Google Ad Grants Policy Changes Targets Non-Profits

Google is tweaking Ad Grants. That’s the AdWords program providing advertising grants of up to $10,000 every month to non-profit organizations. As of January 1st, these accounts need to have a 5 percent click-through rate (CTR) they maintain. That’s a big bump up from the previous 1 percent CTR minimum. The updated Google Ad Grant terms and conditions are clear in that Ad Grantees only get two months in a row below the 5% CTR threshold before being deactivated.

Keep in mind that over 35,000 non-profits participate in the program and a big percentage of these could lose their grants unless they buck up and follow the stricter guidelines.

Google also served notice they disposed of the $2 bid cap with campaigns that used Maximize Conversions bid strategy.


Pieces of the Ad Grants Puzzle

Here’s another quick thought before we get into the other pieces of the puzzle. There’s now an immediate suspension for discrimination—the new policy codifies discrimination to cover everything from unacceptable click bait to ads that promote actual violence.

The big takeaway is these Google Ad Grants changes are polishing up the existing requirements in favor of quality. There are some other big tweaks that include:

  • The need for geotargeting. Grant accounts now have a more narrowed focus as per keywords (we’ll get to that) and the topics you can bid on. Geotargeting is part of this new move to a better and stricter Ad Grants system. Being thorough helps. Entering location and postal code is important. Adding the country with the city name is good.
  • Buying branded keywords they don’t own is now off limits for non-profits. Remember there’s a shrinking number of choices for non-profits; the Grantspro program offered Google Grants to non-profits with a budget of between $10,000 and $40,000 per month. It was wound down last year.
  • The baseline for the quality of keyword score is set at three.  More specific long-tail keywords phrases are one technique to use to keep the score above the new minimums. Having an well-organized keyword database is also effective.  It’s important too to keep in mind that single keywords are carefully scrutinized—another clear indication Google wants non-profits to select them with more care for Ad Grants.
  • There’s another new requirement of two active sitelink extensions.
  • Campaigns need to have minimum two ad groups with that many ads running in each.

If you take a step back and have a look at the message Google is trying to send non-profits, the overarching philosophy behind them is clear. They want these campaigns to reflect the mission of any non-profit organization clearly.

While a lot of the new changes focus on keywords, there are some exclusions to this single keyword policy that’s taking effect. For example, keywords like charity, donating, donation are still allowed since they relate directly to supporting a non-profit or charity.

There are those of us who are wondering if the new keyword strategy was really necessary. It would seem that the 5% CTR threshold might be enough to clean up any sloppy strategies on their own. There is evidence that losing any kind of low click, high impression keywords can solve this CTR issue.

Google Ad Grants Program Qualification

At uluad, we work with non-profit organizations looking to qualify for the Google Ad grants program. Our comprehensive approach includes managing your AdWords campaigns so you get the results that matter.  We use keyword combinations to get the best results and ensure any AdWords campaigns conform to Google requirements so you get the most from free ad grants.

Schedule a free consultation below to help understand these new changes: