Why Adwords Is Better than Adwords Express for Your Business

Google’s AdWords Express, a search engine marketing service, aims at providing small businesses with faster and simpler ways to advertise online. The program is geared towards local businesses that aren’t already AdWords advertisers, to help them create effective PPC campaigns without the need for daily management, and to avoid any overwhelming feelings that often come when you first start advertising online. By tapping into the larger segment of local businesses, AdWords Express is able to help a lot of small businesses that are on tight budgets with limited marketing resources. In less than five minutes, you can create an ad, with minimal guess work from the often complicated PPC campaigns associated with traditional AdWords. If your business is looking to use an effective search engine marketing tool, here are some things to consider when you’re deciding between AdWords or Adwords Express:

AdWords Express Features:

-Create ads for each distinct business category with multiple ads that can be created specifically for each category, and divided for a given budget.
-Be alerted of any issues with billing and account information through their alerts and payment management system.
-Link your Google Analytics with your account to monitor user experience with ads.
-Choose exactly where you want to promote your business geographically.
-Access on-the-go with the app.
-A recently redesigned dashboard with ad performance stats front and center for easy access and use.

Choosing AdWords over AdWords Express

While signing up for AdWords Express will automatically create an AdWords campaign for a business, you’re dependent on Google to automatically optimize and serve the ads. This eliminates the need to have standard AdWords expertise, but also has some serious restrictions.

On the surface, AdWords Express appears to be a viable alternative to AdWords, but delve a bit deeper and it starts to look more and more like a starter kit designed to pull businesses toward the AdWords platform. Some of the top level AdWords features that Express simply cannot provide are the functions that make it worthwhile to invest in AdWords.

1. Point users to the right landing page
Typical Internet users decide quickly to stay on a website or move on. When users click on your ad, they should arrive at a landing page clearly displaying the information or product offered in your ad. If users don't immediately find what prompted them to click on an ad, they're more likely to leave the site without converting.

Unlike AdWords, Express doesn't allow users to include specific keywords that directly relate to the specific theme of your ad group and landing page. This limits a business’ ability create an effective call-to-action and specially designed landing pages.

2. Ad extensions
Ad extensions expand a standard text ad with one or more lines that provide additional information such as an address and phone number (location extensions and call extensions), more page links (ad sitelinks), and product images (product extensions). There is no additional charge for including ad extensions in your ads. Instead, businesses are charged for each click on your ad that leads to your site, even if those clicks are on product images, additional links, or other features in the ad extensions family. This can greatly increase the effectiveness of a campaign. However, Express doesn't allow for this option.

3. Cost per click
While it is true that AdWords Express allows you to control what you spend on your monthly budget, it doesn't allow you to regulate the cost-per-click. Google provides recommended budgets based on the category you picked. You can also set a custom budget, starting as low as $50 per month.

However, this doesn’t allow you to control cost-per-click. For example, Bill owns three music stores in Michigan. He sets a $100 budget for each store. Assuming his monthly budget doesn't change, Bill's total spend for the calendar month would be $300. While he may have an established budget, Bill has lost the ability to define a cost per click limit. If he only gets three clicks on an ad, his cost-per-click is $100. If she used AdWords, Bill could set a limit on cost per click.

4. Ad ranking/positioning
The position of a keyword-targeted ad on search ad units is based on its ad rank, which is determined by a bid for that keyword or ad group multiplied by the matched keyword's Quality Score. To be promoted to a top position above Google search results, ads must exceed a certain quality threshold, which helps ensure that only the highest quality ads appear in top spots.

AdWords Express doesn't offer the capability to tailor keywords, so as a result there isn't an opportunity to adjust efforts to increase Quality Score.

5. Timing out
Ad scheduling allows you to specify certain hours or days of the week for AdWords ads to appear. For example, you might schedule your ads to run only on weekdays, or from 3:00 until 6:00 p.m. daily. A Park Avenue plastic surgeon isn’t going to pull in any quality traffic serving ads served at 5 a.m. These type of random clicks don’t lead to business.

Again, there is no such option with AdWords Express.

What's right for your business?

Image Credit: Google

A traditional AdWords campaign may be the best option for your business if you’re looking for more control and variation. However, if you’re a small business looking to get an “intro course” into PPC, AdWords Express can be effective. It’s important to consider all of the features of both, and seeing which will be able to best serve your company when it comes to their marketing goals.

14 Tips to Successful Paid Search Advertising Whitepaper

Share this post

Comments on this post

  1. I also like the new express feature that adds the business reviews on the ad itself. Users will be looking for that information more and more as time progresses anyways, so good to have another encouraged click from the advertisement itself.

  2. I agree. Im not sure Express is adding any more value than Boost (as you suggest). I think in the long term this is a tool to bring more customer into the AdWords fold.

  3. Great informative article! I spent almost three business days investigating the AWExpress activation we were using in our organization (lured in by a $100 coupon), being so confused by the limitations (why the 25km tarket range? Why can’t I edit this keyword like I did in previous Adwords campaigns?), doing some head-aching research, and finally coming to the same conclusions that you list here. I even said to my supervisor (our marketing director) in a meeting, “Well basically, AWEXpress is like Adwords for Dummies.” And then I find this! Ha! Thank you for the great re-cap. I’ve passed on to some other folks. Cheers 🙂

  4. How much do you really think the little blue flag helps out with CTR?

  5. found this article while searching about more info on adwords express for people like me who haven’t used AdWords in a few years, but technically don’t qualify as a new customer…. didn’t understand the differences in the two services until reading your informative article… very helpful… sounds like I’m better off just paying out of pocket than trying to take advantage of some free advertising.

  6. I just started using adwords express and I think you are correct about it being an introduction adwords. I spend more money with “express” than it generates for me. I get numerous clicks but no calls. I have a pest control company that specializes in bee removal and I need better control over the key words. They will allow you to switch over to adwords at any time and they will allow you to add up to 5 negative key words in express. But even with that, it is not enough control to execute an efficient campaign.

  7. Has anyone had a problem with using Adwords and trying to cancel it but still getting billed and then finding out it was Adwords Express that had the active campaign being billed through Adwords? Please respond if so, trying to find out how widespread this problem is. Thanks, Heidi

Comment on this post


Ready to discuss your project? Work With Us
Blue Fountain Media is recognized as a
Top Digital Agency by
Ranked #1 Interactive
Agency by top interactive agencies example
Ranked Top 10 Digital
Agency by awwwards logo
Ranked Top 10 Agency
Worldwide by IMA logo
Our Locations
New York Headquarters
New York Headquarters
102 Madison Avenue - Second Floor
New York, NY 10016
Chicago Office
Chicago Office
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212
Chicago, IL 60654
Seattle Office
Seattle Office
14980 NE 31st Way, Suite 120
Redmond, WA 98052
  • 102 Madison Ave, 2nd Floor
  • New York, NY 10016
  • 212.260.1978