There are some changes that are being mad to Ad Grants by Google, which is the AdWords program that provides search advertising grants of up to $10,000 per month to non-profits.

Robert Brady of Clix Marketing first reported this, saying that advertisers and agencies began to receive email notifications this week extolling the fact that over 35,000 non-profits participate in the Google Grants program and news that it is lifting the $2 bid cap when campaigns use Maximize Conversions bid strategy.

This was followed by a set of links to updated policy pages.  Brady had discovered on these pages other significant changes.

A huge update is a new requirement for accounts to maintain a minimum 5 percent click-through rate (CTR).  This is a 4% increase from the previous 1 percent CTR minimum.  Any account that misses this 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.”

Other 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 sitelink extensions active.

The new policies go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Of the short timeline, Brady writes, “…  asking nonprofits to make such significant changes on such short notice (only 17 days from email send before these go into effect) is just bad customer service. And if they try to say that one email and a few notifications in the interface are enough, then they don’t understand how busy nonprofits are.”

Last year, Google wound down the Grantspro program, the premium Google Grants offering for non-profits spending between $10,00 and $40,000 per month.

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