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Google Grant Changes That Your Non-Profit Needs To Address

Google Grant Changes That Your Non-Profit Needs To Address

Google’s Grant program allows non profits to take advantage of essentially free advertising across the Google Search result platform.  There are restrictions in how you can use your account, and over the past year Google has made changes to make those restrictions tighter.  Google’s program gives about 35,000 non profits this opportunity, but the requirement to be active and smart about how you manage your campaign is getting more attention.

Keeping the Google Grant campaign compliant means that you will continue to be have access to the $10,000 per month in free advertising in paid search. Failing to adjust as Google makes changes in Google Grants means that your campaign could be suspended.

In 2018 Google made significant changes to the requirements, here’s an overview.

Keyword Bidding Restrictions

Google’s goal as a search engine is to connect people with content that is relevant to them – in fact that’s why we use Google today – they were the best at doing this many years ago and won that race.

Google says:

“AdWords works best when an organization’s message is relevant to the user’s search. To help you to get the right audience and to help users find what they’re looking for, each ad and keyword in your Ad Grants AdWords account must reflect your organization’s primary mission, be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services, and be specific enough to provide a good experience for the user seeing your ads.”


Previously it was easily target keywords that are more general and broad – in fact people previously were able to target broad terms like Bike or Events.  Now those broad terms are being restricted.

Google has limited Ad Grant accounts from bidding on the following type of keywords:

  • Branded Keywords that you do not own.
  • Single word keywords – things like Bike, Events, Portland.
  • Overly Generic keywords – think words like Today’s News, Job Listings, Free Videos.
  • Low Quality Score Keywords – Below a 2 QS and your keywords are out!


Account Structure Restrictions

It’s important for the right ads to show to the right people at the right time – this is why google has made changes to the account structure that is now required for Google Grant campaigns.  A loose structure that is not managed often could get away in the past, but now these are the requirements for a strong and adhering account structure:

  • Geo Targeting must now be part of your ads and be relevant to your non profit.
  • Ad Grant accounts are required to have at least 2 Active Ad Groups per campaign, and each must have closely targeted keywords, and 2 active text ads.
  • They must also have at least 2 sitelink extensions.


Higher Click Through Rate Requirement

Google is now requiring that Google Grant Accounts have a Click Through Rate of 5% at the account level. That’s a tall order of CTRS!  The click through rate is important for getting a lot qualified traffic – and Google is placing the emphasis on qualified.  Now, it sounds daunting, but if you have the right keywords being targeted and your ads are well built and relevant, hitting 5% shouldn’t be a problem. However, this does mean that generic keywords and generic ads will have a harder problem performing.

Conversion Tracking Improvements

Google announced earlier that they will open up the $2.00 Cost Per Click restriction if you area ble to utilize conversion data to show a strong Cost Per Acquisition metric.  If you change your account to Maximize Conversions Bidding, you will be able to go beyond $2, but that will require conversion tracking to be set up.

What does this mean for your Google Grant?

Google’s changes are specifically targeting accounts that are, quite frankly, too broad in their scope. Either too broad in keywords targeted, geo targeting, or too general in their ad and campaign structure.  These ideas have been a strategy used by many to ensure that they are spending their total amount of Grant Money each month – but it’s now time to pare pack and give some love to your campaign set up.

We manage Google Grant campaigns and can help your organization.

Our agency manages several Google Grant campaigns and can help your organization set up a stronger campaign structure, with better keyword targeting and ads that perform better.

Contact Scott Fish to learn how we can help your organization manage your Google Grant campaign better: 503-201-4719

Scott Fish

At 32° Digital we help brands find, cultivate, and understand the best digital channels to forge meaningful relationships with customers. Impactful digital brand representation and conversation happens when you understand and engage with the consumer in clear and creative ways.