Google Rolls Out Adwords Express Plus

With Google’s new Adwords Express Plus rollout another piece of the coming SMB Business Builder Portal has fallen into place. Dan Petrovic of DejanSEO noted over the weekend that Google had started pitching Adwords Express to G+ Local Page owners. It turns out that what they are actually offering is a newly revamped & enhanced version of the product called Adwords Express Plus. The product includes a totally revised interface as well as product enhancements that make the product more functional in many situations than the existing product.

New features:

  • Ability  to identify a radius (up to 40 miles) within which the ad will be shown
  • Ability to send the ad to a custom landing page instead of just the home page
  • More Ad types
  • Ability to preview the ads in a sample page
  • Cleaner and easier to understand self serve interface that is similar to the new G+Page dashboard


Step one: Select your audience geography and primary sales category
Step one: Select your audience geography and primary sales category. Note that when you type “engagement rings” it offers top level categories only.

It was never clear in the previous version of Adwords Express that ads would appear on Google’s ad network. That has been made much more obvious in this version with an appealing eye candy to make it seem like a real plus. There is no option to choose not to do so. Thats one way to expand ad inventory at the expense of unwitting SMBs.

Since April when Adwords Express was removed from the Places Dashboard and given its own home as a subdirectory of Adwords, little has been heard of the product. There was no way for businesses to easily access its interface either via the dashboard or the G+ Local social interface. In September the product was promoted via an email & a $100 coupon to businesses that had claimed their listings. It has been assumed but never confirmed by Google that their simplified Adwords product would show up again more prominently once Google had rolled out its “Business Builder” smb social local portal. While that has been a long time coming this AdWords Express upgrade along with the recent G+ page management interface upgrade seem to be part and parcel of a bigger upgrade  and monetization process that is gradually taking shape.

Here are screen shots of the new interface and process:

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Rolls Out Adwords Express Plus by

17 thoughts on “Google Rolls Out Adwords Express Plus”

  1. It will help develop awareness of adwords. I would be concerned that people will try it and PROVE adwords does not work by implementing it wrong. Ultimately it may help develop business for those who know how to run an account, experiments, measure conversions and return on investment.

    If the customer fails will it be that much harder to sell them in the future

    1. @David
      I think Google sees it as a way to touch the customer. Note that the 800 number for service is front and center. So I am sure some folks will upgrade, some with hire an SEM and some will abandon it. Thats the price I think of a self serve model.

  2. But from this it looks like it’s still very limited vs the full AdWords – such as no way to add negative keywords. Also expensive: in my experience with it in the past, CPC was at least 40% higher with Express vs AdWords for the same keyword.

  3. So in terms of targeting, you control geography and top level category. Not great options if you’re really concerned about driving converting traffic, not just traffic.

    1. @Chad
      You do have limited ability to provide feed back on the types of keywords that are showing and the longer tail ones seem to mirror ad content but you are certainly correct as to some of its limitations.

  4. It’s nice to see that you are able to target a specific area however will the adds only show when people are logged into their G+ account?

    What about pricing per click? Has anyone compared the price per click for this vs Google adwords?

    Do you think that this will eventually replace Google adwords?

    1. @Nathan
      This is no replacement for adwords. It provdes way too few options to improve your ads, their targeting and bidding. The price per click because of these limits tend to be higher than a well managed campaign. It will show to any searcher on Google, Google Maps and on their content network.

  5. Good start, however this aspect still needs to be worked out, for those who ‘manage’ Local Pages: “You are offered to option to take out ads for any Page that you own but not pages that you manage”

    1. @Andy
      Yes it would be nice of an owner could allocate different privileges to different managers… one could see analtyics, one could see adwords and another could do everything. But not with this release.

  6. Good start: “AdWords for the novice”… for those who don’t mind spending more for the privilege of not having to learn the AdWords skill set.

    However one aspect still needs to be worked out, for those who ‘manage’ Local Pages: “You are offered the option to take out ads for any Page that you own but not pages that you manage”

  7. Mike: Haven’t run an adwords express campaign. I assume it doesn’t allow for [exact match ] phrases and the campaigns are all running on broad phrase.

    Have you cross checked this between adwords express reports and analytics? If so, and if its running on broad phrase you’ll see details in analytics that don’t match up.

    I’d simply suggest if it doesn’t include exact phrase its not an optimal campaign by any means for an smb.

    Okay, the tradeoff is simplicity for an adwords campaign easily designed.

    A broad phrase campaign can work and it can be remarkably unsuccessful.

    I’d be careful.

  8. Thanks for pointing this one out Mike. Is this all about promoting your own Google+ Local page as the landing page? That is how I am reading it.
    I think the concept has merit. It obviously means your Google+ local page has to be rocking already and ready for the paid traffic.
    I also wonder if this will show up in search differently? will there be a separate section of results for Google+ (I’ve seen Google+ pages integrated and as far as I know it hasn’t changed or I haven’t noticed. 🙂 which happens)
    Anyway thanks. Good heads up and I look forward to seeing how this pans out.

    1. @Freddie
      Google would love for you to pay to send a searcher from the Search results to the Plus page but Adwords Express Plus works equally well to send users to a landing page on your site. That is what I would recommend.

  9. Don’t use adwords express unless you want to waste your money! You have no way to control/limit how much google charges you per click. one click might be $3 the next $12, and no, you can’t stop the $12 dollar click from happening, (i.e. there is no upper per click spend limit)

    You can’t choose a per day spend even though the setup makes you think there is a daily limit, you can only set the monthly spend, so google can spend your money when it likes, such as making sure everyone bids on the same crap keyword on the same day to up the keyword competition amount. I also find it hard to believe that such fluctuations happen on the per day basis when you have to take a monthly spend out which would indicate that the biding should be fairly stable.

    If you take the $100 free intro offer, you have to go on automatic payments, and this is where they get you. All of a sudden your per click cost goes up and you owe google your monthly spend for far fewer click that suddenly blows your ROI (return on investment)

    If you have any issues with your billing, there is no easy way to talk to someone. There are no email addresses, phone numbers, no contact details at all if you have a complaint. It took me 2 weeks to get to someone who was sort of responsible for accounting. I emailed the google sales-person who roped me into the account, and they said it wasn’t their department. I just spent 55 minutes talking to someone at google (Indian call centre) who basically said “sorry, too bad, you have to pay the money, there is nothing I can do”

    Google has had a massive FAIL on adwords express. Stick to adwords if you want to advertise with google.

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