Google AdWords runs a grant program for Not For Profits, in which eligible charities can receive up to $10,000USD per month to spend on AdWords. However from the 1st January 2018, Google released an update to increase the standards of the Ad accounts to improve overall experience for Google users. Failure to implement these changes can result in your account being cancelled.. so here are the details!

What are the new updates?

 The new requirements include:

1. Ad Grants AdWords accounts must maintain a click-through-rate (CTR) of 5% each month. If the CTR requirement isn’t met for 2 consecutive months, your account will be cancelled.

2. Ad Grant Accounts must have specific geo-targeting settings to show ads in locations that are relevant.

3. Ad Grant Accounts must have:

– At least 2 active ad groups per campaign each consisting of a set of closely related keywords and 2 active text ads.

– At least 2 sitelink extensions.

4. Google has removed the $2 maximum bid cap for Ad Grant Accounts that are using the “maximise conversions” bidding strategy.

5. Ad Grant Accounts must now keep their quality scores above 3 at the keyword level.

6. Ad Grant Accounts cannot use keywords that are not specific to your organisations primary mission. Therefore the following keywords are not permitted:

– Branded keywords that you don’t own (i.e. Google or YouTube).

– Single-word keywords (excluding your own brand name or acronyms).

– Overly generic keywords (e.g. free videos, e-books, today’s news, easy yoga, download games, job alert, names of places or people).

A screenshot from Google’s official new update explains it all:

PN Digital - Google Account

Why have they enforced these changes?

The click-through-rate is an indication of how relevant your targeted keywords are to your ad copy and website. In most scenarios, if the accounts were well targeted initially, advertisers will be able to continue to target their most appropriate keywords. However this update will prevent Ad Grant Accounts from bidding on irrelevant keywords and taking up impression share from other paying advertisers.

For the Google user, it will also mean that the overall search experience will be better as they are less likely to be shown irrelevant ads. Google’s primary goal is to help users find what they’re looking for.

Follow these new guidelines or you may be at risk of losing the grant!

For Not For Profits that are receiving the grants, the implications from these updates is that a higher level of care will be needed when managing the accounts. Keywords with a low CTR or low quality score will need to be paused to maintain this standard. This means that traffic and grant spend will most likely decrease.

If your account is cancelled, you may request it to be reinstated after you’ve adjusted your account to bring it into compliance. Any account found in violation of program policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification. Therefore it is vital to stay on top of the Google updates and monitor your campaigns performance at all times.

Google’s official statement on the issue can be seen here:

PN Digital - Google Performance

In addition to these new updates, all Ad Grants AdWords accounts also need to follow the standard AdWords policies that apply to paying advertisers.

Do not fear, support is available!

In light of these new requirements, Google has stated that they are committed to helping recipients use their ad grant successfully, and these policies can act as a guide on what to optimise for. They are now offering a number of support resources including webinars, video snippets, local events, outreach in the online community forum, and tailored help content in in-product notifications.

If you’re a Not For Profit or Ad Grant recipient that needs support, please reach out and we can get our AdWords specialist on the case for you!