Create your first Google Ads lead campaign

In this article, I will walk you through creating your very first campaign on Google Ads.

Since I wrote this post, I’ve been aware of a new bidding strategy that is more powerful. The community has been doing quite differently for the past months. Ignore references to Max CPV in this post. Use target CPA instead!
I learned how to run paid advertising on Google Ads through this Internet marketing training. If you are curious about the program, you can register for our complimentary video training series. You will learn how we help people build the skills they need to profit online in the digital economy.

Google AdWords vs Google Ads vs Google AdSense

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an advertising platform. You use Google Ads to drive targeted traffic to your website, in the hope that some of this traffic converts to sales. Advertisers pay Google a certain amount per ad click.

Google AdSense is for content creators (publishers, bloggers, etc) to host ads on their website and make money out of it when people consume their content.

Create a new campaign

Campaign name conventions

From the start, follow the same naming convention across your campaigns.

I recommend the following system when using 1 campaign, 1 ad group, 1 ad:

<targetting / campaign type>:<your - keywords/topic - here>-<country>-<desktop | mobile>-<anything else you are targeting (gender, etc.)>


  • Keyword campaign: KW:Tony-Robbins-UK-M
  • Topic campaign: T:Self-Help-UK-Mobile
  • Remarketing campaign: R:Tony-Robbins-UK-M

It’s easier to identify what campaigns you are running when looking at your list.
Don’t include any spaces in your campaign name so that you can copy-paste your campaign name in your tracking URLs as-is (advertiser link, more on this below).


How much per view are you ready to spend? When you are running campaigns on Youtube, it’s like an auction. You bid against other advertisers to get your video to an audience.

For example, if your 4 cents bid beats other advertisers, your video will show.

Bidding strategies

2 strategies available: Maximum CPV (recommended) and Target CPM (advanced).

Maximum CPV (cost-per-view)

The highest amount you’re willing to pay for someone to view your video ad.

“I’d rather have my ad to be shown to 100 people than 10 people for the same amount of money”, Dan, a successful student from SFM.

Let’s say your budget per day is $10.

At 10 cents bid per view, you get 100 views minimum.
At 1 dollar bid per view, you get 10 views minimum.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if your ad shows on a popular video or a video a bit less popular. Even if it’s a less ranked video, it’s still a video!
Lesson? Make sure your bidding is not too high. But at the same time, if you spend too little on bidding, others will always be above you… It’s a balancing act.
You will set this value at the ad group level. See below.

Target CPM

With Target CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), you set the average amount you’re willing to pay for every thousand times your ad is shown. Not recommended for your first campaign.

Budget and dates

Options available:

  • Daily
  • Campaign total

Delivery methods

2 options:

  • Standard: spend your budget evenly over time. Regulate it during the day. What times of the day do you want your campaign to run? etc. Recommended.
  • Accelerated: spend the budget as quickly as possible.


  • YouTube search results = discovery ad.
    • Ads can appear next to search results on YouTube. You can use video discovery ads only.
  • YouTube videos = in-stream ads.
    • Ads can appear on YouTube videos, channel pages, and the YouTube homepage. You can use in‑stream and video discovery ads.
  • Video partners on the Display Network: all the other sites on the internet who have google ads on them and where your ad could show up. If you click on that you expand wider than YouTube. You can test this out… the CPV may be cheaper on other networks.

“I only do in-stream ads. No display networks or search results. I don’t recommend partners. It can be any website. It can be any content. You may not want to be associated with some of that content.”, Dan from SFM.


The language of your ad.


aka Countries, Cities, States, etc.

This is the first criteria to target your audience. Exciting!

You could do different campaigns per country. Because they may have vastly different results. It’s easier to segregate, pause and stop what doesn’t work, etc.

Choose wisely. Some cities are more tech-savvy than others. Take Seattle or Vancouver, Canada for example. The tech industry is exploding over there!

You can EXCLUDE locations! Handy if you don’t want people at your work to see your ad.
Enter another location then search for something and either click on TARGET or EXCLUDE.

Third world countries

aka developing countries.

If you want to drive awareness and get a lot of views, you can select “third world” countries. Where people don’t have a lot of money to buy anything anyway, yet, this will increase your views, you may get likes, etc. First world countries (developed countries) are more expensive.

Content exclusions

You can opt-out to having your ad shown on some specific content.

Tragedy and conflict may be very interesting as they may come to self-help! Don’t tick off that one.

Conversions tracking

You need to know what works and where your leads come from.
To create a conversion: Tools &gt; Conversion &gt; New &gt; Website track purchases

Example of lead conversion

  • Name: My Leads
  • Value: N/A for lead
  • Count: Change to 1. If they refresh the Thank You page we don’t want to count that as a new conversion. The thank-you page is the “mark” where a person becomes a LEAD. It attributes the lead to the right campaign.
  • Window: 90 days. If someone views your video, but they come back 3 weeks later and signup. We still want to account for this in our stats. 1 week / 7 days.
  • Category: Lead
  • Include in conversion: Yes.

Use your conversion code snippet

Once you have created your conversion, you get a piece of code.
Go to your Thank You page.
Put that code in.
It will be verified as you get traffic.
You can install Google Tag assistant if you want to make your life easier.


You can target mobile (mobile phones) only for instance.
In the previous versions of Google Ads, you had to decrease the “bid adjustment” of other devices by 100%.
Now you just have to tick/untick your preferences.

Frequency capping

Limit how many times an ad in this campaign can show to the same user. You don’t want an ad to display 100 times a day to one person. They may report you, etc. There is an ad rank/score that can suffer from that.

You may want to adjust as follow for beginners:

  • Number of impressions: 10 per week – campaign. Cap the impressions at 10 impressions per week “for this campaign”.
  • Number of views: 3 per day per campaign. Your ad is not going to appear to the same person more than 3 views a day.

Ad schedule

When do you want your ad to run?

Not recommended for your first campaign. You would know that based on data from previous campaigns!

You have 168 hours in a week (7 days * 24 hours = 168 hours). To conclude that Tuesday 3 to 5 PM is the best time means that you had enough samples in ALL the other time slots to back up that decision. That means spending hundreds of dollars before making that change. Why hundreds? Because you want your ad to show more than once per hour. So more than 1 “data point” per hour. So more than 168 data points, maybe 10 data points per hour. That wouldn’t be much. That’s 168*10=1680 views MINIMUM.

Create your ad group

An ad group can have multiple ads in it.

Ad group name

The name can be the same as the campaign.


Who you want to reach.

  • Demographics: Gender, age, parental status, income, etc.
  • Audiences: per skillset, profession, etc.

You may want to change the Parental status to Parent only.

Content where you want your ad to show

Options are:

  • Keywords: your keywords here.
  • Placement: You pick the video you want to place your ad on! Oh my!
  • Remarketing: remarket people again. What is that? You visit a website. You leave the site. The ad will follow you for N days for that website and hopefully get you back on the site to make a purchase.
  • Topics: youtube picks what it falls into. Like Business, Motivation, etc. bigger spending here. For example, by targeting the “Autos & Vehicles” topic, your ad may appear content related to cars, trucks, etc.

Example of keywords: “Tony Robbins”.
Then click on “find related keywords”.
You can then pick more related keywords.

The keyword ideas feature is wonky and may not work anymore.
If you want keyword ideas, you can use the Keyword Planner.

You can copy dozens of keywords from the planner and paste all of them int the ad. I click on Download keyword ideas from the planner.


2 types:

  • Video placement: “I want my ad to show on this list of videos”
  • Channel placements: “I want my add to show on any video of this channel”

Video placement is finite. It’s limited traffic. Let’s say you place your ad against 1000 videos of Tony Robbins. Chances are you will have chosen the most popular – which means also, the most expensive videos! Your CPV is going to be high. It doesn’t matter what video people watch of Tony Robbins, even an unpopular one (cheaper!) the spirit is still there. For that reason, Video Placement is not recommended.

Channel placements are better though! It’s more scalable than placing your campaign on Videos. But this is not as scalable as a keyword campaign. It’s ok though when you branch off your campaigns as explained in our Google Ads strategy post.

Dan, from SFM, adds:

“I choose keywords instead of placements. The keywords are bringing a whole lot more of results. It’s also easier to scale-up – just increase your budget. As opposed to video placements where to scale-up you have to throw new videos in that will change the entire dynamic of the campaign”.


Maximum CPV bid

Explained above. Here you provide the actual value.

Dan, from SFM, advises setting the bidding to a low value to start with. Like 4 or 5 cents. More in our google ads strategies post.

Create your video ad


  • Upload your video in your channel as Unlisted.
  • Copy the public link.
  • Paste it in the “Your YouTube Video” input field.

If you don’t have a video just yet, just use a random video (even one you do not own). Just make sure to set your campaign to future start date so that it doesn’t start right away.

Fiverr if you want to hire someone to do your video ad or just help you out. I’ve recently hired someone to reduce the background noise on a video I liked.

Video ad format

Basic Options are:

  • Skippable in-stream ad: shows-up anytime while you are watching a video. In-stream ads play before, during, or after another video on YouTube or video partners on the Display Network. They give viewers the option to skip the ad after a few seconds.

  • Video discovery ad: appears when you are searching. The list of sponsored video that shows up at the top of a search in the search results. Or when you are done with a video. You don’t need a thumbnail for the video for in streams. But you do for discovery because that’s where people click to watch the ad.

We won’t cover the other video ad formats in this post: bumper ad, non-skippable in-stream ad, and out-stream ad.

Final URL

The Destination Link.

Your “target” link. The link you want the ad to redirect to.

Include tracking information in your link to know where your leads come from.
Being able to see where a customer comes from is priceless. To judge how a campaign performs.

3 types of tracking you can add to your URL on Youtube;

  • Add custom URL parameters such as ?t= (here t stands for tracking).
  • UTM tracking for integration with google analytics.
    • Example: ?utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=youtube&amp;utm_campaign=kw:tony-Robbins-canada-mobile
    • See this post from Google.

I personally only rely on UTM codes. I have them linked to my Google Analytics and my aweber account (my autoresponder). We will cover that in another post. I will walk you through my setup.

Display URL

This is your advertiser link. The user will see this link on the upper right corner, but on click, the user will e redirected to the Final URL.

It’s just a beautified version of your Final URL.

Ad name

Leave it as default.

Campaign and Ad review process

The first time I launched a campaign, my ad was first rejected because the video wasn’t available (Policy: Unavailable video). Which I assume was because I just had uploaded my video as Unlisted and the system needed time to process it. It then took more than 24 hours for my ad to be approved.

Once your ad is created, its status should be Under review. It may take up to 2 business days for Google to verify your ad in its integrity (titles, images, frames, etc.). If it’s rejected, you will receive an email from Google Ads policy manager with the following subject line: Disapproved ads (1). There will be a link for you to View and fix policy issues.

As per Google’s ad approval process, beyond 2 business days, contact Google Ads to understand why your ad is still pending review.

Have backup ads in your Campaign/Ad Groups that you can use in case your main ads are under review for a few hours/days.

Call Google Ads Customer Service if your had has been pending for more than 24 hours. Only after that time, they will be able to trigger a manual approval. You can call before reaching 24 hours as I did for my first campaign (I was way too excited! Just couldn’t wait.). They will ask you a few questions about your business, your ad, your domain, etc. I felt like I was interrogated the first time! But at least, I was sure my account was set up properly and they even gave me a few tips for my first campaign. However, they couldn’t manually approve it before 24 hours. Eventually, it took > 30 hours for my first ad to be approved.


I’ve moved this Q&A section to a separate page.

If you want to learn more about the art of marketing online, I send materials to my subscribers.

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