How to set up an AdWords account
Although paid search can be a complicated business, you’ll be pleased to know that setting up an account with AdWords is a straightforward affair that be completed in a matter of minutes. In this guide, you’ll learn how to sign up for a Google AdWords or AdWords Express account - but before we do that, we’ll consider the advantages and disadvantages of each platform so that you can decide which is the most appropriate for your business.
AdWords vs. AdWords Express
Google AdWords is a powerful pay-per-click advertising platform that is capable of running text, image and even video ads across a range of networks. AdWords offers an array of sophisticated targeting methods, keyword match types and ad formats, as well as the option to automate common procedures and generate insightful performance reports. Then again, if you’re a small business without much time to dedicate to A/B testing ads or researching new keywords, then AdWords Express might be the way to go.
AdWords Express is essentially a simplified, automated version of AdWords. All you need to do is provide some basic information about your business and set a daily advertising budget, and Google will take care of ads, targeting and bid management automatically. You don’t even need a website: with AdWords Express, you can direct users to a Google My Business page instead.
The downside of AdWords Express is that you can only target people in your local area, and you have very little control over the keywords that trigger your ads. You’re also limited to the basic text ad format. AdWords Express is best suited to small businesses who don’t have the time to maintain a fully-fledged AdWords account. It’s also the only option if you don’t have your own website.
AdWords, on the other hand, is suitable for medium to large businesses who want complete control over their bids, keywords and ad formats. That said, it can take a little time to get to grips with the platform, especially when it comes to more sophisticated setups. Depending on the size of your business, you’ll need to devote at least five hours per week to running your account - in fact, many business hire a dedicated PPC executive, or even outsource the job to an agency.
If terms like ‘keyword match types’ and ‘A/B testing’ have left you scratching your head, you might want to check out our jargon-busting PPC glossary before proceeding. Once you’ve got a handle on the basic terms of paid search advertising and you’ve decided which platform to use, read on to find out how to set up your first account.
Set up an AdWords Express account
1. Navigate to www.google.com/adwords/express and click the green ‘Sign up’ button. You’ll be asked to sign into your Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account, click on the hyperlink that says ‘Create account’ and follow the instructions on screen.
2. You should now see the ‘Welcome’ screen. Click on the blue button that says ‘Get Started’.
3. On the following screen, enter your business name and website URL. If you don’t have a website, follow the link that says ‘Create a free Google My Business listing on Google Maps’.
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of an AdWords Express account. You will now be asked to pick the goal of your new campaign. From here you can choose the goal, the parameters and the overall budget of your new campaign by following the on screen instructions.
Set up an AdWords account
1. Point your web browser to www.google.co.uk/adwords and click the blue ‘Try AdWords Now’ button.
2. You’ll be taken to a screen that says ‘Welcome to Google AdWords!’. Click on the blue hyperlink that says ‘Skip the guided set-up’.
3. Enter your email address, country, time zone and currency - double check to make sure that these details are correct, as you won’t be able to change them later on.
4. If the email address you entered does not have a Google Account assigned to it, you will be asked to create one. Enter your name, email address, date of birth, phone number and location. Create a strong password, ideally containing a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
5. Click ‘Next step’ and agree to the terms and conditions
6. At this point, you’ll be taken to the AdWords interface. If you had to create a new Google Account during the registration process, a verification link will have been sent to the email address you used to sign up. Simply click on the link and you’ll be taken to the AdWords interface.
And that’s all there is to it. Now that you’ve set up an account and you’re ready to start creating your first campaign!