Google recently rebranded their Google Boost product, re-christening it AdWords Express. They claim that it’s an easy solution for local business owners who want to start advertising on search engine results pages quickly and without complicated account setups. Sounds great! But, unfortunately, you’re going to sacrifice a lot of potential by going the convenient route with your paid search advertising. I don’t think that AdWords Express is as good a solution for first-time advertisers as Google claims.
First off, lets explore how AdWords Express limits you in comparison to the regular AdWords product. Going through the setup process, the first thing you need to do is link your business location (listed on Google Places, naturally) to your AdWords Express efforts. This automatically disqualifies a lot of advertisers that don’t have a physical storefront, and just want to sell their goods online. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that you’re a small business owner with a location so we can move on.
Once you have your location hooked in to your new AdWords Express account, you’ll be asked to choose some categories that describe your business. If you choose a broad category or worse, and irrelevant one, your ad is going to show up to a lot of disinterested parties. This may get you some ad views, but no new business. Google is going to show your ads based on the categories you define, but there’s not much fine tuning available. All the kick-ass targeting options in regular AdWords (keyword match types, negative keywords, geotargeting, ad scheduling, etc.) won’t be available to you. And as any experienced PPC manager will tell you, Google sucks at matching broad-match queries. By relying on Google to broad-match queries to your category, you’re inviting a lot of junk traffic that is going to cost you.
Even if you do get a decent category selected, you still have to create a good ad. So what makes a good ad? You can make a decent guess, but you really won’t know what works best for you unless you do some A/B testing. But guess what – you can’t do that in AdWords Express! Sucks to be you! Instead, you’re going to have to rely on your gut instinct of what works for your ad headlines. Oh, and one more thing – you don’t even get to choose the ad text. Instead, Google will generate a brief description of your business based on your Google Places account. No call to action, no ability to advertise discounts or promos, nothing. So you’re stuck with a crappy ad and shoving it out to a broad category of internet users. That’s bad mojo for PPC.
So what should you do instead? Make an AdWords account. It looks a lot harder than it actually is, but if you devote a couple hours to learning the system you’ll find that it’s a wise investment for your business. To keep things simple, just pick a couple of phrase-match keywords that are relevant to your business (after doing your PPC keyword research, of course), group them into ad groups of 5-10 words that are highly relevant to each other, and create two text ads that incorporate the main keywords of each ad group and test two different value propositions. I’m grossly over-simplifying AdWords account setup, but if you do those simple steps I can almost guarantee you that you will see better results than AdWords Express. Better yet, find a good PPC freelancer who can help you out. There’s no need to spend a fortune on PPC, but if you take the cheapest and easiest route, you’re going to be disappointed in your results. Don’t let Google take control of your search engine marketing. It’s your business, and you know what’s best for it.