At a recent internet marketing consultation in Philadelphia, I was asked by the marketing manager at a law firm if they should use Google Adwords or Google Adwords Express? This is a very good question that will greatly affect your marketing budget. This article will detail the differences between the two, and will outline some scenarios we have witnessed and remedied recently whereby several thousands of dollars were being completely wasted on words that would never convert.
What are the differences between Google Adwords and Adwords Express?
There are a number of different features that I will get into, but overall, the main difference is that Google Adwords gives you more control over where, when and how you spend your dollars. As you can see at this link, Google differentiates the two in a very sales-based way.
In my opinion, here are the real differences that Google doesn’t get into in this comparison chart!
- Automatic Keyword Selection in Adwords Express
In Google Adwords Express your keywords are automatically generated for you based on the industry category you selected! This is one of the main problems with Adwords Express. You are most likely targeting keywords that when you look at the intention of the “Googler”, their intention is not to purchase your product or service!
In Google Adwords, you set the keywords and this gives you the control to ensure that your ad only competes for keywords that there is a high probability of a conversion for your product or service if the “Googler” uses those specific terms.
- No Ability To use Negative Keywords
A Negative Keyword is important in an adwords campaign. For instances if you sell custom shoes, and you sell them for $3,000 a pair. Then you are targeting a higher demographic. Therefore, you won’t want to pay for a search that had its keyword at “Cheap Custom Shoes”. You can use this scenario for most products and services. If you are selling cheap and you compete on that basis, this is not a problem for you! But for most people it is!
In Google Adwords Express you have no control over excluding these terms. If you target Apartment Homes, and you use Google Adwords Express, you will also show for Cheap Apartment Homes or Section 8 Apartment Homes etc… In Google Adwords you can set your negative keywords and exclude these items so you don’t waste budget on someone who never intends to purchase from you.
TIP: Studies have shown that several thousand dollars are wasted on click each day because of the word “Job”. So if you are not hiring, put that into your adwords campaign as a negative keyword!
- Your Automatically Selected Keywords are Broad Match Only
A Broad Match setting in Adwords means that for the keyword “Golf Shoes” your ad will bid to appear for any variation of a search that contains the word “Golf” and “Shoes” and terms Google deems are relevant. They can be in any order, and can include other terms too. So in this example, your ads will show for: “Golf Equipment”, “Tennis Shoes”, “Custom Ballet Shoes” etc…. As you can see, broad match can bankrupt you pretty quickly!
Adwords Express is a Broad Match only platform. The regular version of Adwords enables you to select from Broad Match, Expanded Broad Match, Phrase Match or Exact Match. This allows you to cut down on the waste and ensure your ad only appears for words that people will use if they intend on buying your service or product.
TIP: If in doubt, select exact match. NEVER use broad match! If you select exact match, spend some time putting in keywords that you would search if you were a customer looking for your products and services. Remember, the more specific you are the higher the probability of conversion!
- Your Geo Terms Exclude certain Scenarios
Another issue we have seen is that Google Adwords Express will target your ads geographically between 15 and 40 miles from your location. This presents a problem if someone who lives in New York City is searching for an apartment in Philadelphia!!! Google Adwords factors this in and enables your ad to show outside of a geographic target to those seeking your services.
If you are a pizza shop owner, this is not a concern for you. However, our client base nearly always have geographical issues when it comes to adwords, which can only be remedied by Google Adwords.
- No Ability to Track Conversions
Finally, the major issue we have with Google Adwords Express is the inability to track conversions so you can determine a return on investment. In Google Adwords you can set up conversion tracking through telephone calls and other mechanisms. With Google Adwords Express you only see how many impressions your ad received and the number of clicks. This is not conversion tracking! As seen above you will likely get lots of clicks because its broad match! But why spend thousands on people that don’t convert!
So Who Uses Adwords Express Then?
Adwords Express is an automated system. So if you are a local pizza shop, or a business with a very small monthly budget ($500 per month), then using Adwords Express is probably a good option. Typically if your budget is more than $500 per month you should use an external provider who can optimize your campaign in Google Adwords for the greatest ROI, and track it!
So the only benefit of Adwords Express is that it is an automated system that doesn’t require the payment of an external consultant.
Things To Beware of in Pay Per Click Advertising
- Google will most likely start emailing you about free help and telling you that you are losing out on business etc… These offers are really not helpful! They are trying to make you spend more!!!! So be careful when one of their sales people or a team of their sales people get you on the phone! They can do more harm than good!
- Certain consultants will also try oversell you on PPC advertising. If someone tries to put you on Google Adwords and Google Adwords Express, then that is a flag! Don’t use them.
- Keyword Opportunities will identify keywords that Google thinks you should add to your keyword list. These are often very left field and we have seen people just add them without looking, and when we go in we find very bizarre terms! Again avoid these automated scenarios. They waste money!
- Automatic recurring payments can also give you a surprise. If your budget runs below $50 Google will auto charge your card. If your campaign is fully optimized and you are getting a great ROI..this is not a problem. If you are starting out and testing they system, use the manual method so that you don’t spend several thousands overnight!
- Analytics are crucial in a pay per click campaign. If you are using a national or large provider of pay per click services, then demand Google Analytics reports. We have seen “custom” reports in the past that really don’t add up. Also, if you don’t hear from them, reach out and demand your report as they will wait on you. Also be careful as once you commit to them you will be locked in for a year with their contract! I recommend using a more local provider for managing your campaign as they tend to be more accountable.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below and we will answer them! If you have anything to add, let us know!