With the new year fast approaching AdWords accounts across the country will be revamped with new goals, expectations and hopefully bigger budgets! That also means more newcomers to the game and account owners who need to improve results for the year ahead.

And, if 2016 is already shaping up like a tough year of AdWords advertising for you, we want to help you get off to the best possible start. So, over the next few posts we’ll be offering up some essential tips for newcomers and account holders who need to improve results.

First up we have tips for the newcomers, who have to start from scratch and need every advantage they can get. So, if that sounds like you, keep reading and stay tuned for future posts in the series – we’ll have you up and running for AdWords success before you know it!

Start small and scale

Set your goals out first, be specific and then rank them in order of importance. Rather than jump in and try to achieve everything at once, start at the top and concentrate on hitting your most important target first.

Resources to get you started: A Process for Setting PPC Goals, The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC Goals, How to Develop a PPC Plan that Aligns with Your Goals.

Make relevance the first word in your PPC vocabulary

If you could sum up PPC success in a single word, we would have to go for relevance. From the goals you define to keywords you bid on, user intent, ad copy, landing pages, Quality Score and beyond – every stage needs to be relevant and focused on directing users to that next step along the conversion path.

Resources to get you started: 6 Ways to Improve Ad Relevance in your AdWords Campaigns, Relevance Counts in PPC: The Evolution of AdWords Ad Rank & Quality Score, Improve Quality Score, Improve PPC ROI.

Target to the core

AdWords comes with a whole bunch of features to target your ads to a more specific audience – including ad scheduling, location targeting and so much more. Once you have clear goals and relevant campaigns you need to know your ads are reaching the right people. You can also target with match types and bidding strategies to reach users at different stages of the buying process, but you’ll want to create separate ad groups to target these users individually and keep things relevant.

Resources to get your started: AdWords Help: Targeting your ads, Google AdWords Geo-Targeting: 5 Jaw-Dropping Techniques, AdWords Ad Scheduling, AKA Dayparting in 5 Steps.

Note: You’ll also want to explore targeting methods on the Display Network once you start getting results on Google Search.

Collect data from day one

Before you can start getting serious about AdWords you’ll need to start collecting data so you can make calculated improvements further down the line. It’s important you choose the right metrics to measure, though, and start collecting data from day one. From the strength of your ads, the relevance of your campaigns, performance of your landing pages and the ultimate conversions you’re after – everything is reflected in the data you collect.

Resources to get your started: Measuring ROI: How to Collect Meaningful PPC Conversion Data, Top 5 Google AdWords Metrics to Monitor Each Day with Your Breakfast, These Are the PPC Metrics That Actually Matter.

Okay, so that’s our first installment for the newcomers to AdWords for 2016. We’re not done yet, though, so be sure to check in with us over the coming weeks when we have more tips to offer up. And next time we’ll start taking a look at tips to help existing account holders improve performance – not a bad read