3 tips to get more from Google Ad Grant after January 1, 2018.

24. 5. 2019

This article is designed for slightly advanced Google Ad Grant users. However, repetition is the mother of wisdom.

  • It’s a part of Google program for nonprofits,
  • it gives nonprofits the ability to advertise themselves on Google search,
  • the money is provided through a monthly type of credit and not put directly into an account,
  • the grant amount is $ 10,000 / month,
  • it only applies to Google searches.

Find out more about the grant here.

Most of the non-profit organizations that used Google Ad Grant before 2018 were more than satisfied with it. Some of them used less relevant keywords and were often able to draw out the entire monthly grant. Thanks to this they got quite interesting site visits. All this indicated that the grant was one of the most important tools in digital marketing for non-profit organizations.

Google has significantly modified the terms of use of the grant. And, in my opinion, primarily because of the lesser relevance of the keywords and the misuse of the grant to attract traffic, anything irrelevant. In other words, Google, as a search engine, does not want to offer irrelevant content to users regardless of whether it’s an ad or unpaid search result. For example, I have seen accounts where TV Nova’s often sought-after programs were listed for full use of the grant. This meant that if a user searched on Google, for example, „Greys Anatomy“, they could see an ad about nonprofit services, which was not useful and relevant to that user.

For increased relevance, Google has tightened several conditions (here is few of them):

  1. The Google Ads account must have a CTR of more than 5% for two consecutive months.
  2. It is not possible to enter one-word keywords (but the organization name is allowed).
  3. A certain account structure must be met, including the need to use extensions (subpages).
  4. All changes to the program policies can be found here.

To begin, it is worth noting that none of the following options will return the situation before 01/01/2018, but these are the paths that will help you make full use of Google Ad Grant under the current conditions. And I will introduce you to the three biggest ones in the following paragraphs.

Google Adwords Express

Google Adwords Express is a platform that has recently become part of Google Ads. But the joke is that it is another platform that can receive a grant. So, Google Ads and Google Adwords Express can work together. (Unfortunately, this article is not about the detailed Google Ads or Google Adwords Express instructions; if you need to set up your accounts, please try the link here).

With Google Adwords Express, you do not have to deal with certain terms (see above) (such as CTR or one-word keywords) within Google Adwords Express.

It may be more difficult for someone to sign up for Google Adwords Express. Probably the easiest way is to try the following steps:

  1. Sign in with the same data you use for Google Ads.
  2. Open a new tab in your browser and try this link.
  3. If you sign up for Google Adwords Express, you can start exploring. If not, create a new Google email account, add it as an administrator on Google Ads, then re-enter points 1 and 2.

Follow this guide.

Feel free to adjust your Google Adwords Express account settings. If you already know how to work with Google Ads, Google Adwrods Express will make it very easy for you. If you don’t work with Google Ads yet, you’ll be able to learn to work with a much simpler platform.

Perhaps the most fundamental change and difference from Google Ads is that there are no keywords in Google Adwords Express, just categories. These are actually topics that have a set of keywords below. So you can try running your ads through a grant and on less relevant keywords because you don’t have them under control. Subsequently it is possible to exclude the search for expressions in the report if they are very irrelevant, which I consider very effective.

So my recommendation is to run Google Ads with very relevant keywords and find categories within Google Adwords Express. These will help you increase clicks / visits and circumvent several conditions (such as Quality Score, 5% CTR, one-word keywords, power generic keywords, campaign structure, need to address extensions or conversion tracking)

Try a higher bid than $ 2

Even nonprofits compete with each other, and this is also true for Google search results. They often have similar keywords, use the maximum bid ($ 2) that the grant allows, and have similar quality scores. Which leads to the fact that once they will appear in the first place and next time not at all.

But there is a way to skip competitors. And by taking advantage of the higher bid options. You can arrange it with bidding strategy: Maximize conversions.

What is Maximizing Conversions?

However, to take advantage of this strategy, you need to track conversions within Google Ads. If you don’t measure or have few conversions (you need more than 50 per month for these purposes), you need to set up your conversions.

My tip: set the conversion as a home page view.

To do this, you need to link Google Ads and Google Analytics to set your Google Analytics goal as your home page view (regular expression contains /) and then import that goal into Google Ads.

And then you can let everything run on the autopilot, I recommend to check the campaign after a few days, it is not always certain that it will run properly.

Get back the benefits of a lower CTR than before 2018 (at least for a while)

You do not need any technical adjustments or special knowledge in this strategy. We know that Google controls whether we comply with the new terms. However, it does not seem to be checking all the time, and the CTR, for example, resolves the account for the last two consecutive months.

So you can try to let the released keywords that do not meet the CTR condition, for example, for one week, then pause and then “be good” for the next four weeks and then try again for a week.

It’s a little more demanding to manage, but it can pay off because you can get a lot of clicks during the week.


Do not be afraid to experiment with campaign shutdown and turn on campaigns, increase bids through the Maximize Conversion Strategy, and above all combine Google Ads and Google Adwords Express.

Good luck.

Karel Parizek

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