Google Ad Grants is a great program that Google offers to non-profits that provides free Google AdWords Search Advertising up to $10,000 per month. The program works just like Google AdWords by utilizing keyword targets to show text ads on Google Search results. Providing Non-Profits with the great opportunity for expanded reach and visibility.
While Google Ad Grants is a great program and provides many benefits for non-profits, it is Google we are talking about and they are going to make you jump through hoops to get that money. Google can’t just give away that much free real estate, so you have to play the Google game. Google has several stipulations such as the $2 max CPC criteria, that makes it difficult to compete for more competitive queries and keep advertisers on our toes to ensure that these campaigns remain active and effective.
Following a recent Google obstacle course, we have been dealing with for one of our non-profit clients, I have decided to make a comprehensive list of everything you may or may not know about the Google Ad Grant policies to ensure that your campaigns are not unsuspectingly shut off due to policies that are not clearly stated by Google currently.
10 Things You May Not Know That You Needed to Know about Google Ad Grants
- $2 Max CPC – The maximum bid for your Ad Grant campaign is $2 when you are using manual bidding and most of the automatic bidding types. The exception is if you use the bidding strategies of Maximize Conversions, Target CPA or Target ROAS, you now have the potential to see bids exceed the $2 threshold.
- We were told in our recent dealings with Google that you MUST NOT use the “Enhanced CPC” Biding option.
- You CAN use the Maximize Clicks automated bidding strategy, but you MUST set your max CPC to $2.
- $10,000 Max Monthly Budget – All Google Ad Grant Accounts are limited to a $10,000 monthly budget. While you have a max monthly budget of $10,000, Google requires your daily budget to be set at an account total of $329, even if you are not on track to reach the max $10,000. The exception to this are accounts that are part of the Legacy GrantsPro program which have monthly budgets of $40,000 however, Google no longer is offering enrollments in this program.
- Only Text-Based Ads – With the Google Grant, you are only allowed to use text ads for your campaigns, so that means no video or image ads.
- Campaign Must Be Keyword-Targeted – While AdWords provides several methods of targeting, your Ad Grant account must only target keywords, but you need to be careful about the keywords that you target. You may not target the following types of keywords (straight from the mouth of Google):
- Single-word keywords (excluding your own branded words, recognized medical conditions, acronyms, and a small number of exception keywords published here).
- Overly generic keywords like “best videos”, “cool apps”, “e-books”, “today’s news”, “easy yoga”, “download games”, “things to do”, “job alert”, or names of other organizations, places, historical events, or people on their own.
- Keywords with low quality scores of 1 or 2 – however, in recent dealings with Google we found that they were telling us to also remove keywords with quality scores of 3 and broad keywords that had not seen much or any clicks and impressions, but that did not indicate low quality scores.
- Campaigns & Ad Groups – Each campaign must have 2 ad groups with at least 2 ads each.
- Ad Extensions – You must use at least 2 sitelink extensions, either for each Ad Group or each Campaign. While this seems like a silly reason to have your account suspended, it will happen so make sure you use sitelinks!
- Frequent Updates – You must log in and make changes to your account on a monthly basis, if your account goes longer than a month without someone logging in, it can be suspended.
- Location Targeting – This is something that we were not aware of previously, but your campaigns MUST target a specific location. You cannot have a campaign that is open to the entire world (we found that out the hard way).
- CTR – In recent changes, Google announced that Ad Grant campaigns must maintain a CTR of 5%. If your account avg. CTR drops below 5% for two consecutive months, Google can suspend your account without warning.
- Keep Your Website in Check – If your website fails to meet the following standards, Google can automatically suspend your account with no warning.
- High-Quality Website – Your site much have a robust and clear description of your organizational mission and each page much have sufficient info for visitors to understand your purpose. Additionally, your site must function well and have no broken links and your ads may not make claims that promise results after a consultation, service or purchase.
- Commercial Activity – Commercial activity must not be the purpose of your website. This means sales of products and services, consultations, lead generation or providing referrals. If your site does have commercial activities, these must support your non-monetary mission and if your site does charge for products or services, the site must describe how your organization uses the funds.
- Limited Ads on Website – Again to ensure that companies are not misusing the Google Grant funds for monetary gains, advertising on your site much be relevant to your mission and not obtrusive to visitors and your site may not make use of Google AdSense or affiliate advertising links.
While Google Ad Grants is a great program that offers a tremendous opportunity to non-profits, it is not an easy task to ensure that your campaigns meet Google’s policies. It will require active management and optimization to ensure that your campaigns maintain the 5% CTR requirement. Lucky for you, we have gone through the Google Grant obstacle course and know what it takes to keep a Grant Account running effectively. For any questions you may have or help you may need with Google Ad Grants, contact Anvil!