Important Google Ads Grant Program Changes for Advertisers

The Google Ads Grant program is a phenomenal and generous program that assists nonprofit organizations change the world! In 2020, Google has pledged to invest $1 billion in this program benefiting 35,000 nonprofits worldwide.

That said, the program has had its challenges for Canadian nonprofits hoping to use and maintain the ad grant from Google. This week, Google announced some major changes to how the grant program works. Some rules have been loosened but others have become more strict.

No more $2 bid cap

Many nonprofits have trouble spending the $10,000 monthly ad grant thanks to the $2 bid cap. Well this cap is no longer, as long as the advertiser creates campaigns with the bid optimization strategy called Maximize Conversions. When using Maximize Conversions, Google automatically sets bids for you to maximize the potential for improved conversion volume. The only caveat is that optimizing a campaign with Maximize Conversions can be challenging for a novice Google Ad user. A more seasoned search marketer is recommended.

5%+ CTR requirement

If your account doesn’t achieve at least a 5% CTR for two consecutive months, your account will be cancelled. It’s that simple. While your account can be reinstated after cancellation, it will most likely require a complete account overhaul to ensure that you are reach this clickthrough rate requirement. Possible changes to reach the 5% CTR can include updates to ad copy, keyword match settings, geo targeting, ad extensions, negative keywords list, campaign / ad group structure etc. Bottomline, do it right from the start and don’t risk account cancellation. Bring on a seasoned search marketer from the start!

Account structure requirements

The first step to maintain the 5% CTR requirement, Google knows that the account structure must be correct from the get-go. Here are some basic requirements:

  1. You must make use of geo-targeting. meaning you can only serve up your ads to people within a specified location. i.e. if you are a registered non-profit in British Columbia, you must geo-target that province only.
  2. Each campaign in your Google Ads account must have at least 2 active ad groups, which must contain related keywords and two active text ads.
    Your account must include at least 2 site-link extensions.

Avoid using Adwords Express

We’ve had clients who have used Adwords Express to manage their Google Ads. While Adwords Express is easy to use and appears to do the legwork for you, it is not a good solution for Google Ads Grant recipients. Adwords Express will automatically structure your account for you, but it will also make it impossible to maintain any semblance of control over what keywords you’re bidding on and how your grant is allocated. If you want to maintain your $10,000 monthly ad grant, do not use Adwords Express.

Mission-based keywords only

Every ad and keyword in your account must reflect your organizations primary mission, be relevant to your nonprofits programs and services, and be specific enough to provide a good experience fo the user seeing your ads. Therefore going forward, the following keywords are no longer permitted for Google Ads Grant recipients:

  1. Branded keywords that aren’t affiliated with your own brand (for example, you can’t bid on “Google”)
  2. Single, non-branded keywords (for example, “fundraising”)
  3. Extremely generic, broad keywords, like “nonprofit organization” or “charitable cause”

Whether you already have the Grant and need help managing it, or wish to apply, the consultants at Bloom Digital Marketing would love to help! Click here to view our services page for the grant program.

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