What is Google AdWords Express?
AdWords Express is an online advertising platform aimed at small business owners. Ads purchased through the platform show up in Google search results, on Google Maps, and on partner websites when people search for keywords related to your business’s products and services. Your AdWords Express account can be linked with your Google Analytics account to track online conversions from your ads.
Business owners use the platform to choose a goal for their ads:
Visitors to their website, or Google My Business page
Store visits to their storefront
Phone calls to their business.
Why is it attractive to small business owners?
Google knows that small business owners are busy and not always tech savvy. Most business owners don’t have the time or expertise to set up, monitor, and optimize complicated ad campaigns through a standard Google Ads (previously known as AdWords) account. AdWords Express aims to make online advertising more accessible by making it quicker and easier to set up your Google advertising.
It seems like a great deal:
1) Easy to set up:
Google says, “tell us about your business, write an ad, and we’ll do the rest.” They claim it only takes 15 minutes to set up an AdWords Express account.
2) Minimal ongoing time investment:
Google estimates 1 hour per month to set up new ads.
3) No online ad expertise is necessary:
Google claims there are “no keywords to choose, no online marketing strategies needed, and no ongoing maintenance.” They simply ask for a list of products and services you wish to promote.
4) High perceived value:
You only pay when a user clicks your online ad.
Why AdWords Express Actually Sucks
Despite its ease of use, AdWords Express is a lousy solution for almost every type of business.
Here are the reasons why:
1. You must use broad match keyword targeting
Broad match targeting broadly interprets your keywords (including each individual keyword in a phrase) to show your ads in as many searches as possible. If you own a bicycle shop and use the keyword “bike shop”, your ad could also be shown for irrelevant terms like “motorcycle workshop.” In the example below, a house painting company is being shown for the term “auto paint”.
Broad match targeting gives Google more leeway to show your ads when they want and increases the likelihood that your ads will appear, get clicked, and cost you valuable money on irrelevant searches.
2. You cannot add negative keywords
Negative keywords are search terms that you don’t want your ads to appear for. These are very important and often overlooked by those new to keyword-driven advertising. For example, if you offer roller skates, you could add “ice” as a negative keyword in Google Ads so your ads don’t show to people searching for ice skates.
3. You will suffer from a severe lack of transparency
AdWords Express doesn’t show you the actual search term the user searched to get to your site as Google Ads does. In effect, Adwords Express hides when your ads show up for irrelevant searches. You won’t even know when you’re paying for poorly targeted advertisements.
4. You cannot bid on your keywords
AdWords Express allows you to set a monthly advertising budget, but you give complete control to Google to determine how much you are paying per click. This can lead to higher advertising costs and loads of your money being spent on keywords that aren’t relevant or converting.
5. You cannot utilize ad extensions on your ads
AdWords Express does not allow you to use ad extensions to expand your ads with additional information such as location, links to specific parts of your website, other text, etc. These extensions give people more reasons to choose your business and help them find the information they are looking for. Extensions typically increase your ad’s click-through-rate (CTR) by several percentage points, which has a positive impact on your ad’s quality score.
6. You have little control over your ad quality score
The quality score is important because it determines how high in the search results your ad will show as well as how much you will pay per click. Lower quality ads are shown less and cost more. Higher quality ads are show more often, in higher positions, for less cost.
AdWords Express ads compete on the same platform as Google Ads, but without the necessary tools like advanced keyword targeting and ad extensions that can help make your ads more relevant and improve quality scores. This means that your AdWords Express ads are not only cost more than they should, but they get worse placement, which gives you less traffic.
7. You will waste money on poor ad performance
When it comes to PPC ads and Google, quality is better than quantity. You don’t want a lot of people clicking on your ads, you want the right people clicking on your ads. If you use AdWords Express, you are most likely wasting money on poorly targeted and poorly performing ads.
So what should you do?
If you are serious about advertising your business on Google and getting the most for your money, you should be using Google Ads, not AdWords Express.
Google Ads is more complex and time consuming to use, but offers an array of powerful features that will help you maximize your ad performance:
Advanced keyword targeting (Broad match, Broad match modifier, negative keywords, phrase match, and exact match).
Visibility into the actual search terms that showed your ads
How can you learn to use the complex features of Google Ads?
Check out the no-cost Google Academy for Ads. It’s an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn more about using the more sophisticated features of Google’s advertising products.
What if you don’t have the time, expertise, or desire to manage your own Google Ads campaigns?
It may be time to hire an expert. Not only will it save you valuable time, but it will result in better performance and return on investment for your marketing dollars. The best Google Ads experts not only understand the complexities of setting up, managing and optimizing campaigns, but they also employ advanced tools outside of Google’s platform to better understand what your competition is doing and which keyword niches to target for maximum ROI.
And yes, we can do that for you. We’re certified Google Ads experts, with over 10 years of experience managing ads on the platform. If you’re interested in hiring an expert to manage and maximize the return on your campaigns, please get in touch.