Understanding AdWords Express For Nonprofits

by Blake Arata  |   |  Google Ad Grants  |  3 comments

6 min to read ✭ This post shares the basics of AdWords Express and how it works. It also gives insights into the pros and cons of Adwords Express and compares it to Google's normal AdWords platform. Afterwards, you'll have a better understanding of what platform is a better fit for your organization!

As a nonprofit organization, you probably have limited bandwidth for marketing. You have plenty of other things to think about: employees, operations, and spreading your mission. Maybe you’ve heard of the Google Ad Grant and the $10,000 a month in free advertising that it provides, but you’re hesitant to apply because you know AdWords is complex. Managing a monthly budget of $10,000 is a daunting task and you might not have someone on your team who can dedicate themselves to a new project. How are you supposed to find time to market your organization? The answer is Google AdWords Express!


What is AdWords Express?

AdWords Express is the simplified version of traditional AdWords. It’s an advertising product that automatically manages your online ads without any additional work on your end. Google created AdWords Express to help people who want to advertise online but aren’t sure how to start. If you have a Google For Nonprofits Account, you may have noticed the AdWords Express button here:

Or in your AdWords account (if you’ve already been approved for the grant) here:

adwords express


What are the rules of AdWords Express?

Here are some of the tips and stipulations to running your AdWords Express account. In the second part of this blog series, I’ll be going step by step on how to actually create an account.

If you have both a normal Google AdWords account and an AdWords Express account, the two accounts will share your monthly $10,000 Google Grant spend. There’s no advantage to using both advertising products at the same time. Using both AdWords and AdWords Express can complicate your ad management and cause your ads to compete against each other, so we recommend using only one of these advertising tools at a time. But if you do decide to use both, make sure you’re splitting the budget between both accounts accordingly! Though the two accounts share a budget, everything else is separate. Changes such as editing, pausing, or removing ads, have to be made for both accounts.


These additional limitations apply to your Express account:

1.) Your Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bid Cannot Be More than $2.00 USD

2. ) Ads Only Appear on Google, Not Any of Their Search Partners

3.) You’re Only Allowed to Create Text Ads


What are the pros and cons of AdWords Express when compared to traditional AdWords?

Both AdWords 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. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both products.

adwords express


The Verdict

So what’s the final verdict? The capability of traditional AdWords is much higher than Google AdWords Express. With AdWords Express you won’t be able to target specific audiences, and you’ll have less opportunity to optimize. This will limit your ability to have effective and successful campaigns. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Google AdWords Express! AdWords Express is a huge time-saver, and if your team’s manpower and skills are limited, it might be right for you. It’s perfect for a nonprofit: easy to get up and running until a team member or third party can manage the grant full-time. Remember, you can easily switch from one account to the other. So don’t fear the ads! They’re here to help. If you want to learn more about how to set up an AdWords Express account check out part two of the series.

Blake Arata


  1. Delores Broten, on April 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    It seems that last month (?) Google did not allow non profits to use both – has that policy changed?


    1. Blake Arata, on April 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Delores,

      Thanks for reaching out. As far as I’m aware nonprofits have always been able to utilize both. Here’s a quote from Google’s policy page:

      “Yes, you can have both an AdWords account and an AdWords Express account with Google Ad Grants. In order to take advantage of your Ad Grants budget, it is important to use the same login and password information for both of your AdWords and AdWords Express account. ”

      If you would like some additional information about Google AdWords Express you can check out Google’s FAQ page here:


  2. michelle winkel, on June 28, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Hello! We are new to googlead grants and have only a google ad express campaign. We don’t have a google ad campaign. Our click through rate in the first month is really low( 1%). Is there a 5% CTR on googleadexpress? Will we be cut-off soon? I am trying to improve but it is tough!thanks!


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