Google Adwords Express is the stripped-down version of Google Adwords, the pay-per-click search engine advertising program that is Google’s bread and butter. Adwords Express launched last summer and has had mix reviews from advertisers.
The idea of Adwords Express is to give the non-techie business owner a way to spend money on local advertising with Google Adwords. Everything about the campaigns are automated, and the set-up is extremely fast, performed through your Google Places account dashboard. The problem? As with any activity, businesses not willing to put the time (do it yourself) or money (hiring a professional) into it will generally get little out of it. The standard Google Adwords certainly has a steep learning curve that gets steeper as time goes on, but without that learning period a small business advertiser will not understand online advertising enough to get much out of it.
The main benefit of Adwords Express touted by advertisers is that of increasing “local visibility.” So if you are not worried about getting clicks and converting them to sales, but rather just exposing your brand to the local searching public, maybe Adwords Express is a no-brainer. However, if you are looking to expand your audience beyond a 15 mile radius of your physical location, you can’t do that with Adwords Express.
Another major limitation, in my opinion, is the fact that you can only create a single ad per business category that you have listed in Google Places. So if what you want to advertise is not represented by a category in Google Places, you’re out of luck.
Does the “Express” mean that Adwords Express is less expensive than Adwords? In the competitive niche I did my research for, the answer was “No.” The cost per click (CPC) was within the same general range, but on the high end.
Based on my research, I don’t believe Adwords Express gives the small business owner the tools necessary to run and efficient campaign. This, coupled with the fact that the CPC costs are no lower than a standard Adwords campaign, makes it difficult for me to see how it would be possible to get a positive ROI when using this service.