I previously wrote a blog post on how charities can get over £7k free advertising per month on Google, which you can read here. As a follow-on from this, once everything has been set up and your ad grant account is live, it’s then vital to stay on top of any changes Google makes to how their ad grant programme works. Every so often they update the criteria which all Grantees must meet in order to keep the account active.
Hopefully this post will help keep you informed of the latest criteria. As well as to give you some tips and tricks we’ve learnt along the way to prevent your grant account from becoming deactivated.
Here’s the latest criteria you need to be aware of:
You must use conversion-based smart bidding for all campaigns. Smart bidding is a set of automated bid strategies in Google Ads that use machine learning to maximise conversions. Each campaign must use either ‘maximise conversions’, ‘maximise conversion values’, ‘target CPA’ or ‘target ROAS bidding’.
For all non-profits what you want to get out of the Google Grant is a meaningful impact. This can be generated in the form of memberships, donations, petitions signed, volunteer sign-ups etc. In order to use the Ad Grants to do this, you must have conversion tracking set up tailored to your brands objectives.
How to stop your grant account from becoming suspended?
What can often happen is the automated checks that Google does flags a problem that’s actually just been misinterpreted by their system. If this is the case, you will need to get in touch with someone from Google to get your account re-reviewed.
The more likely reason however, is that one of the programme terms or policies has been violated somewhere in your campaigns. If this happens then you will need to take a closer look at your account in order to resolve the issue.
In most instances, you will receive an email from Google flagging to you that you need to check your account’s compliance with programme policies. This email will link through to a policy compliance report explaining which area of the account is causing the problem. Here’s what it will look like:
Here are some of the common reasons for account suspension:
- Ads are in the wrong format – they are only allowed to be Search text ads with no videos or imagery.
- There aren’t enough ad groups per campaign – every campaign requires at least two ad groups per campaign.
- Click through rate is too low – all ads need to have a minimum CTR of 5% each month.
- Keywords have a quality score that’s too low – they all need to be above two.
- URLs you’re sending people to from your ads is either broken or linking to an unowned domain – all ads must link users to the charities registered website and to relevant working web pages.
- There are some keywords in the account that are single-word or to overly generic – they must contain two or more keywords.
- Invalid conversion tracking – you need to be reporting at least one conversion per month.
- Conversion rate is too high – Google doesn’t like it when conversion rate is higher than 15% because it means that the conversion goal is too easy to achieve.
- All ads must include at least 2 sitelink ad extensions – sitelinks provide the person searching with more opportunities to click directly from your ad to landing pages on your website.
- Your account isn’t actively being managed – if you haven’t logged in within 30 days and haven’t made at least one change in 90 days.
- Bidding and budget incorrectly set up – campaigns set up to spend over the $329 daily budget.
Once you’ve identified the reasons for account suspension and made the changes needed you will then have to contact Google again to ask them to re-review the account. Hopefully they will rectify the account suspension within 24 hours. Google can also help you identify, solve and get everything sent for review all in one online chat with them if you get really stuck. Plus it also speeds up the whole process in the aim of getting the account back up and running promptly.
As always if there’s anything ppc marketing agency can help you with please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Whenever I come across a Charity who doesn’t know about Google Ad Grants I send them a guide on how to apply (step-by-step instructions included below), as well as an explanation on why they should. There are lots of benefits to the Google Ad Grant, as well as the most obvious one – it’s free advertising budget!
Why would my Charity want over £7k free advertising on Google every month?
We know how difficult it can be for non-profit organisations to find the funds to fuel their advertising campaigns. With Google receiving over 63,000 searches per second on any given day (that’s at least 2 trillion searches per year), having the opportunity to run Search ads is something most brands wouldn’t want to miss out on. This is where the Google Ad Grant can help you. For many organisations it serves as a strong foundation for advertising, and will connect people to your cause in an effective and affordable way.
So, what exactly is Google Ad Grants?
The Google Ad Grants provides up to $10,000 USD per month, which equates to around £7,750 GBP today, of free advertising on Google Search result pages, to eligible non-profit organisations.
The Grant is open to organisations who:
✓ Are registered as a charitable organisation
✓ Meet and agree to Google Grants eligibility and programme policies
✓ Have a functioning website which contains adequate information on what your non-profit is all about
The following organisations are unfortunately not eligible for the Grant:
✘ Governmental entities and organisations
✘ Hospitals and medical groups
✘ Schools, childcare centres, academic institutions and universities
What are the benefits?
The Grant programme allows you advertise in Google for free. This unlocks huge potential for charities and non-profits to get in front of the right people.
When someone uses Google it’s because they have a specific search intent; whether it’s for information, searching for a specific brand, or transactional e.g. ready to make a purchase. This is generally the best place to reach your audience as they are actively searching.
To expand your reach, you can use a variety of different keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your brand and organisation’s core objectives. Then you can write copy for your text ads to ensure that your messaging aligns with the keywords and the actions you want users to take. Plus, with your advertising costs largely covered this is a huge benefit.
What are the main challenges?
There is a specific application process you have to go through to register your non-profit. You need to get a validation token from TechSoup in order to apply. Once you’ve qualified it’s not as straightforward as you’d think maintaining eligibility and managing the account.
You have to stick to the strict compliance guidelines from Google, which includes proactively managing the account amongst a wide range of changing criteria (which will be a separate blog article). If you don’t comply Google will immediately deactivate your account – this normally happens before you can do anything about it.
The management of it can be tricky and time consuming, which is why so many non-profit in-house teams just don’t have the capacity or level of expertise to manage it. Many Grants accounts we come across only spend a tiny fraction of the grant available, when they could be spending the full $10k.
Step-by-step guide to applying for a Google Ad Grant
1. Register your non-profit with TechSoup to acquire your validation token
- Register your charity on the TechSoup registration page here.
- Once your organisation has been validated, log in and you will be presented with a validation token which will look something like this: [email protected]
- Copy this code and include it in your Google non-profits account
2. Register for the Google non-profit programme once you’ve got your validation token
- Sign up here.
- Make sure to use a Google email address for this, which can then be used to access the Google non-profit programme and the Ad Grant account
- Go to the Google non-profit site
- Agree to statements about non-discrimination
- Insert your validation token
- Fill out your personal contact and organisation information and agree to be contacted by Google
- Google should approve your application within a day or two – they will send you an email when they do
3. Apply for the Google Ad Grant programme once your application has been approved by Google
- Create your Ad Words account here.
- Make sure you use the same email address you used for the non-profit application
- IT IS CRUCIAL that you skip the billing process. This is the number one mistake people make in applying
- Choose USD as your currency
- Never enter any credit card info – even if it asks you for it. If you do, you’ll be setting up a standard paid account, not a grant account, and you’ll have to start the whole process again.
- Create some campaigns compliant with the Google Grants criteria
- Once campaigns are set up, then you can apply for the Ad Grant via the Google non-profits account.
- To do this, enter your Ad Grants customer ID to the relevant page in your Google non-profits account. You need to make sure that you are signed in with the same email as the one that was set up for the Google non-profit account.
How we can help…
If you’re limited on resources or you’d rather not take up your teams’ time with the day-to-day management of the Google Ad Grants programme, digital marketing performance agency Atomic Leap is here to help you.
We’ve been working with non-profit organisations on their Ad Grants accounts for around 5 years and would love to help support more charities boost their donations, memberships and achieve their goals. For more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!