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2018 Google Ad Grants Policy Updates

Google Ad Grants are designed specifically for nonprofits to help promote their missions, attract volunteers, get donations, and share their work. The program offers qualified nonprofit organizations a monthly Google Ads budget of $10,000 to assist them in achieving their digital goals by advertising their digital content.

At the end of 2017, Google announced that over 35,000 nonprofits were using Google Ad Grants. In order to improve the results of these mission-driven campaigns, Google has updated its Ad Grant policies to improve clarity and quality standards.

Whether your organization is currently running or planning to run campaigns through Ad Grants, these changes are worth reviewing. Following these policy update will not only help ensure that your organization’s account remains eligible, but will also help you to maximize the impact of your campaigns.

The following is an overview of the most important 2018 Google Ad Grants policy updates and requirements.

1. Account Management Requirements

Base account policies have been updated to make certain fields now mandatory for Ad Grant recipients. The aim is that by enforcing these requirements, your ads have a better chance at success.

  • Your account must have specific geo-targeting: set target locations that are relevant to your organization.
  • Your campaign structure must follow the following requirements:
    • Each campaign must have at least two active ad groups.
    • Each ad group must contain at least two active text ads.
    • Each ad group must contain a set of highly-relevant keywords.
    • You must include at least two sitelink ad extensions
  • Your account must maintain a 5% click through rate (CTR) every month: 
    • If your account is at risk of falling below a 5% CTR, you’ll receive an account notification.
    • If the CTR requirement isn't met for two consecutive months, your account will be deactivated. To avoid this, make sure you’re following these suggestions

2. Mission-Based Campaign Requirements

Your Ad Grants account must clearly reflect the organization’s mission, programs, and services. This means using messages that are specific and relevant to your organization to create ads. 

The following practices, which do exist for paid Ads accounts, are NOT PERMITTED for Ad Grants accounts:

  • Branded words: brand name that you don’t own, e.g., the name of other organizations, newspapers, or corporations.
  • Single-word keywords: however, this excludes branded words you own, recognized medical conditions, and a few other exception keywords. Please not that terms with dashes, periods, or special characters are not treated as single-word keywords.
  • Overly-generic keywords: examples include, names of places, historical events, people, “free videos”, “ebooks”, “today’s news”, “download games”.
  • Low keyword quality score: keywords with a quality score of 2 or less are not allowed.

3. Website Requirements

The domains your organization wishes to use must be approved during the Ad Grants enrollment process or through the additional website domain(s) request form

Approved domains must abide by following criteria:

  • Your organization must own the domains being used in your ads.
  • Your organization’s website must not contains broken links.
  • Your organization’s website must function well and have a clear description of your organization and its mission.

4. Bidding Strategy Updates

The new update removes the $2.00 bid cap if your organization chooses to apply Google’s Maximize Conversions Bidding Strategy. Applying this strategy automatically adjusts and sets bids based on performance. The $2.00 maximum bid still applies to all other bid methods.

Google’s Ad Grants updates are meant to help improve the overall performance of Ad Grant accounts so that nonprofits are able to better expose their missions and gain the support they need from it. As you explore and update the way you are looking to use Ad Grants in 2018, familiarize yourself with these new policies to enhance the outcome of your campaigns.

Further Reading

Looking for a Google Ad Grant partner?

Forum One managed Adwords and Ad Grants for mission-driven organizations. If you’re looking for support, we’d be happy to chat. Get in touch today!