I'll start by saying that I only chose this title because there are many searches on this subject that choose the exact words "adwords for laymen". The truth is that I don't like the term "layman" very much, because all of us can learn and teach something to someone.
Perhaps the first thing a layman in adwords should know is that Digital Marketing is essentially based on a buying journey. A journey that starts with a need/feeling/feeling, and evolves into a research phase, then comparison of offers, and finally the purchase.
We usually use media like social networks or google display to work the first stages of the buying journey, and adwords only for people who are already in a research phase.
Those who do adwords will only reach the audience that is actually already searching. In this sense, adwords tend to have a higher cpc (cost per click), but simultaneously guarantee higher conversion rates of visitors into clients.
In our layman's guide to where to start, the answer is easy. We have to start by finding out how people search for the products and services we are selling.
1- Which keywords should we use?
This discovery is made through 3 or 4 complementary ways: talking to clients or potential clients, or those who know them well, and asking how people search for our products and services; using tools such as Semrush, Arefhs that can start with a keyword and see all associated searches (variations of the keyword in broad match). From here we start to have a clear notion of the words in our area, and we can use google adwords to verify monthly search volumes, then we make a decision according to the budget we have available to spend.
2- Broad Match or Phrase Match
Basically here we control whether Google uses variations of the words we define or not. At Gigantic we advocate the use of phrase match especially for limited budgets.
Why? Let's imagine that we have a business selling programming courses. By choosing broad match of the words "programming courses" we will pick up many variations of these words, such as economics courses, college courses, tv programming, etc...
It can make sense to use broad match as long as we negate many words, as described in the last point of this adwords for laymen.
3- Branded Keywords or not?
(Branded Keywords are words that contain my brand)
My answer to this question is: it depends on the market, the product and service in question, but never by default. Our attachment to brands, products and services is totally different from market to market.
For example, if I want to go to my bank's home banking, and I google my bank's brand, just because there's an ad for another bank doesn't mean I'm going to click. Or even if I click by mistake, I certainly won't change my account just because I ended up on another bank's site.
On the other hand, if I am buying clothes, something that is less important to me personally, the likelihood that I might buy a brand other than the one I was initially looking for is slim, but it exists, and perhaps in this market for a certain audience it makes sense to buy branded keywords.
In short my opinion, is that by definition, the option should be not to invest in branded keywords, because someone searching for a brand or product/service + a brand, has in fact a very strong intention to buy, or at least to compare the offer of that brand with others.
Maybe in some very specific markets, where differentiation is lower, or impulse buying is higher, consider testing.
4- Negativation of Keywords
Negativity is the last recommendation of this adwords for laymen. Depending on our initial choices it is always important to frequently monitor our adwords account and see what keywords are consuming budget.
Sometimes it can happen that keywords appear that are of no interest to our business and should be negatived.
If we work for e.g. a dental clinic, does it make sense for our ad to appear in searches related to the name of doctors who work in the competition? No, that's why we negate it.
These are the basic variables, then there are several more advanced techniques to ensure other types of results, but using these basic principles we can already expect to achieve good results, or at least we will not spend money on uninteresting words.