What Is Adwords Express and Should You Use It?

9 September, 2018

Adwords Express is a basic Google Ads service that is designed for advertisers who do not feel confident crunching all the numbers and fiddling with the various settings associated with a traditional Google Ads (or Adwords) account.

Unlike regular Adwords (both the old and new interface), Adwords Express is almost totally automated. You set a budget, select a product and write an ad - Adwords Express does the rest for you.

What does Adwords Express do?

Adwords Express does most of the things Google Ads does - it allows you to publish ads based on keyword targeting and other criteria. There is one big difference, however; Adwords Express takes complete control of account activity.

That’s right, you can’t really do anything to manage the account beyond the very basic - Google does it all for you.

If you’re in the target market for Adwords Express, this might sound great. If you are not, it might sound a bit ridiculous. For someone completely new to digital marketing, this simplification of the platform could be useful.

Who is Adwords Express for?

Adwords Express offers limited functionality compared with the full interface so, naturally, experienced paid search professionals may scoff at it. It does, however, have a place.

Adwords Express has been designed to try and accommodate for those completely new to Google’s various advertising platforms, or those who have zero time to manage their ads, bids, keywords, and reporting. It may also work for those hoping to advertise with a particularly limited budget.

The Pros of Adwords Express

  • Quick set up: Adwords Express is really quick to set up and get started with. According to Google themselves, you can get a campaign up and running in just 15 minutes.
  • No management time needed: If you have no time to spend researching keywords, writing ads, deciding on landing pages and tweaking bids, handing all of this over to Google’s automated systems may be useful - if you’re comfortable relinquishing control.
  • No experience required: Adwords Express is designed for people with zero PPC experience. Naturally, then, it might appeal to those who do not understand how it all works. That said, we would always recommend gaining a reasonable understanding of where your money is being spent!

The Cons of Adwords Express

  • No control: The biggest potential issue with Adwords Express is that you have no control whatsoever on how your ads are managed. While you specify a budget, everything else is done automatically. You cannot edit ads, add keywords or adjust bids.
  • Bad for reporting: Adwords Express keeps its cards close to the chest when it comes to data. You can only see one or two details relating to your campaigns.
  • Google’s goals may not reflect yours: Remember, Google makes most of their enormous amounts of cash from advertising - despite the usefulness of their automated systems in practice, Adwords Express may have a different idea than you as to what is performing and what is not. Ultimately, it wants to spend your budget.
  • Poor for experience: Due to the restrictive reporting and settings, you aren't likely to learn much about how Google Ads works. If you're looking for a long term, sustainable ad solution, gaining gradual experience will be invaluable.

Should I use Adwords Express?

Like almost any question in digital marketing, the answer is that it depends. It depends on how much trust you are happy placing in Google’s automated systems, and how happy you are having pretty much zero influence over how your ads are managed or what they say.

If, as an advertiser, you are happy to allow Google to do just its thing, and if results are favourable, then Adwords Express may work for you. Businesses and people with insufficient time may enjoy success with it.

Ultimately, however, Adwords Express will be unable give you the attention to detail, flexibility or control that anyone with a basic knowledge of Google Ads will want.

Are there any alternatives to Adwords Express?

In terms of tools, there are a few PPC management tools in the market designed to make optimisation and account management more effective. These are mostly designed for medium to larger businesses, however, and may cost a lot more than you are hoping to spend.

In this blogger’s opinion, the two best alternative approaches to Adwords Express are:

  • Be confident and try to learn some of the basics of Google Ads management yourself. You’ll be surprised how quickly your knowledge grows, and there are loads of helpful and free blogs online that you can learn from.
  • If time really is a blocker, you may enjoy more success by hiring an agency or PPC consultant to manage your account for you. These will come at an additional cost, but a professional will be more understanding of your true goals than an automated system.

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Last updated 23rd November 2018

Written by Tom

Tom cites his key strengths as communication, writing and presenting. He enjoys working in digital due to the way it satisfies both the creative and logical sides of the brain.

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