Google Charity Grants Update

Google has updated policies with regards to the Charity Google Grants offering.

By now you might have noticed a new topic that surfaced search news just before Christmas. Google has updated policies with regards to the Charity Google Grants offering.

The Charity Google Grants scheme is a programme for non-profits to receive advertising money for AdWords, they can receive $10,000 per month to run AdWords text ads only. To read more about what this is and who is eligible read our brief guide: Google Grants article.

Charities have been given a very short timeframe to make some crucial changes in how their accounts are set up and what kind of keywords they can bid on.

The following changes went into effect as of 1st January 2018. Google has said:

“we will start sending non-compliance notices on January 1, and accounts will be given some time to make adjustments. Deactivated accounts can still call Google support for reinstatement after making changes.”

Policy updates include:

  • Charity grant users cannot bid on branded keywords that are not their own.
  • All keywords must achieve a quality score of 3 or higher.
  • All campaigns need to include at least two ad groups and in each of those ad groups, two campaigns running.
  • Accounts need to have two sitelinks active.
  • Accounts must have geotargeting in place.
  • Many single word (ie: general) keywords are prohibited.
  • A 5% CTR must be achieved.

If these thresholds are missed for two months in a row, your account is in danger of being cancelled. Google has said: “user will be alerted through in-product notifications if your account is at risk of falling below 5 percent CTR with educational resources offered to improve.”

We have broken down each of these updates and detailed what they mean and how you can fix them:

Charity grant users cannot bid on branded keywords that are not their own.

This means that charities can not bid on a competitor or competing charities brand names, this practice has never been strictly outlawed by Google but you’d likely see poorer engagement from competitor keywords if you did this anyway.

All keywords must achieve a quality score of 3 or higher.

This is in part related to the above point, if you are not the brand your keywords are representing then you will receive a low-quality score. The quality score shows how relevant your landing page is for any given search query.

To improve your quality score, revisit your landing pages, review the content and determine if it is relevant to how you are advertising or tweak your content.

All campaigns need to include at least two ad groups and in each of those ad groups, two campaigns running.

This is fairly straightforward, just ensure that you’ve added these criteria to your accounts.

Accounts need to have two sitelinks active.

Sitelinks are the additional links that appear below your website listing in SERPs (search engine results pages). You can set these via the ads & extensions button, if you set these campaign- wide they will by default show for all of your ads, you can also set more specific sitelinks for individual ad groups.

Accounts must have geotargeting in place.

Geotargeting is stating the geographical place you’d like to target. Generally, if you’ve made no selection the Google then AdWords makes no exclusions. You can set your geotargeting in the settings of your campaign.

Many single word (ie: general) keywords are prohibited.

This seems to be a change to encourage a charities’ keywords to be tightly targeted to their audience. You might find that some very general keywords might be disallowed on the basis that they are too broad. You can use the keyword research tools to find quality keywords that are relevant to your cause.

A 5% CTR must be achieved.

Perhaps the biggest and most impactful change of all, the 5% Click Through Rate threshold. Although not very high, and not hard to achieve, the 5% threshold will not be met if you’ve set up your account without much thought to which keywords you are using to target your audiences.

A basic strategy for ensuring your ads are relevant to keywords you are bidding on: reflect your website structure in your ad groups, for example, you could have separate ad groups for:

  • Fundraising
  • Donations
  • Legacy Donations
  • Fun runs

These are all very different topics and creating separate ad groups for each of these means that you can target pockets of your audience and direct them to a specific landing page.

You can also set up ad extensions within ad groups themselves to attach tailored sitelinks, call out extensions, price extensions, review extensions, telephone numbers and more to ad groups themselves. Ad extensions have been shown to increase click through rates on ads because they give the user more information to use in their search.

Although daunting at first, hopefully, these changes will positively impact how Google Grants are used and ensure that non-profits end up getting the most out of their accounts!

If you'd like more information on the recent Google Grant updates give us a call on 01223 328 017 or email info@studio24.net we'd love to hear from you!

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