Google allows ad managers to duplicate Google Ads campaigns that can be used as de facto templates to save time on future campaign creation. Read on for a step-by-step guide.

Picture it: You’ve built and launched a solid digital marketing campaign in Google Ads. Your audience is clicking, your landing page is resonating, and the ROI is trending in the right direction. Now that it’s time to create a new paid search campaign, well, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

That’s the idea behind duplicating or cloning a Google Ads campaign.Not only does this save you time on pay-per-click (aka PPC) ad campaign creation, but it helps ensure your efforts continue on the right track.

Let’s break down how to copy campaigns in Google Ads — and why you might want to.

How to create a duplicate campaign in Google Ads

Once you’ve decided you want to duplicate an existing campaign in Google Ads, the steps are fairly straightforward.

1. Sign into your Google Ads manager account

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2. Select Campaigns

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Find this on the left-hand menu on the page.

3. Check the boxes that correspond to the campaign name

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You can also do this with any related elements you’re looking to copy.

4. Navigate to the drop-down Edit menu and click the Copy option

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Alternatively, you can use whichever keyboard shortcuts work to copy items on your computer or device.

5. Head back to the Edit menu and click Paste from the options available

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Be sure to check the boxes next to the accounts you want the campaigns or elements to be pasted into. At this stage, you may also have to select which account you’re pasting the campaign to, if you manage multiple.

6. Once you’re all set, click Done

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You have the option to check off the “Pause new campaigns after pasting” box if you don’t want the new campaigns to start running just yet.

7. Click Paste to paste in the new campaign

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And voila! Your new campaign is now a mirror image, including the same ad groups, bid strategies, negative keyword, and targeting settings.

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Pro tip: Google advises making sure the account you’re pasting the new campaign into is set to the same currency as the account it was copied from, if applicable. If not, the campaign won’t paste.

Why should you duplicate a Google Ads Campaign?

You should duplicate a Google Ads campaign if you launched one that performed well and want to save time setting up your next similar campaign.

Rather than going through the motions of inputting the same info, you can have, as Google puts it, a bit of a “head start” moving forward by copying and cloning or duplicating the campaign details.

Along with campaigns, you can also duplicate ads groups, ads, audiences, and keywords. Not only that, but if you happen to manage multiple accounts with your own Google Ads manager account, you can copy all of the above ad elements across various accounts.

Pro tip: You can copy multiple campaigns at once, too. Simply follow the same instructions below, but check all the boxes next to the campaigns, ad groups, keywords, or ads you want to duplicate.

Common mistakes: When you shouldn’t duplicate a campaign

You obviously don’t want to duplicate a poorly performing campaign. But there are other instances where you should avoid copying a campaign as well.

Duplicating a campaign copies over ad schedules, geotargeting, and bidding strategies. So, if you want to show your ads at different times, target a different geographic location, or use a different bidding strategy, it’s probably best to start from scratch.

Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM adds that “you want to make sure you don’t have negative keywords that conflict with each other, maybe in a campaign a keyword needs to be negative, but in the duplicated campaign that may not be the case.”

How to duplicate a Google Ads ad group

As Google states, an ad group “contains one or more ads that share similar targets. Each of your campaigns is made up of one or more ad groups.” Having ad groups can help you organize your various campaigns by things like product, service, or feature.

For this reason, you may want to clone an ad group to a new campaign. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Again, you’ll make sure you’re signed into your Google Ads manager account.
  2. Navigate to the menu on the left side of the page, then select Ad Groups.
  3. From there, select the ad groups you want to duplicate by checking their respective boxes.
  4. Next, go to the Edit menu and click Copy.
  5. On that same menu, click Paste.
  6. Select the campaign or campaigns where you want the ad group to be pasted via the campaign picker, then click Done.
  7. Check the box for “Pause new ad groups after pasting” if you don’t want them to immediately launch.
  8. Go back to the Edit menu and click Paste.

Looking for more on setting up a paid search campaign? Check out our blog “How to Set Up a Google Ads Campaign: The Ultimate Guide” for a complete Google Ads tutorial.

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How to copy an ad in Google Ads

Alright, let’s get more granular. Maybe you just want to copy an ad into another ad group rather than an entire campaign.

No problem – here’s what you need to do.

  1. First, check that you’re still signed into your Google Ads account.
  2. On the left-side of the page, click the Ads & Assets option.
  3. Select the ads you want to clone by checking their respective boxes.
  4. Navigate to the drop-down Edit menu and click Copy, then Paste.
  5. Select the campaign you want to paste your ads to via the ad group picker.
  6. Click Done.
  7. If you don’t want the ad to start running immediately, check the “Pause new campaigns after pasting” box.
  8. If you’re duplicating an ad that already exists in this ad group, check the box for “If ad already exists in destination, create duplicate.” Otherwise, just click Paste.

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How to copy audiences in Google Ads

Google Ads audience targeting is composed of people grouped by various demographics, from interest to intent and plenty in between. Once you’ve found an effective audience for your ideal client persona, it could be beneficial to duplicate them for multiple ad groups or campaigns.

Here’s how to duplicate Google Ads audiences:

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Select “Audiences” from the left-side menu on the page.
  3. Select the audiences to clone by checking the boxes next to all that apply.
  4. Head to that Edit menu and hit Copy.
  5. Select Campaigns or Ad Groups, then choose the campaigns or ad groups you want to paste into from the drop-down menu.
  6. Go back to the Edit menu and hit Paste.
  7. If you don’t want the new audience ads to start running right away, select the box that says “Pause new audiences after pasting.” Otherwise, just hit Paste.

Pro tip: Want to include the bid strategy associated with these audiences as well? Simply check the “Include bids” box.

How to duplicate keywords in Google Ads

Keywords are the heart of a successful paid search ad campaign. These search terms are the thread that connect the right people to your products or services.

To duplicate a single keyword into an ad group, here’s what to do:

  1. Go to your Google Ads account.
  2. Select Keywords from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click the boxes next to the keywords you want to copy.
  4. Find the Edit menu and select Copy from the drop-down options.
  5. In that same menu, click Paste.
  6. Using the ad group picker, select the ad groups you want to paste your duplicated keywords into, then click Done.
  7. Decide whether or not you want to also include final URLs and existing bids with these cloned keywords.
  8. If you don’t want the new keywords to start running right away, select the box for “Pause new keywords after pasting.”
  9. Lastly, click Paste.

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Pro tip: When you paste keywords into a new campaign, keep in mind those keywords will use the budget set for that particular campaign – you can copy the landing page URLs and bids as well, if you wish.

What to do if you have issues duplicating a Google Ads campaign

Having trouble copying or pasting a campaign, ad group, ad, audience, or keywords? The search engine explains that you might get a “Paused due to system errors” message during this process. Here’s how to deal.

  1. First, read the provided description paired with the error message.
  2. Select the View Details option for more info.
  3. Once you’re on the Detail page, navigate to the Change column to see which action you recently attempted.
  4. Next, check out the Status column’s information to see what options you might have to fix your issue.
  5. Click the campaign you’re working with in the Campaign tab.
  6. Review and fix any issues you spot.
  7. Try to enable the campaign again.

Pro tip: If you suspect the error is something small and inconsequential, you can choose to enable it anyway. Just be confident that there’s no actual problem first.

The takeaway

After taking the time to test, achieve an affordable cost per click (CPC), craft eye-catching ad copy, and implement optimization tactics to your campaigns, being able to duplicate them is a win-win.

Whether you’re deeply invested in your Google Ads Editor app or work alongside a marketing agency, saving time on campaign creation means you can invest more in other factors like lead generation, keyword research, and analyzing metrics.

This article has been updated and was originally published in February 2023.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's senior content marketing manager. Through more than a decade of professional writing and editing experience, she creates SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of reading, yoga, new vegetarian recipes, and paper planners.