Google Ads or Ads Express ?
Every business needs to be found online and odds are you’ve likely heard of AdWords and Pay Per Click advertising.
PPC or Pay Per Click is a form of online advertising where you pay for your ad to show up in search engine results. You create an ad for your business and target specific keywords that would be relevant to your potential customers. Then when these keywords are entered into search, your ad pops up, and you then pay for each click that ad receives. Hence the term, Pay Per Click or PPC.
Google AdWords is the most well-known PPC product out there. But did you know there are two types of AdWords?
AdWords is now Google Ads
Last summer, Google renamed both products, dropping the term “words” from their names. So now, they are Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Google Ads Express (formerly AdWords Express). The main reason for doing so was that the platforms now offer many different types of dynamic and even video ads. Originally, the ads were simple text-only tile ads that popped up in search results, hence the “words” label but not anymore! So, the term “words” simply no longer reflected the full product offering. Makes sense to me.
A little Background
The PPC offering now includes Videos, Banners, Dynamic search ads and more. You can still advertise on the search network with simple text display ads. But you can now advertise on YouTube while people are watching videos, on Google Maps while customers are searching, and advertise across multitudes of websites with a variety of display ads.
What’s the difference between Ads Express and Google Ads?
So what are the differences? Well, while it’s true that both products are owned by the same company, using the same base framework, they are definitely NOT the same product. One (Ads) is worth your advertising dollars, while the other (Express) provides a quick fix, generic product that hopes to cater to your business needs. Let’s dig a little deeper shall we?
AdWords Express or now, Google Ads Express, is designed as a simple ad product for those with smaller budgets. The account can be set up in as little as 15 minutes without any prior know-how required. Instead of crafting ad copy, researching the best keywords to use or any kind of bidding strategy, you just tell Google what you do and where you do it and they handle everything else. See the generic reference from above? Yep, you got it now. Think of Express as a loosely targeted auto-pilot program.
Benefits of Google Ads Express :
- Create an online ad quickly and easily.
- Pay only when someone clicks on your ad.
- Attract more customers to your website or blog.
- Minimal management needed – the platform runs your ads for you.
- Reach customers on desktop computers and mobile devices ( smartphones and tablets )
- Advertise on Google and Google Maps
- Reach customers in any geographic location you choose
- Review the effectiveness of your ads in your basic dashboard
It all sounds like a good strategy. But is it? After all, you are spending your hard-earned advertising dollars on the same network that you are asking Google help you to spend more money on. What?
Not without Concerns
- By not having control of your campaign you rely solely on Google to “do the right thing”. Google will likely optimize your ads to gain the most views and clicks (thereby increasing your ad spend with them) and not for conversions. At the end of the day if your ads are getting clicks but not conversions (not resulting in sales) then they are basically worthless.
- The second issue is having little control of your ad or to really see where your money is going. The only control you have is to make edits or deactivate your ad with little else available. You can see the keywords being bid on (hopefully the right ones?) but you can’t make any changes. In Google’s defense, this was intended to make things simpler but it’s far less than transparent. It’s akin to slimy pay-per-click companies that send reports every month but will never let you see your actual Google Ads account. Hmm?!
- Although both versions of Google Ads run on the same core network, they each have completely different ad formats. AdWords allows you to use animated or static banners, engaging video ads and expanded text ads on Google’s own websites PLUS their partner websites. This is ideal for complex A/B testing of different banners and adverts to see which one performs the best.
- Google Ads Express runs only text ads on Google’s websites which reduces your exposure and frankly, makes people less likely to click them. After all, would you rather click a fancy flashing animated banner or a few lines of text that you likely won’t read anyway? Google Ads Express also doesn’t allow you to use the new advanced ad formats such as video adverts on Google’s YouTube.
What about Google Ads?
Unlike AdWords Express, Google Ads gives you full control over your ad campaigns. It’s a much more detailed and comprehensive level of control but it comes with a fairly high level of complexity. With the ability to manage keywords, locations and ad formats, AdWords gives you the ultimate customizability.
To setup your campaign you simply create a new ad and decide which of the Google ad networks you want it to be displayed on. You can then set a daily budget, can change it at any time, how much to spend on each click and where your ads will appear. If you want to take your campaign even further, then you can try different formats such as video ads and shopping ads. There are so many more features that are available compared to Google Ads Express, it often intimidates small businesses or even some paid search agencies.
Here are some of the benefits of Google Ads vs Google Express Ads:
- Pay only when someone clicks on your ad
- You choose your own keywords, set prices, and structure your account
- Reach specific customers in any geographic location
- Advertising with special ad formats and detailed reporting
So, if you have kept reading this far, good for you!
In that case, this is my question:
Can you afford both in time and money to “do it yourself” with Google PPC Ads?
If the answer is no. You might want to invest in a test run for three months to get a professional, certified pay per click management such as MAC5. We will delve deep into your account and/or properly create one. We use only the latest and best practices and will even hand you detailed instructions for self-maintenance with Google Ads, if you ever decide to go on your own at some point. Just be careful not to over do it in sweat equity where you time could be better leveraged in running your business in other areas than taking the time to optimize ads, bid on keywords, placement of ad locations, etc.
Is there a case to use Google Ads Express? Well, Maybe. But we’ll let you be the final judge.
Case Study Comparison – Sally vs Joe
Sally’s Dolls: Sally is happy making hand made dolls for her small clientele and her business has become more of a hobby than a full-time business. She would rather save for a vacation or put money back into her business for more material for her dolls. Advertising for her, has been word of mouth and she would spend more time advertising in the local paper when she has time.
She has limited funds for advertising and would rather have it completely hands-off in the advertising arena.
Sally decided to try her hand at a self-managed Google Ad Express account. She created an account and wrote a few very simple ads. Sally set the location closer to her home where delivery costs were low. She is happy to gain a handful of leads per month and can turn off Google Ads Express at any time where orders are slow. Or of course, when that vacation bug kicks in!
Joe’s Autos: Joe’s Autos, on the other hand, has corporate competition which is increasing while the loyal customers have been shrinking annually. Joe’s has very strong business in the past, but the younger crowd seemed much more unresponsive to newspaper ads which was his traditional main source of advertising.
Joe’s plan was much larger the Sally’s. He wanted to purchase a new location to expand his operation. He has been approached by investors to sell his current location but is extremely proud of raising his family, supporting his local community and doing what he loves. Joe has always taken more of an educated approach. He knows, being a well-established business, that in order to grow, he will need to invest at least 10% of annual revenue for advertising. Joe just needs an effective and proven method of acquiring new customers to take things to the next level. He decided to go with Google Ads, but he just doesn’t have the time to run his business and do advertising himself. He hired a company that specializes in Paid Search with Google Ads.
Here are the objectives that were completed:
- Custom Ads were written for all the services the Joe’s offers at his auto repair shop
- Had the ads scheduled year based on trends from the previous years
- Had Targeted specific audiences and ran his ads on various related websites
- Provided pictures, a video of his shop and special offers for the various services
- Tested his Ads tested to see how his audience responds to the companies advertising
- Had the campaigns controlled by a professional management team for every detail of the campaign
- Created new campaigns created to support Joe’s long-term goals and promoting new locations
As you can tell, Google Ads full run of features is much more robust and comprehensive with full control. This Includes increased web traffic and revenue with a diverse advertising strategy that can used with large or small businesses.
Final Thoughts on PPC
Ultimately, for both businesses, with very different goals, the Google ads platform had something that could help. As you can see above, the full version of Google Ads is the wiser choice for most. Not only avoiding wasted ad spend but also targeting the right prospects, on the right channels in your target location. Once the specifics are dialed in and optimized monthly for reach and conversion, ppc advertising can be highly effective.
The real beauty of the Google Ads platform lies in the collected and compounded data. The most successful campaigns, take all of this data and refine and optimize to virtually negate any wasted ad spend. Granted as with any metrics, the larger sample of data, the better, more usable results. So if you’re looking for a quick hit and gone, then likely your ppc efforts will have minimal success. However if you’re serious about advertising your business and attracting new leads with an ongoing campaign (6 months+). Then you may just be looking at the golden goose.
Thanks for reading!