Will A.I. Eventually Make AdWords Express a Killer App for SMBs?

When AdWords Express was introduced it was hailed as a breakthrough product for SMBs. In reality it hasn’t quite lived up to that promise. However there are success stories.

What I’m wondering however is whether artificial intelligence can transform the product into something more effective and competitive in the general market.

LSA has data from several proprietary and third party surveys that indicate, in contrast to the “won’t self-serve” meme, a majority of small businesses (66% or more) are managing some or all their own digital marketing. It’s less clear whether that’s happening because:

  • They don’t know whom to turn to
  • They’ve tried agencies/third parties and been disappointed
  • They’re very self-reliant and wouldn’t trust anyone else

What’s also true is that most of them don’t have the resources and expertise to optimize their digital presences and campaigns.

Google is integrating machine learning and AI into its analytics platform for enterprises. It has enormous depth in machine learning and AI. Those capabilities are being used to surface performance trends and insights via the Google Analytics smartphone app. Included among them are recommendations for better performance.

As these capabilities further mature it’s likely that they will “trickle down” to AdWords Express. At some point in the not-too-distant future, AI and machine-based optimization may enable AdWords Express to become a true set-it-and-forget-it tool for local businesses.

In addition, call and store visits reporting will provide much more credibility and transparency to SEM than has been available in the past. At that point it might become really competitive with Google’s own reseller channel.

With AdWords Express, 100% of the customer’s budget goes toward media, which conceptually holds enormous appeal to local business owners. Of course a solid agency can do much more right now for a business owner with a reasonable budget.

But what do you think about my thesis? Do you agree with the idea that AI might transform AdWords Express?

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