What’s Happened?

Nonprofits are now facing stricter guidelines to keep their Google Ad Grants.

Just before Christmas, new restrictions were quietly announced to Ad Grant users that the overall CTR at account level must be greater than 5%. Should the CTR on the account be less than 5% for two consecutive months, the status of the grant could be lost. The implementations were introduced by Google as part of a wider effort to improve the relevancy of paid ads in its search results.

Just like a business, nonprofit organisations require a constant stream of interested traffic clicking through to their websites but instead of selling products and services, their main goal is driving fundraising and donations. Paid advertising has been a really effective way of boosting engagement.

“In the last month, one of our clients received a £5,000 donation through a campaign in their Ad Grant account with a CTR of 3.25%. There’s a risk that the new changes will ultimately deprive charities of extra exposure, subsequently impacting their bottom line.” Dave Ashbolt, Head of PPC at Passion Digital.   

Google’s New Requirements

These changes came into effect on 1st January 2018 and charities have until the end of February to ensure their accounts are in line with this and other requirements:

  • Ad Grants must have a specific location targeting
  • All campaigns feature at least 2 ad groups
  • All ad groups feature at least 2 active ads
  • We have multiple sitelink ad extensions across all campaigns
  • The click through rate must stay above 5%
  • The account is logged into at least once a month
  • A change to the account has to be made every 90 days

Google has stated that if charities fail to adhere to these new requirements for two consecutive months, they will have their Ad Grant account cancelled. 

What does this Mean?

The impact in the short term will likely see many charities lose their grant status because they won’t be managing the accounts actively. Google is hoping, understandably, that this will force charities to focus on driving quality traffic. They’ve stated that 5% is actually lower than the program average today, which is a fair point.

We imagine that those most negatively impacted will be nonprofits which have Grantspro status ($40,000 per month) provided they’re spending consistently more than $10,000 monthly, as it will be challenging to spend this amount whilst maintaining a high click-through rate. It’s likely that those charities with a Grantspro will likely lose that status and be relegated to the standard Ad Grant (which is still a considerable sum of $10,000 worth of free advertising a month!).

This also raises the question, “What are Google’s intentions for the Ad Grant in the future?” The ever-increasing requirements for a charity to maintain their Ad Grant status is clearly going to have an impact on the number of charities eligible to continue benefitting from this programme and those who can, will likely be severely limited in the opportunities available.

To ensure your charity complies with Google’s new grant regulations please contact us


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