Create a Search campaign

Note: As Google enhances the new user onboarding process, new Google Ads users may experience an updated workflow. The content below pertains to Google Ads users who have already created, and logged into, their Google Ads account.

Search campaigns allow you to place ads across Google's vast network of search results. You can show ads to people actively searching online for your products and services.

A Search campaign is one of the campaign types available to you in Google Ads.


  • Reach your goals: Search campaigns can help you get more sales, leads, or website traffic.
  • Access highly relevant targeting: Target people actively searching for your specific products and services.
  • Easy setup: Ads are easy to create and don't require special assets.


1. Create a new campaign and set a goal

You'll begin by creating a new campaign in your account and selecting a goal for your campaign.


Create the Search campaign and goal


Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Campaigns drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Campaigns.
  4. Click the plus icon to create a New campaign.
  5. Choose the goal of Sales, Leads, or Website traffic.
    • You can also select Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.
  6. Under “Select a campaign type” select Search.
  7. Under “Select the ways you’d like to reach your goal”, you can enter additional information about your business.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. On the next page, you'll enter a name for your campaign.
Note: When creating a campaign, changes are saved as a draft automatically.
Display, Shopping, and Video campaigns can also help you reach the same goals of sales, leads, and website traffic, but require additional assets like images, product feeds, and videos.


  1. To edit your draft campaign, go to the Campaigns page.
  2. You can find the draft campaigns on top of the campaign list.
  3. Click Resume and continue.

2. Select campaign settings

You’ll now choose who to target with your ads, how you’d like to spend your budget, and how to enhance your campaign with assets.

You may notice messages that guide you to ensure certain settings aren’t preventing your ads from running. Try to fix any potential issues before publishing your campaign.

Select your targeting

As you choose your initial targeting, think about the type of people who might be ready to buy your product, sign up to learn more about your business, or visit your website.Check the box for Include Google search partners, if you’d like your ads to appear on additional search engines beyond Google.

  1. If you uncheck this box, your ads will show on Google search pages in the Search Network, but not search partners.
  2. Check the box for Display Network to extend your reach beyond search results to other sites.
  3. You can choose Location options to refine your targeting by the relationship that people have with the locations you selected.
    • For example, this setting may be helpful if you’re marketing an event in Austin, Texas that’s mostly attended by people from out of town. In this case, you might select People searching for your targeted locations.
  4. Select the geographic locations where your ads will appear or places you’d like to exclude. Learn how to target ads to geographic locations
    • Exclusions can be helpful if you’re targeting a larger area and want to avoid a location within it. For example, you may want to target all of the United States, except a certain state or city.
    • If your location targeting is too narrow and your predicted clicks is 0, you’ll receive an alert to expand your location targeting.
  5. Enter the languages you’d like to target. The ads and keywords you’ll create should be in the languages you select here. Learn more about language targeting
  6. You can add audiences to your targeting based on demographics, interests, online activity, and remarketing. Learn more about audience targeting
    • Click Browse for options that may be relevant to your goals.
Later, when you set up your ads, you’ll enhance your targeting by selecting keywords that potential customers are searching for.

Set up your bidding

While targeting determines who views your ads, bidding determines what you want those people to do.

  1. As you choose your bidding, think back to your campaign goal:
    • Want sales or leads? You might focus on Conversions. Learn how to set up conversion tracking for your website
    • Want website traffic? You might focus on Clicks.
    • If you’ve set up conversions and given them a specific value, you might put your money towards Conversion value. With this option you can target a specific return on ad spend.
    • To maximize how often your ad shows, select Impression Share. You can focus on ensuring your ad shows on a certain percentage of visits to relevant search result pages.
  2. If you’re more experienced with bidding you can Select a bid strategy directly. Learn how to determine a bid strategy based on your goals
  3. Click Show more settings to select additional options:
    • Conversions: Select the type of conversion you want to bid for.
    • Ad schedule: Set a specific time and day you want your ads to run.
    • Ad rotation: Choose whether to show ads that perform better more often, or to show all ads evenly.

Enhance ads with assets

Ad assets provide many ways for people to interact with your ad, such as phone numbers, sitelinks, or lead forms. Assets can also make your ads appear larger in search results.

  1. Pick assets based on what might be helpful to potential customers:
  2. You can create new assets or select assets you’ve already created.
  3. By default, sitelink, callout, and call assets will populate. Click Ad asset to show all available assets.
  4. Click Save and continue to save your campaign settings and set up ad groups.

Optimize your campaign as you create it

As you create your campaign, you may receive notifications based on your setting selections. These notifications may alert you of issues that can result in decreased performance or that may be significant enough to prevent you from publishing your campaign.

The campaign construction navigation menu that appears as you construct your campaign provides a holistic view of your construction progress and will call attention to notifications that you may want to address. Move between steps in the navigation menu to easily review and resolve potential issues with your targeting, bidding, budget, or other campaign settings. Learn how to Set up your campaign for success.

3. Set up ad groups

After selecting your campaign settings, you’ll create groups of ads. Each group should be relevant to what people interested in your products are searching for online.

Let's say you own a furniture business. You might create an ad group named “Couches" where you’d target keywords like "leather couches," "sofas," and "loveseats." You’d then create ads about couches and link to the couches section of your website.

There are 2 ways to create ad groups:

  1. Standard: You enter a set of keywords related to searches and create ads to match them.
  2. Dynamic: Google uses content on your site to target searches and create ads.

Create standard ad groups

“Standard” is selected as the default “Ad group type.” Keep in mind, you can only use one type of ad group per campaign.

  1. Name your ad group.
  2. Enter keywords separated by a new line. Keywords determine the search results where your ads are likely to show.
    • Get ideas for keywords by entering your product or service under “Get keyword ideas.” You can also use the Keyword Planner tool for additional guidance on selecting keywords.
  3. Select keyword match types to control which searches trigger your ads. By default, your keywords will match to a broad set of related searches. To focus on specific groups of customers, you can add the following characters to your keywords to change how they match to searches:
    • Phrase match: Add quotation marks “ ” around your keyword to match it to a phrase and its close variations.
    • Exact match: Add brackets [ ] around your keyword to more closely target exact searches.
    • Negative keywords: Add a minus sign - in front of your keyword to exclude searches.
  4. Click Save and continue.

Create dynamic ad groups

If you’re new to Google Ads, try using standard ad groups for your campaign. Dynamic Search Ads involve advanced targeting and AI that can be helpful for larger advertising programs.

Keep in mind, you can only use one type of ad group per campaign.

  1. For “Ad group type” select Dynamic.
  2. Name your ad group.
  3. Enter the domain of your site. This can include a domain or subdomain.
  4. If available, select any categories to target. Learn more about targets for Dynamic Search Ads
  5. Enter webpages from the domain or subdomain you entered above.
    • Choose pages that are related enough to be promoted by similar ads.
  6. You can also target pages with rules.
    • For example, if you want your ad group to focus on promoting shoes, you can create ads for pages with “shoe” in the URL, content, or title. In addition, you can create ads based on a shoe related category that’s relevant to your site.
  7. Click New ad group to add more ad groups.
  8. Click Save and continue to finish setting up your dynamic ads.

4. Create Search ads

When creating your Search ads, one of the most important things to focus on is relevance to your keywords. You’ll want to create headlines and descriptions that match the keywords in your ad group.

It’s also recommended to create at least 3 ads per ad group. Learn how to write successful text ads

Create Search ads

  1. Enter the final URL. When someone clicks on your ad, they’ll land on this page.
  2. By default, only the domain will show up on the text of your ad. So if your final URL is “”, your ad will show “”. To show more of your URL on your ad, you can fill out the display URL.
  3. Write 1-3 headlines. These headlines will be the blue text at the top of your ad. Learn more about text ads
  4. You can customize the URL that shows up on your ad by changing the display path. The display URL will not affect the page that people land on when clicking your ad.
  5. Write up to 2 lines of description text. You can use up to 90 characters to describe your product or service and how it’s relevant to your customers.
  6. You can add tracking parameters to your URL. These additions to the URL can help you track where your traffic is coming from, such as mobile devices.
  7. Click Done to finish this ad.
  8. Click New ad to add more ads to your ad group.
  9. Scroll between ad groups to make sure you’ve created ads for all of them.
  10. Click Save and continue.
  11. In the review page, you can access a list of issues that may limit your campaign performance.
  12. You’ll notice alerts to fix issues related to your campaign. For example:
    • Billing issues
    • Missing keywords or ads
    • Invalid final URL
  13. Click on Fix it to resolve the issues.
  14. Once your campaign is ready, click the Publish button.
    • You can edit your settings, ad groups, and ads in the ‘Overview’ page.

Create Dynamic Search Ads

With Dynamic Search Ads, Google generates your final URL, headline, and display URL. But you’ll still customize your ad description text.

  1. Write up to 2 lines of description text. You can use up to 90 characters to describe your product or service and how it’s relevant to your customers.
  2. You can add tracking parameters to your URL. These additions to the URL can help you track where your traffic is coming from, such as mobile devices.
  3. Click Done to finish this ad.
  4. Click New ad to add more ads to your ad group.
  5. Scroll between ad groups to make sure you’ve created ads for all of them.
  6. Click Save and continue.
  7. In the review page, you can access a list of issues that may limit your campaign performance.
  8. Click on Fix it to resolve the issues.
  9. Once your campaign is ready, click the Publish button.
    • You can edit your settings, ad groups, and ads in the ‘Overview’ page.

5. Choose your budget

While targeting determines who views your ads, and bidding determines what you want those people to do, your budget determines how many people view your ad.

  • Enter your daily budget. This amount is the average you want to spend each day.
    • Google will recommend several budget options based on a range of campaigns that are similar to the new campaign you're creating, including similar advertisers and your previous campaigns if applicable. In addition to the recommended budget options, you'll also have the option to set a custom budget amount.
    • On days when you’re more likely to get clicks and conversions, you may spend more. But over the course of the month, your budget will average out to the amount you enter here. Refer to Charges and your average daily budget for details.
Note: When you add a campaign to a shared budget, the campaign’s budget is also added to the shared budget’s amount. If your campaign achieves your goal, you can think about increasing your budget to scale your success. If not, you can adjust your targeting, bidding, and ads.

What's next

Once you've finished setting up your campaign, it may take a few days for your ads to start showing. Ads are typically approved within one business day. It may take longer for bidding to fully optimize performance.

In the journey ahead, you can use the guides provided below to help you become a successful advertiser and fix any issues you encounter along the way.

Optimize your campaign

Take the Skillshop course on the Fundamentals of Google Search Ads.

  1. Learn how to set up your campaign for success
  2. Learn how to use data to optimize your Search campaigns
  3. Track conversions on your website to check if you’re meeting your advertising goals

Fix common issues

  1. Find out why you may not see your ad
  2. Fix a disapproved ad
  3. About Google Ads policy account suspensions

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