Category Archives for "Google AdWords Express"

3 Important AdWords Developments You Should Know About

Google’s always tinkering around in AdWords and making changes. Recently there have been a few significant ones that I want to make sure are on the radar of all of you who care about AdWords.

Google Reviews Are Now Even a Bigger Deal For Local Businesses

It used to be your AdWords account and Google Maps reviews had nothing to do with one another. The only exception was if you were using Google AdWords Express (which you should NOT be doing), Google would show a business’ ratings next to their ads.

Now, however, if you are running a real (ie. non-Express) AdWords campaign and are using the Location extensions, your ad can show your star ratings and link to your reviews on Google. Here’s a screenshot of what this looks like…

local adwords review ad

(I don’t know for sure but from what I’ve seen it looks like you need to have at least 5 reviews on Google in order for this to appear.)

There are 2 big reasons why this is important…

1. Those star ratings REALLY make your ads stand out from the competition. So if you don’t have Location extensions turned on… you should. Also, if you don’t have 5 Google reviews for your business, you should work hard to get them. The more reviews and the more positive reviews you have next to your ad, the better.

2. If you have a number of negative reviews, this can work against you. You don’t want to be paying for AdWords ads if your 2.7 star rating is running next to them! You’d basically be advertising “Hey, we suck!”

That’ll hurt your results. In fact, if you don’t have a lot of good reviews on AdWords, you’re probably better off not using Location extensions at all.

Because reviews are now a much bigger deal in AdWords, we’ll be bringing you more on this in the weeks/months ahead. Keep your eye out for this because, for local businesses, this is a big deal and we want to help you improve your ratings on Google.

Structured Snippet extensions

AdWords ads continue to take up more and more space on the search results page at the expense of the organic listings. And one of the main ways Google does this is by giving AdWords advertisers ad extensions to display with their ads.

For those who don’t know, ad extensions are additional bits of information that Google can display next to your core ad (which consists of the headline, 2 lines of text and URL field).

The newest ad extensions are called structured snippets and they are a way for you to display a list of items under your ads.

What items you display in this list is a bit limited to the categories of structured snippets Google has made available to advertisers. These include Brands, Destinations (for travel businesses), Neighborhood, Insurance (for medical practices) and more.

We’ve seen great success in the early days when using structured snippets in clients’ campaigns. They seem to have a very nice impact on the Clickthrough Rates of our clients’ ads.

For local businesses, the Service catalog snippet seems to be the most practical and you can use it to list a number of different services you offer. However, depending on the clients, we’ve also had success with Brands and Insurance snippets.

Structured snippets help your ads take up more space on the page and provide even more information about your business so there’s really no reason you should not add them to your AdWords campaigns immediately.

Customer Match

Personally I think this development is the coolest one, however, it is the least applicable to local businesses.

Customer Match lets you upload a list of your customer’s email addresses to Google. Google will then match those addresses to people who are logged into Google and allow you to target your customers with Search, YouTube and/or Gmail ads.

Facebook has had a similar offering for a while and it’s nice to see Google offering this too. It can be a very effective way of getting your message out to customers or those who have opted into your list (and it has to be a list of customers/opt-ins, using a list you bought is against the rules).

I can see an application to a local business that offers some sort of regular or seasonal service to their customers like an HVAC company. In a situation like that you can have ads that show up on Gmail or YouTube that remind customers to get a fall/spring tune up.

There are other scenarios like that for some types of local businesses but this feature isn’t as helpful for a local business as it may be for an Ecommerce or info marketing business.

This feature is rolling out to AdWords advertisers over the next few weeks so, if it is applicable to your business, keep an eye out for them. The star ratings and structured snippet extensions are already available so take advantage of them ASAP.

An Improved Google AdWords Express?

Google’s pitching their AdWords Express program to small business owners again. They’d been kinda quiet on that front for a while, but they recently made some enhancements to the program. And now they’re out trying to get business owners to sign up.

According to Local Search expert Mike Blumenthal, the new features include:

  • Business owners can now choose a radius (of up to 40 miles) where they want their ads displayed
  • They can now point their ad to a custom landing page (Google used to limit this to the home page)
  • More ad types including mobile ads and image ads

Those are some changes that seem to be in the right direction. BUT (you knew that was coming!), the fundamental issue with Google AdWords Express has not changed…

In exchange for ease of use, you give up A LOT of control over your AdWords campaign.

With “regular” AdWords, you can:

  • Get very precise in the geographic areas you target (you can do it by radius, city name, metro area and/or zip code)
  • Choose the keywords that you’re bidding on in the campaign
  • Control bid prices so you bid more for your most important keywords to ensure a better position in the rankings
  • Write multiple ads and split test them so you improve performance over time and learn what messages, offers, etc. get the best response
  • Decide whether your ads appear on Desktop/Laptops, Tablets and/or Smartphones

There’s another caution I have about the new options for AdWords Express. They’re offering image ads which only appear on Google’s Display Network (this is when your ads appear on websites that run Google ads like

Display Network is a very different beast from Search Network. It requires a different bid strategy. It requires different keywords. It requires different ads.

And the traffic from Display is often much less targeted than traffic from Search.

If, as it sounds is the case, Google is now showing AdWords Express ads on the Display Network, that’s a big red flag.

Lastly, Google’s also promoting AdWords Express as a way to grow your business’ followers on Google+. Unless you have a proven system for converting followers into customers, this is a BAD idea.

I’ve used FB ad campaigns in the past to get Likes on a FB page. It’s really hard to justify the costs of clicks for a campaign like that.

So, while I’m glad that Google has added some features that give advertisers a little more control over their AdWords Express campaigns, if you’re gonna use AdWords, just use AdWords. Skip the Express.

I Really Want to Recommend Google AdWords Express, But…

The other week I posted an article with some words of warning about Google AdWords Express.

I really want to be able to recommend it to small business owners. Truly I do.

Google AdWords is a great marketing tool and having an easy, efficient and effective way to use it would be a huge help for many small local businesses.

Since writing that last article, however, my view of Adwords Editor has not gotten any better. Two reasons why…

1. A very pushy Google AdWords Express rep called a client of mine. The rep had my client on the phone for a long time and, despite the client telling the rep he was already using AdWords, the rep persisted. More to get him off the phone than anything, my client relented and signed up for Express.

But here’s what really got me about this situation…

AdWords Express targets searchers in your local area. 99.5{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of my client’s customers come from outside his local area so spending money advertising on a local level does him little good.

Google’s pushing this service really hard, but, unfortunately, at least some of the reps are just looking for the sale and don’t even take the time to see if Express can actually help a local business get clients or not.

2. Take a look at this screen capture…

These are the results of a Google search I did for the term “drug crime lawyer” (and, in case you’re wondering, this was for research purposes for a client NOT because of any drug crime I committed!).

Notice that last result on the bottom right with the blue pushpin looking icon next to it? That’s a Google AdWords Express ad…and it’s for a bankruptcy lawyer.

Yet the AdWords Express algorithm is showing this ad for a search related to drug crime lawyers. Not the best targeting there!

And, unfortunately, there’s nothing this lawyer can do about it because, unlike with “regular” AdWords, in AdWords Express you can’t go in and tell Google not to show your ads when certain words show up in the search query a user types into Google.

I do have faith in Google and believe(hope!) that this algorithm will improve over time.

Until then, I can’t recommend Google AdWords Express for the small local business owner.

Dirty Diapers and Google AdWords Express (formerly Google Boost)

It sounded good like a good idea.

Before our first daughter was born my wife and I thought we were going to use cloth diapers on our daughter.

We’d be doing our part for the environment, they’re supposed to be better for the baby, and we wouldn’t be plopping (pun intended) $1000s into the Diaper Industrial Complex. After doing our research into cloth diapers we were excited (or, at least as excited you can be about changing diapers) to go the cloth diaper route.

What sounded good in theory turned out to be not so great in practice. With the cloth diapers there were lots of leaks, they were inconvenient when we were out of the house and they required us doing lots and lots and lots of laundry.

So we changed course and went the disposable diaper route.

And that brings us to Google AdWords Express. But before I explain why, we need…

A Little Background on AdWords Express

Google’s rebranded their Google Boost program for local businesses and is now calling it Google AdWords Express.

Google AdWords Express is a ultra-simplified way for local businesses to advertise through Adwords (Google’s Pay Per Click advertising program).

AdWords is a powerful way to target local prospects searching for the products and services you offer… and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad (compare that to TV, newspaper or magazine advertising where you pay a set price no matter how many eyeballs fall on your ad or how many of those who see your ad care about what you offer).

AdWords is also a complex beast that’s hard enough for those of us who use it every day to keep up with, let alone a small, the local business owner who has plenty else to worry about.

That’s where AdWords Express comes in. You set a budget, write an ad and then Google runs things for you. Easy peasy.

Sounds great, right?

Well, like the decision about using cloth diapers, what sounds good in theory may not be so good in practice.

With AdWords Express you get simplicity, but that comes at a price. In this case, that price is control. And control is one of the biggest benefits of using AdWords.

When you manage your own AdWords campaign (or have someone manage it for you) you have control over…

  • The keywords you target
  • What you’re willing to pay for each keyword in your campaign
  • When your ads appear (24/7, only during the week, only on weekends, from 10:30 to 1PM to promote a lunch special, etc.)
  • Where your ads appear geographically (a state, a metro area, specific cities, a 20 mile radius around your office, etc.)
  • What keywords you DON’T want your ads to appear for (ie. A dentist that only works with adult patients can prevent their ads from appearing when the words “kids”, “children”, or “Pediatric” appears in the search term
  • Testing of different ad copy to see which one gets the best response
  • Tracking of conversions to better measure the effectiveness of the campaign

Using AdWords Express, Google controls all these things. You’re largely leaving these important marketing decisions that affect the quality of the traffic coming to your website up to Google’s algorithm.

The Bottom Line for Local Businesses

AdWords is a great way to generate leads and local businesses should definitely try adding it to their marketing mix.

If you have a very small budget, then I’d definitely recommend giving Google AdWords Express a try to test the AdWords waters.

But if you’re going to spend more than a few hundred dollars a month on clicks, then learn how to manage it yourself or hire an expert to do it for you. It should end up saving you money (I’ve seen accounts where keywords cost 50{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} more in Boost compared to the exact same keyword in a “regular” AdWords campaign) and you’ll ensure you’re getting the most highly relevant traffic to your website.

Otherwise you risk paying for some traffic that’s a pile of, well, the stuff that ends up in diapers (whether they’re cloth or disposable!).