There’s no doubt that Google AdWords is a powerful tool to help you grow your financial services business, however when you first take the plunge it can be difficult to grasp in one go. Even seasoned users that only dabble occasionally can still be overwhelmed when they drop back in to give it another go. This is because there’s so much to learn and remember, plus it can change so you need to keep coming back and tweaking to make sure you stay on top of it all. We’ve heard stories of businesses that take a year or so before they get their campaigns setup without forgetting something.

Lets face it, with money on the line, the last thing you want is to review the campaign after a few days only to discover that you didn’t set your geo targeting correctly or forgot to modify your broad match keywords.

Don’t feel too bad. We’ve all been a victim of campaign settings, and that’s why we’ve created our campaign checklist for you. This way you can draw on our experience so that you can get your settings right as quickly as possible. All you need to do is read the blog post (it will give you a quick explanation of each setting listed in the checklist), download the checklist (see download at the bottom of the page) and reference it every time you set up a new campaign. You’ll never miss a setting again.

Lets Get Started

It might seem obvious, but the first thing you need is an AdWords account. If you don’t have one already you can create an AdWords account here.


Review Match Types

Remember to set your match types. We typically recommend using exact, phrase, and modified-broad match keywords, while forgoing broad match. This won’t be true for every advertiser, but it is recommended for most. This will help to ensure that your ad is likely to be shown to a more appropriate audience.

Remove Duplicates

Don’t compete with yourself. Review the keywords in each ad group and make sure that each one is unique in syntax and match type. You don’t want two of your ad groups competing against each other. After all each ad group should represent something different that you’re targeting so there shouldn’t be any overlap in content or search terms anyway.

Add Negatives

Check that you’ve added negative keywords! Traffic is good, but irrelevant traffic wastes money. If you’re not sure what to put here, do a quick Google search for some of the keywords in your campaign.

For example, we’ve seen examples where users are targeting people looking for life insurance, only to have their ad shown to people searching for car insurance. By making “Car Insurance” a negative keyword they were able to avoid this irrelevant exposure.


Check that Landing Pages are Functional and Appropriate

Doublecheck your landing pages to make sure they’re all working properly. If you’re using multiple landing pages, paste your them into a URL checker for easy bulk-reviewing.

We also recommend that you set-up campaign specific landing pages to help maximise conversions. Whatever you do we strongly recommend that you don’t just send people to the home page of your website. Not only will this reduce your conversion rate but it will impact your ads Quality Score which will in turn push up your ad prices and impact negatively on your ad placement position.

Finally you should also check that you didn’t accidentally send users to the wrong page, i.e. your life insurance page when you meant to send them to the pension and investments page.

Spell Check Ad Copy

Download your ads into Excel and check the spelling. Misspellings can discourage people from clicking on your ad.

Place Keywords in Your Ad Copy

When your ad is triggered, that means the user was looking for one of your keywords. Making sure your keyword is written somewhere in your ad copy increases the likelihood of a higher Click Trough Rate (CTR).

Path 1 and Path 2 show up in your ad after your domain, so make sure you fill those in. The more descriptive that URL is, the more information you give users about the page they’re going to land on. The more info you share, the better chance your ad has of a higher CTR. Use a keyword in there if you can. For example, an ad for Life Insurance will probably be more effective in getting a higher CTR if the URL displayed in the ad reads rather than

Define CPC Bids

Make sure your Cost-Per-Click on keywords isn’t set too high. Be sure to check the Keyword Tool for bidding suggestions before you set them.

Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable, or just unsure about setting manual CPC Bids, you can try an automated strategy that lets you target a specific goal, such as maximising conversions, or targeting a specific location in the search results. If you undertake one of these automated strategies Google will automatically set and adjust your bids as needed to achieve your stated goal.

This step is optional because it’s not necessary when starting a campaign. However we would recommend adding extensions because something as simple as sitelinks can increase your CTR by 30%! More clicks can lead to more conversions, so put some effort into these. What would you want to see?

A key extension to add is a call extension. This way users searching on a mobile device will have a simple one click way to call your business directly from your ad.

Ad Groups

Group Similar Keywords Together

Google tells us it is best to organize similar keywords into one group because you are better able to show relevant ads to people you’re trying to reach, so make sure you’ve structured your campaign accordingly.

Name Ad Groups According to Their Keywords

It’s a best practice to name your ad groups according to the keywords inside them. For example, if you have an ad group containing keywords for income protection (“income insurance”, “salary continuance”, etc.) it’s best to call it that: Income Protection. This organizational setup makes it easier when you’re reviewing your AdWords performance.

Ensure There are No More Than 20 Keywords Per Ad Group

The best practice is to keep no more than 20 keywords in each ad group. Also Google has indicated that it’s best practice to have 3-4 ad versions per ad group.


Set Budgets

Know how much money you have to spend per day and set your campaign budgets accordingly.

Triplecheck your math! and remember that the budget you set doesn’t include sales taxes, so be sure to make allowances for these if necessary.

Specify Location Targeting

Don’t forget to set your location targeting! You don’t want to advertise your business nationally if you’re particular process involves/requires a face to face meeting. On the other hand if you manage clients by Skpye or some other conferencing tool, you might want to make sure that you haven’t limited your ad to your town/city location. You can also set excluded locations.

Set Campaign Language Targets to the Language in Which Your Website is Written

It won’t be of any benefit to users if your ads target people who can’t read your website. Make sure English-speaking users land on a page written in English.

Select the Proper Ad Rotation

The Ad Rotation specifies how your ads are rotated. We usually recommend “Optimise for clicks: Show ads expected to provide more clicks” as after all this is most likely to be your key objective out of the whole process.  In this way Google will slowly start to serve more often the ads that are likely to result in clicks, filtering out the ones that are least likely to get clicks! Over time you can then tweak these lower performing ads to see if you can out-do the top performing ads, thus improving your overall outcomes.

Choose the Proper Delivery Method

AdWords provides two options for delivery method; standard and accelerated. The standard delivery method ensures that you’re spending your budget evenly over time. If you set this to Accelerated, you’ll spend your budget at a quicker pace which can cause it to run out faster. Keep in mind that when your budget runs out your competitors ads will run instead until the following day when your budget is restored.

Select “Search Network Only”

By default, Google will opt you into Search Network with Display Select. Unless this is part of your plan, we’d recommend unchecking the Display Network. You only want your search ads to run on the Search Network. If you run on both, you’re going to spend a lot more money.

Define Ad Scheduling (Optional)

If you want to make sure that potential customers only contact you during business hours you might want to schedule your ads so they only run while you’re open. However, if you’re giving them the option to contact you via email then you might want the ad to run all the time so that you don’t miss any opportunities.

Exclude Your IP Address

AdWords offers a tool to make sure your ads are showing up when and where they should. Exclude your IP address from the campaign so you aren’t seeing your own ads and skewing your data.

Set Target Devices (If Applicable)

By default, your new campaign will target all devices. If you only want potential clients to call your business, then you might want to target mobile device search only. Generally we recommend that you retain the default setting.

Ensure Conversion Tracking is Set Up

You can’t track the success of your campaigns without conversions. A conversion is any action on your site that’s valuable to you. That might be a PDF download, an email sign up, a form completion, phone call, etc. Learn how to set up conversion tracking before you launch your campaign. Conversion tracking is a key to assessing the effectiveness of your campaign and is a key advantage of Google AdWords over traditional advertising mediums.


Setting up your first AdWords campaign can be a daunting prospect, but the potential rewards far outweigh any concerns that you might have. If you know what your objectives are and you follow through with the checklist your ads should start to pay off fairly quickly.

Whats Next?

To get started you can download our checklist from the link below. Just enter your details and we’ll send you the download link.

Alternatively, if you want to get started with Adwords but don’t have the time or the confidence get in touch with us to discuss our fully managed AdWords Lead Generation solution for Financial Services Professionals.



Get in touch and find out how we can set-up and manage your online Lead Generation program.