What Does It Take To Learn Google Ad Grants Management?

Google Ad Grants ManagementManaging Google Ad Grants is an art and science. At its core, it’s a technology platform that presents small text ads to people searching online with Google. The ads are only presented to the specific individuals who are using keywords related to the ads. For example, someone searching for red shoes, would see ads related to red shoes, as well as the organic, non-ads that have to do with red shoes. That’s an over-simplification, but it does outline the key advertising process.

Yet, to be more factual, a better description would need to include important nuances, such as the fact that not all ads may be shown for any given search, even if the keywords are perfectly matched, since other advertisers also have ads they want displayed at the same time. It’s a competitive process. And to make things more interesting, even if there were no competition, some ads might still not be shown, if Google deems them to be low quality. In other words, someone could be searching for red shoes, and even if there are only a few advertisers, Google might show only the best ad, even though they have space to run more ads (especially for any business that elects to bid less, or pay less, for the keywords).

In the commercial world, since businesses are paying to show the ads related to the keywords (more accurately, they are paying for people to click on ads related to specific keywords), those who are paying for the keywords will only run them for some amount of time if the ads are not profitable. So, there’s a self-selection process. If the ads don’t make money, the business will stop paying for them or will continue to do the necessary work to improve the ads. (Technically, the ads themselves are only part of the process. There is important work in managing the keywords and other factors related to the ads).

On the other hand, in the nonprofit world, there has been a tendency for nonprofits to continue to run low-quality ads indefinitely — since Google was footing the bill.

No more.

That changed in 2018. Continue reading “What Does It Take To Learn Google Ad Grants Management?”

Google Ad Grants Suspended? You’re Not Alone

Google Ad Grants Bad news first: This year we’ve observed a record number of Google Ad Grant account suspensions.

The good news is that the accounts can generally be reactivated. (We have not bumped into any accounts that we could not remedy and get back into service).

The better news is that, in most cases, Google issues a 30-day suspension notice, which leaves the Google Ad Grants account operating normally for another month. This provides a 30-day window to remedy their cited issues, which oftentimes is because the overall account CTR is below 5% and/or specific keywords have a Quality Score of “2” or below. But there are a parade of other issues that can be cited, as well.

Now, of course anytime new campaigns, ads or keywords are added they have no Quality Score or CTR, so Google needs to let the new items run for long enough to establish performance metrics.  What that means is that normal account maintenance can result in account suspension notices — unless you are not trying to improve an account that is fully compliant.

In the past a nonprofit could have a poorly performing account for years without any liability. In other words, even if Google Ad Grants was poorly set up and managed, it would still continue operating.

As of the new rules issued on January 1, 2018, Google is now requiring their ad grant recipients to maintain their accounts at a higher performance threshold than regular businesses who are paying for the ads.

Although this has negatively impacted many nonprofits who have not complied with the new rules and have since lost their ad grants, the upside is that for nonprofits who take the time to sincerely remedy their accounts and especially leverage the Google Ad Grants Story Triangle, they will end up with a much more productive account for their nonprofit than ever before.

By the way, although from our vantage of managing client Google Ad Grants accounts, and speaking with inquiries, the amount of suspensions is obvious. But here is a more official perspective from a Google Rep in their help forum:

Thank you for your feedback on this – we are working through a backlog at the moment. We saw a spike in the number of accounts that needed to make adjustments to comply with policies and wanted to address them prior to peak charity months of November and December. We urge you to use our reactivation form to reach the Ad Grants specialists directly, which currently has a ~2-3 day response time. Please try this form and let me know if you’re not getting a resolution.

The bottom line for nonprofits is that more work is required to get your Google Ad Grants account compliant and more work is required on an ongoing basis to keep it compliant.

Having said all that, one more benefit of the new Google Ad Grants rules for 2018 is that if there have been other nonprofits who have been competing for the same keywords that your nonprofit is advertising, some of those nonprofits have already gone away and some will be going away.  This means your ads can see an additional performance boost due to lower competition.  Regardless, you can no longer ignore compliance matters with Google Ad Grants.

One Term That Will Boost Your Google Ad Grants Performance

Search Volume with Google Ad GrantsOK, I get it. You don’t have the time or resources necessary to manage your Google Ad Grants more effectively. Yet, your board of directors is wondering why you can’t get more value from the $10,000 per month ad grants, when you’re only spending a fraction of the money. What’s up with that?

And to make matters more interesting, the rules for Google Ad Grants changed on January 1, 2018 to make it more challenging.

Sure, there’s a lot you can know to be truly proficient with these ad grants. (And the more you learn, the better!) For starters, just what’s needed to keep your account compliant (so you don’t lose your Ad Grants), is mostly technical. Although having a compliant account may not seem so satisfying when it’s not doing much for you, just realize that plenty of nonprofits are losing their Google Ad Grants because their accounts do not live up to the new rules. So, if you haven’t lost your ad grants, you’re in better shape than others.

But what about actually making Google Ad Grants perform more for you?

What’s one thing you can do to get more value from Google Ad Grants that’s not so technical? Continue reading “One Term That Will Boost Your Google Ad Grants Performance”

Other Advertising Media vs. Google Ad Grants

advertising mediaWarning! If you’re savvy with Google Ad Grants, you don’t need to read this. This article is basic stuff. But it’s written from the perspective that while speaking with nonprofits about their Ad Grants, not all really get what it is. Or more specifically, they think it’s like something else. And usually the “something else” is a more common type of ad media. So, with the intent of really ensuring a firm grounding of the basics, let’s review some fundamentals.


Different types of advertising media have unique characteristics that need to be respected to maximize performance.  Google Ad Grants (part of digital advertising) is different from traditional media and if your way of thinking does not embrace how it may be best utilized, your nonprofit isn’t getting its message out to the world as effectively as it could.

OVERLY SIMPLIFIED EXAMPLES Continue reading “Other Advertising Media vs. Google Ad Grants”

Google Ad Grants Changes

Google Ad Grants ChangesThese past 2 years, and especially here in 2018, have seen the most significant changes that Google has implemented for their Ad Grants program since it was established in 2003. Not all are happy with the changes. In fact, many have lost their Google Ad Grants.

But by using Google Ad Grants per their requirements, you’ll be able to continue to reap the benefits of their advertising into the future. Just manage your Google Ad Grants as if you were the one spending the money.


In 2016, over Labor Day weekend, Google discontinued their “Grants Pro” program, which provided $40K/mo in Ad Grants to qualified nonprofits. (In brief, nonprofits needed to prove they were using the $10K/mo ad grants appropriately, over time, to be eligible for the $40K/mo. Hence, most nonprofits were never eligible for Grants Pro anyway).

On January 1 of 2018, Google introduced more stringent requirements to continue to receive their $10K/mo Ad Grants. And here, in the middle of 2018, many nonprofits have lost, or will be losing, their Ad Grants. But keep in mind, it’s only those nonprofits that are not maintaining compliance with Google Ad Grants rules who are at risk. Continue reading “Google Ad Grants Changes”

Nonprofit Marketing Performance: First Step

Marketing is the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization. But how can you increase the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s marketing performance?

Of course there are many marketing channels available. Even if a nonprofit’s “marketing” might be as simple as the benefits of naturally occurring word-of-mouth promotion (which relies on the propagation of a story through personal contacts), there are always ways performance can be improved. For example, word-of-mouth promotion could be improved by something as simple as establishing a memorable and concise message (tag line) that supporters could readily repeat to others. Although this can be quite effective, it is limited in range and speed. Continue reading “Nonprofit Marketing Performance: First Step”

Google Ad Grants Story Triangle

Today we’re going to talk about successful use of Google Ad Grants with the right story.

Successful use of Google Ad Grants breaks down into two main areas:

  1. Mechanics (the nuts and bolts of Google Ad Grants)
  2. Creative Strategies (includes story development, the main topic of today’s message)

“Mechanics” can be learned. In fact, the mechanics of Google Ad Grants will need to be learned to take advantage of these ongoing grants, in the same way a person would need to learn to drive a car to use it for transportation.

Having said that, it’s the “creative strategies” that will generate results. This boils down to “What will be advertised?” This is a huge topic, and it all begins with your unique, nonprofit story. Continue reading “Google Ad Grants Story Triangle”