Google Ad Grants – What’s changing in 2018?
Google Ad Grants – What’s changing in 2018?

Google Ad Grants – What’s changing in 2018?

The Google Grants program provides charities with up to 10,000 USD of media spend per month on AdWords, the largest search advertising network in the world.

This free advertising empowers non-profit organisations (NFPs) to achieve their goals by helping them promote their websites on Google. Over 35,000 NFPs are now benefitting from this grant worldwide.
If you are managing a Google Grants account, you need to be aware of and abide by specific conditions in order to remain eligible.

So What has Changed?

Program Policies

Google has reviewed its advertising policies to add clarity and raise quality standards for Grants accounts. These changes have been effective since January 1, 2018.

Google will primarily use in-product notifications to communicate personalised suggestions as well as notifications of non-compliance. In other words, be on the lookout for notifications and warning icons when logged into your account. If one does appear, address it. Do not ignore it as it may lead to your grant being disqualified.

Google also appears more committed than ever in helping charities make the most of their grant, with numerous support resources now available including upcoming webinars, local events, outreach in the online community forum, and tailored help content.

Alongside the policies specific to Ad Grants, all Ad Grants accounts will also need to follow the standard AdWords policies.

Mission-based Campaigns

AdWords works best when an organisation’s message is relevant to the user’s search. To help you get the right audience and to help users find what they’re looking for, each ad and keyword in your Ad Grants AdWords account must reflect your organisation’s primary mission, be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services, and be specific enough to provide a good experience for the user seeing your ads.

The following keywords and queries for serving Ad Grants ads are now not permitted:

  • Branded words that you don’t own like “YouTube” or “Google” or names of newspapers or other organisations
  • Single-word keywords (excluding your own branded words, recognised medical conditions, and a small number of exception keywords published here)
    • Note terms with dashes, periods, or special characters are not treated as single-word keywords
  • Overly generic keywords like “free videos”, “ebooks”, “today’s news”, “easy yoga”, “download games”, “job alert”, names of places, names of historical events/people
  • Keywords with a Quality Score of 2 or less
  • Ad Grants accounts must have specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit.
  • Ad Grants AdWords accounts must have:
  • Within a month of campaign activation, Reef highly recommends that you change your bid strategy for each of your campaigns to “Maximize conversions” this will lift the $2 cap on bids
    Google Ad Grant CPC bids
  • Accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month
    Google Ad Grant CTR

Website Policy

Currently approved domains have also been hit with new criteria that they must follow:

  • Owned and operated website
    • Your organisation must own the domain that users land on when they click your ad.
  • High-quality website
    • Your site must have a robust and clear description of your organisation and mission. Each web page must have sufficient information for visitors to understand your organisation’s purpose.
    • Your website must function well and not contain broken links.
    • Your ads, keywords, and website may not make claims that promise results after a consultation, service, or purchase. Claims on your website must cite verifiable references to provide transparency to users.
  • Commercial activity
    • Commercial activity must not be the main purpose of your website. This includes sales of products and services, consultations, lead generation, and providing referrals.
    • Any limited commercial activities must support your non-monetary mission.
    • If your organisation charges for products or services, your website must describe how your organisation uses funds, for example, by disclosing an annual report.
  • Limited ads on website
    • Advertising on your organisation’s website must be relevant to your mission and not be obtrusive to users.
    • Your website may not host Google AdSense ads or affiliate advertising links. If you’re required to link to an AdSense account to receive payments for the Android market, you’re eligible as long as you don’t display AdSense ads on your website.

Ad Grants program engagement

Google send an annual Ad Grants program survey and will expect your response to participate in the program.

To receive notifications, review your in-product notifications and make sure that the email address used for notifications is opted into receiving emails from AdWords. If you miss the survey deadline and your account is canceled, just fill out the survey. Completing the survey will initiate a review for account reinstatement that will be addressed within 10 business days.

Please Note:

  • Any account found in violation of the new program policies and changes are subject to automatic suspension without notification. Accounts that fall out of compliance can adjust the issue and request reinstatement.
  • To add or update website domain(s) to your account, complete the additional website domain(s) request form. Your request will be reviewed within 10 business days. If your account is canceled, you may request it to be reinstated after you’ve adjusted to bring the website into compliance

All in all the new changes are great and only serve to make Google Grant accounts more relevant to the service that the non-profit organisation provides.

For further information on Google Ad Grants, feel free to contact Reef Digital. If you are looking to apply for the Google Ad Grant or if you are struggling to adhere to the new policy with your existing account, why not let Reef Digital manage it on your behalf and increase its efficiency.


Featured image credit: Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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