Google Express - What’s it all about?
At the back end of last week Google officially introduced AdWords Express - described as 'a faster and simpler way to start advertising online in less than five minutes'.
Google Express is actually a rebrand of Google Boost, an earlier product launched last October 2010 in the U.S. Boost was a quick-and-dirty solution for businesses to create auto-generated search advertising campaigns in AdWords. In essence the principles are the same, except for the name.
This new, simplified version of AdWords follows other recent efforts to attract new local advertisers, such as the redesigned Google Places , the new AdWords credit card, the launch of Google Offers, and the elimination of the redundant Hotpot.
Where can I find the ads?
Google Express manages the ad campaign for the business, deciding which local product or service searches will trigger the ads. The ads appear in the Ads section above or to the right of Google's organic search results and in Google Maps on mobile and desktop searches.
In addition to the company name, address, phone number, and website, AdWords Express ads may also include the number of reviews the business has received, an average star rating, and a link to the business's Google Places page.
Setting up AdWords Express is relatively simple (Google suggests 5 minutes!). Businesses choose a search category; enter a headline and two-line 70-character description. The ad can either direct searchers to a company website or Google Places page. Google then recommends a monthly budget, based on ad competition, and also estimates how many clicks the ad will receive per month.
So what do we think?
Having spent some time working with Greenlight's sister company SearchCatalyst (SEM <Search Engine Marketing> for small businesses), this simple approach to search advertising is a great idea. More and more small businesses are turning to search to advertise and generate revenue for their brand. The concept of Google AdWords is definitely appealing but the process of optimisation and growing a campaign can be quite gruelling and complicated at times.
For businesses that can't afford a smaller agency, Google Express is a perfect solution - alternatively if you want to test the theory without signing up with an agency straight away, this is a great introduction to search marketing.
One other way of seeing this, is Google capitalising on the increasing number of small businesses going online. The earlier Boost programme in the U.S, clearly passed the 'interest' test, following now with this official global launch. Google's also taking back some of its own market share from search reseller programmes by Yell and BT.
Is Google Express enough though?
It's certainly a great starting point and introduction to search marketing. However, Google Express will be limited due to the automation of the programme. If a small business is looking for growth in their search strategy, then it's definitely time to call a professional agency experienced in managing and catering to their specific needs.