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google ads for gyms

Google Ads for Gyms: How To Setup An Effective Campaign

Google Ads is the leading platform for gyms to increase their memberships by targeting local people who are searching online. The tools and features available in your Google Ads account are endless and you can get started in very little time.

More and more gyms are seeing the benefits of running pay per click (PPC) campaigns with Google. And that’s mainly because it helps to target highly qualified prospects that are searching.

Unlike other forms of online advertising which disrupt people with banner and image ads and links, this option in Google Ads focuses on inbound traffic that is further down the buying funnel and ready to signup.

So, to get started, first head over to to create your account if you don’t have one. And then follow my recommendations below to setup your campaign.


Campaign objective

A Google Ads campaign for gyms should focus on getting enquiries and leads – so the best objective to choose is ‘Leads’. This objective then selects the features that will help you get as many leads as possible, while maintaining a good average spend.

Campaign Goals

Visitors can call directly from your ads when you add a call extension or use a call-only ad, or they can visit your website and call from there or use the contact form.

These are the many ways that visitors can contact your gym so it’s important to pick the correct objective and provide the right details.


Campaign type

Next, you’ll select the campaign type that is relevant to your business. As a gym looking to advertise in Google Ads, you should target people that are actively searching for a gym and looking to signup. The best campaign type for this is the Search campaign.

Campaign Type

Other campaign types like Display, Video and Remarketing are good if you want to raise awareness or bring people back to your website. However, the Search campaign is the only one that targets people that are actively searching for a local gym and it will help you to reach them effectively.



Google Ads advertisers promoting their gyms should set the right budget to be able to achieve their goals. A good budget will help you drive high click volume from targeted searches which will lead to a high number of leads and signups.

Google Ads Budget

This is a competitive area with a number of high profile advertisers with deep pockets, so you should consider this as you set your budget.

It’s best to start with a test budget that will help you get some leads and help you tweak your campaign before increasing it. A minimum budget to start with in the first month is $500 or £300 and then increase it each month as performance improves.



An effective way to get started with bidding is to use an automated bid strategy. This helps to set the bid automatically at auction time when your ads are eligible to show.

Google Ads Bid Strategies

There are at least four primary automated bid strategies and the best to start with is Maximise Clicks. This strategy helps to get as many clicks and calls as possible for your gym, within your budget limit.

Later you can switch to another bid strategy when you have more data and you can use a manual strategy for example, to control the bid limit for individual ad groups and keywords.



One of the first things to do when setting up a campaign for your gym is to carry out some keyword research to find keywords to bid on. The Keyword Planner tool in your account will help with this and there are third-party tools like SERanking that you can test to see what keyword suggestions you get.

Keyword Planner Tool

This also helps you to set the budget, because you can see what the average cost per click is for each keyword – for it to be in one of the top positions.

As you do your research, you should also consider the match types that you will use. The two main ones to start with are phrase and exact match because they control the search queries that you get for your ads. And later you can add broad match keywords to target a wider range of searches and increase traffic.

This is an example of a keyword in the phrase and exact matches and you can do the same for other keywords that you find:

“gym near me” – phrase match type keyword
[gym near me] – exact match type keyword


Text ads

Google Ads advertisers promoting their gyms have a number of ad types to create that can help with targeting their audiences. These include Responsive search ads, Dynamic search ads, Responsive Display ads and Call-only ads.

The best ad type to start with is the Responsive search ad, because it targets people who are looking for a gym on Google to join in your location. And it also provides you with a lot more text space than the other ads, which includes 15 headlines and four description lines.

Later you can test call-only ads if you decide you want to get calls only from your ads. And also test the Dynamic search ads to target searches that your keyword-based ad groups are not targeting.



Google Ads campaigns for gyms should set the right location targeting to avoid spending the budget on reaching people who are not relevant. Targeting a city, town or postcode is fine and that can help you limit your reach to people who are looking for a gym nearby.

However, radius targeting may be a better targeting option. It is an advanced option and can be used to target people who are within a certain radius of the gym, like a 20 mile radius.

Radius Targeting


Ad schedule

People are searching for gyms at all times including on their mobiles while they are on the go. And many will search when they have more time like in the evening and weekends and do some research to find a local gym that meets their needs.

So, it’s a good strategy to run your ads on all days and hours to target these potential customers. And you won’t have to make any initial changes to the ad schedule settings because this is the default setting.

Ad Schedule

However, with more data in your reports, you can then see which are the best and worst performing days and hours in the Segments section. And you can adjust your ad schedules according to the performance.

Time Segments Report


Where your ads appear

Where your ads appear is important because it determines the volume and quality of your leads. Because it’s a Google Search campaign, your ads appear on Google and on its search partners if you have opted into the Search partner network.

Google Networks

Also, your ads will appear in various positions on the search results page which could be at the top or bottom of the page. The top positions which include up to four ad positions, get higher click through rates, more clicks and generally more conversions.

However, this can be more expensive and so you have to consider your budget based on the average cost per click your campaign is getting.


Get in Touch

A Google Ads campaign for gyms can help you to grow your business and get more gym members consistently. Find out how I can help by filling out the form below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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