Maximizing Your Google Ad Grants in 2020

The Google Ad Grants Program is an excellent resource for supporting your organization’s digital presence without having to up your advertising budget. The program gives eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofits the chance to advertise on Google AdWords free of charge. Eligible nonprofits receive $10,000 a month in AdWords (or $40,000 for GrantsPro) to create ads promoting their organizations in Google search results. There are more than 35,000 nonprofits participating in the program worldwide. Although there are restrictions on how you can use the funds and maintain eligibility, there’s really no good reason not to participate if you qualify.

Keeping Your Account Compliant

Back in 2018, Google rolled out several significant changes to its Grants program, which are outlined below. Your account must meet these requirements in order to stay active.

  • Click through rate (CTR) for the overall account must be at least 5% each month. Accounts receive notifications when they dip below this and have a chance to make changes to improve. If you’re below 5% for two consecutive months, the account is suspended until you raise it, at which point you can request reinstatement.
  • Single-word keywords are not allowed (excluding your own branded words, recognized medical conditions, and a small number of potential exceptions). Despite this rule, Google’s Recommendations feature may still recommend single-word keywords for your campaigns, so you should dismiss those recommendations. If you add single-word keywords that do not comply, your account could be suspended.
  • Keywords must maintain a quality score of at least 3. You can set up an automated rule that will pause keywords with a score below 3 to help you stay compliant.
  • Ad Grants accounts must have specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit. For example, if you are advertising an in-person class in New York you should be targeting New York and surrounding areas.
  • Ad Grants accounts must have the following:
    • At least 2 active ad groups per campaign, each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 or more active text ads
    • At least 2 sitelink ad extensions

Leveraging Machine Learning and Automated Bidding Strategies

Beyond compliance, there are many strategies and tools you can use to maximize your reach and conversions using your grant. Google now offers six different bidding strategies in addition to Manual CPC bidding. Depending on your campaign goals, you can target CPA, impression share, or ROAS and enter specific numbers and percentages. You can also select automated bidding options with the goals of maximizing clicks, conversions, or conversion value.

Each campaign you create should use a bidding strategy that is optimized depending on your specific goals, types of conversions, audiences, etc. in order to make the best use of your budget.

Contact Us

If you would like to apply for an Adwords Grant, or need help managing an existing grant, let us know. We’d love to discuss how we could make this a truly valuable resource for your organization.