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You’ve probably gotten one of these in the mail. You finally verified your Google Places listing (via 2-3 week postcard [damn you auto-attendant!]) and you received this Google AdWords coupon in the mail teasing you with $100 in free advertising. What’s to lose? It’s free money! Right? The intent behind these promotional gift cards is to get you hooked into Google AdWords Express (formally Boost), which is affectionately known by SEM Professionals as “AdWords for Dummies.” For many auto dealerships getting started with automotive SEM, AdWords Express is a great way to test the waters. However, before you stick your toe in, it’s a good idea to understand the differences, benefits and weaknesses of both AdWords and AdWords Express.
In addition to these benefits, AdWords Express also allows you to edit your ad titles from the business name (default setting) to whatever you want, assuming it adheres to Google’s Editorial Guidelines. You also have the ability to create multiple ads for each business category. Even more convenient is that all of the metrics can be seen from the Places dashboard.
Though offering certain benefits, AdWords Express also has severe limitations. For instance, your ads only show up in the business categories you select for your Google Place, which is limited to five. You won’t be able to run a variety of model-specific ad campaigns. Google, unlike a PPC manager, takes the Ron Popeil method of “Set it and forget it!” They make assumptions about your business and let it run its course. They are the ones in the driver seat of your campaigns. There isn’t a rep overseeing the monthly changes and patterns and adjusting settings accordingly. Even though Google automatically geo-targets searchers, you don’t have the ability to target customers in other geographic regions, a huge negative for an exotic car dealer who ships worldwide. The biggest bummer, however, has to be the fact that you don’t have the ability to add negative keywords to block your ad from showing up in unwanted searches.
Because AdWords gives you total control of your campaigns, it doesn’t lend itself well to pay-per-click (PPC) neophytes. It’s very easy for beginners or DIYers to become overwhelmed with keyword lists and various campaign settings (not to mention burning through funds from choosing too many broad keywords). For the best ROI, having a PPC professional or SEM company set-up your AdWords campaigns and oversee it is the best option, which also happens to cost money (usually through a management fee).
AdWords Express is a kiddie pool and AdWords is the deep-end. If you want to execute a triple Lindy and make a huge splash, you’re gonna have to shed the swimmies and head to the deep-end. Whether you choose AdWords Express or AdWords, a search engine marketing campaign can supplement your website’s organic traffic and increase unique visitor traffic to your site, which only leads to more leads and sales. If you aren’t currently running any PPC campaigns, we suggest you start. Choose wisely.