At the start of the year, Google announced that it would make changes to their Ad Grants program, which has historically provided grants of up to $10,000 for non-profits to use in AdWords.

First reported by Robert Brady on Clix Marketing blog, advertisers and agencies first started to get email notifications regarding the changes during the first week of 2018.

These emails stated that the 35,000 nonprofits participating in the Google Ad Grants program would see some changes in the coming months. Notably, Google announced its intention to lift the $2 bid cap when campaigns launched by these non-profits used Maximize Conversions bid strategy.

That wasn’t the only change, though: there were several more to follow in the 2018 update.  Here’s what you need to know.

1. There’s a New 5% Minimum CTR

The largest update to Google Grants is that participating accounts must now maintain a minimum 5% CTR. That’s a major increase when you consider the minimum was 1% before these changes took effect. If an account misses the 5% minimum for two consecutive months, it will now be suspended.

2. Keyword Quality Scores Must be 3 or Higher

Thanks to the new changes, keywords used in campaigns must now have a quality score of 3 or higher. This update is meant to eliminate low-value or generic keywords or single keyword terms that don’t provide much value to users.

3. Accounts Must Now Enable Geotargeting

The Google Ad Grants update also indicates that accounts must enable geotargeting on their accounts. Geotargeting allows these ads to target certain geographic locations and has been shown to increase advertising ROI.

This change may actually prove to be a big boost for advertisers. By enabling advertisers to focus more efficiently on areas where they’re most likely to find good customers, geotargeting is a powerful tool.

4. The $2.00 Cap is Gone… Sort Of

Before these changes took effect, the $2.00 cap on CPCs in AdWords was a pillar of the system. Now, organizations that use the automated bidding strategy known as Maximize Conversions will avoid this.

Maximize conversions bidding is a form of smart bidding offered by AdWords, which automatically determines the best CPC bid, which will drive the most conversions in AdWords, while also ensuring your organization uses its budget as intelligently as possible. Before this change, the $2.00 CPC cap was a hindrance to organizations utilizing the Google Ad Grants program for their AdWords account.

5. There are New Grouping Requirements

Under the new Ad Grants update, each AdWords campaign must include at least two ad groups with two ads running at any given time. AdWords accounts must also have a minimum of two sitelink extensions.

Looking Toward the Future

While the Ad Grants program may seem like it’s coming under some large changes, these new requirements will be easy for non-profits to adapt to. As long as organizations take these changes into consideration as they design their upcoming campaigns, it’ll be easy to abide by Google’s updates and create intelligent AdWords campaigns in the future.

We have helped our clients adapt to these recent changes, improving their CTR, click volume, and ad value.  If you are interested in learning more about our Google Grant management services, please contact us today.