Advertisers on either Google’s Ad Grants or Grantspro programmes should have received an email on 14th December notifying them of policy updates that will come into force on 1st January 2018. It left very little room for manoeuvre, especially with the Christmas break in between. In fact just 10 full working days to react and take action.
Help is at Hand
The Ad Grants policy changes are designed to help non-profits use their grants budgets more efficiently. However, the changes are very well hidden and so we have highlighted these below:
All Ad Grants accounts must maintain an account level CTR (Click Through Rate) of 5% as a minimum ( Grantspro accounts only had to maintain a minimum CTR, which was 1%)
There will be restrictions on the use of single-word keywords, with exceptions: “owned brand terms, medical conditions, basic keywords relating directly to supporting a charity, or due to the sensitive nature of the causes that charities support”
There will be a minimum quality score requirement of 2/10 for all keywords
Advertisers can no longer bid on branded keywords that they don’t already own
The $2 maximum CPC (Cost Per Click) bid ceiling is being lifted but only for keywords in campaigns that have the “Maximise Conversions” bid strategy applied
Geo-targeting settings must be in use
Each campaign must have a minimum of two ad groups with at least two active ads in each
Accounts must have a minimum of two active site-link extensions
The biggest challenge for Charities is likely to be the Click Through Rate of 5% as a minimum and will potentially require the most work.
How to improve your PPC Click Through rate
So the starting point has to be filtering out these under performing keywords and optimising them. Make sure your keywords are themed and relevant to the ads, optimise the ads, and make sure they are using those keywords, ensure you include well optimised ad extensions, and include the two site link extensions as a given, and perhaps most importantly research those negative and therefore irrelevant keywords well, and exclude them.
Restrictions on the use of single-word keywords
You may find that you do not need to do anything to rectify this. As this is labelled a ‘restriction’, you might find that come the 1st of January you start to see a drop in impressions for a number of single-word keywords and this will be the reason.
Go through your single-word keywords now so you have an idea of where the drop-offs might occur to get yourself prepared. Perhaps you can expand on the single-word keywords and add relevant variations with multiple words that you aren’t already bidding on.
Minimum Quality Score requirement of 2 for all keywords
This one shouldn’t be a problem as unless you’re doing something wrong, your quality scores should never get lower than 2 anyway.
However, if somehow this is the case then the quick fix option is to pause any keywords with a quality score of 1 immediately. Putting the keyword in a themed ad group with relevant ads and landing pages is what you’re aiming for.
You can only bid on owned brand terms
If you’re bidding on a branded term, you need to be the owner. However, if you have some campaigns where you’re bidding on event names e.g. certain marathons or obstacle course races, then you’re going to want to continue to bid on a number of “brand terms” for those events that you don’t own.
This is particularly alarming as in their own words “any account found in violation of program policies is subject to automatic suspension without notification.” The short timescale they’ve given to respond to these changes only adds to the importance of this one.
If you’re concerned, pause those brand terms you don’t own.
The $2 max CPC bid ceiling is being lifted
As long as you apply the “maximise conversions” bid strategy to any campaign in which you want your keywords to break through said ceiling. Go to your campaign settings then scroll down to Location options (advanced), expand it and change your bid strategy. The strategy works off conversion data, so make sure your conversions are all set up correctly and have enough data.
Geo-targeting settings must be in use
Go to your campaign settings and make sure you have at least one location chosen.
Campaigns must have 2 ad groups minimum with two active ads in each
Another pretty fundamental requirement, the solution to which could be more involved depending on the current state and size of your account. Every advertiser should be carrying out ad copy testing and when we last spoke to Google, they actively recommend testing three as opposed to two ads as a minimum.
Accounts must have two active site-link extensions as a minimum
If you find yourself in the position of needing to address this one, then you need our help, please feel free to pick up the phone 01604 328899
Tracy Spence is Sales and Marketing Director at M3 Strategic Marketing Ltd, based in Northampton UK. Tracy takes the lead when it comes to Social Media, Search Engine Optimisation and all things Conversion, including online User Behaviour.
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