2019 saw Google roll out several important changes to its policies governing its Ad Grant program that provides $10,000 per month in advertising credit for Google Search advertising.
While these changes are less robust than the comprehensive overhaul of 2018, they are no less important for nonprofits to be aware of. Let’s take a look at the changes from the past year to see what nonprofits should be aware of when managing their Google Ad Grant account.
Back in April, Google updated and added several steps to the Ad Grant enrollment process. The updated steps for the enrollment process are as follows:
Create a shell account
Provide the website they are advertising
Complete and submit a survey
Go through Google Ad Grant training
Submit their account for pre-qualification review
Google instituting a pre-qualification process was done so that nonprofits would not find themselves in a situation where they spent time and resources creating campaigns only to be rejected for technical errors or a low-quality website.
Increased Focus on Conversions
Google made several hefty policy changes in 2019. They placed a heavier emphasis on conversions in their account management policy and made it so that nonprofits are required to set up and track at least one “meaningful” conversion – ie email signups, purchases, downloads, etc – as opposed to conversions such as “time on site” and “pages per visit.” In a further emphasis on conversions, Google changed it so that all campaigns are required to use at least one conversion-based Smart Bidding strategy. The options include:
Maximize Conversions – A strategy that automatically sets bids to get the most conversions within your budget.
Target Cost-Per-Acquisition (Target CPA) – A strategy that sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at or below the target CPA.
Target Return-On-Ad-Spend (Target ROAS) – A strategy that sets bids to drive more revenue at a ROAS goal.
Smart bidding strategies make use of your account’s historical data to determine what to bid during the ads auction. Unlike manual bidding which continues to have a $2 bid cap, smart bidding strategies can bid higher if your account’s performance merits it. If you qualify, smart bidding has the potential to be a great tool to spend more of your budget and maximize the potential of the Ad Grant
Google made several important changes to the copy and content of the ads that nonprofits can create. Google made multiple robust changes to political advertisement policies, including limiting misrepresentation, requiring certification for certain types of political ads, and adding transparency requirements. Another major update was Google’s change to its financial products and services policy. Google now restricts the advertisement of debt settlement, debt management, and credit repair services. While debt settlement and management will be allowed if the advertiser is certified with Google, credit repair services are no longer advertisable.
Finally, the last major advertisement update was Google’s changes to its Healthcare and medicines policy. The first major update was the prohibition of advertising for medical techniques that are considered unproven or experimental, such as stem cell therapy, cellular therapy, and gene therapy. The second was Google’s restriction on advertisements related to abortion. In order to run ads using abortion-related keywords, advertisers will have to become certified as an advertiser that either does or does not provide the procedure. After being certified, all ads using abortion-related keywords will show with an in-ad disclosure that lets consumers know so they can decide which ads are most relevant to them.
All of these changes by Google have served to help nonprofits derive more value from their use of the Ad grant and expand the reach and impact of their important missions. If you have any questions about the new policy changes, or if you would like to work with a Google Certified Professional Agency, contact us today.