How To Setup Google Ads From Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide

Google ads setup blog cover photo

Table of Contents


How to Setup Google Ads From Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Ideal Account Settings


Ah yes – you’re finally looking to take the leap and set up your first ever Google Ads account so that you can get your hands on some proper marketing, and hopefully get some leads or sales in the door through your very own tailored ads.

Good choice! But you might have absolutely no idea how to firstly set up and run Google Ads, and secondly, manage the platform to get more eyeballs on your business.

We’re going to make this really easy for you, and show you how to do everything from scratch, like scratch scratch. Strap in and pull up a browser alongside our blog post for the most efficiency – it’ll probably save you some time flicking back and forth. Let’s get into it.

Getting onto Google Ads

Firstly, you’ll need a Google account. Set up a fresh account with a Gmail address if you aren’t already using Google (you may currently be using Hotmail or Outlook). 

New google account login screen

You’ll also need this further down the line if you decide to set up tracking using Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics.

They all work together within Google’s advertising ecosystem, so you may as well get this done now so you don’t have to come back to it later.

Once you’ve got your new shmick Google Gmail account, head to the browser home page, navigate to the top right of your browser, and click on the ‘Google Apps’ icon that has 9 small circles and looks like this:

google gmail home screen with gmail apps tab open

Once you’ve cracked the Google Apps list open, scroll down and find Google Ads. Give it a click, and Hooray! You’ve made it to Google’s advertising website. 

Simply click ‘Start now’ at the top right of the page, and so your journey begins into setting up your first Google Smart Campaign.

Google ads website home page

Bypassing the Google ‘Smart’ Campaign

Firstly, what is a Google Smart Ad Campaign, and do you really need to care about the information you input here? A Google Smart Campaign is Google’s simplest and most basic way of getting new users onto the platform, with ads that are up and running as soon as possible. 

For various reasons, this type of campaign is very limited and is very rarely the optimal choice for advertisers. Although it may be the fastest and easiest way to get up and running, I reckon we can do a little bit better (at least). 

LUCKILY, Google has recently provided us the option to skip through the campaign setup portion, allowing users like yourself to provide the initial business name and goal (most commonly your goal will be ‘website’), before bypassing the Smart Campaign using the ‘Create an account without a campaign’ button. Let’s do that.

Google ads setup smart campaign skip

Click this will take you through to the next page, with some obvious inputs that you SHOULD know the answers to (country, time zone, and currency). Click next once again, and you’ll end up on a page that requests that you set up a payment profile. 

Google ads setup payment profile screen

You’ll need to provide your payment details here now, which will automatically allow you to start spending money as soon as your account is ready to go. There are a few payment thresholds that you should probably know about before you start spending. Here’s a quick breakdown (feel free to skip this summary if you don’t care!).


Payment Profile Thresholds

Your Google payment threshold profile is basically Google’s allowance that it gives you to warm up your account. Google will naturally allow you to spend small amounts before requiring further action to unlock the ability to spend more per day & month. Here’s a quick list of the Australian advertiser thresholds, which may differ from other countries. 

Google ads payment thresholds

What this tells us, is that as soon as you spend $10 on advertising through the platform, you’ll need to verify account details. Once you spend $15, you’ll need to verify your payment method, and finally, you’ll get charged once you’ve spent $100. Once you hit the first $100 threshold, you’ll then officially have to make a payment, which will then up your threshold to a larger amount before having to make a payment.

Alternatively, If you do not hit this threshold amount within any given month, Google Ads will charge you your ad spend on the 1st of the following month.

Google also has its own list here, which provides the thresholds for all countries.

As a quick note, Google will also advertise any promotional offers on this page, such as the ‘Spend $600, get $600’ offer which is currently active as of when this article was written (27/02/2024). Keep in mind this is subject to change. Slap your payment info in and let’s move on.

Next, we’ll arrive at a policy screen that tells you about policy verifications. Since we have not set any actual campaigns up yet, we can ignore this, although you should note that any campaign that is launched may have a policy verification and learning phase that can take anywhere from 1-5 days, and may delay your campaign launch.

Google ads setup account review slide

Let’s continue to move on.


Setting Up Google Website Tracking

Righto, things are starting to get a tad more daunting… But no need to worry, I’ve got you covered. Our next task is to set up basic website tracking, which can actually be a lot easier than you think. Since the second option is to install the Google Tag through code (what Google puts on your website to retrieve your website’s data), we’re going to skip this completely and stick to our first tracking option: Install a tracking ID through your hosting service or commerce platform.

Google ads tracking implementation

Copy your Google Tag code, and head over to whichever platform you are deciding to host your website from, whether that’s Shopify, WordPress, Wix, or another. Most website platforms will have an option to simply input this tag code in the marketing/tracking options of the website. Wix tracking and Shopify tracking work this way, with WordPress also allowing you to install tracking plugins (such as SiteKit) that simplify this process, also giving you a single box to add this code to. 

We want to keep this process AS FAR away from confusing code as possible. I can confidently say that even though I know what I’m doing, having to deal with code still shits me.

Continue to the next page once your G-tag is firing properly, and tick the ‘enhanced conversions’ box before moving on again. This essentially just tracks a user’s hashed email or phone number so that we know the same user is converting when forms are submitted multiple times or are submitted across multiple devices/accounts (essentially just improves our tracking transparency).

There is pretty much no downside here, so we’ll take it. As a note, this will become extremely valuable going forward in 2024 and beyond as advertisers aren’t able to use cookies and data.

Google ads enhanced conversion setup


Anddddd We’re In – Setting Up Your Google Ads Workspace

Great, you’ve done the annoying part that you’ll hopefully never have to do again! First things first, let’s change your Google Ads workspace layout back to the older version because it’s a lot simpler and easy to understand. 

Google ads workspace layout change

Most people you learn from online will be using the older layout so it’ll make more sense in the long run. Here’s what it should look like in all of its ✨glory✨:

Google ads traditional layout view


Optimising Your Google Account Settings:

Now that we’ve made it to ground zero, we can quickly fix up a few account settings and make some tweaks that will help you get the most out of your ad spend. We won’t go into setting up conversion actions and actual ad campaigns just yet (maybe we’ll go in-depth on these in another blog), but we’ll get your ads account into the best shape possible so that you’re prepped and ready to kick some goals.


1. Google Ads Verification

What is your Google Ads verification? This is essentially a business verification process that you can fill out and submit in order to prove that a business name belongs to you. This usually includes providing the platform with your business address and certificate of incorporation. If you’re a sole trader and only have an ABN, you can still submit your ABN certificate to get verified.

Google ads business verification setup

How to verify your business:

Head up to the top of your Google Ads workspace and click on ‘tools and settings’. Scroll to the right column labeled ‘billing’ and then you’ll be able to find ‘advertiser verification’ listed on the left.

Start the verification process and provide Google with the specific information it asks for until your account is successfully verified (sometimes this process can take a few days). You should only have to do this once every few years, as it can occasionally reset and make you verify again to keep your account up to date.

Google ads complete advertiser verification

Benefits of being verified:

Outside of having your potential ad reach increased, here are a few reasons why you should consider verifying your business within Google Ads:

  • Ability to graphically show your logo in ads
  • Ability to use your business branded terms within your ad (your ad will get flagged if you use other business names within your ads)
  • Priority support from the Google Ads Support Team
  • Exclusive verified badge on your ads
  • A large increase in brand trust and credibility from users who find your ads (because of the above reasons)

Google ads max convert SERP listing

Ultimately just get this process over and done with… It’s VERY worth the 10 minutes it takes. Google may also eventually give you a deadline and pause your campaigns anyway if not verified, so you may as well do it as soon as you create your account.


2. Google Ads Placement Exclusions (Apps & Gaming)

What are Google Ads placement exclusions? These are simply any ad placement slots that you DON’T want your advertisement to be shown in. This is important as there are a large number of placements that don’t benefit most advertisers, and lead to a bunch of wasted ad spend from ads being shown to people who will never actually click on them.

An example of this that we’ll be implementing is the gaming and app placements, as they tend to provide very low click-through rates and waste important ad money that we can use elsewhere. We can all assume that app/game users won’t want to leave their app to check out your ad, but most advertisers don’t know exactly how to prevent this. This is how:

Head to the top tools and settings menu, then click on ‘placement exclusion lists’. From here, click the ‘+’ and create a new list. 

Google ads placement exclusion tab

From here, we want to scroll down to app categories and simply remove any of the app categories that don’t fit your business or brand (we like to remove ALL of them as we don’t put much value on app users in general). Once you’ve chosen and saved your selection, your ads will no longer be served to these users, and you’ll be able to use your money more effectively.

Google ads app category placement exclusion


3. Linking Google Ads to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

If you have a Google Analytics account set up and ready to go, then you should probably link it to your Google Ads account so that your data is tracked consistently between the two platforms (giving you the most transparency when it comes to site statistics). I’ll provide a very brief few steps below, although there’s a much better in-depth breakdown from MeasureSchool that can help you fully understand the process.

  1. As per usual, head to tools and settings at the top of your Google Ads workspace and then click on ‘Data Manager’ within the setup column.Google ads data manager tab
  2. Click on “Google Analytics (GA4) & Firebase.”
  3. Choose the GA4 account you want to link and then proceed to your import settings.
  4. Select your favourable import settings and click on “link” to fully complete the setup
  5. Optionally you can also import existing audiences from GA4 and use these audiences for your Google Ads campaign targeting. This helps to find the right users, who will ultimately think you’re providing more personalised content, as opposed to random users finding non personalised content.
  6. We’d also recommend using this GA4 account to import conversion events instead of having to create a second copy of each website conversion action in Google Ads.


Other Google Search Ads Tools That Are Worth Noting Prior to Campaign Launch

1. Google Keyword Planner

What is the Google search keyword planner, and why is it one of our most powerful tools when planning out ad groups? The keyword planner (once again found in the tools and settings drop-down menu) is an awesome way of looking at both historical and future predictive data to get a better idea of how your tailored ads, based on your industry, might run before they’re even set up.

In its simplest form, it provides users with keyword search volume, average bidding costs, traffic increase/decrease trends, and more, so that users can make informed decisions prior to spending money.

Google ads keyword planner tab


Here are some things to consider:

Keyword exploration and planning

The tool can help to provide information about your chosen keywords, whilst also providing new keywords that are relevant that you might not have already thought of. This helps to consider every angle of a search or PMAX campaign.

Budget Planning

The keyword planner can help you figure out how much your campaign will cost to run, as it gives insight into the upper limit of a keyword’s cost per click (CPC), whilst also showing the keyword’s cheapest click price. Based on these figures, you can roughly estimate a campaign’s reach based on your daily budget.

Keyword competitiveness

The tool provides keyword ‘bid estimates’ (essentially how much people are currently paying), giving insight into competitiveness and how many other advertisers are bidding on your search terms, ultimately driving up advertising costs.

Long-tail keyword planning

Users looking to find supporting long-tail keywords can also use this tool to flesh out all angles that should be considered when trying to dominate a niche or topic in your campaign. This helps to find high-quality users who may be searching for your product/service via a question or statement, rather than just a single keyword.

Google ads keyword planner page


2. Google Policy Manager

Probably the second most important tool to note is Google’s ‘policy manager’. You may not need this initially, but as you advertise more and more, this may become a common area for you to be looking at depending on your industry of choice.

Google ads policy manager

The policy manager is where Google shows and notifies you of any advertising policy violations that have limited or fully stopped your ads from advertising. From experience, this is EXTREMELY common within touchy industries such as health/medicine, finance, gambling, alcohol/drugs, and adult content – just to name a few. You’ll also find a drastic decrease in clicks AND audience engagement, as Google will be forced to show your ads to a much smaller audience who aren’t as ideal.

Fortunately, the whole point of this tool is for Google to show you exactly what is crossing policy lines, detailed explanations as to why you’ve been flagged, as well as suggested fixes and resolutions to get your ads back on track. It also provides a handy ‘appeal’ option for most violations in case you think the policy bot is at fault. Below is an image of what a f*cked account looks like, so we hope your account hasn’t ended up like this…

Google ads policy violations on account

Remember to keep an eye on your policy violations tab, and regularly review the account for anything that may limit your results going forward. We all hate getting caught off-guard, right?



To finally sum this article up, we’ve run through how to set up a Google Ads account from scratch, whilst optimising it with the correct campaign settings and tweaks that give you the best start on the platform. From making the original Google Account to turning off placements so that you don’t waste money, you should now be up to speed and ready to launch some actual ads.

Remember to plan your ads out in advance and use Google’s keyword planner tool to check search volume, competition, and average costs. Also remember to regularly check your privacy policy tab, ensuring that you haven’t crossed any lines along the way.

It’s time to get some leads, and whilst you’re up on the diving block, everyone else is starting from the pool’s edge. Buckle in for our next article in which we show you exactly how to plan, implement, and manage your first Google Ad campaigns. We don’t want you competing on the digital landscape, we want you to DOMINATING. Strap in, let’s get cooking.

Google ads ecommerce shop results

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