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Google Ad Grants policy change adds minimum CTR

Google has just announced an Ad Grants policy change. This change is one of the biggest we’ve seen in years and will impact Ad Grant strategies across the board.   So, if you haven’t heard, here are the changes and what they mean for you and your Google Grants strategy.


$2.00 Bid Cap Removed

The first change we saw in this update is the lifting of the $2.00 bidding cap, when using Maximize conversions bidding.

Maximize conversions bidding automatically sets bids, optimizing conversions for your campaign. A stipulation of this setting is conversion tracking. If you don’t already have conversion tracking set up, now’s the time to do so!


Single Keywords Restrictions

New policy dictates that “each ad and keyword in your Ad Grants AdWords account must be specific enough to provide a good experience for those seeing your ads.” This means that single word keywords are no longer allowed. There are a few exceptions, but this removes keywords such as, “recipe” or “parks” from your campaigns.

Exceptions are:

  • Branded words
  • Recognized medical conditions
  • Words such as donate and donation. Additional single-word exceptions are listed here.

There are some additional keyword restrictions, outside of the single-word restriction:

  • Keywords with a Quality Score less than 2 are no longer permitted
  • Names of places and names of historical events/people are no longer permitted.


Minimum 5% Click Through Rate (CTR)

The biggest change we see in the Ad Grants policy change is the addition of a minimum CTR. If this minimum 5% CTR is not met for two consecutive months, you risk losing your Google Ad Grant status.

Currently, Google is promising to provide ample heads up before your status gets revoked, but we don’t yet know what that timeline will look like and how quickly users will need to act after receiving a warning.


New Requirements

Your account must now include:

  • Specific geo-targeting to show ads in locations relevant to your nonprofit. It’s not enough to just target worldwide.
  • At least 2 active ad groups per campaign each containing a set of closely related keywords and 2 active text ads.
  • At least 2 sitelink ad extensions. It’s not clear whether this is across the account, or per campaign.

These changes are effective as of Jan. 1, 2018.



Ashley Carmickle

Ashley oversees PPC and Google Ad Grant efforts at RKD Group, helping manage how we optimize conversions across our client's marketing platforms. Ashley is actively involved as an ambassador for the Ad Grant Certified Professionals, a cohort designed to develop and share best practices across the Google for Nonprofit member community.

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