Is your business toying with the idea of testing Google AdWords to promote your products and services online? Even though nearly every keyword category is already crawling with competitors, there are millions of businesses that have not yet ventured into the Pay Per Click world to increase their visibility online.
The first thing you’ll notice when you start researching AdWords is a choice: Google AdWords Express vs. AdWords. Since most marketers or business owners are not aware of the differences, we put together this quick comparison.
Google AdWords Express
AdWords Express is a fully automated advertising program for marketers that want a convenient way to get ads online quickly. In that sense, AdWords Express works well. In just a few minutes, a business owner can add a few keywords that describe her services or products then write a brief description to serve as an ad. She enters her credit card and her business is online in minutes.
Easy, right? Technically, yes. But with every time-saving feature comes a compromise in control. Here are a few of the pros and cons we have found with AdWords Express.
- Fast, easy set up for new users
- Even the high-level reporting can be useful for marketers that are not used to measuring performance
- Can only promote one product/service in one geographic area
- Potentially irrelevant targeting & wasted spend
- Limited control over audience targeting
Google AdWords (Full Version)
Like to get your hands dirty and dig into data? The full version of AdWords is for you. Advertisers get more features, more control, better targeting options, and more robust reporting than AdWords Express users.
- Fully customizable & absolute control
- Very granular controls over keywords, ads, and audience targeting
- Can promote more than one product/service in multiple geographic areas
- Detailed reporting & analysis capabilities
- Greater time commitment to climb the steep learning curve
- More complex interface
- Potential information overload for beginners
Both platforms will drive new traffic to your website. And, both can work well if you set them up and optimize them properly with a goal of improving results over time.
No matter which version of AdWords you choose, pay close attention to your outcomes and results. Take the time to update your keywords, test new ads, and adjust bids for better results. It is entirely too easy to lose control of a neglected account and waste money on unqualified traffic that will never buy from you.
Given a choice, we always choose the full version of AdWords for our clients. We have experimented with the various iterations of AdWords Express (read our review of the former Google Boost service) over the years and helped transition several clients to the fully-featured version of AdWords for 3 reasons:
- AdWords Express only allows for one set of keywords and ads, so you can only effectively promote one product or service.
- Most Express features are built for local businesses, so online retailers or larger businesses will miss out on geographic-targeting capabilities.
- Very little data is provided for each keyword. This makes it nearly impossible to analyze the results and improve over time.
The bottom line: if you are don’t want to give up control over the details that matter for your AdWords campaigns, stick with the full version. If you just need a quick, convenient way to get your ads online without a lot of hand-holding, you might try AdWords Express.