As we discussed yesterday, Google recently released Google AdWords Express for local marketers. This program allows local businesses to set up an AdWords account in minutes, and start advertising to their target markets through Google local search. AdWords Express is conceptually similar to the traditional Google Adwords, but there are some key differences. The major difference with Express is that it was created as an automated, easy-to-manage PPC option for local advertisers. Google automatically selects search queries that ads will be displayed for based on category (like an ad group) selections. There is no need to worry about keywords, bids, or optimization.
While there are pros and cons to automating your PPC campaigns, Google Adwords Express presents a compelling case for local businesses that need to expand their reach under time constraints. If you've weighed the pros and cons and made the decision to experiment with a Google AdWords Express account, here are 4 easy steps to set up your account and launch your AdWords Express campaign in just minutes.
Step 1: Find Your Business
Visit http://www.google.com/adwords/express/ and click the blue, 'Start now' button. First, Google will need to confirm the country where your business is located as well as confirm the phone number associated with that business. The phone number will be confirmed, so make sure this information is accurate. If Google finds your business listing, all you need to do is select the “this is my business” button, and you’ve completed step 1.
If you have not added your business to Google’s listings, you can click “add a new listing,” and Google will walk you through the process to add a new listing.
Step 2: Add Your Information
In this section, Google will ask you to enter a few things regarding your business' information. The more information you enter here the better, as Google will have a better understanding of your account and the ability to keep you posted about nuances and updates. Be sure to add your email and website. The one thing to be very careful about is the category selection.
Google is going to decide which search queries your ads will display for based on the category or categories you select. Think long and hard about this section, and try to limit your campaigns to one section so that you can track them properly. Start typing your industry or related terms into the category box, and Google will start to show you selectable categories.
Step 3: Create Your Ad
This is where the fun part begins! For your specific category, now you get the chance to write your own ad. Remember to adhere to the character limits of the headline and ad description, and keep in mind that every ad you write should relate to your category. Within your ad text, also keep in mind that you should always include an offer, show the value of what the offer is, and include a proposition utilizing a call-to-action that will compel qualified searchers to click on your ad and not the competing ads.
Next, it's time for you to decide where your traffic will be directed. You can choose to direct people to your website (or a unique landing page, which we highly recommended), your Google Places page, or Google+ business page. Remember to direct users to the most relevant page containing the information your potential customers are looking for based on their category search.
Finally, it’s time to determine your budget. Based on your category, Google will recommend a budget for you to assign your campaign. DO NOT simply agree with Google. You should decide what you are comfortable with for a test and assign the budget that you think is best based on your budget, not Google’s assumption of your budget. The minimum budget is $150 per month.
Step 4: Checkout
You knew it was coming. Now it's time to set up your billing profile. Your business information will probably be similar to the information you entered in step two, so this should be pretty quick to complete.
The final step is billing details, in which you can select automatic or manual payments. The only difference here is whether you want to prepay for your AdWords spend or not, and it's totally up to you. Your payment method can either be in the form of a bank account or a credit card.
Something to watch out for is the promotional code. Google often runs promotions, offering something like $100 of free ad spend, so if you know of one or can find one, this is the place to enter the code for your discount.
That’s it! Four easy steps, and your PPC campaign will be live on AdWords Express in minutes. Remember to carefully select your category, take your time when crafting your ad, be cognizant of your budget, and make sure to track results! Without the sophisticated insights that traditional AdWords provides such as keyword data, it is imperative to set up a unique landing page or tracking system so you know exactly what results are being generated from Google AdWords Express. Only then will you be able to make changes to improve performance and be able to identify what is or is not working with your AdWords Express experiment.
Have you experimented with AdWords Express for your PPC campaigns? What results have you generated?
Originally published Dec 14, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016