Deciding which way to advertise, either the full Google AdWords platform or Google AdWords Express, is often a daunting task for small businesses. Even large businesses are faced with advertising challenges but often have years of advertising data to look back on when calling the shots. Once a company agrees to move into the digital space, either for the first time or more aggressively, a host of new questions arises.

Google Adwords vs. Google AdWords Express

One common question we seem to hear over and over is “what’s the difference between Google AdWords and Google AdWords Express, aren’t they the same thing?”. Well, yes, and no. On the surface there are striking similarities between the two but when you start to peel away the layers of anonymity these platforms present to an inexperienced audience, stark contrasts quickly surface.

In an effort to make things simple we will use 2 example companies; Suzy’s Quilts and Frank’s Auto Service. Suzy owns and operates a quilt company that makes quality goods from hand and is coming up on a 1 year anniversary.

Suzy is the owner, sales team, production team, marketing team, customer service team and anything else that comes up team. Frank, on the other hand, has been in business for nearly 20 years and has a growing staff, 3 locations and an existing customer base that is loyal to his reputable service company. Since opening the business, Frank has relied on word-of-mouth, local youth sports team sponsorships and occasional billboards or newspaper ads to give sales a boost.

Now that we know a little bit about our example companies, let’s look at the challenges they face and what they are looking to accomplish with digital advertising.

Suzy’s Quilts Challenges

Low product demand and little time to spare.

Suzy’s Google Adwords Express Goal

Invest very little time into occasionally exposing her business to a small audience without taking on too much.

Frank’s Auto Service Challenges

Corporate competition is increasing while the loyal customer base is reducing annually as the community evolves. Though very effective in the past, the younger market seems unreceptive to newspaper ads as their primary news source is “them tweeter things”.

Frank’s Google AdWords Goal

Stay relevant in his market and do a better job of letting people know that he offers the same great deals bigger brands are constantly pushing, but his service comes with years of reliable experience and more flexible/competitive pricing.

So which advertising platform, AdWords or Google AdWords Express, is best for each company? In a way both platforms are good options but, depending on the long-term goals of each company, one option may be more suitable than the other.

Suzy’s Quilts Example

Suzy enjoys making quilts and is happy with the thought that her hobby may be a great way to save up for a new car or that trip to Venice (the real Venice, not that glamor infused concrete deception in Sin City) she has been planning in her head. Each quilt takes a long time to make and she isn’t interested in teaching others a skill it took her years to master. She just wants an easy way to advertise her quilts when there are no orders pending and she thinks Google AdWords Express might be her best option.

Based on her available funds, the time she plans to devote to advertising, and her desire to be almost entirely hands-off in regards to her advertising, Suzy would be an excellent Google AdWords Express advertiser.

With a self-managed Google AdWords Express account Suzy would be able to:

  • Easily create an account and write a few simple text ads
  • Show her ads to a small audience close to her home so she can keep shipping costs low
  • Do some light advertising without having to worry about creating a website

All Suzy needs is a couple of hours to create her account and get a few ads setup. The automated AdWords Express system will take care of the rest and at any time, she can log in and turn off her ads so she isn’t spending more than the $300.00 per month she’s set aside for advertising unless she is very low on orders.

Frank’s Auto Service Example

Frank has different plans. He has been scouting out a new corner location next to the highway exit and has a good bit of money saved up for his company’s next expansion. He has been approached by investors a few times to sell the business but he is very proud of the fact that he has raised his family, and supported his community, for decades while doing what he loves. He’s also been the guest of honor at a few Little League pizza parties which are very well documented in his office at the shop. Always taking an educated approach, Frank understands that in order to grow he will need to invest and as an established business, he sets aside 5-10% of his annual revenue for advertising. Now Frank just needs a proven and effective way to create a steady stream of new customers to take things to the next level. Based on his goals, a Google AdWords account is what Frank needs.

With all of the features available to him as an AdWords advertiser, Frank would be able to:

  • Write custom ads for each of the services he offers
  • Schedule various campaigns throughout the year based on trends from previous years and promotions his competition is running
  • Target very specific audiences and run his ads on websites related to his that he knows car owners visit
  • Promote his business with pictures or videos of his shop and special offers for specific services
  • Easily and repeatedly test his ads to see what messages his audience responds to
  • Maintain complete control over every little detail of his campaigns and create additional campaigns to support his long-term goals and promote additional locations

Essentially, AdWords Express is a simple and time friendly platform ideal for small businesses looking for an occasional boost. The full-feature Google AdWords platform is much more robust and allows a company to control each and every aspect of its advertising strategy while significantly increasing brand recognition, website traffic and of course, revenue.

So, which is best for your business? Whether you wan to take full advantage of all features available in Google Adwords or you are looking for the occasional boost in traffic via Google AdWords Express, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free review of your goals and strategy for the future.

By: Michael Venezia – Digital Marketing Director, Cool Nerds Marketing

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