Major changes to Google Ad Grant criteria

Author: Ash Mann

Google has recently announced some quite significant changes to the criteria attached to its Google Ad Grants programme.

These changes came into force on 01/01/2018 and will probably require some (in some cases, significant) changes to the way that you run your Adwords activity.

In case you don’t know what the Google Ad Grants programme is, it’s Google’s (frankly pretty great) offer to not-for-profit organisations of $10,000-worth of Adwords activity each month. You can find out more about the programme here.

The main changes Google have made are as follows (and you can comb through Google’s terms and conditions here):

  • Lifting the $2 bid cap
  • Minimum CTR of 5% (per month)
  • Broad single keywords now (mostly) restricted
  • Can’t bid on branded keywords (other than your own)
  • Must use geo-targeting
  • At least 2 active ad groups with 2 active ad texts

The two most eye-catching changes are the lifting of the bid cap, and the CTR requirement.

In the past Google limited Ad Grant participant bids to $2.00. They have, as of 1 Jan, lifted this cap.

They now require that your ads perform with a Click Through Rate (CTR) of at least 5%. If you fall below this for 2 consecutive months then your account will be suspended.

They are also making more specific requirements of your ad content and the keywords you utilise. You can no longer bid for very broad keywords (this is, Google say, to encourage you to focus on more ‘mission-based campaigns’). You can also no longer bid on branded keywords, other than your own (so no more trying to hijack your competition’s traffic).

You must now also include geo-targeting with all your ads, and every campaign must include at least 2 ad groups that each contain at least 2 ads.

Whilst these changes may seem onerous, I can see why Google are making them. They are attempting to force non-profits to pay more attention to this activity and to create more relevant, targeted campaigns – which can only be a good thing as it’ll lead to more engaged, relevant traffic clicking on your ads.

I don’t have a view on how strictly these new terms will be enforced, but it’s worth reviewing your activity before that becomes an issue!