The Little Guys Are Making Some Big Noise

Some of you may remember that late last October Google launched the beta “Google Boost” in several major cities across the United States. Boost, which was offered to local businesses, gave owners a chance to compete alongside larger businesses within their geographic area in the paid search arena.  Boost also gives these businesses the option of taking the user to the businesses Places page or directly to their website after clicking the ad and uses a cost-per-click model.  This past Monday, Google announced the official launch of AdWords Express, which is Boost’s nearly identical twin, and made it available to all U.S. businesses that are new to AdWords.

Proclaiming to be “quick and straightforward,” AdWords Express allows you to set your own budget and handles “managing” your campaign for you.  I use the term manage loosely, because as you see in the first image, very little information has to be given about your company and what they offer.  Due to the fact that you are only given a category and an ad, it is very likely that you may show up in irrelevant searches.  I assumed that after the initial beta of Boost that negative keywords would be added to the official rollout of AdWords Express, and was surprised to find out that this is not a feature.  Showing up in irrelevant queries will not only result in unqualified users clicking on your ad but will also use up your budget.

Seeing that this product is intended to help small businesses maximize their advertising spend, I was interested in finding out what type of budget they would recommend.  So I went through the same steps that a small business would if they were to begin using AdWords Express.  If you look at the bottom of the following image, you will notice that Google’s suggested spend is $150 with estimated clicks ranging from 135 – 225, giving you a CPC between $.67 and $1.11, respectively.  You also have to consider that this is for a brewery in Avon Lake, OH, where there is little-to-no competition or traffic since there are no local breweries advertising on paid search in that location.  While a $1.11 CPC may be acceptable for some small businesses, this number was a little higher than I was expecting.

For those of you who are already active in AdWords and do not qualify for AdWords Express, you may be thinking that this launch will not affect you, but it most likely will in both paid and organic searches. As you see in the image below, the flower shop with the Express pin takes up a significant amount of space, pushing some organic results below the fold and possibly doing the same to some paid ads along the side.  This could significantly lower impressions for some of those ads and also have a large impact on organic results that were above the fold in the past.

While I do believe that AdWords Express could be a great fit for some small businesses, the inability to add keywords and negatives could result in your hard-earned money being spent frivolously.  Also, as we see with many of our clients, paid search can be very sensitive, so even though the idea of no-maintenance advertising sounds great, it could end very badly.

If you are considering using paid search to grow your business, remember that not all forms of paid search, even if they are Google products, are the same. To learn more about how paid search can take your business to the next level, request a free PPC evaluation today!

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