Managing A Google Ad Grants Account

Google AdwordsFor all charity’s and non-profit organisations, Google offers up to £7800 ($10000) in AdWords budget. This can be used in 2 ways. The first way is using an AdWords express account, this is the simplest way to set up your account and will give Google full control over what keywords you will be bidding on, all you really need to do is create your ads and Google will help take care of the rest. While you may think this could be the best option, you have to understand that a whole of that budget will be wasted and you will be missing out on a lot of traffic for your website.

The second way is managing your AdGrants account manually. Now there are a lot of stipulations here and there is a lot to learn unless you are already well versed in AdWords but the rewards are far greater. Having complete control over your bidding strategy allows you to utilise your budget and really make the most of all of the money available to you.

Since the beginning of 2018, there have been some big changes to how you can use your grant, it’s very important that you follow all of these guidelines set out by Google otherwise, your account may end up suspended which could result in you having to strip it out and start from scratch.

Below are all of the things you need to understand when it comes to managing a Google AdGrants account successfully:

1. No £2.00 max bid

There’s is now no longer a maximum bid amount for keywords. In the past, Google put a £2.00 spend cap on a grant account which made it extremely hard to spend the entire budget. Well, this cap has now been removed and replaced with using Google‘s maximise conversions. This means that Google will automatically adjust any of your bids to what they believe will get you the most clicks.

There is a slight downside however if you’re a non-profit organisation that has very little experience with AdWords as there is now a lot more managing involved.

2. CTR of 5% is required

This is the biggest change to an AdGrants account and most intimidating for people with little marketing experience is the 5% click-through rate. It is now required that an AdGrants account must maintain a CTR of 5% or higher and if this isn’t the case for 2 consecutive months then the account will be suspended.

Now while this is very achievable with targeted keywords to your campaign goal, CTR can and will fluctuate. Which means you will have to regularly check and manipulate the campaign to ensure that your CTR is maintained.

If in the event your account is suspended, you will have to contact Google to get it back up and running which can take a really long time and you may need to overhaul your account so this really is one of the last things you want to happen.

3. Geo-Targeting

What the 5% CTR ultimately means is your account needs to make use of certain features, for it to successfully reach requirements you need to use Geo-Targeting. This lets you show your ads to only those within the locations that it applies. For example, if you’re a charity based in Scotland and can only your services to people within that area, there is no point in showing your ads throughout the rest of the UK.

This then ties back to the CTR as your ads will way more likely be clicked in your target areas than a location not relevant at all.

4. Two ad groups with two text ads are required

An AdWords account is broken down into a few different tiers:

Campaigns, Ad groups, ads, related keywords 

Campaigns are the highest tiers and depending on how big your charity is and the number of services it offers you may not need multiple ones. You then have ad groups which contain both your ads and the related keywords for those ads.

You need to create 2 ad groups and 2 text ads within each of them. These text ads will also have their own separate list of related keywords.

5. Two sitelink extensions

Your account has to use at least two sitelink extensions. This can be done on the account level if you wish but if you want your ads to be far more targeted you can do it at the ad groups level.

Ad extensions are a great way of getting people to engage with your ads so I would highly suggest using as many as possible. On top of sitelink there are call extensions which allow you to display your number and structured snippets to provide information straight away for the topics at hand.

6. Keywords

There are now changes to the keywords permitted on an AdGrants account, As said by google:

“AdGrant accounts must reflect your organization’s primary mission, be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services, and be specific enough to provide a good experience for the user seeing your ads.”

As such, the following keywords are no longer permitted for use by Ad Grant-recipients:

  • Branded keywords Unless it is the non-profit brand that you are advertising (eg. “Coca-Cola” is not allowed)
  • Single word keywords (Excluding things like your brand and acronyms.)
  • Very generic keywords such as “jobs roles” or “cheap clothes” etc


Everything I’ve mentioned in this article can all be achieved as long as you have someone dedicated to checking on the campaign regularly to make sure it sticks to googles rules. Now if you’re looking at this and its way over your head and you think you’ll be able to handle it, the other option is AdWords Express. Google will manage the whole process for you but you won’t have the keyword control needed to really maximise the money you have been granted.

If you have any questions about managing an AdGrants account to hesitate to get in touch with me and I will be able to help you work out what the best solution would be for your non-profit business.

If you would like me to manage your Google AdGrants account get in touch and we can discuss your options.


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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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