After going over account structure, how ads are targeted, and how to navigate the AdWords interface in previous AdWords 101 posts, we figured it's time to talk about creating campaigns.

Today, we'll cover keyword-targeted campaigns, one of the two types of AdWords campaigns available to you. To get started, click the "keyword-targeted" link next to Create a new campaign" on your Campaign Summary page. Now you're ready to create your campaign - let's run you through the basics and some tips:

1) Choose a name for your campaign and its first Ad Group. Be sure to choose something descriptive as the title; "Summer Shoe Promotion 2006" is a lot easier to locate and identify in a list of campaigns than "Campaign #1." Similarly, Ad Groups named "Women's Flip-flops" and "Men's Sandals" will be a lot easier to understand and remember when you look at the list of different Ad Groups within your Summer Shoe Promotion campaign. You'll then be asked to choose the target language(s), as well as location targeting options.

2) Enter your preferences for location targeting, be it countries and territories, regions and cities, or a customized selection. Remember to think about where your potential customers are located, and more specifically, where your potential customers for the product or service you are trying to sell within this campaign are located. For example, let's say your company has stores across the country; but this campaign is dedicated to a promotion available only in your California stores, then you should target your campaign to users located in the state of California, and not the entire country.

3) After you've specified your targeting preferences, you will be asked to create your ad. If you are someone who experiences writer's block, have no fear. All you have to do is take a minute and brainstorm about the following:
  • What product or service are you offering?
    Perhaps your store carries an imported brand of Spanish espadrilles, or a line of specialized orthopedic footwear. Be specific and tell your customers exactly what you have to offer, preferably in the first line of your ad.

  • What is different about your product or service that makes it better than your competitors'? Do you have a special offer?
    If you’re running a sale, tell your customers that your shoes are 50% off, or that you offer free shipping on all orders over $100. (Make sure these special offers are reflected on your site.)

  • What is your "call to action", or the action that you want searchers who see your ad to perform?
    If you want searchers who see your ad to browse your product selection, then say that. Or if you want them to sign up on your mailing list to receive a coupon, mention that in your ad text.
Tip: In our experience, ads that are specific about a product or service, that mention differentiating factors, and have a strong call to action tend to perform better than ads that are overly generic. Also take note of the character limits for each line: 25 characters for the first line, 35 characters for the second and third lines of text, and 35 characters for your display URL. (You may also want to check out our previous post which explains the difference between a display URL and a destination URL.) Once you complete your ad, the AdWords system will review it to make sure it complies with our editorial policies.

4) Choose your keywords. The same principle of being specific and targeted applies to your keyword selection as well. For more details on how to create a good keyword list, review our post on this very topic.

5) The last step in creating your campaign is setting your daily budget and Max CPC. Determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend on your campaign each day, and specify the maximum cost-per-click. After you submit these amounts, you can review all of the details of your campaign and make additional edits if necessary. Finally, click "Save" and watch your campaign go live!