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Google AdWords is the original pay-per-click (PPC) marketing tool which allows business owners to create ads for their services. Customers (or in the case of vacation rentals – guests) then come across these ads when they’re searching Google for homes like yours.

Given that businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords, this type of investment can bring very high returns. When you target the right keywords, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors. This is because guests who are already searching for the type of accommodation you offer will see your ads. Yet, as you only pay when guests click to visit your website or call you for more information, it’s a relatively inexpensive method for acquiring new guests.

There are different types of campaigns you can set up on Google AdWords, with the most used being search campaigns and display campaigns. In this article, we’re going to focus on search campaigns and how to create them for your vacation rental business.

In a nutshell, search campaigns are the adverts that show precisely at the time the prospect is searching for a specific service or product. As the top three Google ads take 41% of all clicks, vacation rental owners have a lot to gain from setting up search campaigns.

Supposing that you have already set up an account for your PPC campaigns, read on for our full Google AdWords tutorial on how to create a search campaign.

Create your Google AdWords search campaign

First of all, log in to your Google AdWords account and click on “Campaign”.

Google AdWords Tutorial new campaign

Then, select “New campaign” and choose the type of campaign you want to create. In this case, it would be “Search Network”.

Google AdWords Tutorial campaign types

A new section will then appear where you can configure your campaign. Your campaign type “Search Network” will display pre-selected above.

In the AdWords interface, you will be presented with options for the goal you would like to choose to measure your campaign’s success. For this example, we will choose “Website traffic”. Alternatively, you can also select to create the campaign without a goal.

Google AdWords Tutorial campaign goal

Once you have selected your goal (or opted not to), you will need to input your website URL or domain name.

Google AdWords Tutorial URL

Immediately select the networks where you want your adverts to appear. In this case, you would select “Search Network”.

Google AdWords Tutorial search network

Then choose the “Locations” and “Languages” you want to target. In other words, the country/city/region where you would like your adverts to display.

Google AdWords Tutorial campaign location

By clicking “Advanced search”, you can create a more specific target, or even exclude certain locations.

Google AdWords Tutorial targeting

Once you have selected a location and chosen the language, you’ll need to decide on the bid strategy – which can be automated or manual. If you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to choose a manual bid strategy until your campaigns have more data and you can optimize them by changing to an automated strategy.

Google AdWords Tutorial manual CPC

Next, decide on the default bid (this is the maximum cost per click for the ads inside your ad group), and the daily budget you’re willing to invest. Then select the “Ad extensions” that you want to apply to your campaigns and click on “Save and continue”.

Google AdWords Tutorial daily budget

Set up ad groups

Choose a name for your ad group – we recommend choosing one that’s related to the keywords that will belong to this ad group. Choose a default bid, then, the next (very important) step is to input your keywords. During this step, you will also insert the landing page URL for this ad group.

Google AdWords Tutorial ad groups

Click “Save and continue” to finish creating your ad group. You will now arrive at the final step which is creating your ad.

Then, click on the “New ad” button, and introduce your “Final URL” – this is the page where you want to send visitors. Remember you can add UTM parameters to help measure your ad results more precisely. Next, decide on your ideal text for “Headline 1” and “Headline 2”, bearing in mind the limit for these is 30 characters. In the “Display path” section, you can decide whether you want to show additional information, or you can leave it blank.

You can see both a mobile and desktop preview in the bottom right-hand corner.

Google AdWords Tutorial preview

Click on “Done” and you will see your saved ad.

Google AdWords Tutorial saved ad

To finish, click on “Save and continue” and you will successfully create your new campaign.

Perform continuous copy reviews

Some campaigns might see instant traction and results, while others might not pick up at all. The best way you can improve the performance of your Google ads is with regular copy testing and edits. Have a few ads running at the same time with small variants, so you can compare and contrast performance. Even slight differences in copy can make all the difference when it comes to click-throughs. Measure your results weekly and keep a record of any ads that work really well for future campaigns.

What to take away

Google AdWords campaigns are super simple to set up and can bring great results for vacation rental owners.

Given there are now more than 160 billion monthly Google searches – that’s a whole lot of opportunities to get your vacation rental seen by the right guests. And when 46% of people can’t identify paid ads on the search results page, this is your chance to garner high volumes of clicks through to your website – without sacrificing your brand. So go ahead and give paid advertising a try!

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Google AdWords Tutorial: How to Create a Search Campaign for Your Vacation Rental
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