Google Adwords vs Adwords Express

Recently I was asked to log in to a clients Google Adwords account, and make some changes. I had a good look over it, and needed to edit/remove/add keywords, change scheduled times the campaign would go out, check out where their money was going etc. I was provided with the credentials, and immediately noticed something was… different. Then it dawned on me – this wasn’t your typical Google Adwords account.
This was an Adwords EXPRESS account.

Google Adwords
For those of you who are not in the know, Google Adwords is a tool in which you can pay Google directly to advertise your website within their own search rankings. The more you pay per click, the more likely you are to come out at the top page. It is a trial and error system that relies on people who know how to use it dipping in and out, making changes, using relevant & researched keywords (never underestimate the importance of this), setting the times of day it is shown, locations shown in, and budgets you would like to specify etc. The full Google Adwords allows you to have control over all of this. You are left with a blank canvas to fill everything in – all by yourself. This means you have complete control, and if you have somebody to show you how to edit it and understand the numbers once the campaign has kicked in (like me), you can access all of the lovely data it provides when people start viewing/clicking your advert. This ‘full’ version of Google Adwords is the most well known version, and up until recently, the only version.

Google Adwords Express
After doing some research, Adwords Express used to be known as Google Boost 7 years ago, and provided an automatic experience for the user to advertise their site. But this has been rebranded to Adwords Express. I can only imagine my clients confusion when they realise these two things are VERY different.
So after logging into this strange new place today, there were a few things I noticed that needed addressing. Where were the Cost Per Clicks (CPCS) for every individual keyword? How am I meant to see how much each one is costing me, and adjust it myself? I couldn’t find it anywhere – it didn’t exist. How can I add more keywords? There was only a function to take them away – via a disable button. I logged into my clients account, and there were upwards of 100 random keywords. Where did they come from? I watched a video on how to set up an Express account and the answer was hidden in plain sight – Google makes them up FOR YOU. Wow. I disabled over 80 of my clients keywords, some that were super general and wouldn’t be worth his hard earned cash. If your business is based on installing tiles for bathrooms, and Adwords Express decides to add ’tiles’ as a generic keyword, this could do some damage. You don’t supply tiles, only install ones your client has already purchased. Therefore your advert, when clicked on, will waste money and frustrate people when they do not land where they’d want to be. After some research, I also saw that the two platforms are not interchangeable – so if you’d like to change over to the Full Adwords experience from the limited Express, you can’t do it. Google makes you start from over.

The final verdict
Advertising with Google Adwords, whether it is via the full version or the Express version, requires specific SEO knowledge on different statistics, data, research on keywords, changing with trends and understanding numbers when they begin to transpire on the dashboard. I can see the appeal in setting up a Google Adwords Express account, as most customers will think this is an easy to set up option. However, as easy as it might be, it lacks in having any control. I would rather insert my own researched keywords any day than have a bot from Google HQ input 100 random ones into my campaign for me. Most of my clients would also not understand the difference between these two versions, and so would think they are the same thing. I think in terms of making your money work for you, the full version of Google Adwords will triumph over Express any day. If you are going to spend money on advertising, I would always highly recommend having the initial account set up by another person who really knows what they are doing, and who can teach you when to turn it on when you are quiet, and turn it off when you are busy. Google Adwords Express really should be left well alone if you are serious about advertising online, and is something I am going to be warning my clients about down the road.

So just remember – if you get an email for ‘free credit’ for Google Adwords Express from the Google search engine, to your registered Google Mail account – please understand they are just trying to make money out of you. Google are the King Of The Internet at the moment, and as much as they do help in some areas, rely on the lack of knowledge around these things in those who are not well versed in SEO. If they are going to take your money, open up a full version of Google Adwords and let a professional take over for you. You will be thanking them in the end.

Check out these other links for other professionals saying the same thing.

AdWords vs AdWords Express: What Small Businesses Should Know


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