Google Adwords Express PPC MarketingGoogle Adwords Express is as you might guess by the name, a lighter ‘Zero’ version of Google’s Full Sugar Pay-Per-Click Adwords search marketing platform.

Google launched AdWords Express in 2011 with the goal of simplifying their  complex Adwords platform into a much more easier way to advertise with Google. Particularly for small businesses, micro businesses and the self employed whom may not have the budget to employ PPC contractors or agencies.

Coke Zero has much of the taste of its full sugar bigger brother with the benefit of having zero calories. Sadly the same cannot be said of Google Adwords Express giving you nearly the same experience as its full service big brother. Yes you get the advantage of setting up an Adwords account quickly, but thats about it. 

Quickly is not a substitute for Quality and the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Should You Use Google Adwords Express?

As a Search Marketing Consultant my advice would be to leave Google Adwords Express well alone and either learn how to use the full suite of Google Adwords yourself or get someone who can manage it for you.

Here is why.

AdWords Express Benefits Explained

1. Automation and Quick Set Up


Arguably the biggest promoted benefit of AdWords Express over the non Express version is optimisation and automation.

The normal (full hit) Adwords campaign can take a few hours for search marketing consultants to do the initial set up. However, the account and campaign set up can take several hours or more for the average person. Even those with a good level of internet skills and perhaps little to no experience of Adwords. With Adwords Express, you can have your adverts online in as little as 15minutes so the appeal of Google performing the optimisation via automation is understandable.

With Express you choose your audience and location, describe your activity in three lines or so and define your budget. Google then automates the rest.

For a small business dipping their toes in search marketing for the first time it is very easy to see how “ease of use” in Adwords Express and seeing your advert online in minutes as opposed to hours is appealing.


However, by automating the advert set up and optimisation you also relinquish control over all of the parameters that can drain your bank account quicker than a Nigerian 419 scam.

For many years PPC agencies have been lambasted for not adequately setting up Adwords campaign parameters properly and one of the most frequent complaints we see is that budget is being wasted when negative keywords are not utilised.

Even huge PPC agencies like Yell have had their fair share of negative PPC reviews. 

You can learn more about PPC Negative Keywords here but with AdWords Express you give up the ability to stop your adverts being displayed and clicked by people who will never in a million years buy your product or service.

2. Ease of Use


The other promoted benefit of using the Express version of Google Adwords is Ease of Use. You dont have to learn the in’s and out’ of bidding strategy, keyword research, ad creation. 

Additionally, all of the reports and metrics from the full Adwords version are not in place with Express, meaning that you don’t need to ‘waste time’ in managing dozens of tools, reports, and bidding modifications to maximise your campaign. Google’s automation takes over all of this for you.


Whilst Adwords research tools and reports may seem daunting they are there so that you can check how your campaign is doing, what is working, what isn’t working and what money you are wasting. Without this information you can never optimise your ppc campaign effectively.

By using Adwords Express and giving up access to all of the research and metrics you are essentially flying blind when it comes to what is ot onset working in your ppc campaign.

In such circumstances success is nothing more than hit & miss and the only thing assured is that you are wasting budget on clicks that will never result in an enquiry or sale.

Biggest Reason to Not Use Adwords Express: Negative Keywords

I cannot emphasise enough how important negative keywords are.

By default, all the keywords in Adwords Express are ‘broad matched’. This means when a customer searches for keywords that are related to your business but also includes words like “free” and “jobs” your advert is displayed.

If clicked, you have just wasted budget on someone who will never use or buy your product or service. Especially if they are looking for a freebie, or a job and you are not offering one, or are not in the recruitment business.

Google Adwords Express PPC Marketing

Google Adwords Express Example

Recently we worked with a Liverpool Life Coach who had set up a Google Adwords Express account following a Google ‘free credit’ promotional email.

Having never done any search marketing before and not having any marketing experience our client was impressed with the opportunity to try Google Adwords with some free credit whilst they were setting up their business and were prepared to ‘try it out’.

What transpired was that the £75 promotion was wasted and not a single enquiry to their website was made.

Contrast this with other forms of marketing that we (Edible) had recommended in place of Adwords Express and duly implemented.

Although we converted the Express account into into the full Adwords platform and set it up correctly, the promotional budget had already been wasted. However, the other online marketing channels we recommended for the client yielded immediate enquiries and new client income.

Going forward the client now has an optimised PPC campaign that has been been set up by someone who:

A) Knows and understands Google PPC marketing.


B) Has researched the Life Coaching industry and used that research in understanding the clients industry and customer behaviour. Something that Google Adwords automation simply cannot offer.

Why Didn’t Google Adwords Express Work?

The simple answer is that you can’t ever find out.

Because you give up all control, all means of performance monitoring and all means of being able to fine tune and optimise your campaign, you also give up access to any data that can tell you what is going wrong.

Whilst I understand that there are time and budget contraints on small and micro businesses Google Adwords Express simply has too much margin for error and it is very easy to waste your budget very quickly.

If your budget is so small surely you want to make sure you don’t waste it?

Free PPC Consultation

If you want an open and honest conversation about your business website get in touch and we will gladly perform a Free Review.

There is no obligation and you wont be added to any marketing lists and you will only ever speak to a Search Marketing Consultant who lives and breathes for SEO & PPC, not a sales person focused on targets.

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