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What’s The Difference Between Google Express Ads and Google Ads?

If you’re familiar with the PPC industry, you’ll have heard of standard Google Ads and Google AdWords Express. The search giant owns both, so you could be forgiven for confusing them. But, as a business owner or digital marketing specialist, you’ll understand the importance of maximising results using the available resources and time. Now, more than ever, it’s vital to make smart advertising choices, particularly with platforms like Google. Here, we unpick the differences between them to help you make an informed decision.

The Similarities

Google Ads Express (which Google also calls Smart Campaigns) is basically a stripped-down version of Google Ads. Here’s what they have in common:

  • Both let you showcase Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads in the search engine’s results, and Google Maps.
  • Both will appear identical to searchers, so the key differences lie in the way they’re created.
  • You only pay for clicks generated for each one.
  • You can include mobile ads and target ads geographically anywhere you like.

The differences:

  • Google Ads Express could be easier for those who haven’t previously advertised on Google, or who may be new to PPC or researching keywords. With speedy set-up and minimal routine maintenance, you could find it an easy, efficient solution, especially if you are a smaller business.
  • Managing Google Ads can take a lot more time, depending on your number of campaigns and how regularly they’re updated. Everything is done manually, giving you greater control and customisation and more detailed reporting. You can do things like update keywords or optimise amount paid per click. With the Express version, you simply fix your budget, write the ad and Google automatically presents you with a keywords list, based on your keyword themes, before moving over to automated management, with the search engine updating keywords as necessary. You rely on Google to do the right thing, which may be worthwhile for less experienced advertisers.
  • Formats differ. With Smart Campaigns, you can only use text, and not more advanced formats like mobile extensions or video. This can reduce views and, therefore, clicks. Equally, with Google Ads you can manage multiple advert types simultaneously, helping you to choose the best ideas for your brand, and have different ads click through to different pages.
  • Additionally, with Google Ads your ads can show up on Google display network partner site, giving enhanced visibility.

So which is best?

Much depends on available resources and time, how much control you want over your digital advertising, and whether you’re launching a media-rich campaign. If time is limited, consider Smart Campaigns; if you need more reporting, formats and control, Google Ads may be the better option. With no set-up fee, you could try both, but not at the same time, or ads could clash with each other.

How we can help

At Front Page Advantage, we’re ideally placed to advise on whether Smart Campaigns or regular Google Ads would work best for you, and which would deliver the best results with your available resources and time. We’ve helped many clients make the right decision on exactly this issue.