Google Ad Grants Policy Changes in 2018 – Are You at Risk?

Google announced last year big changes to their AdWords Grant Programme.
Google Ads Grants Agency

Google announced last year big changes to their AdWords Grant Programme, currently offering over 35,000 nonprofits across the world $10,000/month free search advertising space to promote their cause.

While some of the policy changes are positive -they finally removed the $2 bid cap if you opt for the “Maximise Conversions” bidding option- some of them can seem rather challenging -including for some, an unrealistic 5% CTR.

Fail to comply two months in a row, and your account will automatically be suspended.


With January ended, this means you might need to make some serious changes to your account in February if you want to avoid account cancellation by March, or beyond…

What to look out for

All changes aim to ensure higher quality in grant accounts, leading to better user experiences -Google’s ultimate objective:

  • Account level CTR of 5% or higher
  • Quality score of 3 or higher on all keywords
  • Each AdWords campaign must include at least two ad groups with at least two ads running.
  • Use a minimum of two sitelink extensions in your ads
  • Geotargeting must be active within your account.
  • No bidding for branded keywords unrelated to your organisations, like “Google”, “Facebook” or “Star Wars”

 Tips to keeping your Ad Grants account safe in 2018

Fear not, keeping your $10,000 safe is easier than it looks, if you know where to look. And changes will ensure a higher quality visitor to your website, which in turn will drive better leads and conversions!

  • Start reviewing your account CTR at campaign and ad group level to find the biggest drivers of low performance, and focus on them before digging further at keyword level. If you are close to the 5% threshold, review CTR factors like ad copy, appropriate call to actions and extensions; if you have groups that seem to be beyond rescuing, pause them right away to protect the rest of your account until you have time to review and optimise them properly
  • Review your keyword modifiers, and make sure you don’t have single generic keywords like “donation” -as much as that might pain you- unless your account is already super healthy. Our advice is to start small and focused, using only exact and phrase matches, and expand from there to modified broad matches once you have a solid base. This will reduce the number of searches you appear for, while keeping engagement up; this will translate in less impressions, same or more clicks and higher CTR and in turn Quality Score
  • Stop bidding on competitor terms. They are most probably bringing down your CTR and Quality Score.
  • Don’t forget that your Quality Score is also affected by landing page experience, so make sure you are looking to improve your website to bring your QS to 3 or above. This might be a mid to longer term objective, but there are things that you can do now, like making sure you are driving the user to the most relevant page on your site and not just to the homepage.


2018 promises to be an exciting year for nonprofit performance marketing. If you still need help optimising your account, or getting onboard with Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits, get in touch, we would love to help.

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