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Non-Profit Alert!! Google Ad Grants NEW Updates and Requirements

Phillip Reinhardt

Savvy non-profits have been taking advantage of Google AdWords grants for quite some time (if you’re not aware of this program, ask us!), but there are changes on the horizon that can affect your ongoing eligibility for this generous grant. Every month, Google provides $10,000 in free AdWords credits to over 35,000 non-profits with only a few reasonable requirements for eligibility. This is only one of the ways that Google gives back to the community, but a very important one for non-profits who couldn’t otherwise afford this level of investment in discoverability on a regular basis.

Search engine marketing is a key traffic driver for organizations of all types and sizes, with Google helping get the word out through this industry-leading grant. However, organizations who are currently using Google AdWords Grants may find themselves $10,000 in advertising dollars poorer each month if they don’t understand the revised requirements and ensure that accounts comply. After two months of non-compliance, Google is cutting the cord — and cutting off the money. See what you need to do to keep those funds flowing for your organization. But first, some good news.

Google AdWords Growth for Non-Profits

Best. Gift. Ever. The $2 Ad Cap is GONE

Non-profits who enjoy their Google AdWords grant know how notoriously difficult it can be to spend through their $10,000 in grant dollars each month. Sounds like a great problem to have, right?!? The reason for this challenge is because Google previously capped the spend per click at $2. This requirement has now been obliterated as long as you use the Maximize Conversions tool. This sounds like great news, but it can add a layer of complexity to account administration. Sure, your bids will be more competitive, but NPOs will also have to show that they can manage this tech effectively — as shown by the not-so-great news coming next.

Required 5% CTR

No, it’s not impossible to get a 5 percent click-through rate on AdWords advertising, but it can certainly be challenging to get there depending on your message. Google is really cracking down on crummy advertising and poorly-optimized keywords, and this restriction can hit you right where it hurts: your AdWords grant. If you aren’t able to maintain a 5% CTR for any two consecutive months, wave bye-bye to that free advertising! Yes, Google will pull your grant in a New York minute . . . or faster. Sure, you’ll get a quick notification from their account team that it’s coming, but this is yet another argument for having a solid account management strategy or team in place to maintain compliance with this requirement.

Help Wanted: Building a Solid Account Structure

Even if you’ve been operating a grant account for eons, you’ll need to review the overall account structure to ensure it fits within the new requirements. All ads placed in grant accounts require geo-targeting, two active ad groups per campaign with closely related keywords (time to optimize!!) and two active text ads. Plus, you’ll need to get two sitelink ad extensions in place as well. If you’re not sure how to performs any of these actions, here’s where you can do a little research courtesy of Google.

Get Engaged

Finally, Google wants to hear from you. Yes, you! A requirement for enrollment in this fantabulous program is timely response to an annual Ad Grants program survey. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a tough one — but heaven forbid you miss this important email in your spam folder. A missed deadline means cancellation with no questions asked and no notification. However, getting re-enrolled isn’t terribly difficult. All you have to do is fill out your annual survey. Or else . . .

The Google Ad Grants program can make a massive difference in the traffic and giving levels for non-profits, but some organizations are concerned with starting down the path knowing that they can’t maintain the requirements. Let us help you manage your Google AdWords grant cost-effectively — and maximize the value of this important annual grant.

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