Adwords Express: Ads in the Express Lane


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Google Search

If you’ve read much about SEO or any of the topics we’ve covered, it’s probably fairly obvious that Google is central to most SEO processes and decisions.

In other words, when Google makes an announcement or a decision related to how they rank websites, our industry tends to listen. That’s not to say Google is end-all of SEO, but largely, we’re saying we’d be idiots to be disinterested in their input, not to mention horrible at our jobs.

(And we aren’t, thank you very much.)

With such large volumes of people searching their unimaginably-sized, indexed version of the internet 24/7/365, Google recognized early on that there was a need and use for advertisements. And also of course, as needs of, volumes of, and types of ads, companies, and customers changed, Google adapted.

Adwords Express: Changed Ad Management from Google

Google Adwords

Pay per click (PPC) ad management platforms made a first, solid appearance in Google’s AdWords, which debuted in 2000. In 2011, AdWords Express appeared on the scene.

AdWords and AdWords Express may showcase almost identical names, but the functionality of the two ad campaign platforms are surprisingly unique one another. Sure, they both result in ads on Google, but the means by which we interact with the programs are almost entirely different.

Also Read : Using PPC to Build Your Business

AdWords vs. AdWords Express

Google Adwords

So what exactly are the differences between the two PPC ad management platforms?

In the case of Google’s AdWords, ad campaign management is a more comprehensive, hands-on program. You run the ads yourself or can also hand it off to a professional agency (like us!). While AdWords is magnificent, maintaining a solid ad campaign with (normal) AdWords usually means a minimum of 10-15 hours of commitment per week, which many small business managers and entrepreneurs don’t have. Continual updates are possible throughout your campaign with (regular) AdWords. With AdWords, you also have direct control over your keywords, reach, and how you want to advertise.

In terms of AdWords Express, the program is more automated. If you don’t have the energy or time to continually update ad campaigns, AdWords Express can serve as quite an ad management asset. Set and go; automated. The program automates based on Google’s insights. Also, ad formats for AdWords Express are only limited to textual advertisements, unfortunately. AdWords Express is also beneficial to companies without a website.

…but if you’re here, you likely have a website. If not, please get a website. (We can write and improve copy for that, too.)


Both AdWords and AdWords Express are used for mobile ads, ads on Google Maps, and ads on Google Search. Both only charge you per actual click received.

So Do I Use AdWords or AdWords Express?

Here’s the breakdown/end-game:

If you have the time or energy to contribute to 10-15 hours a week to managing a bangarang ad campaign, you absolutely should, and Google AdWords is for you. Using AdWords means you have more direct control, but at the price of time and attention.

If you don’t have the time, Google AdWords Express can prove beneficial in its streamlined, automated ad choices. Google AdWords Express means you have more time and energy left over to focus elsewhere on your business, but that you’ll have less control over targeted marketing processes. Your ads will still be targeted, but at Google’s discretion.

Optimizing AdWords Express


If you desperately need the time and have decided AdWords Express is the better choice for your business, we have some additional insight.

First, setting up AdWords Express is a straightforward process. HubSpot has created a super guide, if you need help. Thankfully, since it’s a set-and-go program, there aren’t too many steps, nor are they as complicated as some programs.

Here are some of our top/favorite tips to keep your AdWords Express experience working in your favor:

  1. Where you can, make use of Google’s tips for ads. Some of these tips include adding discount codes to your ads, staying professional, and highlighting what makes your business different or sets it apart from your competition.
  2. Remember that mobile-based searches now give priority to mobile-friendly sites. See our announcement regarding their announcement here. With AdWords Express, giving device preference (see link here for more information and help) can boost your ratings by providing greater availability to a wider audience.
  3. Start with a small budget. This tip comes from Search Engine Journal and we love it wholeheartedly. SEJ suggests planning $300 or less per month to start. Essentially, Google automation is significantly helpful, but can also spread ads like wildfire. Without a budget, you’re left with a humongous, unintentional, unplanned-for Bill of Doom.
  4. Remember your CTA. CTA, or Call to Action, should be present in most content you feature, but also ads. Don’t just tell your clients about your services, after you’ve sold them, seal the deal by imploring them to call or email you today!
  5. Headlines matter. Headlines are the ultimate decider for whether a prospective client will read any further. If your headlines are bombing, your ad bombs as a result, too. Use emotional, attention-grabbing words, but stay direct and on topic. If you’re looking for more tips on better headlines, whether ads or blogs, check out our recent headline blog. Note that the length of headlines for blogs and ads can vary, though.
  6. Write effectively. Google has guidelines and tips to help direct more traffic and conversions in your direction by asking the following questions while penning your next ad:
    1. What do I have to offer?
    2. What do I want to accomplish?
    3. Who are my customers?

Ad Knowledge is Ad Power

Understanding the variances between AdWords and AdWords Express is just another day in the life at Romain Berg. We stay on top of PPC management because ads are what provide our customers their customers.

We’re experienced professionals with years of continued and committed research in the marketing and SEO fields. We’re here to provide guidance and insight on how your ads could be working for you, whether via AdWords or AdWords Express or a makeover to your entire approach. Talk to us today. Let’s see what we can do to dominate your competitors.

About the Author

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

Sam Romain

Sam Romain

Digital marketing expert, data interpreter, and adventurous entrepreneur empowering businesses while fearlessly embracing the wild frontiers of fatherhood and community engagement.

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