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Compare AdWords Express and AdWords

  • Compare our two advertising products, AdWords and AdWords Express, and find the best option for your business. We recommend using only one of these advertising tools at a time.
  • See the available advertising settings, features, as well as requirements for each advertising tool.

Reach potential customers at the moment they’re looking for a business like yours. With AdWords Express or AdWords, you can show your ads on, Google Maps, and related websites within the Google Display Network.

There’s no advantage to using both advertising products at the same time. Using both AdWords and AdWords Express can complicate your ad management and cause your ads to compete against each other, so we recommend using only one of these advertising tools at a time.

Compare products at a glance

  AdWords Express AdWords
Pay only for clicks Yes Yes
Automated management Yes No
Easy solution for businesses without a website Yes No
Ads on Google Search and Google Maps Yes Yes
Ads on other related websites Yes Yes
Mobile ads Yes Yes
Other advanced ad formats (e.g. video) No Yes
Ability to target ads geographically Anywhere Anywhere

Both AdWords and AdWords Express allow you to increase the number of times and the number of places where your business info appears. With either advertising product you can use targeted messaging in your ads to attract and engage potential customers.

Compare in-depth

Below, we describe both products to help you find the best option for your business. Click on either product name to read a brief overview.

AdWords Express


AdWords Express is an advertising option for businesses that want to get started quickly. It's ideal for business owners who don't have a lot of time to manage their online advertising.


  • Pay only when someone clicks your ad
  • Minimal ongoing management necessary
  • Advertise on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.
  • Reach customers in any geographic location that you choose

How it works

You can use AdWords Express to advertise your website or Google+ page on Google or Google Maps. You'll write your own ad, and when someone searches for phrases related to your business, your ad can appear above or below the search results.

To get started with AdWords Express, you’ll set up a budget, and based on the type of business you have, we’ll come up with a list of search phrases that will trigger your ad and potential related sites where your ad can appear. We’ll continue to maintain and update your search phrases over time. Minimal ongoing management is needed, and you pay only for clicks that your ad actually receives.

Sign up for AdWords Express


AdWords is an advertising option that gives you full control over your ad campaigns. You'll also have access to additional ad formats, settings, and features.


  • Pay only when someone clicks your ad
  • You choose your own keywords, set bid prices, and structure your account
  • Reach customers in any location that you choose
  • Advertise with special ad formats and detailed reporting

How it works

When someone searches for your keywords on, Google Maps, and Google's partner sites, your AdWords ad can appear above or below the search results.

With AdWords, you are responsible for all aspects of your advertising campaign. You choose the keywords that can trigger your ads. You also determine a daily budget, how much to spend on each click, and where your ads can appear. You’ll pay only when someone clicks on your ad.

AdWords also offers other ad formats, such as video ads and Shopping ads.

Sign up for AdWords

Can’t decide?

If you’re feeling unsure about choosing between AdWords and AdWords Express, contact us via phone or email. We’ll help you find the product that’s right for you.

Using AdWords Express with AdWords

If you decide you'd still like to use both AdWords Express and AdWords despite the disadvantages, we've included some info below to help you understand how the two products interact.

Ad auction

If you advertise on both AdWords and AdWords Express, ads from both AdWords and AdWords Express will be eligible to appear on Google in the same places, for the same search query, and could compete in the same ad auction. Only one ad from either your AdWords or AdWords Express account can appear for a search query, which means your ads could compete against each other. Learn more about the AdWords auction.


In AdWords Express, you'll set up a separate budget. If you use the same login email for both AdWords and AdWords Express, though, you're required to use the same credit card to pay for both advertising products. Your AdWords Express charges will be bundled together with your AdWords charges on your credit card statement. However, you can see your AdWords Express costs separately by viewing your AdWords Express dashboard.

If you would like your advertising costs to be charged to separate credit cards, you'll need to use different login email addresses for your AdWords Express and AdWords accounts.

Effects of changed AdWords settings on your AdWords Express ads

In AdWords, changes you make to your account or ad settings may affect your AdWords Express ads.

AdWords will hide some data that show only in AdWords Express, such as some custom conversion types. That means some aggregate numbers showing in AdWords will include AdWords Express data, but the details won't show for AdWords Express ads. For example, rows in campaign reports will show only AdWords data, but aggregated data can include the total metrics for both types of ads.

However, changing settings related to clicks, calls, and getting directions to your business can affect how your AdWords Express ads run. This means turning these settings on or off in AdWords Express can turn off these automatic optimization features.

To keep your ads running smoothly, make sure you manage your AdWords ads in your AdWords dashboard and your AdWords Express ads in your AdWords Express dashboard.

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