When setting up a Google Ads campaign, we are shown a lot of settings that can be changed. Google will set defaults for most of these settings, but sometimes (believe it or not), those defaults aren’t the best thing for our campaigns.
If you’re an inexperienced Google Ads advertiser, changing these settings may seem daunting. Afterall, you don’t want to change something that can negatively impact your performance. Fear not, you’re in the right place. We’re going to run through each of these settings in more detail and make recommendations on which option we should choose for each one.
Please note – these settings may change from time to time and all information on this post is correct as of March 2023.
This is how your campaign will display on both the editor and interface versions of Google Ads. We’d recommend keeping it clear and logical so that you know exactly what’s in the campaign. For instance, if you are a Law Firm, you may choose to have campaigns split by the services you offer, therefore the naming conventions of the campaigns could look something like: ‘Family Law’, ‘Accident Law’ and ‘Employment Law’.
The campaign name isn’t seen by anybody except those with access to Google Ads, but it’s important to keep it really clear for ease of management.
A self-explanatory setting. If you want the campaign to run, choose enabled. If not, choose paused.
You’ll need to assign a budget for each campaign you run on Google Ads. This budget refers to this campaign only, unless you choose a shared budget, which is used across multiple campaigns. We recommend setting individual campaign budgets.
From your keyword research you’ll have an idea of how much the keywords in your campaign will spend. Therefore, you should be able to estimate how much budget is needed per campaign per day.
Goal Level Setting
Most campaigns in an account will be striving for the same goal, therefore account-level goal setting will suffice. However, if you have some campaigns where the goal is phone calls and some where the goal is store visits, you can set the goal level setting on a campaign by campaign basis
Bid strategies are a big topic and not one to delve into in this post. But they can be set at the campaign level. Google will default this to achieve the goal you specified in the campaign set up. More often than not, the aim of a campaign will be to maximise conversions. However, in order for this to work, you’ll need to make sure conversions are correctly set up (again, one for another blog post).
Many PPC traditionalists still use manual CPC – which means that we choose how much we’re willing to pay for a click. If you’re in any doubt, I’d recommend using manual CPC to begin with and turn off ‘enhanced CPC’. This means we can get a good idea how much each click will cost and can manage the bidding accordingly. Once we have gathered some data, we will be able to change bids and then decide is a bidding strategy is right for us.
Include Search Partners
Search partners expand the reach of your campaign to non-Google partner websites. There is much debate as to whether to keep these enabled (by default) or to disable them. Our recommendation is to keep these enabled and analyse the data after a few weeks to make a more informed decision. Don’t worry, search partners tend to drive a lot of impressions but very few clicks, so they won’t spend all of your budget.
Include Display Network
This option allows us to choose whether we want our search ads to appear on the display network. We have seen this work for some clients, but not for others. Our recommendation is to disable this. If we want to target the display network, we should create a separate campaign that has both display (banner) ads and search ads. This way, we can control how much we spend on the display network and manage this separately.
We can choose when we want the campaign to start. More often than not, it’ll be on the same day as we upload the campaign, however, you may decide you want the campaign to go live on a day in the future.
Some campaigns may need to have an end date and this is where we can choose this. Perhaps you may need to stop a campaign a week before Christmas to allow for delivery or you have chosen to run a display campaign for 3 weeks to coincide with a TV advert.
Google Ads gives us the option to only show ads during certain times of the day or days of the week. This can be added in the ‘Ad Schedule’ setting. Most companies are open for business 24/7, as even if they are not working, they can still take enquiries. However, some businesses may want to save valuable budget by only advertising during their opening hours. For example, a local pizza delivery shop who opens between 5-10pm may only choose to advertise during these hours.
We can’t really make a recommendation here as it will vary from business to business. But websites are open 24/7, so we’d recommend leaving your ad schedule blank and then assess the data to decide whether one needs to be added.
Desktop/Mobile/Tablet Bid Adjustment
This is pretty self-explanatory, but we are able to set bid adjustments for different devices. We recommend keeping this blank to begin with, but checking device performance every month or so to see if each campaign warrants a bid adjustment.
Keep this as optimise as Google will show the best performing ads more frequently. This only needs to change if you plan on running your own test where you want each of your ads to be shown an even amount. But with the introduction of responsive search ads (RSAs) there’s so many different variables to track, ad copy tests will be difficult to run.
This only applies to Display and Video campaigns, where we can cap the number of times our ad is seen or viewed. You can select the number of impressions or views you would like to set a cap at per day, per week or per month.
If your ad is seen too many times the message may wear off on the user, but it can help with brand recall. If your ad isn’t seen enough, users may not remember your brand.
Google Ads uses a variety of signals to understand which language the user knows. These signals could include query language and user settings. This campaign setting allows us to choose which users we target based on their language. Our recommendation is to set this as ‘All Languages’, particularly when using English ads in the UK. Most people in the UK tend to search in English, but setting this to ‘All Languages’ helps to prevent any missed opportunities.
This refers to the locations you would like to target. This can be done at a country, city, town, neighbourhood or even a postcode level. Some advertisers with smaller budgets may choose to target a smaller area to test their campaign. Locations can be segmented if you know that your target market is based in a particular area. This helps to use budget efficiently and prevents wasted spend.
The targeting you set will depend entirely on your business and who you want to target.
This is a setting for Display and Video campaigns only. Google gives us the option to prevent our ads from appearing on certain websites or videos. This can be useful for brand protection purposes. We would always recommend excluding ads from appearing on any ‘Sensitive Content’.
This is a setting that needs changing. The default setting for this is ‘people in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations’. Let’s say that we add the UK as a location for us to target. Using the default targeting method setting, our ads could show to somebody in Australia, as long as they have an interest in the UK. This is one of the settings that many advertisers would miss and they would be wasting budget on targeting users who are outside of their key locations.
We recommend setting this to ‘people in, or regularly in your targeted locations’. This option means that our ads will target users who live in, work in or visit our targeted locations.
This setting refers to any negative locations and is one way to control clicks from outside your target areas. We can add location exclusions and apply the setting ‘people in your excluded locations’ to tell Google that we do not want our ads to show to users in any of these locations.
We recommend uploading a list of all countries you do not want to show ads in as this will prevent any clicks and wasted spend from these locations.
Dynamic Search Ads Settings
The settings in this section only refer to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA). If you are running DSAs then these will all be sorted in the set up of your campaign. However, to run through them briefly, you will add your website domain so Google knows which website to crawl data from. The language is self explanatory. The targeting source will default to ‘Google’s index of your website’ and we recommend keeping it as this.
This applies if you are using campaign level audience segments. If you are, this setting allows us to choose whether we want to only target these segments, or observe the performance of them. If we’re targeting keywords in search campaigns, we recommend keeping this as ‘observation’ so that we target everybody searching for these terms. However, you may only want to target users in your audience list who are searching for your keywords. If this is the case, change the flexible reach to ‘targeting’.
If you are using third party tracking, you can choose to add this here so it is applied to all ad groups/keywords/ads within this campaign. Most third party tools that integrate with Google Ads will add this automatically, so there’s no need for us to upload anything. But just check this with your provider.
Labels & Comments
Labels are a great way of grouping campaigns and can help with reporting. They’re not a necessity, but if you’d like to label a campaign you can do it here.
To summarise, some of these settings will already be correct, but some need to be changed in order to get your campaign working better.
If you’re still having trouble with your PPC campaigns, have a read of our blog post about wasted PPC budget.
Alternatively, give 505 Digital a shout and we can take a look at what’s going on and hopefully get you on the right track.