What’s the Difference Between AdWords and AdWords Express?

10273101_827277153960489_2613219543548167499_oGoogle AdWords is an excellent tool for online marketing helping you to reach your audience. If you’re a small business with extremely limited resources, Google’s AdWords Express may be the right solution for your online marketing strategy.

There are some distinct factors that set AdWords Express and AdWords apart from each other. Here are some of their differences that will help you decipher which is the best option for your small business.

AdWords Express AdWords
Set-Up Time Minutes Hours
Keywords Google Determines You Determine
Bid Prices Google Manages You Manage
Budget Google Manages You Manage
Targeting Based on a Google Category Based on Your Own
Geographic Target
Region & Business Size Local & Small Any Region & Any Size

Educating yourself on these factors will help you decide if AdWords Express is right for your business.

Set-Up Time

Considering its name, AdWords Express takes mere minutes to set up. All you need to do is produce your ad’s headline and its description then set your budget. After that, AdWords Express does the rest by automatically creating the ad and optimizing it to appear in Google searches.

Google AdWords requires more thought and management in order to run effective online marketing campaigns.  Where Adwords Express lacks customization, the initial set up time opens up a powerful tool and possibilities for your marketing strategy with full Adwords Account. While  an Adwords Express account can be set up by a business owner, we normally don’t suggest a novice tackling an Adwords account on their own.


With AdWords Express, you don’t worry about keywords because Google manages them for you based on industry data Google collects. This saves a lot of time for a small business owner as choosing keywords can be a time-consuming and many small business owners are unsure what to target. However, because you don’t choose the keywords, your ad is at the mercy of Google to automatically target your ads. This can lead to waste in your ad budget as Google may show ads to less profitable keywords and demographics.

Traditional AdWords allows the user greater customization in keyword types, bid strategies, and scheduling to determine the best options for your campaign. You’re able to specifically target your audience by choosing the keywords for which your customers search.

Budget vs. Bid Prices

money-256314_1280Similar to keywords, when you use AdWords Express, you don’t have to worry about bid prices. Instead, Google will take your budget and automatically manage it for you. All you need to do is give Google your monthly budget and they’ll use those dollars to target your audience.

The thought of not having to deal with bid prices or changing bids does have some appeal to a business owner trying to tackle this on their own. However, those with AdWords do have more control over where their money is spent and rely on their own knowledge of their customers, rather than Google’s assumed knowledge of the customers.


With AdWords Express, much of your targeting strategy is based on your business category. From that category, Google will target your ads automatically based on the geographical location of the searcher and your stated geographical location. Google uses the power of its algorithms to do the work for you.

AdWords enables businesses to set specific targets for their ads and lets them draw a geographical border around their audience. This specificity allows businesses to produce very targeted campaigns for a very niche audience rather than generic campaigns for a wide audience.

Region & Business Size

AdWords Express is Google’s answer to small businesses that can’t spend hours each day analyzing their online marketing campaigns. Because of its ease of use, this platform will allow you to reach your local customers through online marketing campaigns. In other words, it’s an excellent way for you, as a small business, to get your feet wet in the realm of online marketing.

AdWords, on the other hand, is geared towards companies of all sizes who market in any region – local, regional, or even nationally. It allows businesses to have a wide range of campaigns while also reaching their customers on a local level.

AdWords Express and AdWords are both excellent platforms for online marketing. However, realizing the limitations of AdWords Express can help you to make an informed decision for your business.

If you need help determining which is the best option for you, feel free to contact Seapoint Digital. We are AdWords and AdWords Express experts and would love to help get you started with your online marketing strategy.At Seapoint Digital, we're proud to