Ad Grants' click-through rate (CTR) requirements

Ad Grants accounts using AdWords must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month to remain eligible for the program. CTR is a good indication that users find your ads helpful and relevant.

To check your account’s CTR start by choosing the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more

New AdWords Experience

  1. Navigate to the “Ads & Extensions” tab.
  2. Select date range Last Month
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page of ads to the grey row “Total: Account” and check the metric for the CTR column. This is your CTR metric for the account. 
    • If the “CTR” column isn’t showing, select the modify columns button, then select “Performance” and “CTR” to add the column. 

Previous AdWords Experience

  1. Navigate to the “Ads” tab.
  2. Select date range Last Month
  3. Review the metric in the CTR column in the grey “Total - Search” row. This is your CTR metric for the account. 
  4. If the “CTR” column isn’t showing, select the "Columns" button, then select "Modify Columns, “Performance” and “CTR” to add the column. 

Tips to Improve CTR

We've complied tips to help you raise the average CTR in your account. 

Pause high-impression, low CTR keywords

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more 

New AdWords Experience

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click “All Campaigns” on the navigation panel on the left.
  3. Click “Keywords” on the page menu on the left.
  4. Select date range “Last week” on the top right (or the last week the account was active).
  5. Click the “Impr” column name to sort the table, ordered by the keywords with highest impressions.
  6. Begin pausing keywords 4% CTR or less until the “Total: filtered keywords” row is 4% CTR or greater. 

This “Total: filtered keywords” CTR is the metric that will be reviewed if your account is deactivated for not meeting 5% CTR and must be >=5% when you request reactivation to be approved. 

 Previous AdWords Experience

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the “Keywords” tab.
  3. Select date range “Last week” (or the last week the account was active).
  4. Click “All enabled” keywords.
  5. Click the “Impr” column name to sort the table, ordered by the keywords with highest impressions.
  6. Begin pausing keywords with 4% CTR or less until the “Total - all enabled keywords” row is 5% CTR or greater. 

This “Total - all enabled keywords” CTR is the metric that will be reviewed if your account is deactvated for not meeting 5% CTR and must be >=5% when you request reactivation to be approved. 

Pause generic keywords

Ensure that there are no single word keywords or overly generic terms that don’t include a sense of the user’s intent when they’re searching. Either pause them or edit them to add additional text to these queries for more context. 

Example:
If you are a pet shelter and bid on the keyword “dog”, people could be looking for dog adoption, dog breeds, dog illnesses, dog training, dog bites, or dog food, to name a few possibilities. If your ads show when someone is searching for dog food, your CTR and quality score will likely suffer.  Select keywords relevant to your organization such as dog adoption, shelter dog, dog rescue, dogs as pets, etc.

Add negative keywords from the search terms report 

Ensure you're not bidding on something lowering your CTR that you didn't expect to bid on.  Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more 

New AdWords Experience:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. From the page menu on the left, click Keywords.
  3. Click Search terms at the top.
  4. To see search terms for only a select group of keywords, click Search keywords, and check the boxes next to the keywords you’d like to see search terms for. Then click Search terms in the menu that appears above the table.
  5. Check the boxes next to the search terms that you'd like to add as negative keywords, then click Add as negative keyword. By default, negative keywords that are added to a Search campaign from the search terms report are added as exact match. To change the match type, use the appropriate symbols. 
  6. From here, you can add negative keywords to an ad group or campaign, an existing negative keyword list, or a new negative keyword list. 

Note
Make sure that your negative keywords don't overlap with your chosen keywords, because this will cause your ad not to show.

Previous AdWords Experience

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click the Keywords tab.
  3. Select the checkboxes next to the keywords that you'd like to run a search terms report for, then click the Search terms button above the table. 
  4. You'll be taken to the Search terms tab, which shows the details for your selected keywords. To see details for all of the keywords in your report, click the "Show all" link. 
  5. Check the boxes next to the keywords that you'd like to add as negative keywords, then click the Add as negative keyword button.
  6. You can choose to add the negative keywords at the ad group level, or at the campaign level.
  7. Click Save.
Note
Make sure that your negative keywords don't overlap with your chosen keywords, because this will cause your ad not to show.

Ensure geo-targeting is set for each active campaign

If you don’t set a location, you may serve ads worldwide, which will cause your CTR and quality score to suffer in areas you don’t serve.

If you are advertising something particular to local area, city or country, separate this out into its own campaign, set the targeting to that area, and have the ads and landing page reference this same location. 

For example:
  • Advertising with the aim of growing volunteers for an animal shelter in a city borough:
    • Campaign: “Volunteering - Queens, NY” 
    • Location target: “Queens, New York, USA
    • Ad Group: “Volunteering with Dogs”
    • Keywords: 
      • volunteering with dogs in Queens
      • helping dogs in Queens
      • Working with dogs near me  

Group your keywords into tightly themed ad groups

In every ad group, ensure keywords are tightly grouped by theme, matching the ads’ text, and leading to information on an ad’s landing page that one might expect after seeing the ad. Learn more about successful text ads
Example:
If you are a pet shelter and bid on the keyword “dog”, people could be looking for dog adoption, dog breeds, dog illnesses, dog training, dog bites, or dog food, to name a few possibilities. If your ads show when someone is searching for dog food, your CTR and quality score will likely suffer.  Select keywords relevant to your organization such as dog adoption, shelter dog, dog rescue, dogs as pets, etc.

Write attractive ads that invite your audience to take action

Effective ads that clearly highlight what makes your nonprofit unique can attract a user to click through and take action on your site; whether that be donations, sign ups, or other indications of support. A relevant ad that mentions your keywords, and leads to a page that a user would expect after reading the ad, can significantly improve your online advertising success. Learn more about successful text ads

Bid on your brand terms

Ensure you are bidding on the name of your organization and branded efforts, which should show your ad to an interested audience already aware of your work. 

Select the ad rotation setting "Optimize"

Ad rotation is the way we deliver your ads on the Search Network. If you have multiple ads within an ad group, your ads will rotate because no more than one ad from your account can show at a time.

Use the ad rotation setting, available for campaigns with "All features" enabled, to specify how often you'd like the ads in your ad group to be served relative to one another. 

By selecting the ad rotation optimize, this setting will optimize your ads for clicks in each individual auction using signals like keyword, search term, device, location, and more. Powered by Google’s machine learning technology, the optimize setting prioritizes ads that are expected to perform better than other ads within an ad group.

Tip:

If you'd like to prioritize conversions, use Smart Bidding, which will tailor your bids based on the likelihood of a conversion, and choose the ad most likely to drive that conversion. If you’re using Smart Bidding, AdWords will automatically use the optimize ad rotation setting.   

Enable all ad extensions that make sense for your nonprofit

Advertisers spend lots of time optimizing their ad text (which is great), but implementing extensions is often an immediate and highly impactful way to improve CTR. An ad extension adds value to potential customers by being present and providing additional relevant information.

Every type of ad extension that we offer is intended to benefit our users, which translates to a higher CTR for you. On average we have found that there is a 10-15% CTR uplift* from implementing a new ad extension.

*This will vary by client, business type and extension type, among other factors, and Google cannot guarantee this or any uplift.

We’ve also found that more information is a good thing, which means that ads with multiple extensions often perform better than ads with only one extension. Identify which extensions work for your nonprofit and implement them. The best combination of these extensions is automatically determined on an auction-by-auction basis. That extra prominence can also be a great thing for you and your brand, and that extra space can go a long way toward standing out on the results page.

Consider these ad extensions based on your goal: 

Select your extensions based on your primary advertising goal. Here are common advertiser goals and the extensions that can support them:

Goal: Get people to visit your nonprofit's physical location

If you want to direct people to your physical locations (like a soup kitchen or charity shop), here are extensions you may consider:

Location extensions

Encourage people to visit your nonprofit by showing your location, a call button, and a link to your nonprofit's details page—which can include your hours, photos of your nonprofit's services, and directions to get there. If you want people to visit your nonprofit's location but to call a centralized line (rather than specific locations’ numbers), use call extensions with your location extensions.

To learn more, go to About location extensions.

Callout extensions

Add additional text to your ad that doesn't offer a click through option but can encourage people to click on your main ad headline, like “Thousands of free online courses available.”

To learn more, go to About callout extensions.

Goal: Get people to contact you

If you want people to call you or send you a text message query, use call extensions or message extensions:

Call extensions

Encourage people to call your nonprofit by adding a phone number or call button to your ads.

To learn more, go to About call extensions.

Message extensions

Encourage people to send you text messages from your ad. Available globally at the campaign or ad group levels.

To learn more, go to About message extensions.

Goal: Get people to convert on your website

If you want to direct people to your website, use these extensions:

Sitelink extensions

Link people directly to specific pages of your website (like “Donate now” and “Signup to volunteer”).

To learn more, go to About sitelink extensions.

Callout extensions

Add additional text to your ad that doesn't offer a click through option but can encourage people to click on your main ad headline, like “Free online courses available.”

To learn more, go to About callout extensions.

Goal: Get people to download your app

If you want to get people to download your app, use app extensions:

App extensions

Encourage people to download your app. Available globally for Android and iOS mobile devices, including tablets. Learn About app extensions.

How to request reactivation if deactivated for not meeting 5% CTR

Failing to meet 5% CTR for two consecutive months will result in account deactivation until you adjust your account following the steps above. When you check your CTR, filter for enabled campaigns and keywords, and see that the Total: filtered keywords row is at least 5% CTR or greater for the last week, contact us to request reinstatement.

  Note: Accounts will not be reviewed for this requirement until 90 days old.

How to request reactivation if you cannot meet 5% CTR

AdWords Express accounts are exempt from the 5% CTR requirement due to their automated management. You may continue benefiting from Ad Grants through AdWords Express if you cannot make the modifications necessary to reach 5% CTR in Adwords.  If you’d like to transition your account to AdWords Express, take the following steps:

  1. Login to Adwords Express with your current admin login email address. 
  2. Create your AdWords Express account starting from Step 2 in the Ad Grants creation guide.
  3. Pause your existing AdWords campaigns.
  4. Contact us to enable.

 

 
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