customers

Before you create your first ad campaign, take the time to build a mental profile of the customers you’re trying to reach. Considering your customers' preferences, habits, and traits can help you choose the right settings for your campaign.

Important areas to consider about your customers' preferences and behavior
Understanding your customers
  • Words and phrases they use to search online: If you run a furniture store, think about the keywords that your potential customers might use to search for furniture. Would they use general search terms like “furniture” or “furniture store”? It's more likely that a customer would use more specific terms based on what they’re looking for, such as “buy sectional sofa” or “dining room chairs.” These words and phrases can help you determine the keywords to trigger your ads to display in search results.
  • Geographical location: Think about where your potential customers are. If you only offer furniture delivery to customers in your city, then you should limit your campaign’s location targeting to your city so only potential customers in your city will see your ad. This helps make sure that you only pay for clicks on your ads from people who live in your delivery area and can purchase your furniture.
  • How they contact you: Consider how you want your customers to get in touch with you. If you want them to come to your store in person, you can highlight location information in your ads. Or maybe you’d like them to call you or fill out a contact form online. You can add these and other options to your ad with ad extensions.

Learn about these and other campaign settings in the Understanding your campaign settings section.

How much you want to spend

Once you understand who your customers are, think about how much you want to spend to reach them with your ads, and what results you're expecting for your campaign to be a success.

AdWords lets you set an average daily budget for each campaign based on your advertising goals and the general amount you're comfortable spending each day. Get tips on setting a campaign budget.

Not sure what you’ll be charged for? Find out how AdWords calculates costs.

Next steps

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