Google has been expanding its empire for some time, entering the social network field with Google+, bringing cloud computing to the masses with its Chromebook and launching the Google Voice VoIP service.
Google seems to be leading the move to the cloud, attempting to make everyone’s work easier by storing and processing information and increasing workplace collaboration with Google Apps.
Another way they’re making lives easier is by rolling out AdWords Express for small business users. This tool allows business owners to generate PPC campaigns in a few easy steps, getting them into the Internet marketing game without much hassle.
Some people see this as a John Henry scenario: how can a mere man outwork a machine(or an algorithm in this case)? But what does that mean for human PPC campaign managers? Will they see reduced demand? Will their services be seen as less valuable, requiring them to rethink their business practices?
AdWords Express is pretty simple. Small business owners can sign up through their Places page or via the AdWords Express page.
Express users give Google some basic information about their business: its name and location, any applicable business categories, the business’s official website, a simple business description and the desired budget ($50 minimum).
Google will then use that information to find appropriate keywords to target and establish a PPC campaign for the keyword that is most likely to present the greatest return. Users can create different ads for each business category and split the budget among them however they see fit. Businesses will show up in local searches and will appear on Google Maps as blue pins, making them stand out from the normal red pins.
Adwords Express is geared entirely towards local search results, which helps keep the cost for business owners small by keeping them from having to compete with national brands. As a small business tool, Express imparts great value for business owners and can help them reach far more customers than they could without an Internet marketing campaign.
Where does that leave professional PPC managers? While some may see Express as a rival for business, it’s likely that it will actually generate more interest in Internet advertising, giving rise to more customers for knowledgeable professionals.
AdWords Express is a great introduction to PPC advertising and will help business owners see the value of local marketing and SEO, but it’s a very basic service with little customization options.
In order for businesses to see continued growth, they’ll have to expand their advertising campaigns, going after longtail keywords and closely monitoring their click-through and conversion rates to determine where to spend their budget. Obviously, this would be overwhelming for most small business owners, which is where the professionals step in.
Human-managed PPC campaigns are much more flexible and can be broadened or narrowed, depending on the business owner’s needs, something that AdWords Express can’t really do.
Internet advertising is Google’s bread and butter, with most of Google’s $8 billion Q1 2011 revenue coming from advertising. While it’s ramping up its cloud efforts, with products like the ChromeOS and the Software as a Service offering of Google Apps, its concentration on increasing interest in PPC campaigns hasn’t waned; AdWords Express is proof of that.
The ease with which a business owner can create a low-cost, locally-targeted advertising campaign will serve to whet their appetite. At that point a human PPC campaign manager can step in, offering them even further growth when they see that the investment will bring desirable returns.
AdWords Express won’t be putting human advertising professionals out of business any time soon. In fact, it will likely end up boosting their business.