Google has launched AdWords Express, a more streamlined and automated version of its primary revenue generator, in an attempt to make it easier for small businesses to sign up for the online advertising service.
AdWords Express, a trial of which began in October last year under the name Google Boost, was officially unveiled on Monday. According to a blog post by product manager Kiley McEvoy, the service is "designed to help local businesses that aren't already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns".
AdWords is Google's flagship advertising product, and the pay-per-click service is as such the main generator of revenue for the company.
Whereas the traditional AdWords service involves a more lengthy process for building ads and establishing keywords that will direct customers to that ad through Google's search facilities, AdWords Express largely automates that process.
The new service is aimed at small businesses that have already taken up a free business listing on Google Maps. AdWords Express uses the information submitted to create that listing, along with an ad headline and basic description, to generate an ad and figure out which keywords are most likely to drive people to that ad.
Once the user has selected a budget for their advertising campaign, the ad then appears at the top or right-hand side of relevant search results pages, directing people either to the business's website or to its location on Google Maps, marked with a blue pin.
According to statistics from eMarketer, Google had 71.4 percent of the US search advertising market in 2010. Its closest rival was Microsoft, at 10.2 percent.
However, Microsoft's Bing search engine seems to be taking off quite rapidly. According to financial results released last week, Microsoft now has a 14.4 percent share of the US search advertising market.