Compare AdWords Express and Google Ads

With AdWords Express or Google Ads, you can show your ads on, Google Maps, and relevant websites within the Google Display Network. With either advertising product, you can use targeted messaging in your ads to attract and engage potential customers. Both products can help you to reach potential customers at the right moment. There’s no advantage to using both advertising products at the same time.

Because using both Google Ads and AdWords Express can complicate your ad management and cause your ads to compete against each other, using only one of these advertising tools at a time is recommended.

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Both Google Ads 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 either product name to read a brief overview.

AdWords Express


AdWords Express is Google's smart, easy solution for small businesses and helps your business get discovered on Google in those relevant moments. Powered by the best of Google's advertising technology, AdWords Express brings you results based on your ad goal, whether that be customer calls, visits to your store or actions on your website.

AdWords Express can be set up in just 15 minutes, and then works to constantly improve your ad around your goal, measure its performance and show you clear, understandable results. That way, you can feel confident your advertising is delivering real results on your investment while you spend time doing what you love most – running your business.


  • 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 that 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
Google Ads


Google Ads 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 ad can appear above or below the search results.

With Google Ads, 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.

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

Sign up for Google Ads

Can’t decide?

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

Using AdWords Express with Google Ads

If you decide that you'd still like to use both AdWords Express and Google Ads 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 Google Ads and AdWords Express, ads from both Google Ads 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 Google Ads or AdWords Express account can appear for a search query, which means your ads could compete against each other. Learn more about the Google Ads auction.


In AdWords Express, you'll set up a separate budget. If you use the same login email for both Google Ads 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 Google Ads 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 Google Ads accounts.

Effects of changed Google Ads settings on your AdWords Express ads

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

Google Ads will hide some data that show only in AdWords Express, such as some custom conversion types. That means some aggregate numbers showing in Google Ads will include AdWords Express data, but the details won't show for AdWords Express ads. For example, rows in campaign reports will show only Google Ads 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 optimisation features.

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

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