Google AdWords Express Small Business PPC Guide

Introduction to AdWords Express

Ready to learn about AdWords express? OK, let’s go!

Adwords Express advertises your business online to local customers without you needing to manage a large, ongoing ad campaign. Once your ad is written, your budget established, and the appropriate category for your business is chosen, Google will generate a list of related search phrases that describe your product or service and use them to automatically manage your ads and promote your business for you.

After the initial set-up, your ads will then be eligible to appear next to search results in Google or Google Maps when a potential customer in your geographical area searches for products and services related to those that you offer. Your ad can also include the phone number to your business and your address. Google will then only charge when someone clicks on your ad. Your ads can be edited or cancelled at any time.

Google AdWords Express

Google AdWords Express

Getting Started with AdWords Express

The following is a quick and easy overview to set up an ad:

  1. Create an account with Adwords Express with a new or existing Google Account.
  2. Choose an existing business if you have one already listed on Google and select “Advertise this business” or if you wish to advertise a new business, choose “Create new business”.
  3. Select the target geographic area for your ad, choose a business category, write the text of your ad, and set your budget.

Countries that Allow AdWords Express

Adwords is currently available in the following countries and languages:

AdWords Express Countries

AdWords Express Countries

Comparing Adwords and Adwords Express

Adwords is a more comprehensive version of Adwords Express, yet requires more time and management skills. Adwords Express is designed for businesses looking to set up an ad quickly and easily in order to reach local customers. While Adwords offers more control over all features of an ad campaign, including keywords, daily budgets, videos, and other features:

AdWords vs AdWords Express

AdWords vs AdWords Express

Using Adwords with Adwords Express

The following highlights how Adwords and Adwords Express can function together, and also points out the limitations of using both products simultaneously:

  • You can use the same login email for both Adwords and Adwords Express.
  • Your Adwords Express ads can only be managed through your Adwords Express account.
  • Billing and other shared information can be seen in both accounts.
  • Ads from both products will be eligible to appear on Google for the same search, but they may also compete with each other, and only one ad will appear.
  • Even though you will set up separate budgets for both products, all charges will be bundled and billed together on a single credit card account, unless you set up separate accounts.

Glossary of AdWords Express Terms

Set-up for AdWords Express

With Adwords you can develop a single ad to promote your business or create multiple ads to highlight different services and products. When you create an ad with Adwords Express it can potentially appear alongside search query results when someone in your targeted geographic area searches for phrases related to your business. Your ad may also appear if someone outside of your locality searches for those related phrases along with your area in the query.

Here is an example of what an ad looks like:

Example AdWords Express Ad

Example AdWords Express Ad

An ad will include the following components:

Name Description
Headline The blue text at the top of the ad is the headline. By clicking on the headline the customer will be taken to the website for your business that you’ve provided.Maximum length: 25 characters, or 12 characters for double-width languages, such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
Ad text A description that highlights your businesses services or products, as well as any special offers should you choose to use them.Maximum length: 35 characters (each line), or 17 characters for double-width languages.
Website URL (link) The URL (web address) of your businesses site will be displayed. If you are running multiple ads, you can use different URLs for each.Maximum length: 35 characters, or 17 characters for double-width languages.
Map pin If customers are located near your business when they search, the blue AdWords Express pin may appear. By clicking on the blue pin, the customer will be shown your business location in Google Maps.
Contact info The phone number and address of your business will appear in the mobile, desktop and Google Maps versions of your ad if you have chosen to include them in your listing.
Stars and reviews Reviews from your business’ Google+ page will also show up if you have one set up.

Creating Multiple Ads for a Single Business

You can also create multiple ads with Adwords Express if you wish to advertise different products or features of your business. For each ad you can determine a distinct business category and budget. Your overall Adwords Budget will be the combined total of all ads that you run.

Alternate Ad Text

Google can also use the information that you’ve provided and content from your web to create and test alternative text for your ads to determine which terms are most effective. If Google finds that more customers respond to a certain ad text, they will shift to running more of those ads.

Manage Your Ads

Your ads can be created, edited, paused and deleted using the Adwords Express Dashboard. The following steps outline how to create and manage your ads once you log in to your Adwords Express account:

Create an Ad

  1. If you already have a business listed select the business and click “Advertise this Business”.
  2. If you don’t have a business already listed, select “Create New Business”.
  3. Describe your business, including website, address, phone number, etc.
  4. Follow the guided steps to choose the audience, ad text and budget for your new ad.

Edit Your Ad

  1. Choose a business from those listed and select “View Performance Report”.
  2. Select “Manage” in the upper right corner.
  3. Click “Change Your Ad” under the Ad Content menu
  4. Edit the ad.
  5. Save changes by clicking “OK”

Delete, Pause or Reactivate an Ad

  1. Choose a business from those listed and select “View Performance Report”.
  2. Select the status of your ad from the drop down menu in the right corner.
  3. Choose “Paused” to put an ad on hold, “Active” to restart an ad, or “Deleted” to stop an ad.

View Your Ad Summary

  1. Choose a business from those listed and select “View Performance Report”.
  2. Review your costs, actions and customer views under “Ad summary”.

Writing an Effective Ad

Review the following questions when determining what information to include in your ad to attract customers.

  1. What distinct products and services do I have to offer customers that distinguish my business from others?
  2. What are the main goals I wish to achieve with my ads?
  3. What is the demographic of my target customers, what are their needs and values and how does my business help reach them?

Where Your Ad Can Appear

Google uses a variety of factors to determine when and where to place your ads:

  1. Geographic Targeting – If customers search using your targeted keywords while in the geographic area that you’ve listed or if they include your geographic area (zip code, city, etc.) in the search query, your ad is likely to appear alongside their results. Your targeted location can be edited with “Edit Ad Audience” under your business listing.
  2. Organic Listings and Adwords Express – Whether or not your business appears organically in a customer’s search results, your Adwords Express ad can still appear in the sponsored ads section alongside the results. And if a map appears in the search results, your business’s location will be marked on the map.
  3. Search Results – Google’s partner sites, such as AOL, as well as Google Images, Shopping, etc. may also display your Adwords Express ad.
  4. Google Display Network – Ads for certain business categories may also appear on sites that are partnered with Google, which also contain relevant content to your ad. In some cases a photo from your business may be displayed on the partner site, so be sure to have at least one photo uploaded to your business’s Google+ page.

Preview Your Ad on Google Search Results

View what customers see when your ad appears in search results with the Ad Preview Tool. Doing so will not effect ad performance or view counts.

  1. Visit Google’s Ad Preview site.
  2. Select the appropriate web domain, language and location, then click Preview.
  3. Google will also show exactly which ads were triggered based on the search phrase you used at the bottom of the page.

Business Categories and Information

Google determines the search phrases that will be associated with your ads based on the business category you choose.

  • Select the category that most specifically describes the goods and services that you offer.
  •  If your type of business doesn’t fit into the available categories, you can recommend a new one with Google’s Feedback Form.
  • If you business falls under multiple categories, you can create more than one ad to cover different aspects of your business.

When you sign up for Adwords Express, Google will add your business information to any existing listing you may have on Google+ or Places. If there no prior listing exists, you will add the details you wish to list, including an address or phone number.

Search Phrases

Search Phrases are lists of related words of phrases that Google automatically generates for your ad based on your business category. When a customer uses those phrases when conducting a search in or specific to your area, your ad can appear next to their results.

  • While you can’t change your search phrases, you can view them in your dashboard and if you find them to be accurate for your business, you may try changing your category for a better fit.
  • The name of your business is included in your search phrases.

Budget and Costs

When you create an ad you will choose an average daily budget based on the amount you wish to spend and your advertising goals. You will only pay when someone clicks or calls (directly through Google) from your Adwords Express ad.

The cost per click varies and is determined by Google based on:

  • The likelihood of a click resulting in a sale.
  • The relevance of your ad to a customer’s search.
  • The amount that competing business in your area are spending.

Google determines your monthly budget by multiplying your average daily budget by the number of days in a month, which will help Google adjust your ad exposure to receive the most high-quality clicks possible.

  • Payments are made with a credit card (or other payment option if available in your area) prior to your ads appearing with manual payments or after they appear for automatic payments.

Supported Browsers

  • Mac: Chrome, Firefox 3.6 and up, Safari 4 and up
  • Windows: Chrome, Firefox 3.6 and up, Internet Explorer 9 and up
  • Linux: Chrome, Firefox 3.6 and up

Manage Account

Call Reporting

Google will generate and display a unique toll-free phone number in your ad, and if customers click or dial the number, the calls will be forwarded on to your business number. If a customer clicks on the number on a mobile device you will be charged for a click, but if they manually dial the number there is no charge. This allows you to track the number of calls you receive.

  • Add call reporting by clicking “See how many calls your ad is getting” when you create an ad or under “Ad Summary” in the Performance Report of an existing ad. You can deselect this option at any time.
  • Google forwarding numbers may be reassigned at any time, so don’t use the number in any forms of advertising yourself.
  • Your call reporting data can be viewed in the “View Performance Report” section of your dashboard under “Customer Views and Actions”.

b.      Adwords Express Advertising Policies

If an ad violates Google’s advertising policies for Adwords Express, the ad will not run.

Adwords Trademark Policy

If an ad uses a trademark within ad text and the trademark owner files a complaint, Google will investigate and may restrict the use of the trademark or not allow the ad to run. Learn more at Google’s Trademark Help for Advertisers page.

Customer Views and Actions

The number of views and customer actions taken (calls or clicks), along with the amount spent and monthly budget, can be viewed by clicking “Ad Summary” under “View Performance Report”.

  • Views – Google counts the number of times your ad is viewed by someone when it appears alongside search results, on a website on Google or on Google maps.
  • Actions – Google will track the number of times someone clicks on your ad or calls the number listed in your ad allowing you to see the success rate of your ad.

My Client Center

If you have multiple Adwords or Adwords Express Accounts you can view and manage them together in one place with My Client Center (MCC).

Improve AdWords Express Results

Improve Your Ads Performance

Once your ad has been running for a while, consider taking some or all of these adjustments to increase traffic and reach more customers:

  • Select a category that most accurately describes your business. If a relevant category doesn’t exist contact Google to offer suggestions and feedback.
  • Create more than one ad if your business falls under multiple categories.
  • Make sure you are targeting your ads as closely as possible to your geographic location.
  • Set up a budget that you are comfortable with and that allows Google to provide you with sufficient exposure.
  • Create an effective ad that accurately describes your business and makes you stand out from the competition.
  • Offer customers a website landing page that delivers on the promise of your ad as they will be more likely to stay.

Tips for Creating Successful Ads

  • Keep you ad professional by proofreading spelling, grammar and accuracy.
  • Offer incentives such as discounts, deals and exclusive offers.
  • Highlight features of your business, services or product that make you stand out.
  • Tell your customers how they can take action with strong verbs.
  • Incorporate relevant search phrases appropriate to what your business offers.
  • Align your website with your ads so that customers can easily find what you promote.

Tips to Improve Your Website

Carefully review and improve your website to ensure that visitors that you attract with your ad find what they are looking for and stay long enough to become customers.

  • Maintain a well organized, clean and easy to navigate website.
  • Pretend to be a customer visiting your site and make sure all of the information they might seek is accessible.
  • Ensure that pages load quickly.
  • List detailed contact information.
  • Optimize your site for mobile devices.
  • Choose an appropriate landing page for customers to reach when they click on your ad.
  • Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to improve your search ranking.
  • Track and test your site to learn how you can improve your site.


Basic Billing Tasks

  • Edit your Budget – Under “View Performance Report” select “Ad summary”, then under “Amount Spent” click on “Change Budget”
  • If you decide to raise or lower your average daily budget at any point during the campaign, you will be charged for the activity up until the change and then Google will adjust your maximum monthly budget and charge accordingly for the remaining days of the month.
  • Make a Payment – Select “View Performance Report” from your business listing, then click the gear icon in the top right corner and choose “Billing” from the dropdown menu. Under “Transaction History”, select “Make a Payment”. You can choose from automatic or manual payments.
  • View Cost and Payment History – Click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the “View Performance Report” page and select “Billing” from the menu. From the “Transaction History” page you can download, export and print invoices, view ad activity and sort payment information.
  • Invoices and Payment Receipts – You can view or print invoices from the “Transaction History” page under the “Budget” section of “View Performance Report”. To view payment receipts, select “Detailed View” under “Budget” and click the “Payment” link.
  • View Payment Status or Balance – Click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the “View Performance Report” page, then select “Billing” from the dropdown menu. Under “Transaction History” select “Detailed” to view status and balances.

Promotional Codes

Google occasionally offers promotional codes to help new advertisers get started with Adwords Express. If you receive one, you can add the code by clicking “More Actions” under “Transaction History” and selecting “Apply a promotional code”.


Depending on your location there may be a variety of payment options available including Direct Debit from a bank account, Credit Cards and Backup Credit Cards. You can choose to set up automatic payments where you pay after your ad has run or manual payments where you pay before the ad runs.


Based on your location, there may be applicable taxes or Value Added Tax.

Requesting a Refund

If you decide to cancel your Adwords Express account, you may request a refund if a balance remains on your account. Depending on your payment set-up, the credit may be issued to your credit card or transferred to your bank account. Occasionally Adwords Express may issue a credit to your account an adjustment is made to your budget.


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