10.1. Signing up for an Account
To create an AdWords account, start by opening the Google AdWords home page at https://adwords.google.com/select/. Open an account using the Click to Begin button under the Sign Up Now headline (Figure 10-1).
10.1.1. Targeting Customers
The first window that opens involves targeting customers (Figure 10-2).
Figure 10-1. Google makes it very easy to sign up for AdWords
This window is used to provide a name for the Ad Group you are creating (see the nearby sidebar "Ad Campaigns and Ad Groups" for more on Google's AdWords terminology).
Next, choose a language for your ad from the long list of available languages in the Target customers by language drop-down list.
Figure 10-2. You can target customers by language and location
Finally, target a geographic area. The choices are:
Click Continue. The window that will open depends upon your choice of geographic targeting.
10.1.1.1. Global and national targeting
If you choose to target global or nationwide customers (the most common and simplest choice), you'll see a window with two list boxes like that shown in Figure 10-3. The list box on the left shows the available countries you can choose from, and the list box on the right shows the countries you have selected. Use the Add and Remove buttons until you are satisfied with your selection of countries.
Figure 10-3. When you target customers by country, you can choose All Countries (the world) or a specific country (or countries)
10.1.1.2. Regional and city targeting
Regional and city targeting is a useful choice if you suspect that the bulk of your customers may come from a specific region or city within a country. For example, a service that supplies inflatable jumpers and slides for children's birthday parties located in the San Francisco area is unlikely to get customers from outside the Bay Area. It is likely this business will want to target only the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metropolitan area within California. Alternatively, some advertisers may target cities and regions as a way to reach specific demographics. For example, if you are selling agricultural products online, you may wish to target very carefully areas that do not include major cities.
Although you pay for ads only when they are clicked, targeting ads to customers for whom they are relevant still is in your best interests, because targeted ads will produce higher click throughs, and Google will give ads with a demonstrable track record of high CTRs better placement.
Use the Add button to move regions and/or cities from the Available areas list box to the Selected areas list box shown in Figure 10-4. When you are satisfied with your selection or selections, click Continue.
Figure 10-4. Regional targeting is available for many countries, including the United States
10.1.1.3. Custom geographic targeting
Custom geographic targeting is primarily intended to benefit businesses with a very local focus. For example, if you deliver pizza, it makes sense to limit your advertising to potential customers within your delivery area.
Targeting customers by location involves two steps (both shown in Figure 10-5):
Figure 10-5. Google's extraordinary mapping and geospatial capabilities are the resources used to provide you with a number of different ways to target locations
If you are delivering pizzas, your service area may not be exactly a circle and may in fact be a highly irregular area, for example, an area comprising the communities of North Berkeley, Kensington, and Albany (all in California). To target an area based on any kind of shape, click the multipoint option link shown in Figure 10-5. The Multi-Point Option window, shown in Figure 10-6 will open.
Figure 10-6. In the real world, neighborhoods containing potential customers are contained in irregular areas, and Google lets you specify these with the multipoint location option
Each of the pairs of latitude and longitude coordinates you enter in the text box shown in Figure 10-6 becomes a point in the two-dimensional shape that Google draws to target an irregular, custom area.
Whether you choose a circular custom geographic area by radius, or define a custom area using latitude/longitude points, click Continue when you are ready to move on to the next step.
10.1.2. Creating an Ad
The next step is to create an actual ad using the window shown in Figure 10-7.
As you can see in Figure 10-7, an ad consists of the following elements:
When a user clicks the hyperlinked Headline on your ad, an address on one of the Google ad servers is opened. The Google ad server then automatically redirects the user to the address you specified in the Destination URL field when you created the ad. This allows Google to meter the click throughs on your ad, so that Google can assign you, the advertiser, a CPC-based charge and pay an AdSense CPC-based fee to the web site on which your ad that was clicked appeared as applicable.
Providing the ability for you to use distinct display and actual (destination) URLs also gives you some flexibility when you create your ads. For example, you can use this capability to display a single, simple URL for your site while directing click throughs on different versions of your ad to different internal portions of your site. You can also embed information in the destination URL to programmatically track where clicks are coming from (see Part IV for more information).
Of course, the mechanics of creating an ad are not nearly as important as understanding how to craft an ad that will get people's attention and make them want to click your link and also not violate Google's editorial policies (for more on Google's policies, see the box "Complying with Google's Editorial Guidelines" later in this chapter).
Generally, you should realize that AdWords ads are very short. Specifically, when you create an AdWords ad, you have 130 characters, including spaces and the display URL. These characters are divided as shown in Table 10-1.
10.1.3. Crafting an Ad
If you stop to think about it, these four lines, with their rigid maximum number of characters, present a writing challenge a bit like that involved in writing a formal haiku (a Japanese poetic form with three lines and a specific, limited syllable count for each line):
You'll want to abbreviate and be as succinct as possible, while still being intelligible and inviting. The best AdWords ads don't bang surfers on the head, rather they appear to provide a solid and calm way to get information or services needed by the reader of the ad (who, after all, has already been prequalified by ad targeting). Good AdWords ads are pared down to the essentials.
The following guidelines are also basic to crafting good AdWords copy:
For example, the ad:
will probably generate a respectable click-through rate if properly targeted. The ad is clear, simple, and informative and contains an implicit call to action.
In contrast, the following ad for the same merchandise is poorly written and contains too much jargon (although perfectly acceptable under Google's editorial guidelines). Most prospects will probably be unclear about what the ad is selling and what benefits clicking the link will provide:
When you are satisfied with your ad, click Continue to move to the next step. After you click Continue, Google will test your ad to make sure that the URLs you supplied are valid and to see if the ad complies with editorial policies (see previous box). Assuming all is in order, the Choose keywords window will open.
10.1.4. Choosing Keywords
The next step is to choose the keywords or phrases that you will be running your ad against, using the window shown in Figure 10-8. The keywords or phrases you select will determine which search results pages your ad appears on. Users will see the ad when they search for the keyword or phrase in Google. If you've elected to display your ad on the Google AdSense network as well, your keywords are used by Google to determine relevancy for placement purposes. (See "Ad Groups" later in this chapter for information about targeting Google search, content, or both with an ad.)
The keywords or phrases you choose will also determine the cost of your ad. Enter the keywords you would like to target in the text box shown on the left of Figure 10-8.
Figure 10-8. "Digital photo" and "aperture" are examples of keywords; you can even use special characters within your keywords, as "f/stop" does
If you can't think of the best words to target, or even if you think you have a pretty good idea of which keywords and phrases make the most sense for targeting your ad, it's a good idea to use the Keyword Tool , shown in Figure 10-9, to get additional ideas for keywords and phrases to target.
To use the Keyword Tool, once you've opened the Choose keywords window, enter a keyword or phrase in the text box on the right side of the window and click Get More Keywords. The Keyword Tool will show two lists of keywords:
Check the boxes next to the keywords in the Keyword Tool window you would like to add to your keyword list, and click Add Selected Keywords. Next, back in the Choose Keywords window, click Continue.
Figure 10-9. The Keyword Tool can help you come up with "more, better, or different" keywords
10.1.5. Setting Pricing
The next step is to set up the economics of your new ad. You'll need to:
Google will by default set the maximum CPC, as well as a daily budget for you (you can see these settings in Figure 10-10), but most of the time you should take care to override Google's idea of the size of your wallet and set your own maximum CPC and daily budgets.
Figure 10-10. By setting a maximum cost per click (CPC) and a daily budget, you are establishing both how much you are willing to pay for a click and how much your credit card is likely to be charged
Click Continue to move on to the next step.
10.1.6. Reviewing Your Account
You now have the opportunity to review and edit your selections for your new ad group (Figure 10-11).
Figure 10-11. A final review screen gives you a chance to change your selections if you have second thoughts
When everything is the way you want it, click Continue to go on to the Sign up window.
10.1.7. Signing Up
In the Sign up window, shown in Figure 10-12, enter a valid email address and a password that is seven characters or longer.
Figure 10-12. At this stage of the sign-up process, all you need to provide are a valid email address and a password
Click Create My AdWords Account. This phase of your account creation is now complete.
10.1.8. Providing Payment Information and Activating Your Account
Once you've created your AdWords account by completing the steps needed to create an Ad Group, and an ad, and providing a valid email address (along with a password), Google will send you an email containing a link. You must click this link to verify the email address you supplied.
After you've clicked the link to verify your email address, you can use the email you supplied and your password to log on to your AdWords account. The first time you log on, AdWords will note that your account hasn't been activated (signified by the text in the pink box at the top of Figure 10-13).
To activate your account, open the My Account tab and click the Billing Preferences link. The Account Setup window will open (Figure 10-14).
In the Account Setup window, select the country in which you (or your business) are located and click Continue.
Next, the Terms window will open. Review the AdWords terms and conditions and print a copy for your files if you like. Continue with the activation process by selecting the Yes radio button and clicking Continue. The Form of Payment window, shown in Figure 10-15, will open.
Figure 10-13. Once your email address has been validated, you can log on to your account (which hasn't yet been activated)
Figure 10-14. The first step in activating your account is to tell Google the country in which you are located
Figure 10-15. If you are located in the United States, your only payment option is to post-pay by credit or debit card
Click Continue to enter your credit card information, contact information, and business type, as shown in Figure 10-16.
To enter your card information, choose a card type from the Type of card drop-down list and provide the requested information. Next, provide your name, billing address, and telephone contact information. The penultimate step in the account creation process is to tell Google whether your business is categorized as business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) and to select a specific category of B2B or B2C business. Google's B2B and B2C categorieswhich are somewhat idiosyncratic and do not correspond to government business categorization schemes or any recognized taxonomy of businessesare shown in Table 10-2.
Figure 10-16. Activating your account is as simple as entering your credit card information, address, and business type
Finally, click Save and Activate. Congratulations! You now have an active AdWords account containing an Ad Campaign (named Campaign #1), the Ad Group you created, and a running ad within the Ad Group, targeted against the keywords you chose, using the budget you designated.