How do ad groups work?

In a previous post, I described campaigns as a house that organizes all of your ad groups, keywords, and ads. If campaigns are the house, then ad groups are the rooms in the house. Like rooms, ad groups have a certain theme and its keywords and ads apply to that theme. Before creating my ad groups in my Google Ads account, I like to open up a Google Spreadsheet and start organizing lists of themes. I’ll do industry analysis and keywords research to understand what people in my market are interested in. This helps to broad my focus and catch ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of. In this post, I’ll explore what ad groups are and the best practices for creating them.

Ads Groups organize the keywords and ads into themes

Keywords allow your ads to show on specific searches

Ads provide users with info about your product or services

Ad Groups are based on themes that are relevant to your products or services. Some examples of ad group themes are desserts, beverages, and snacks. In the desserts ad group, some of the keywords might be chocolate chip ice cream, carrot cake, and blueberry cupcakes. If you were a real estate agent, some of your ad groups might be selling houses, buying houses, or top real estate agent. You want to make sure that your ad group themes are relevant to the services and products that you sell.

Pro tip: When creating your first ad groups, build for simplicity. As your account grows, it will become more and more complex. By starting off simple, your keywords and ads will be better organized.


You can set bids at the campaign, ad group, and keyword level. Creating your first a group, you are prompted to set a default bid. This bid will apply to all your keywords when you first create them. If you add new keywords the group, the default bid will apply to them too. After your ad group has been created, you can adjust your keyword bids accordingly. Please note, your default bid doesn’t doesn’t limit how much you spend per ad group. You can only limit your spend by adjusting your keyword bids and campaign budget.


Your keywords allow you to control what searches your ads appear on. If you’re a real estate agent, some of your keywords might be “real estate agents near me”, “real estate agents in my area”, or “top real estate agent”. When a user searches on Google for top real estate agents in the area, your ads could appear.

There are a few different keyword match types that allow you to control what kind of searches your ad appears on. The five keyword types are broad match, broad modified, phrase match, exact match, and negative.

Broad Match
Your ad can show up on any searches related to your keyword. For example, if you are a real estate agent and your keyword was top real estate agent, then you could possibly show up on searches for:
– top real estate agent in my area
– what’s a top real estate agent
– how can I become a top real estate agent

– real estate agents top scores

Be very careful when using broad match keywords. They have the potential to show up on almost anything and can cost you a ton of money if not used correctly.

Broad Match Modified
Your ad can only show up on searches that contain keywords with a plus sign. For example, if your keyword was +top +real +estate +agent, then the searches you could show up on are:
– where’s a top real estate agent at
– top salary for real estate agent
– top real estate agent in my city

– top schools for real estate agents

Broad match modified gives you a bit more control than just broad match but be careful when you use it.

Phrase Match
Your ad will only show on searches that contain your keyword phrase. For example, if your keyword phrase is “top real estate agent”, then your ad could potentially show on searches for:
– top real estate agent in my area
– find me a top real estate agent
– top real estate agent near me

– how much do top real estate agents cost

Unlike broad match modified, you’ll noticed your keyword phrase isn’t broken up. There are no words in between. Only at the end or beginning. I like using phrase match because it gives me more control.

Exact Match
Your ad will only show on searches that exactly match your keyword. After Google’s recent update to its algorithm, exact match will also include variants of your keyword. Variants can be misspellings or singular or plural forms of your keyword. For example, if your keyword is [top real estate agent], your ad can show on searches for:
– top real estate agent
– top real estate agents

– top realtors

Negative Keywords
This allows you to exclude searches you don’t want your ads to appear on. For example, as a real estate agent you probably don’t want to show ads on searches for vehicles. By adding vehicles as a negative keyword, you can make sure your ad never shows on those searches.


After finding awesome keywords for your ad groups, you can start building relevant ads. Great ad copy is very important because it is how you attract uses to your site. A few great tips are using the keyword in the headline, delivering a concise message, and making it as relevant as possible.

To make your ads look bigger, you can include extensions. A few extension types you can use are sitelink extensions, structured Snippets, call out extensions, and call extensions. These are great ways to promote your product and get customers to click your ad. When writing great ad copy, make sure to follow Google’s ad policy. For more information on ads, check out my other blog posts.

  • Campaign definition
  • Setting up goals
  • Using language settings
  • Budget & Bidding Strategies

What’s a Google ad campaign?

Excellent question! A campaign in your Google Ads account is what organized your ad groups, keywords, and ads. It’s how you target a specific location and groups of people. Imagine you’re building a house that you want to be perfect. You know the location you want it to be in and how you want it decorated. A campaign is the same. A campaign has one or multiple set location depending on your market. Your ad groups, keywords, and ads are like the interior of the home. In order to set up a smart campaign, you first have to know how you want to build it and how much you can spend.

  1. Campaigns organize your ad groups, keywords, and ads.
  2. Campaigns can have one or more targeted locations and also target specific groups of people.

In your campaign, you can adjust settings for your budget, language, where you want your ad to show, target location, demographics, audiences, dating strategy, and more. 


One of the first steps in setting up your campaign, is choosing the right goal. You want to select a goal that matches what your marketing objective is. For example, you can choose website traffic, leads, or sales as a goal. After setting up a goal, Google will show you recommended features and settings to help you achieve this goal. But be careful when choosing a goal. By choosing a goal, you could potentially exclude certain settings that you might want to use. Besides that, goals are fantastic way to organize your campaign and ensure your hitting your objectives. 

Campaign Type 

Google gives you a couple different options for advertising on its Network. Before even creating your first campaign, you have to select which kind of campaign you want. The campaign type you choose depends on the marketing objectives you have. Here’s a breakdown of the campaign types. 

Search Campaigns 
This allows you to advertise on on the search results of either Google or its partners. Search campaigns have a pay-per-click bidding model. 
Display Campaigns 
This allows you to show your ads on different websites across the Google Display Network. You can control where you’re ad shows by using your targeting settings. 
Shopping Campaigns 
This allows you to advertised your products with product listing ads on the Google search and shopping results. Uses will see a picture of your product along with a small piece of info. 
Video Campaigns 
This allows you to show video ads on YouTube and the Display Network. These ads can appear in the YouTube search results or when someone is watching a video. 
App Campaigns 
This allows you to advertise your app on Google search, display, Google Play, and YouTube. Google uses responsive ads to effectively promote your app across its networks. 

Google Networks 

Depending on your campaign type and marketing objectives, you can choose which network you want your ads to appear on. Google has three primary networks: Google search Network, Google Display Network, and the YouTube Network. Whether or not your ad will show on these networks, depends on your campaign type. For example, the search Network can you show display ads. And you wouldn’t want to run search ads on the YouTube Network. 
Simply put, if you are running search ads, can you use the search Network. If you are running display, app, or video ads use the Display Network. 

Target Location 

Using specific target locations will help you tailor your ads and keywords to your Market. In your campaign settings, you can choose locations and languages that you want to target. Google gives you the option to target locations by radius, cities, County, zip codes, or countries. When choosing your location targeting, you can select to target people in your location or who are interested in your location. 
You have the ability to target people based on their language. Google goes off the language setting on the user’s browser. If you wish to target just English speakers, you can set the language setting to just English. Pro tip: try adjusting your language setting to all languages. If the user’s brass faucet to Spanish but they are using your keywords, then they understand English or the language you are advertising. 


Using audiences is a great way to target people with specific interests, intents, and demographic information. There are a number of ways you can utilize the power of audiences but make sure it aligns with your marketing objectives. Each campaign type has a different set of ways to use audiences. You wouldn’t use your audiences on your search campaigns the same way you would on your display campaign. 
A few things to consider when setting up audiences are their demographics, interests, and intent. What is their gender and how much do they make? What kind of things are they interested in? Are they ready to make a purchase? 
Audiences also allow you to set up a remarketing campaign to target people who have visited your site but didn’t convert. This is a cheap and effective way to bring visitors back to your site. In another post, I go over remarketing audiences and campaigns. 


It’s crucial you know how much you are willing to spend before you set your campaign up. Depending on your industry and location, Google ads can either be expensive or affordable. I highly recommend doing competitor research just to understand your industry and how much others are spending. In your campaign, you can set a daily budget. This tells Google how much you are willing to spend each day on your campaign. Please note, Google has the potential to spend up to 200% of your daily budget. So it’s wise to create a safety net when planning your budget. In another post, I provide an in-depth guide to budget planning. 


Bids allow you to control how much you are willing to spend per impression or click. There are a couple different ways you can bid on your ads. You can pay for clicks, Impressions, conversions, or video views. Each bed type has a different strategy that comes with it. When starting out with a brand new search campaign, I like to use a manual CPC just to understand how much the clicks cost in my industry and what the valuable keywords are. Google also has smart bidding options which allows Google to control your bid amounts. While this is great for large accounts, I wouldn’t recommend it for small accounts with little or no data. For more information on bidding strategies, see some of my latest blog posts.

“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” – Tim Berners-Lee

one man’s solution that lead to the internet

Before the internet revolution, it was very difficult to share information. In the 1980’s when the internet was just beginning to get a start, only about 15% of the U.S. population owned a computer. The machines that people did own were big, noisy, and incredibly slow. If you wanted to send your friend a file, you’d have to download it from your computer, physically walk over to their machine, and upload the file. This posed a large problem for many businesses and organizations. 

In 1989, an English engineer named Tim Berners Lee had a vision for a system that connected the world’s information. At the time he was working as a software engineer for CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory. He noticed that scientists and others at CERN regularly had difficulty retrieving information.

In an interview with he recalls, “In those days, there was different information on different computers, but you had to log on to different computers to get at it. Also, sometimes you had to learn a different program on each computer. Often it was just easier to go and ask people when they were having coffee…”

This was a problem that needed solving, and in 1989 he found the solution. He started a project based on the concept of hypertext, to make sharing information easier among researches. To demonstrate his idea, he built a software prototype called ENQUIRE. His ambition was to interlink documents from not one computer but many. ENQUIRE was a simple hypertext program that allowed him to do just that. This was the start to the world wide web, but soon he realized more was needed to connect the world.

In 1990, he wrote the first application to view the web called the World Wide Web. It was later renamed Nexus so as not to be confused with the abstract term World Wide Web. This allowed people to visit pages, share docs and information, and do so much more.