PPC Guide: Setting up your paid search account

In this section of our PPC Guide, we dive into what’s involved in getting your account set up.

Payment information, key contact information and permissions access are housed at the account level in Google Ads. Each business or client should have separate account, and there are times when one business will have multiple accounts.

For text ads, Google permits just one ad per website to appear in the search results for a better user experience. (Shopping ads are an exception, where multiple related products from the same seller may appear in the results.) Don’t try to game the system by setting up multiple accounts in order to show more than one ad in the results. It’s a policy violation that won’t end well.

Fig. 12 – Google Ads account setup

The account setup sections can be located from the Tool icon in the upper right menu in Google Ads.

In Billing & Payments, you’ll set up your credit card and contact information. There is an invoicing option, but you’ll need to contact Google to set this up.

Business data is an area that you’ll come back to after setting up your account. This is where ad extension feeds, as well as ad customizer data, dynamic display ad feeds and page feeds are housed.

Linked accounts

Before you launch your first PPC campaigns, you’ll want to link your accounts from other Google services in order to transfer data back and forth between them.

If you use Google Analytics, this is particularly important. You’ll be able to import conversion goals and audiences from Analytics into Google Ads. From Analytics, you’ll be able to analyze your Google Ads campaign performance, compare it to other channels and most importantly, understand how people who click on your ads behave when they get to your site.

Linking Google Search Console will enable you to import organic search results, compare your organic and paid coverage and see how your ads and organic listings perform together and alone.

Google shares signed-in user data across its services. Linking your YouTube channel to Google Ads will not only allow you to run video campaigns on YouTube, it also will enable you to build retargeting lists of people who watch your videos and measure engagement on your video ads.

The newest option is Ads Data Hub, which is an enterprise platform that is only available to some advertisers at this time. If you link your Ads Data Hub account to Google Ads, you’ll make campaign data available to third-party vendors and agencies for verification and/or analysis.

If you use Salesforce, you can link those accounts to import sales lead and funnel data into Google Ads to optimize your campaigns based on outcomes that occur after a lead comes in from an ad click.

Fig. 13a – Google Ads account linking options

Account settings

After you finish the account setup steps, there is another very important Account Settings tab. Click on Settings toward the bottom of the left-hand navigation, and then click the Account Settings tab as shown below.

Fig. 13b – Google Ads account settings

Account settings are located from the left-hand navigation menu in Google Ads.

Tracking Template

If you’re using a third-party click tracking platform, this is where you can add tracking parameters that will apply to your entire account (There are also options to add tracking templates at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels). This is also where you can add account level ValueTrack parameters  to track more about the clicks on your ads in either Google Analytics or a third-party analytics platform.


If you’re using Google Analytics, be sure to link your accounts as discussed in the previous section, and then enable Auto-tagging from this section. Auto-tagging will automatically append the UTM codes that Google Analytics relies on to ingest and categorize campaign information. If you don’t enable auto-tagging and don’t manually add UTM tracking to your destination URLs, all of your Google Ads campaign data will show up as Google/organic traffic in Google Analytics, and you won’t be able to measure your PPC campaigns in Analytics.

Content exclusions

This pertains to display and video campaigns and allows you to opt out of showing your Display Network and YouTube ads on certain categories of websites and videos.

Ad suggestions

Ad suggestions was introduced in March 2018. Google will automatically create and apply ad suggestions in your ad groups — particularly ad groups that only have one ad. It’s now enabled in accounts by default, so if you don’t want this feature, this is the place to turn it off. When enabled, Google will automatically apply the suggested ads after 14 days unless you choose to dismiss them or apply them sooner from the Recommendations page.

Manager Accounts for managing multiple PPC accounts

If you will be managing multiple Google Ads accounts, a Manager Account (formerly called a Master Client Center or MCC) is incredibly helpful. Agencies can house their individual client accounts under an umbrella Master Account. A company with multiple business units or distinct brands and websites can house them in a Manager Account. The other, rarer, example is when a company’s account becomes so large it hits the account limits and another account has to be created and linked (If this happens, you’ll need to work with Google to accommodate you).

In a Manager Account, you can get a dashboard view of all your clients or in-house accounts in one place.

You can link existing accounts to a Manager Account or create new accounts from within a Manager Account.

Microsoft Advertising note: Microsoft Advertising also has a version of a master account designed primarily for agencies. If you’re at an agency and need to set up a new Microsoft Advertising account for a client, set it up outside of the master account, and then go through the linking process. If you create a new account from within an agency account, it cannot be unlinked later.

Other benefits of a Manager Account in Google Ads include the ability to set up negative keyword lists that can be applied to multiple accounts and to create audiences that can be shared across accounts.

Fig. 14 – Audience management at the Master Account level in Google Ads

If you think list-sharing across accounts sounds like a potential privacy issue, you’re right. From this help page:

Important: When sharing remarketing lists across accounts, remember that you may be sharing confidential or proprietary data. You should only share remarketing lists with other accounts if you have obtained permission from accounts that own them and such sharing doesn’t violate any agreements you have with those accounts.

For additional requirements and details about remarketing lists for search ads, see the Policy for remarketing lists for search ads.

It’s not just the accounts themselves you need to get permission from. In light of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s privacy law CCPA, you may also need to verify that each business has acquired the proper user consent to target that list of users.

Read more of The Search Engine Land Guide to PPC: