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Avoid Costly Corporate Settings

Don't let AdWords sales people set up your ads for you. They don't know your customers like you do.

  • They use standard AdWords settings designed to run big-budget corporate ads. This makes it easy for them to run ads, but it costs you a lot more money.
  • They run high-priced ads to everyone, everywhere at the top of Google Search. You end up with an expensive mess that you can't understand, improve or afford.

GamePlan Settings Precisely Target Your Best Customers

  • Lower Costs Dramatically
  • Select 8 Critical Settings in 30 Minutes
  • Don't Pay for Expensive Ads to the Wrong People

Click Buttons Below to Stay in Membership Area

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Welcome Member -- These Settings Topics show how to select 8 small business campaign settings. See step-by-step instructions and strategies. GamePlanAd GroupsTune Bids & Test Ads also have Member Topics at the bottom of their pages.

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Select 8 Critical Small Business Settings

... Avoid Costly Corporate Settings

30 minutes


New AdWords User Interface

If you haven't already moved to the new interface, do it now. AdWords will automatically convert you soon. These step-by-step instructions show the new interface. The AdWords structure stays constant, but now you see Campaigns, Settings, Ad Groups and Ads on the left column, instead of the top of the AdWords page.

The selections we need to precisely target customers are still there, but some have moved. Also, AdWords doesn't show them all, when you set up a new account or start a new campaign. You'll also find that Google will "optimize" instead of letting you precisely target your customers -- these selections work for large corporations, but devastate small business budgets.

Check Settings Regularly

Immediately after you set up your new campaign, click Settings and compare your selections with the following step-by-step instructions. Do this regularly for your existing campaign. AdWords may opt you into "optimizations" without asking your permission. I keep GamePlan up-to-date with the latest changes in AdWords.

Click Campaigns > Campaigns > + New Campaign

  • Click Campaigns at the side of AdWords page.
  • Click Blue + on Campaigns page. Click "+ New Campaign"
  • Select Campaign Type "Search
  • Don't select "Display" The Display Network runs ads on other websites (not Google Search), so you have no way to know who saw your ads or the ad they see, so you cannot precisely target your customers.


    The correct setting is No goal selected.  Don't select any goals, such as Sales, Leads, Website traffic, Phone calls, App downloads ...  The goals will dramatically increase your costs. They are designed to run big-budget corporate campaigns.

    • Click "Select Create a campaign without a goal"  at the bottom. Goal "optimizations" let the AdWords computer change bids for you. The correct Campaign Setting for Bids is Manual CPC, so you totally control bids.
    • Only you know what keywords are worth to your business.
    • Don't select Optimized Enhanced Bids -- the AdWords computer pushes bids higher to dramatically increase your spend.
    • Optimizations distort the Ad Groups report that you need to Tune Bids -- the MAX CPC that you see no longer reflects your actual bid, because it doesn’t show how much the AdWords computer bid to get the Average Ad Position.

    WARNING!  Check this setting after your campaign runs. 

    Sometimes, AdWords defaults to Optimizations in this Goal folder that you must click DOWN ARROW V at right side to see and change to proper selection.

    Campaign Name

    • Click inside Campaign Name box to write Your Campaign Name. This label helps you read reports and can be changed anytime. I recommend YourBusinessName PRECISE to remind you that you set up this campaign to precisely target your customers.


    • Google Search Network is the correct setting.
    • Do NOT include Search Partners. Click check box to deselect. There should be no check mark in this box. We don't want to run ads just because the Website has Google search on it.
    • We only want to run ads, when someone puts words into Google search. Running Google ads on other Websites gives no control over who sees our ads or the ad they see. 
      • We would pay for clicks from non-customers.
      • Our reports would be grossly inaccurate, so we couldn't Tune Bids or Test Ads scientifically to improve profits.


    When someone puts words into Google search, AdWords can determine where the computer is located 90% of the time from their Internet IP address.

    • For Local Customers, put City Names into Locations. This gives you a slightly lower ad cost, if people put those City Names into search. It's also easy to see where you're running ads.
    • Political Districts are only important for election ads.
    • Zip Codes might be important for Real Estate or fine-tuning territories. How far do you want to drive to meet with customers?
    • Click "Advanced search" to see map. It's OK to overlap Locations, such as City Names and States, for example. Look at the map to make sure all Locations are selected with any shade of purple color. Don't use "Radius" -- it's imprecise and unreliable.
    • Click Done, then Save Locations.

    Location Options (advanced)

    • AdWords moved this to "Additional Settings" at bottom of AdWords Settings.
    • Target: Select People in my targeted location
    • The default People in, searching for, or who show interest in my target locations is a disaster for small business budgets. You'll pay more for costly clicks from around the world, than for clicks in your target locations. This also distorts your reports, because you see people who are not in your target geography.


    • Select the language you use to write your ads, ONLY.
    • It's a budget disaster to run ads to people who use Internet browsers in other languages.


    • Enter the average you want to spend each day.

    WARNING: You may spend up to twice as much per day.

    For the month, you won't pay more than your daily budget times the average number of days in a month. Some days you might spend less than your daily budget, and on others you might spend up to twice as much. Google will average your spend throughout your month, so your ads run all month.

    • When you first start up your new campaign, set daily budget lower until you see results. Otherwise, you can spend too much before you know competitive bids and how many people put your words into Google search.
    • Tune your Ad Group bids down until your actual daily spend is less than your daily budget. Then you know you know that Google is running your ads all day, since you set Delivery to "Accelerated
    • After you tune bids for your campaign, you'll find daily costs stabilize. Keep your Daily Budget set slightly above your actual daily costs. Set up a Daily Cost graph in GamePlan Ad Groups.
    • Change this Daily Budget amount anytime. Takes effect immediately. Reports require two days for accuracy.
    • How many clicks will this pay for each day?
      • Divide Daily Budget by your Default Bid to estimate. This gives how many people will be sent to your Website.
      • How many people who visit your Website will buy?
      • GamePlan Tune Bids shows how to stay within your budget by moving your spend to Ad Groups that make you the most money.
      • Cash flow problems? If you want to lower daily spend, it's better to lower Ad Group bids, so your ads keep running on the Search results pages.
      • You can Pause this campaign anytime with no penalty.

    Delivery Method (Advanced)

    • Click "v Delivery method" at bottom.
    • Select Accelerated. You only run ads to a small number of PRECISE Keywords. You need to run these ads to everyone who puts your very specific words into Google search.
    • The default Standard: Optimize delivery of ad, spending budget evenly over time means that Google may not run ads during the day and you won't know it. Your reports are also inaccurate, because you won't run ads to everyone who put those words into Google search.
    • Monitor how much you actually spend each day for this campaign. See Tune Bids > Is Google Running Your Ads Every Time? 
      • If your actual spend equals your Daily Budget, you're running out of budget sometime during the day and your ads stop running.
      • Increase your Daily Budget or lower your Ad Group bids. See Tune Bids.

    WARNING!  Check this setting after your campaign runs.

    AdWords doesn't show this option, when you first set up your campaign.


    AdWords seems determined to "optimize" bidding for you, by hiding the correct setting for small business in sub-folders. The correct setting for Bidding is "Manual: Manual CPC" Cost Per Click, so you total control bids. Why?

    • Only you know what keywords are worth to your business.
    • AdWords' computer Optimized / Enhanced bids push bids higher to dramatically increase your spend.
    • Optimizations distort the Ad Groups report that you need to Tune Bids -- the MAX CPC bid that you set in the Ad Group report no longer reflects your actual bid, because it doesn’t show how much AdWords bid to get the Average Ad Position.
    • Click "Select a bid strategy directly" at the bottom of Bidding section.
      • Ignore "What do you want to focus on?" and "Maximum CPC bid limit (optional)"
      • On next page, under "Select your bid strategy", Click on DOWN ARROW v next to "Maximize clicks" to select "Manual CPC"
      • If you see a check in the box next to "Help increase conversions with Enhanced CPC", click to Unselect.  AdWords selects this without asking your permission, if you use conversion tracking. Enhanced CPC bids push bids higher to dramatically increase your spend.

    Skip Audiences

    Skip Ad Extensions

    • Your time is better spent building your campaign properly.
    • Extensions are confusing, change constantly and work for expensive ads at the top of Search Results page.
    • However, you may want to select campaign-level Callout extensions after ad tests confirm which short word phrases work -- but they do not always appear in your ads.

    Additional Settings

    • Click "Additional Settings" at bottom of Settings page to see the following Settings. Ignore Settings that are not listed below.

    Ad Rotation

    • Select Rotate indefinitely - will deliver your ads more evenly for an indefinite amount of time. When you test two ads inside an Ad Group, you want to run both ads at least 200 times for statistical accuracy.


    • AdWords recently changed your "Rotate Evenly" setting to "Optimize for Clicks" without asking your permission. This setting totally distorts ad testing.
    • If you don't change the default setting Optimize for clicks, AdWords stops running one of the ads before both ads had run 200 times. So AdWords could stop running the better ad before the test is complete.
    • Statistical Accuracy  You could toss a coin with heads five times in a row and think the coin has two heads. At 200 tosses, you'd see 100 heads and 100 tails approximately. Sometimes you see very high or low Click-thru-Rates before ads run 200 times.

    Ad Schedule

    • Usually best to run 24 hours 7 days a week. Your cheapest ads run during non-business hours, when you have fewer competitors running ads.
    • If you set an End Date, you'll wonder later why your ads aren't running and it will take an hour to figure out why :) 

    Location Options

    This Setting is Critical!

    • Click "v DOWN ARROW" at right of this section to see options.
    • Click "Target: Select People in my targeted location"
    • The default People in, searching for, or who show interest in my target locations is a disaster for small business budgets. You'll pay more for costly clicks from around the world, than you'll pay for clicks in your target locations. This also distorts your reports, because you see people who are not in your target geography.

    Click Save and Continue to Ad Groups, If You're Setting Up a New Campaign


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    Why Optimizations Do NOT Work for Small Business

    ... Don't Pay for Expensive Clicks from the Wrong People 


    Google works hard to provide AdWords tools to help advertisers run more profitable ads. Every day you see new features designed for a wide variety of advertisers. Most of the $50+ billion annual AdWords revenue comes from large corporations who hire full-time ad agencies to run their ads at the top of Google search results pages to everyone everywhere. They want to run ads higher on the Search Results page than their corporate competitors and have thousands of products -- some have 100,000+ products.

    You are NOT a Big-Budget Corporate Advertiser

    Most optimizations, recommendations, defaults, warnings, etc. are talking to ad agencies that run big-budget campaigns for large corporations.

    •  You don't have 100,000+ keywords and products. You can easily run PRECISE Ad Groups for your limited number of products in order to double or triple your bid value. And you don't waste precious budget on costly clicks from non-buyers.
    • AdWords is a statistical game. Corporations run 10,000+ ads each day. You don't run enough ads for optimizations to work properly.
    • You see recommendations like "Below first page bid estimate of $5.35"  This tells the ad agency to increase bid to get top page ad positions. You can't afford top page positions (in most cases), and you know from your PRECISE Ad Group report that you're ACTUALLY getting Ad Position 5 with your ACTUAL Bid of $1.76.
    • Some bid optimizations might improve one dimension of your campaign, but grossly distort the two simple GamePlan reports that you need to improve overall results. Data is only good if it's accurate, you know what it means, and you know what to do about it. The GamePlan system keeps you in control, saves time and makes you money.
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    No AdWords Account?  How to Sign Up.

    ... How to Use AdWords Telephone Support

    30 minutes


    Put "AdWords Sign In" Into Google Search

    Sign up for AdWords, NOT AdWords Express ! 

    AdWords Express is for businesses who do NOT have a website. It's costly, because you have little control over bids and who sees your ads.

    Follow AdWords sign up directions. Keep it simple. AdWords wants to know if you have basic computer skills, a functional Website landing page and a credit card or bank account that pays out $5. They limit your risk and their risk to a low credit limit to start, then increase it when you show a good payment history.

    Write a simple ad. Make sure your Website Destination URL sends people who click on your ad to the landing page you want. Go to your Website and copy the Web address you see in the browser into the Destination URL box.

    Don't worry about Campaign Settings -- you'll build a new campaign from scratch after you sign up.

    Call AdWords Telephone Support, If You Need Help

    Google has excellent phone support to help you sign up and explain policies, when your ads are disapproved.

    Do NOT Let Google People Change Your GamePlan Set Up

    GamePlan works as an integrated system to lower costs and keep your reports accurate. Selecting other "optimizations" wastes money and distorts reports that you need to improve results.