In mid-December, while nonprofits were winding down for the holidays, Google Ad Grant account holders received an email. It announced that the $2 cap on the Maximise Conversions bidding strategy had been lifted. Well, that was a nice Christmas present. But did you read the new Google Grant policies and the terms and conditions? A whole raft of new rules came into effect on 1st January, many of which carry the risk of temporary suspension of your account.
The new Google Grant policies
Here are some of the new policies:
- If your account’s click-through rate (CTR) drops below 5% for two consecutive months, it will be temporarily suspended.
- Single word keywords are banned. There is a short list of exemptions.
- Keywords must reflect your mission and not be generic.
- Campaigns must be geo-targeted to relevant audiences. If your nonprofit serves only the people of Seattle, don’t target the whole country.
- Keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 are not allowed.
- Each campaign must have at least two ad groups.
- Your account needs at least two sitelinks.
There won’t be immediate suspensions. Instead, you’ll be sent warnings and given a date by which to make your account compliant. However, the first notifications are already appearing at the top of some Adwords accounts, so don’t delay too long before making the changes.
The new Google Ad Grants focus is on quality
In June 2017 the Ad Grants team implemented a quality filter. Many accounts lost impressions, but saw a corresponding rise in CTR. Some, especially those with poorly designed websites, suffered a dramatic drop. There was no announcement, no email sent, and no notifications within Adwords to explain what was happening, leaving nonprofits wondering what they had done wrong.
This time around, account holders were sent an official email, but important new rules were hidden behind links to terms and conditions. Many Grant holders are still unaware that they have to get compliant. Those who know might not understand what they need to do. But the good news is that these changes are an effort by Google to improve the overall quality of nonprofits’ online advertising, and probably a good thing in the long term.
An audit of your Ad Grant account, or training to help you use Adwords
I can audit your Adwords account and check whether you’re in compliance with all the Google Grant policies, old and new. This takes three hours: two hours for me to check your campaigns, settings, ad groups, ads, keywords, extensions and conversions; plus another hour for us to discuss the results and give you a strategy to get you back into compliance. The one-off fee is £150 ( $200).
I can also provide further help, whether that’s ongoing management of your Adwords account on your behalf, one or more Adwords training sessions, or just occasional advice.