A woman uses Google to search, "Google AdWords vs. Google AdWords Express"

AdWords vs. AdWords Express: Which Is Better?

One of the best methods to market your business online is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC ads are advertisements that appear at the top of the search results, above the organic listings. These ads are created through Google’s program: AdWords.

As you research PPC, you’ll find that you can run your campaign through AdWords or AdWords Express. Though these are both run by Google, they are very different programs. These programs each have unique benefits to offer your business.

So, how do you know which one is right for your business?

On this page, we’ll discuss different aspects of a PPC campaign and how AdWords and AdWords Express function for those aspects. If you need help creating your PPC campaign, call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist.

AdWords vs. AdWords Express

When you run a PPC campaign, numerous aspects are important to the campaign. AdWords and AdWords Express operate differently, so it’s important to look at how they function.

1. Time

Time is an important part of any marketing campaign. You need to know how much time strategies will require to see if it is an option for your business.


AdWords requires effort from your company. When you use AdWords, you must run your campaign or partner with a digital marketing company that can help create and manage your PPC efforts. You oversee creating a PPC campaign that works for your business.

This requires time. It takes time to develop an effective PPC campaign that works for your business. You need to create an effective campaign that will entice your target market to click on your advertisements.

When you use AdWords, your ad can show up in Google, Google Display Network, and Google Maps. With your ad appearing in so many places, you need to dedicate time to creating a great advertisement that will speak to your audience.

AdWords Express

If you use AdWords Express, you won’t need to dedicate as much time to your PPC campaign. This program requires less dedication because Google creates your campaign for you. It requires less time to construct your campaign and get it up and running.

This is a good option for businesses that want to run a campaign quickly. If you need to run a PPC campaign and don’t have time to learn about PPC, this is a better option for your business. AdWords Express caters to businesses that don’t have the time to spend on a complex PPC campaign, but still want to use PPC to attract leads.

Time is a very valuable aspect of your business. You will need to decide how much time you must run a PPC campaign. When you figure out how much time you must dedicate to a PPC campaign, you will know which AdWords program is right for you.

2. Money

Your budget is an important part of your business. When you look at different marketing tactics, you always analyze the cost of these methods to see how much it will cost your business.

How payment works in Google AdWords

With both methods, you can set a budget. You choose your budget for your PPC campaign based on what works for your business. When you run your PPC campaign, you will never exceed that budget.

The only time you pay when running your PPC campaign is when someone clicks on your advertisement. It doesn’t cost anything to set up your campaign. You will only incur costs if someone clicks on your ad.

One of the biggest differences between AdWords and AdWords Express is the potential additional cost. These additional costs don’t come from your campaign, but rather, who runs your campaign.


If you are using AdWords, you may incur additional costs for your campaign. Many companies do not have staff that are trained to run an AdWords campaign properly. This means that you may have to consider hiring a PPC company.

You will incur costs to hire the company to run your campaign. Since AdWords can be complex to understand, it is important to turn to the experts. While it will help your campaign improve, it will come at a cost.

AdWords Express

With AdWords Express, you don’t need to hire a company. Express is designed for small and medium business owners. It is a very easy program to use, which makes it appealing to anyone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of AdWords.

When you are choosing between AdWords and AdWords Express, you need to look at whether you can run an AdWords Campaign. If not, you will either need to hire an agency or use AdWords Express.

3. Work load

AdWords and AdWords Express each require a different amount of work from your business.


If you are using AdWords, you will need to do a lot of work. This platform requires you to manage all the aspects of your PPC campaign.

There are numerous parts to PPC, including structuring your campaign and setting bids. You need to structure your campaign by setting your budget, choosing your type of ad, the duration of the ad, and when you will show the ad to your target market.

It also requires you to write the text for your ads and create images if you decide to use display ads. Lastly, you’ll need to optimize your ads and your site to help your PPC campaign perform at its best.

This is a large undertaking for a company if you don’t have a full understanding of AdWords or the time to dedicate to creating your campaign. That is why many companies will hire a PPC advertising company. These companies are usually Google Certified Agencies, so they have the qualifications necessary to run your campaign.

When you hire a PPC advertising company, you don’t have to worry about the extent of the work. This enables you to reap the benefits of PPC while focusing on your business.

AdWords Express

AdWords Express requires minimal work. This platform is designed to make it easy for business owners to create and run their campaign.

Google handles many aspects of your campaign, which makes it easier to run your campaign. They will select keywords for you (which we’ll discuss next) and run your campaign. It requires minimal work from your business.

If you don’t want to hire an agency or have minimal experience with AdWords, AdWords Express is a good option.

To figure out which platform is best, you will need to look at the work load and decide if it is doable for your business.

The advantage of Google AdWords Express

4. Keyword selection

Your PPC campaign’s success depends on keyword selection. You need to choose keywords that will attract the right leads.  It is important that you pick the best keywords for your campaign.


With AdWords, you have complete control over your keyword selection. This platform requires that you choose your own keywords. You need to conduct keyword research to figure out the right keywords for your campaign.

This allows you to focus on long tail keywords, which produce better results for your campaign. Long-tail keywords contain three or more words. They produce better results because they are more specific to what a user is seeking.

Short tail keywords, which are only one or two words, are very broad and don’t produce as great of results. They cost more because those keywords are more competitive.

When you use AdWords, you can select keywords that have less competition so that you can attract more leads to your business. It will also help you attract better leads to your page.

When you use AdWords, you can choose keywords that fit your campaign better.

AdWords Express

AdWords Express doesn’t require you to conduct keyword research. Instead of spending time conducting keyword research, Google will select the keywords for you.

When you use AdWords Express gives you less control over your keyword selection. Google generates a list of keywords for you that it bases on your business and your industry. It doesn’t enable you to choose keywords that you think work best for your campaign.

The keywords are also broader. AdWords Express selects more short tail keywords than long tail keywords. This means that it may be difficult for your business to see success because you are facing a lot of competition and you are reaching the best leads for your business.

Keyword selection is an important part of your campaign. The platform you use for your PPC campaign will determine the types of keywords you have for your campaign.

5. Format

There are two types of advertisements you can create for your PPC campaign. You can create search ads or display ads. Search ads only contain text, while display ads contain visual elements.

These two platforms have different capabilities when it comes to the type of advertisement you can run.


AdWords enables you to create both text and display advertisements. You can run search ads on Google or use display ads on other sites. When you use display ads, you can have text, animation, videos, and other features.

An example of a display ad

This makes AdWords a great option for businesses with a strong digital presence. If you have a marketing campaign that is intricate and complex, AdWords is a great addition to your campaign. It enables you to reach more people with different types of advertisements.

When you create advertisements, AdWords enables you to run A/B tests. This means that you can test to see which advertisements appeal more to your audience. AdWords is a great option if you want to have more advertising format options and want to test your ads.

AdWords Express

With AdWords Express, you can only create text ads. These advertisements also only appear on Google and Google Maps. There is no option to create display ads.

An example of a search ad

When you use AdWords Express, you don’t have very many customization options. There aren’t any advanced formatting options. These advertisements are simplistic, with little room for customization.

If you decide to use AdWords Express, you don’t need a website. AdWords Express can link to your Google+ page if you don’t have a website set up.

AdWords Express provides a simple way to set up your advertisements. While it limits customization, it still offers an easy way to create your PPC advertisements.

6. Analytics

The biggest difference between AdWords and AdWords Express is analytics. Analytics are the metrics that indicate the success of your campaign. Google offers several to see the performance of your campaign.

Analytics are important because they help you monitor your campaign. You can see the success of your campaign and make changes to adjust your campaign.

AdWords and AdWords Express each provide a different level of access to your analytics.


If you use AdWords for your campaign, you will gain full access to your data. You can see all the metrics of your campaign.

AdWords enables you to see the number of impressions. You can see how many people saw the advertisement in their search results or on a site. Along with that, you can see how many people clicked on your advertisement.

With these two metrics, AdWords helps you see your clickthrough rate (CTR). This is a very important metric to AdWords because you want to have a high clickthrough rate. It means that more people are engaging with your advertisement rather than passing it by.

You can also see who converts after clicking on your ad. This is a great way to learn if your advertisement does a good job to entice people to make a purchase.

With all this data, you can see which advertisements work best for your campaign. Which ads generated the most clicks or earned the most conversions? The analytics from AdWords allow you to see those analytics and evaluate your campaign.

These analytics also enable you to see where you can make improvements in your campaign. Is there a certain place that your leads drop off? What could cause them to drop off?

You can also look at your keyword selection and see which keywords work better for your campaign. This is a great way to help you improve your campaign.

AdWords provides you with the analytics to help you analyze and improve your campaign.

AdWords Express

AdWords express doesn’t grant your business the same access as AdWords. This platform offers limited data for your business. It makes it difficult to evaluate your campaign fully.

You can only see a few metrics through your Express Dashboard. These are metrics like views, clicks, and calls (if you have call tracking in your ad). While these metrics are important, it doesn’t give you the full scope of your campaign.

When you don’t have access to all metrics, it makes it difficult to enhance your campaign. You can’t make improvements or make your campaign better because there may be other factors that are affecting your campaign.

It’s a challenge to get an overall view of your campaign. You can make some improvements based on the metrics you can see, but it may not dramatically improve your campaign if you don’t know everything.

AdWords Express offers limited metrics for your business to analyze to improve your campaign.

Which AdWords program is best for your business?

There are many appealing aspects of AdWords and AdWords Express. So, how do you know which one is best for your business?

The answer depends upon your type of business.

If you are a smaller business that has a small marketing budget and little time, AdWords Express is a more functional option. It requires less maintenance, which allows you to focus on your business. This is also a great option for any business that doesn’t have much experience with PPC advertising but wants to try it.

On the other hand, if you are a business that has more money and resources, AdWords is the best option for you. AdWords will give you more capabilities than AdWords Express. You will have more control over your campaign and the resources to manage that campaign.

Overall, you will need to look at your budget and resources to figure out which option fits you best.

IndustrialFX is a top AdWords company

If you want to have more control over your PPC campaign, AdWords is a great option for your business. At IndustrialFX, we know how to manage PPC campaigns. We’re a full-service digital marketing company with experience creating campaigns in AdWords.

We have a team of 150+ experts that are dedicated to your campaign. Our award-winning team contains members that are AdWords certified. When you partner with us, you’ll get a team that has years of experience creating PPC campaigns.

If you’re looking for results, we know how to drive them. To date, we’ve driven over $700 million in sales and over 3 million leads for our clients. We focus on putting our clients’ success first.

Our clients love the work we do, too. We have over 350 client testimonials from a variety of industries. Check them out to see what it’s like to partner with a top AdWords company like IndustrialFX!

Get started today

If you’re ready to start building a successful AdWords campaign for your business, contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist.

We look forward to working with you!

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