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Updates to Google AdWords Grants policies

Charities and non-profits who use Google AdWords Grants accounts have received notifications of changes to some key policies for 2018 which may have an impact on some advertisers and campaigns.

Grants advertisers can benefit from $10k of free advertising spend in AdWords once they qualify for an account, although there are some limitations such as a restriction to Google Search only (no coverage of display ads or search partners), and bid limits are restricted to a $2 cap.

However, one advantage from the new changes is that Google now says that the US$2.00 bid cap can be extended by switching bidding to the automated ‘Maximise conversions’ setting, as this automatically sets bids based on performance. Of course this does require advertisers to have conversion tracking in place and generating leads, but this is certainly worth considering.

Some of the other changes to note are more limitations on single-word keywords (excluding own brand names, recognised medical conditions and a few other exceptions). Also overly generic keywords are also not allowed, such as ‘free videos’, ‘today’s news’, ‘easy yoga’, ‘download games’, ‘job alerts’ or names of places. In addition to these, Google also now says that keywords with a Quality Score of 2 or less will not be permitted in a Grants account.

There are also a tightening of policies regaring the websites that can use Grants and the way that campaigns are structured. For example, a Grants AdWords account must have at least 2 active ad groups per campaign, each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active ad texts, plus at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.

A more challenging requirement for some advertisers will also be that all Grants AdWords accounts must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month. Google say that they recognise that there are reasons why CTR may fluctuate, but advertisers who don’t reach this level will see in-product notifications alerting them that their account is at risk and will provide links to educational resources. If the CTR requirement is not met for two consecutive months, the account will be cancelled, but advertisers will get the chance to request a reinstatement after keywords with a low CTR have been paused or deleted to bring the account into compliance.

There is more information about these new policies here but if you are a Grants advertiser and would like further advice or help about this, please get in touch.