Ad Grants FAQ

Expectations of the program

Q. Why are bids capped at $2?
A manual bid limit prevents auction inflation so that nonprofits can earn more clicks with their Ad Grants budget. Accounts using a conversion-based automated bidding strategy like Maximize Conversions, Target CPA and/or Target ROAS may bid over the manual limit.

Q. How do I check the quality score?
See this article for instructions on how to monitor quality score in your account.

Q. What if I have a single keyword that’s critical to my organization’s mission?
To account for some of these instances, the policy excludes owned brand terms, recognized medical conditions, acronyms, and a small number of keyword exemptions. You may also build out variations of important keywords using match types.  

Q. Are keywords without a quality score in violation of the quality score policy? 
No, keywords with no quality score are not subject to policy and do not need to be paused.

Q. Are paused keywords subject to the quality score policy?

Q. Why is there a policy on click through rate (CTR)? 
CTR is an indicator of ad quality, based on user relevance. The Ad Grants program-level CTR already well exceeds 5% - it’s not comparable to standard Google Ads because Ad Grants ads show on many non-competitive queries after or without paying advertisers.

Q. Is the CTR policy requirement at the account level?
Yes. Some individual keywords may have a lower CTR, but the total clicks divided by the total impressions in an account each month must be at least 5% to comply with policy.

Q. Do paused keywords impact CTR?
It depends on when they were paused. Only keywords that have accrued clicks will affect your average CTR in a given month. 

Q. My Ad Grant ads were disapproved for “missing information”. How can I fix this? 
All Google Ads accounts are subject to the missing information policy. For Grantees, 'missing information' policy violations are most often (but not always) related to websites which can receive donations but do not provide sufficient information on charity status. As a best practice for nonprofits, we suggest a standard template for your website footer, containing the name of your organization, address, contact information, and charity or tax exemption number.

Q. Can I add a second domain to my Ad Grants account?
Yes, domains that meet our website policy can be submitted for review here.  

Q. What is the grace period for new accounts to get in compliance? 
The grace period for new accounts to reach the minimum CTR level of 5% is 90 days, as we recognize it takes time to ramp up and fine tune performance.

Q. How do I address an account deactivation?
Please see our policy compliance guide. Then, bring your account into compliance and request it to be reinstated.

Account management best practices: 

Q. How much time should I spend working on my account?
This varies. We recommend checking on the account at least 1-2 times per month to review the Search Terms Report, optimize keywords and ads to improve performance, and track conversions. 

Q. Is there a minimum number of conversions needed before implementing Maximize Conversions bidding strategy?
There is no minimum threshold required.

Q. How can I test new keywords in my account while remaining compliant with policies?
An account violates CTR policy when it hasn’t met the requirement for two consecutive months, so there is time to test. An automated rule to pause keywords with a low quality score will prevent your account from being flagged for quality score policy. 

Q. Can I convert AdWords Express to Google Ads or vice versa?
Yes, see here.

Q. Is there a specific way to select the location/s you want to target?
Yes, you can target your ads by selecting the cities, states, provinces, metro areas, countries, and regions that are relevant for your organization. Be sure you adhere to the geo-targeting policy requirements when setting up location targeting for your campaigns. 

Q. Can I have more than 2 ad groups or more than 2 ads?
Yes, 2 ad groups is the minimum policy requirement. You may have more ad groups or ads as needed to best optimize your campaigns.

Q. Is it best to use a homepage as a landing page or a more specific page?
This varies, but we recommend the most relevant landing page for each ad and call to action. 

Q. Do I need a developer to set up conversion goals or can a non-developer handle?
A non-developer can set up goals once a website has Google Analytics code or Google Tag Manager implemented. Please see our Ad Grants Conversion Tracking Guide for additional guidance. 

Q. I am not receiving notifications in my Ad Grants account.
To receive messages, review your in-product notifications and make sure that the email address used for notifications is opted into receiving emails from us.

Program guidelines & resources: 

Q. What resources do you have available for Ad Grantees?
Please see resources available for Ad Grantees to find help and learn.  

Q. Do I have to spend the $10K every month to keep my Ad Grant?
No. Focus on driving meaningful outcomes for your mission. There is no policy related to spending a certain amount per month.

Q. Is it okay to have an Ad Grants account and a standard, paid Google Ads account at the same time?
Yes, standard accounts are a great way to extend your impact and access additional features such as remarketing, image ads, and video ads. Your accounts will not compete with one another because Ad Grants ads appear only in positions below paid ads.   

Q. Do Ad Grants campaigns compete with paid Google Search campaigns?
No, Ad Grants ads appear only on Google search results pages, either independently or in positions below paid ads.

Q. If there isn't a paid ad competing in the auction, will my ad show?
Your ad is eligible to show if there is available space, regardless of whether a paid ad is showing.

Q. What happened to Grantspro and can I still apply?
Ad Grants is no longer accepting applications for Grantspro but will continue to support existing Grantspro accounts.

Q. If I used to have Grantspro, can I be reapproved?
Unfortunately, we are unable to reinstate Grantspro status once it is lost. 

Q. Will I lose my Grantspro status if I don’t spend at least $10,000 per month?
No. Focus on driving meaningful outcomes for your mission. There is no policy related to spending a certain amount.

Q. Is it possible to accidentally spend over the Ad Grants allocation?
No, Ad Grants accounts have a $329 USD spend limit per day.

Q. Why doesn’t my ad show much in Ad Grants? 
There are many possible reasons your ads aren’t showing often. In addition to basic account troubleshooting including keyword expansion, optimization and automated bid testing, this article explains the quality filter in Ad Grants which can restrict traffic for lower quality ads. 


Ad Grants Myths Debunked:

MYTH: Small organizations can not compete with large organizations on and will not see a benefit from running Google Ads via the Google Ad Grants program.

REALITY: Google Ads rewards relevancy. In fact, small local Grantees that use location specific keywords and targeting may show before large national organizations. Many Grantees operate in a very competitive advertising field. To stand out from the crowd, especially during critical times of the year such as year end giving season, nonprofits can consider investing in a paid Google Ads account to bid on competitive keywords and extend their reach.


MYTH: Google Ad Grantees can not invest in a paid Google Ads account because the ads will compete with one another.

REALITY: We welcome Ad Grantees to invest in a paid Google Ads account. Paid accounts are a great way to extend impact and access additional features such as remarketing and video ads. Ad Grants and paid accounts will not compete with one another because Ad Grants ads appear only in positions below paid ads. Please note if a nonprofit has a Google Ads account that has payment information associated with it, the account is not eligible to be activated as a Google Ad Grants account.


MYTH: Google Ad Grants can only be used for non-commercial use. 

REALITY: Commercial activity must not be the purpose of a Grantee’s website. However, Google Ad Grants ads can be used to drive traffic to products or services that have a fee if the website describes how the nonprofit uses the funds. Grantees can set values for conversions to be able to gauge the total value driven by Ad Grants ads for different conversion types such as ticket sales. This empowers Grantees to identify and focus on their highest value conversions.

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