What Do The Changes To Google Ad Grants Mean For Your Nonprofit?

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What Do The Changes To Google Ad Grants Mean For Your Nonprofit?

Is your nonprofit currently enrolled in the Google Ad Grants program? If so, you have probably noticed the changes that occurred in January.  If not, you should consider how your nonprofit could benefit from $10,000 in free Google Adwords advertising each month.

In this blog, Digital Giants will explain what has changed and how you can get your Ad Grants account up to speed.

What Changed?

Google has made a number of changes and rules to the Ad Grants program. Some of these are good while others will present challenges. Here are the new changes/rules for Ad Grants:

  • The $2 bid cap has been removed for campaigns using maximize conversion setting.
  • The Ad Grants account must have a 5% click-through rate (CTR).
  • Nonprofits cannot bid on branded terms they do not own.
  • Quality score for keywords must be 3 or higher.
  • Campaigns are required to have two active ad groups with at least two ads running in each.
  • Accounts must have two site link extensions.
  • Accounts must have geo-targeting.
  • Most single-word keywords are now prohibited

5% CTR Rule

This new rule will probably be the biggest challenge to overcome.

The idea behind this rule was to reduce the number of keywords that were too general, which is a good thing. Using very general, broad keywords probably did not result in the user taking the desired actions as these keywords provided unqualified traffic and resulted in a wasted keyword.

This gets tricky when you are bidding for competitive keywords though. Some competitive keywords could have a CTR of 3% and the traffic is relevant. But, with the level of competition for that keyword achieving a 3% CTR is pretty good.

In order to work around this rule, we recommend you identify these competitive keywords and keep them active even if their CTR is below 5%. This rule is for the Ad Grants account, so if you maintain an average CTR of 5% you will be able to have a few keywords below without jeopardizing your account.

$2 Bid Removal

Google implemented the $2 bidding cap rule years ago. But since then the cost-per-click has increased significantly. As a result, nonprofits were having difficulty spending their full grant amount.  To help increase grant spending the $2 cap has been removed. This change will require that you use the bid strategy “ maximize for conversions”. This allows Google to set the bid for you and maximize the potential conversion volume.

Working With the New Ad Grants

It is clear what Google is trying to achieve with the new rules and that is to improve the quality if the traffic Ad Grants provides. No longer can organizations dump a bunch of keywords into Adgrants and bid on them. Now, these organizations will need to make better use of the budget. While this is possible it will require some knowledge and expertise of Google Adwords. Some organizations may consider using an Ad Grants Specialist. With this in mind here are some suggestions on improving your Ad Grants account.

Ad Creation

One way to improve your CTR is to write a compelling ad. Writing good ads will entice people to click on the ad and come to your site. One way Digital Giants does this is through A/B testing our copy. When creating ads mix and match your headlines and descriptions ( keep it relevant to the landing page). This will show you what works and what doesn’t.  As time goes on you can experiment and narrow down your running ads to the ones that perform the best.

Improve Your Landing Pages  

Another way to improve your ads is by selecting the best landing pages and/or improving your landing pages. Ensuring that the landing pages for your ads are relevant to the ads will improve your ads quality score. This is often a service line or product page and not your home page. While your ads are running you can monitor your landing pages’ ‘bounce rate and user journey to see if users are completing the intended actions/conversion. This will result in an improved CTR and position your ads higher on the search page than your competitors.


Google provides us advertisers with a vast amount of data. As your campaigns are running dig into that data and identify who is doing what, where they go, etc. Once you have done this build a campaign for a specific audience. You can target their location, gender, even topic targeting.  From here you can build ads that speak to them as you would have A/B tested the previous ad mentioned above.

Google Ad Grants Thoughts

While these changes have made things somewhat more challenging for everyone it is clear what Google is trying to do. They want nonprofits to be able to get qualified traffic to their site while not wasting the grant they are providing. While some changes are making it harder Google is giving some back with no more bid caps. Nonprofits will need to be more strategic, using best practices and data to better optimize their campaigns.

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