Google Ad Grants – Have we taken free advertising for Granted?


Google Ad Grants – Have we taken free advertising for Granted? ...

What’s changed?

Late in 2017, Google updated their Ad Grants policies, affecting all charities with Grant accounts. There are many planned changes, however, the most significant are as follows –

  1. All Ad Grants accounts must maintain a 5% click through rate. If CTR falls below 5% for two consecutive months the account will be cancelled.
  2. Ad Grants must have specific geo-targeting.
  3. Ad Grants must not contain Branded words that you do not own such as “YouTube” or “Google” or names of other organisations. Essentially, there can be no competitor bidding in Grant accounts!
  4. Single-word keywords are no longer permitted. This excludes your own brand, recognised medical conditions and a small number of other exceptions detailed here: 
  5. Keywords such as ‘Charity’ for example, will have to be removed.
  6. Overly generic keywords like ‘free videos’ and names of places or names of historical events/people are also not permitted.
  7. Keywords with a quality score of 2 or less are no longer permitted.

What do we need to do?

Analysis – Grant accounts need to be analysed to identify where (if anywhere) the policies are not being adhered to. It’s important to understand how many keywords have a low-quality score, and if your account CTR is below 5% you need to discover which keywords and campaigns are restricting the account.

Optimise - Any keywords that aren’t permitted under the new policies should be removed from your Grant accounts, if not at least paused. Extensive optimisation needs to be carried out to improve the account CTR, to ensure the account meets the new criteria.

Why do we need to do it?

The changes Google have brought in are designed to improve the quality and performance of Ad Grant accounts, it’s obvious that they have noticed a difference in quality between paid accounts and Ad Grant accounts. Therefore, these new policies will help to identify poorer performing keywords and campaigns, subsequently removing them from accounts. Charities can and should expect a drop-in traffic to site via PPC, however the quality of PPC traffic is going to improve as we drive more pre-qualified clicks.

Failure to comply with the new policies could lead to suspension or cancellation of the Ad Grant account, which means no more free advertising!

So how can we help?

Short term

Ad Grant accounts are going to require lots of work to analyse and remove the awareness driving activity which falls under the new criteria; lots of the good work we have done expanding the accounts will need to be undone. For charities we don’t with, this process starts with an account audit, to pull apart the performance of the account at adgroup level and propose a new account structure which will meet Google’s terms for maintining the AdGrant spend.

Longer term

Going forward we will be required to regularly monitor CTR and be more flexible with keywords. New activity will need to be heavily monitored to ensure it does not bring down the overall CTR to below 5%.

Below is an example of how we have been optimising a grant account to CTR over the past few years; you can see we have seen steady improvement, to a point where we are now not far off the 5% threshold. With more focus on CTR and a hard deadline we are now taking steps to ensure CTR surpasses 5%.

AdGrants ImageIf you would like a Google Grant PPC Audit, or help with ongoing management in order to stay compliant, please contact us (Click on the envelope on the left of the page!) and talk to one of the team today!


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