The Google AdWords Grant Policy Update: What You Need To Know

Important information for charities entitled to the grant


Google likes to shake things up with its updates and last week they announced some significant changes that they had made to the terms of their Google AdWords Grant policy that came into effect on 1st January 2018. These new policies introduced by Google will have a significant impact on every grant account as Google has finally decided to lift the $2 a click cap allowing Google grant ads to compete against the more competitive terms.

These new updates require Google Grant accounts to adhere to higher account quality standards to maintain eligibility of the Google grant status. The bar has been set even higher by Google and if these new conditions are not met by March 2018, charities run the risk of losing the Google grant completely.

What is a Google Adwords Grant?

Over the last few years, charities across the many parts of the world have benefited from the Google Ad Grant program. This program has allowed charities to advertise on Google with an ongoing monthly budget of $10,000 per month. Charities have used this grant in the following ways:

- Increase awareness of who they are and what they do.

- Promote their social enterprises.

- Attract volunteers to support the charity and projects supported by the organization.

- Generate donations and encourage people to fundraise for their charities.

Historic Limitations

Because of this large in-kind advertising budget, there were obviously going to be limitations as to how you could spend it. The biggest limitation was the ability to only bid up to a maximum of $2.00 for any given keyword. This meant that certain keywords would be out of reach, or your adverts would appear a long way down the listings or only be displayed during unsociable hours severely reducing your exposure.

The New Update

The most significant change is the removal of the $2.00 bid cap for all keywords. This will be music to everyone’s ears I am sure, especially for those accounts that wish to bid on popular keywords in the region of $10.00 that once impossibly out of reach. This required account holders to often think outside of the box to find keywords they were eligible to use or settling for less popular terms that didn’t demand such a high CPC. With the cap now lifted all Ad Grant users can now be on the same level playing field as a standard AdWords account.

However, as the Google team has been kind to remove the bid cap, all accounts must now comply with a new list of requirements. If these requirements are not met for two months in a row your account risks being canceled.

As mentioned earlier accounts were required to achieve a CTR of 1%. With the budget cap lifted, accounts are now required to have a CTR of 5%. This is slightly harder to achieve than the previous 1% but the idea is to improve the quality of all Google Ad Grant accounts.

Previously you were able to have singular keywords in your campaigns which will no longer be possible in 2018. This is likely because they can be seen as too broad. Many accounts were forced into these broader terms to get around the budget cap but as this has been lifted the more expensive keywords and terms can now be bid on. There are a few exceptions to this rule as you will still be able to have your brand name as a singular keyword. The best thing to do here in preparation for the policy update is to be ruthless and just remove any singular keywords from your account, it’s better to not have them and then work on improving your list of keywords than to have your account canceled after two straight months of non-compliance.

Each campaign is now required to have at least two adgroups. This is something that you should already be doing. The more adgroups you have, the wider variety of keywords and adverts you can have. If you currently only have one adgroup on a campaign try and split up the keywords you have and group them into similar themes. You will soon find that you have enough keywords to make a few new adgroups and maybe a few spare keywords to begin researching keywords for a couple more.

Within each adgroup you are now required to have two unique adverts serving. This has been the recommended number of adverts by Google for a while now so this should be common practice. If you have the time to come up with further ad creative we would recommend pushing that number up to four unique adverts. Try including punchy lines that are featured on the landing page that your advert will direct consumers to. Having at least two adverts allows you to split-test the adverts against each other and find out which elements of your ad copy are working better. This allows you to constantly try and outperform your best serving adverts by coming up with new creative advert ideas.

Adverts can include ad extensions which allow you to include sitelinks to other useful parts of your website. This will be displayed underneath your advert's main body. Not only do ad extensions increase the amount of content in your adverts, they increase the physical size of the ad meaning you can take up more real estate on the Google search results page. As of January 1st, each advert will now be required to have a minimum of two sitelinks. We would recommend having four if you can and also trying to include as many of the other available ad extensions as well.

Every keyword tied to your account carries its own individual quality score from 0 to 10. The quality score of a keyword is Google’s own rating for a selected keyword based on its relevance to the adgroup it is in, its CTR (Click Through Rate) and the performance history of the account. Ad Grant accounts are no longer permitted to contain any keywords with a quality score of 2 or less. As with the singular keywords we suggest being ruthless here and removing them from your account or at least pausing them. It is better to have an account that meets the regulations than to risk it being canceled as you try and increase the quality score of your keywords.

Remember that these new requirements must be met by the end of a two month period otherwise you risk your account being suspended or even canceled. The first period will be the 1st March 2018.


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