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Google Ads vs Google Ads Express – Which One Should Your Business Use?

Google Ads vs Google Ads Express – Which One Should Your Business Use?

Google Ads Express is a stripped-down version of Google Adwords, designed as a simplified package for businesses who want to start quickly. Google says it is ideal for business owners without much time to micromanage their online advertising.

This probably seems like a great deal to small businesses who are strapped for time and manpower. It’s as straightforward as setting up an ad, writing a three line description of your company, and then Google will handle everything else. However, there are trade-offs when you opt for the Express service.

Anyone can create their first campaign

One of the strongest selling points of Adwords Express initially was that business owners did not need any experience in marketing to run a successful campaign. Now there is an emphasis on speed and how quickly it is possible to build and launch a campaign.

Google promises that you can set up an online advertising campaign through Adwords Express in 15 minutes and this is entirely true. But, more to the point, does it get results?

Before you invest a considerable amount of money in a fully-fledged Adwords Express campaign, you need to ensure that it will move your business forward. Had you no finance experience, no idea about stocks, no will to research the stock market or learn about market forces, would you consider investing on a trading platform just because it was quick and easy?

Taking a risk on your advertising campaign for the sake of a 15 minute setup is similarly inadvisable and you don’t want to be frustrated by underwhelming results.

To ensure that you make the most of your campaign, you must first learn the fundamentals of a good ad campaign. Ad copy that draws in customers, a congruent landing page, and tempting offers are all vital ways to drive up conversions.

Whilst Adwords Express is perhaps the fastest way to get your campaign up and running, it will not offer you as high a conversion rate as if you were to fully understand what you’re doing.

Inflexible options for customization

Once you get to grips with Google Adwords and understand the many factors that affect your conversions, you will begin to realize just how limiting Adwords Express is.

What the full version of Adwords offers you is the ability to create your keyword list and adjust bids on single keywords, organize them into tightly grouped themes along with asds, and create a custom landing page to maximise the effect each click has. There can be no overstating just how dramatically this can affect the number of leads and sales resulting from your ad campaign.


Adwords further provides you with more targeting options, with the capability to continuously retarget and it also allows you to run different types of ads. These can play a crucial role in driving up your conversion rate; it is much better that you control them rather than allow Google’s automated processes to take over.

Tracking your conversions

One of the main reasons that you may want to choose Adwords over Adwords Express is that it offers you several conversion tracking tools which can prove invaluable. With Adwords, you can track conversions such as online sales, contact form submissions, phone calls, and even offline sales should you input them into Adwords.

This is of the utmost importance simply because it makes it very easy to see whether your ad campaign is bringing a return on investment. Whilst advert impressions and web traffic are handy measures for any serious business, they don’t always equate to sales.

In fact, sometimes your ads will generate several hundred website visits and thousands of ad impressions but not lead to a single sale, and this is why it’s vital to have conversion tracking to use throughout your Adwords campaign.

Adwords Express reports on ad clicks and impressions, but does not allow you to see how many of those clicks were converted into sales or leads. Without conversion tracking, Adwords Express can be incredibly limiting.

You can’t migrate a campaign between the two

It may be tempting to use Adwords Express to get a campaign up and running quickly, with a plan to later switch to the full Adwords version at a later date.

Doing this is inadvisable! There is no way to migrate a campaign, Google does not faciliate the switching of an Express campaign to a full Adwords campaign. You can build a new campaign from the beginning but you will not be able to use your existing data.

Instead of having to take time over the building of an Adwords Express campaign, and then later rebuilding it with Adwords, it makes far more sense to set up your ideal campaign from the start.

There is a learning curve on both platforms if you want to maximise your conversions, but Adwords can be said to provide more in-depth conversion tracking features alongside customization features not found in Adwords Express. Whilst not a bad product, it has far too many limitations for the business owner is looking to maximise a return on investment.

Adwords Express, in a nutshell, is a stripped down version which lets Google do most of the legwork for you. For just a little more effort and investment of time you can learn how to create and continually adjust a full Adwords campaign that could help your conversion rates soar.

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Peter Johnson
Peter is a Google AdWords specialist, with associated skills in Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and Facebook Advertising.