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Choosing your keywords and placements

Once you choose your campaign settings, you can create your first ad group and ad. For each ad group, you'll need to specify targeting methods such as keywords. Depending on the type of campaign and ad format you created, your targeting methods will be used to show your ads.

It's important to keep in mind that certain campaign types and ad formats use targeting methods such as keywords, while others (like Shopping ads or Dynamic Search Ads) use different ways to target your ads. This means any targeting methods you add to an ad group that includes such ad formats won't be used to show those ads. Learn about the different campaign types available.

Why add keywords to your ad group?

Your ads can appear on sites that are part of the Google Search Network, like Google Search and Shopping, when people search using the keywords you choose. AdWords also uses these keywords to find relevant sites on the Google Display Network to show your ads. So whether you want to show your ads to people as they search on the web, or when they visit websites they're interested in, selecting keywords is an essential part of your campaign.


  • When selecting keywords, put yourself in your customer's shoes and think about the words they'd use to search for your products or services.
  • Each keyword phrase should include two to three words.
  • Choose specific keywords instead of general ones so you can show your ads to the most interested users (such as "leather running shoes" instead of simply "shoes").
  • Try starting with a list of 10 to 20 keywords per ad group.

The good news is that you can always change your keywords later, as you find out which keywords are or aren't working for your ads.

How to add keywords

If you've selected a "Search Network with Display Select," "Search Network only," or "Display Network only" campaign, then you can add keywords as you create your ad group.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. If this is your first campaign: Click Create your first campaign. Your first campaign is assigned to the "Search Network with Display Select" campaign type, which we recommend for new advertisers. If you want to change your new campaign to the “Search Network only” or “Display Network only” campaign type, you can do that here.

    If you've created a campaign before: Click the + Campaign button on the Campaigns tab. Then, select the campaign type you want to use: "Search Network with Display Select," "Search Network only," or "Display Network only."
  3. Select your campaign settings, and click Save and continue.
  4. On the "Create ad group" section, simply type one keyword (which can include multiple words) per line in the text box. If you enter a URL in your ad, you'll see a list of keyword ideas to the right of this box. Click the add link next to any keyword you'd like to add to your ad group.

You can get an instant estimate of how many people use each keyword you add by clicking the Estimate search traffic button below the text box.

Estimate search traffic

Why add placements to your ad group?

Adding specific placements to your ad group can help you show your ads on the Display Network websites you want. For example, if you sell soccer shoes and you want your ad to appear on two popular soccer websites, you can add those two sites to your ad group.

How to add placements

If you've selected a "Display Network only" or "Search Network with Display Select – All features" campaign from the Campaign type menu, you can add placements as you create your ad group.

Select a Display Network only campaign
  1. On the ad group creation page, select Use a different targeting method.
  2. Open the Select a targeting method dropdown and choose Placements.
  3. If you have specific placements in mind for your ads, click "Add multiple placements at once." You can add as many as you want, one per line. If you need placement ideas, enter a word, phrase, or website below the "Search for placement ideas" header.
  4. Click Save and continue.

Next steps

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