Adwords Express vs Adwords – Which Should You Choose?

In this article we will be comparing Adwords Express vs Adwords.

Google Adwords (now known as Google Ads) gives businesses the opportunity to reach their customers in a variety of ways. This includes showing your ads in:

  • Google Search results
  • Across websites that show ads on the display network
  • Via Google Shopping
  • And video ads via YouTube

However, for a new advertiser this can be quite daunting. The main Google ads platform is quite complex and there are a lot of moving parts to consider when setting up a new account.

To cater to new advertisers Google offer another option known as Adwords Express. When we compare Adwords Express vs Adwords they really are completely different.

Adwords Express is far less complex to set up. In fact Googles tagline for this service is “Set up your online ad in 15 minutes and let Google do the rest.”

adwords express vs adwords

This is true Adwords express is very simple to set up. The process requires no prior knowledge of advertising online and can be set up very quickly.

Setting up Adwords Express

To get started with Adwords you would visit and once you sign up for an account there are just a few steps new users needs to take, to actually get a new ad online.

Step 1

Once you sign up you will need to add your business name and website address (if you don’t have a website you can use your business listing on Google Maps)

Step 2

Once you have added these details Adwords Express will let you choose a goal for your advertising.

Here you have a number of options.

pick a goal for your ad

  1. Call Your Business – You can have people call your business, this is probably the most common choice, as most businesses want to receive calls from their potential customers.
  2. Visit your store front is the second option. This is going to be more relevant for businesses that have a physical location and want customers to visit.
  3. And finally you can choose “Take action on your website”. This is going to be relevant if you want people to visit the website and do something like make a purchase or using a sign up form.

Step 3

Next they will ask you to provide a location that you want to target your ads in. This is the area that you want people to see your adverts. You can select “near my business” which allows you to set a radius around your business location. Or you can choose a specific location such as a city, state/county, or country.

Step 4

Following this you will be asked to define your product or service. This includes a business category and also some keywords which best describe your products or service. Google will give you suggestions here, but you should add some of your own to try and make the targeting as specific as possible.

Step 5

On the next page you will be asked to create an ad. You should fill this out with details about your product or service and try to use a strong call to action. This could be something like call now. Or as you can see in the example below, we said. “Talk to the Experts Today!”. Your ad is probably the single most important element in Adwords Express as Google don’t give you control over much else. So make sure you write a good ad. On the next page you will be asked if you want to ad an image. This is optional and can be skipped.

write your ad

Step 6

If you chose the phone call option as your goal, the next page will ask you to enter your phone number. This will add the ability for people to call straight from your ad.

call extension adwords express

Step 7

After this, you will be asked to choose a budget for your ad. Google will give you performance estimates based on the budget you choose.

Once you have done this you will simply need to review your settings add some payment information and your ad is ready to go live.

The main problem with Adwords Express vs Adwords

So as you can see getting your ads online with Adwords express is very easy, unfortunately this is where the convenience ends.

Due to the simplified nature of Adwords Express, once things are set up you have very little control over how your ads are displayed. Essentially you are handing the reigns over to Google.

When we compare Adwords Express vs Adwords the control you get after campaign set up is extremely limited in comparison.

You will have no control over keywords, bids, device types. You wont be able to ad extensions. There is no tracking available, so if you want to track conversions on your website this will need implementing via Analytics.

In general it is just very restrictive. Plus you don’t have control over keyword match types or negative keywords, this means it is highly likely you will be receiving impressions for keywords that are not relevant to your business.

Why Adwords (Google Ads) Is The Best Option 90% Of The Time

For most advertisers considering Adwords Express vs Adwords, the main platform is usually going to be the best choice. It give far more flexibility and tageting options. This means that in the long run it will be far more cost effective.

The obvious problem is the learning curve is much bigger. This is the main reason Adwords Express exists.

Google knows that smaller business owners will be intimidated by the main ad platform. They also know that a quick 15 minute set up is going to be far more appealing than learning the more complex platform.

The fact is Google want to sell advertising and the biggest segment of the market they are not tapped into is small businesses.

Adwords Express is essentially a foot in the door for these new advertisers and the majority will eventually upgrade to the main platform.

Who is Adwords Express right for?

Adwords Express is only really suitable for new, small advertisers. After all, it is easy to set up and it can deliver some results.

Also, if we were to compare it with something like advertising in the back of a news paper. it is probably going to be the best option. However it is severely lacking when compared with the full Adwords experience

The first thing for any small business to consider is their budget. If it is extremely small , finding someone to set up and manage your Adwords account may be difficult. In this situation it might be a good idea to wet your feet by testing in Adwords Express.

However if you are getting some results from Adwords Express, it is advisable to upgrade as soon as possible. The fact is a percentage of your spend is very likely being wasted in Express. You could easily take this wasted budget and use it to have a professional account set up.

Following this if you are on a budget, just spend time educating yourself on how the main platform works and manage the campaigns yourself.

If your account has been set up well and your budget is low it is unlikely the campaign will need lots of work. It is also highly likely that a campaign in Adwords will do better than in Adwords Express.

If you do decide to manage your account yourself, you may even be able to find a freelance Adwords consultant who can spend 1-2 hours every few month, to give your account a health check and offer some recommendations.

Adwords Express vs Adwords conclusion

Overall when comparing Adwords express vs Adwords there really is no comparison the main platform is far, far superior. There has never been an occasion here at CPS Media LTD where we have recommended Adwords Express.

There has also never been a situation where an Adwords account hasn’t outperformed Adwords Express for the same business.

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