How to Use Google Ad Grants: The Guide to Successful Ad Grant Campaigns


Non-profits are often tight on cash when it comes to digital advertising, and advertising on other channels as well. Google Ad Grants is a great opportunity for non-profits to get their name and ads out on Google’s search results for free. Free? Is it too good to be true? It is virtually free advertising, but it is on Google’s terms which is important to be aware of to be successful. We are going to go through how Google Ad Grants work, how to comply with Google’s Ad Grant requirements, and how non-profits can turn this into high performing campaigns.

So, How Do Google Ad Grants Work?

The Google Ad Grants Program is only available to organizations that hold a current and valid charity status. Non-profits can apply for Google Ad Grants in a very simple application process. Another eligibility that Google often looks for is to have a functioning website that provides adequate detail of the organization. Some organizations that are not eligible for Google Grants include governmental organizations, hospitals, and medical groups, and academic institutions.

So, its $10,000 of free money in Google Ads? This is just the max your campaign can spend every month and if you already have an Ad Grants account you know this isn’t as easy as it seems. Your ad spend will depend on how well you meet Google Ad Grant requirements and continuous optimizations in the account to keep your ads serving.

What Are The Google Ad Grant Requirements?

The Google Ad Grants requirements are in place to make sure that the campaigns are using the grant money effectively and avoid spend on a plethora of unrelated keywords. In general, these are to make sure that your campaigns are set up to succeed. Below is a list of some of the requirements to keep top of mind when running your campaigns.

  1. Account click-through-rate of 5%
  2. Keyword Quality Scores must be above 2
  3. At least 2 active ad groups per campaign
  4. At least 2 sitelink ad extensions
  5. Account must have geo-targeting
  6. No single-word keywords (few exceptions)
  7. Automated bidding strategies (like Maximize Conversions or Cost Per Acquisition)
  8. Log into your account at least monthly and make at least one change every 90 days. Google can suspend your account from inactivity, and if suspended you will need to request to be reinstated.

If you have questions about what some of the requirements are and how to meet them, let us know and we can help out. Next, we’ll talk about some of the steps to make sure we meet the requirements while creating campaigns catered to your organization.

How to Use Google Ad Grants To Boost Your Cause’s Awareness

The setup of your Google Ad Grant campaigns is as important for your success as much as the continuous improvements to your ads. There are a few general ways to optimize your campaigns for success and to also meet the Google Ad Grant requirements.

1. Choose Keywords Carefully
Other than making sure you don’t have single-word keywords, you will need to brainstorm keywords that are meaningful for your business and are more likely to lead to clicks and conversions. Long-tail keywords are also a great idea if appropriate for your business. We recommend using keyword research tools to learn more about search volume and competition of the keyword. Once keywords are selected, to meet the Quality Score requirement, keywords should be found within headlines, descriptions, and paths in the ad copy.

2. Negative keywords
Negative keywords are the keywords you do not want your nonprofit ad to be shown, this helps improve the relevance of your ads. Adding these will help meet the Google Ad Grant requirement of your click-through-rate. More relevant keyword targets lead to more clicks on your ads.

3. Landing Page Optimizations
The success of your ads also depends on the landing page they are being sent to. The landing page should reflect what is being said or advertised and keywords targeted in your ads. A great landing page for these ads includes: a compelling and clear title, a strong call to action, testimonials or social proof, and of course include an image.

4. Relevant Geo-Targeting
Geo-targeting is easy to implement and will improve your ads performance when are targeting areas that you do business in. You can choose cities, states, countries, or even a radius around your headquarters to target where you all do business.

5. Get those Conversions!
Google recommends using bidding strategies that are aimed to maximize your conversions for Google Ad Grant campaigns. This can help your ads automatically optimize for conversion-based engagement. You can also include call to actions in your ad copy.

6. Evaluate Performance & Repeat
To meet Google Ad Grant requirements, you must check in to your account monthly and make changes once in a 90-day period. To really take advantage of these campaigns, more time should be spent optimizing and making continuous changes to make sure you know what keywords are performing, what messaging is working best, and to see if your landing page is doing the job.

In conclusion, Google Ad Grant campaigns can be a great source for more traffic and leads to your site but it’s important to keep an eye on meeting requirements and optimization opportunities in your account. If you believe you are eligible and need help getting some campaigns running with all of this in mind, you can reach out to us and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions!