Adwords Express and Google Places

Google places has now been around for some time, always for free and an example of how Google is working towards “organising the worlds information”. The average Google user is also now very accustomed to integrated search results pages  being populated with this information (as well as images, videos, product listings etc) particularly when they are looking for products or services within a specific location.
Clearly, there is a benefit for all businesses to be listed on Google places no matter what they do – it’s free, provides good business/web traffic and puts a billboard up for an organisation. So what is changing?

Adwords Express

Google, whilst still providing excellent free listings, has taken the next step and is monetising this type of content. Whether this is good or bad for users is another topic entirely – what is certain is that businesses now have a new and potentially profitable marketing channel, which if they are currently already running pay per click adverts, should seriously think about.

Improve places listings
Places Express is effectively a premium listing on Google places search listing. It gives more prominence to both the position and content of the ad, as well as replacing the places icon with a nice big blue one. Basically, it makes your Google places advert stick out above all of the rest.

Who Should Use It?

Any business which wants strong local prominence should be considering this service – this means any business with a physical shop(s) or place of business should be particularly aware of how these listings can help.  Currently, these ad’s will only show to people within a 25km radius of a business’s location.
It is also useful for businesses without a website – unlike normal Google PPC, adwords express does not require a website for listings to show. Think how useful this is for a local sandwich shop or businesses which may take advantage of searches made on mobile devices for nearby locations.


The cost depends on how competitive your market is as well as how many visits you wish to attract. Payments are taken in much the same way as normal adwords accounts. Only one paid ad will show at a time though so you aren’t competing against yourself and each type is invoiced separately.
Payments are only taken upon clicks (PPC) and the amounts charged are in line with estimations made by Google in advance of signing up. In simple terms

  • you choose in advance how much your budget is
  • you know roughly in advance of how many clicks that will achieve and all impressions
  • clicks are recorded so that it’s possible to see its effectiveness.


I can see this being incredibly useful for certain types of businesses, almost to the extent where it will become essential. For most though, it may well be an advertising channel that doesn’t provide a game changing return on investment as online only based organisations are less likely to benefit from the geo-location aspects of the platform.

However, with no monthly contracts and the long term benefits for a business creating a strong local consumer base, it is worth experimenting with and our own PPC marketing teams are already setting up trial campaigns. Like most things in digital marketing, you don’t know until you try and with the full weight of Google behind this venture, it would be imprudent to not look very carefully at things before discarding.

I would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on the ad-words express extension to Google places so please comment below. Alternatively, you can contact us or follow us to get advice and tips on selling more online @Eventureteam