With a name like “AdWords Express”, it’s easy to assume that it must be a quick and effective way to get your business involved with AdWords. This is true, but the differences between a regular and Express campaign are far greater than most may realize. The Web Guys team is going to clear things up to help decide what’s best for your business. Learn more about AdWords in a previous blog.


AdWords Express AdWords
Pay only for clicks Yes Yes
Automated Management Yes No
Ads on Google Search & Maps Yes Yes
Ads on other related websites Limited Yes
Mobile ads Yes Yes
Advanced ad formats (videos, graphics, etc.) No Yes
Geographic targeting ability Anywhere Anywhere
Ability to use without website Yes No

Pros & Cons BreakdownGoogle AdWords Express

AdWords Express


  • Having a website isn’t necessary.
  • Many features are automated, so ongoing management is minimal.
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your ads.
  • Set up is quick.


  • There is no control over where ads are being shown on the web. They could appear in Google search results or on other websites that are partnered with Google.
  • All features aren’t available that allow more information to display with your ad. With regular AdWords, there are “extensions” that can be added. Ads without these extensions won’t grab as much attention.
  • Negative keywords can’t be manually added. Monitoring keywords is very important. Just because your ad should show up for “legal help” doesn’t mean your ad will show when people search for “free legal help”. Google claims to “automatically” add negative keywords, but you have no control over this.
  • Google also automatically chooses your keyword match type. It is extremely important to have control over the keyword match types because if Google chooses to use keywords as broadly matched, ads might appear for irrelevant searches. For example, if Google chooses broad match for the keyword “plumber”, the ad might show up when someone is searching for “how to become a plumber” or “plumbing classes”.
  • Reporting features are very vague.

AdWordsGoogle AdWords


  • There is full control over the structure and settings for your account. Some features, like bidding, can still be automatically handled by Google.
  • Ads can be shown where you choose. If you only want ads to show in search results, that’s possible.
  • Keyword match types are manually chosen. Pro tip: Phrase match or modified broad match are my personal favorites so that money isn’t wasted on irrelevant searches.
  • Negative keywords can be chosen to avoid ads being shown for those searches. For example, ads typically won’t have effective results when people are searching words like “free”, “employment”, “training”, and more.
  • Extension features are available that will allow the ads to be shown with the address, phone number, and other snippets of information that you’d like to highlight.
  • Reporting can be very detailed.


  • The amount of effort that it takes to properly set up an effective campaign can be daunting if you’re an AdWords newbie.
  • This program typically requires more maintenance because it’s not fully automated like Express. Maintenance includes tasks like reviewing and updating bids, rewriting your ads as necessary, and adding negative keywords.

After reading the cons for regular AdWords, it’s evident why businesses choose to hire a company like The Web Guys to create and manage AdWords campaigns. We have experts on staff who handle AdWords operations on a daily basis. Without a doubt, regular AdWords is the way to go when comparing to AdWords Express. Keeping control in your hands rather than Google’s is key. Contact The Web Guys today at (317) 805-4933 to get the conversation started about creating your targeted and effective AdWords campaign.