As many of you know, SixFive is a community-driven company that works closely with nonprofits to help bring them technology, marketing, and innovation. One of the ways we do that is with Google Grants, a program that provides registered nonprofits $10,000 USD a month in free advertising. It is a fantastic program, and our team has seen the impact that the advertising can have firsthand.
On December 13th, 2017, Google informed members of the program of a pretty significant update to the program which will come into effect January 1st, 2018.
Robert Brady of Clix Marketing first reported this, saying that advertisers and agencies began to receive email notifications to over 35,000 non-profits that participate in the Google Grants program with news that it is lifting the $2 bid cap when campaigns use Maximize Conversions bid strategy.
That gets a lot of advertisers excited. But, there are some other important stipulations that Google did not highlight in the email. These requirements are the ones that have a big effect on nonprofits.
You can also see the links from the email below:
- Terms and Conditions
- Mission-based campaigns policy
- Website Policy
- Account management policy
- Program Policies
- Maximize conversions
- In-product notifications
- Upcoming webinars
- Online community forums
- Tailored help content
The most significant update is a new requirement for accounts to maintain a minimum 5 percent click-through rate (CTR). That’s an increase from a 1 percent CTR minimum. Accounts that miss that threshold for two consecutive months will be suspended. Accounts in jeopardy of being canceled 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.”
Google says 5 percent CTR is lower than the current program average and that new updates, such as the requirements outlined below to prune low-quality keywords and not target competitor keywords will help most accounts easily maintain a 5 percent average CTR. But, for one frame of reference, Community Boost, a digital agency specializing in non-profits says, “most Ad Grant accounts we look at typically have a 1.5% to 4% click-thru rate”.
Other policy updates include:
- Non-profits cannot buy branded keywords they don’t own.
- Keywords must have quality scores of 2 or higher.
- Campaigns must have at least two ad groups with at least two ads running in each.
- Accounts also must have at least two site link extensions active.
- Accounts must have geo-targeting.
- Most single-word keywords are prohibited, the idea being non-profits should choose well-targeted keywords.
Understandably, because of the steep requirements and short timeline, Google has provided, some nonprofits and their supporting advertisers are upset.
But, not all is lost. Google Grants is still a fantastic program, and it makes sense that they want to create a better user experience for the people searching on Google. They also control the rules and continue to provide nonprofits with over $350,000,000 a month in free advertising. If you want to explore more, there is forum where comments are being addressed by a member of the Google Grants team: Google Forum
Here at SixFive, we are a bit disappointed with the rollout of this update. But, our team is confident that we can meet the requirements Google has put in place and continue to help nonprofits make an impact in their community and connect with passionate people in their efforts to make a better world.