In the early part of 2018, Google announced a number of significant changes to its Ad Grants accounts. Since then, the introduction of specific criteria and the added risk of advert suspension means that greater time is being spent optimising these accounts. In light of Google’s changes, it is clear that in order to get the most out of a Google Grants account, professional PPC account management is now a must.
The Dreaded 5% CTR
An average click through rate (CTR) of around 2% is typically considered the benchmark for search campaigns, with anything over that seen as ‘an above average CTR.’ Google Grants accounts must achieve a CTR of 5%, which is more than double the rate that industry specialists consider to be a good figure. If this rate isn’t met consistently, the account is at risk of suspension (which we will cover in more detail later on).
In order to maintain a CTR of 5%, PPC account managers must adopt an organised system of making changes one by one and then analysing the effect on CTR. An inexperienced PPC consultant may add multiple keywords and incorporate multiple territories into their location targeting, without ever considering the likely effect on the CTR. Using this methodology is very likely to lead to the account falling short of Google’s criteria, even if logically it makes good business sense.
Daily Quality Score Checks
Another part of the new Google Grants criteria that PPC account managers must manage is keyword quality scores. Grants Accounts cannot have any keywords with a quality score under 3, meaning that account managers are forced to check quality scores on a daily basis and delete any that do not meet this threshold. Google have incorporated this so advertisers cannot bid on irrelevant terms (usually with high search volumes) to increase ad spend.
In theory this is a good move, but the reality is quite different as many relevant keywords can cause suspensions simply because they aren’t explicitly mentioned on the advert landing page. This also means that the task of keyword research becomes more difficult, as any terms that achieve a quality score of 1 or 2 must be paused. Or must they?
The Tough Task of Increasing Spend
Google gives each Grant account a maximum of $10,000 to spend per month – and rightly so, as advertisers want to make use of the full budget. However, this can prove difficult when factoring in compliance with the new rules and restrictions.
Traditionally, increasing spend has typically involved one of the below:
- Adding keywords
- Expanding location targeting
- Adjusting match types
- Increasing bids
However, the addition of new keywords, location expansions and match type adjustments all affect the overall CTR, often leading to an decrease.
Therefore the process of increasing spend has to be much more gradual and strategic, given that the end result could be suspension and therefore $0 spent. In order to maximise the total spend on a Google Grants account, careful planning and strategic decision-making needs to be applied by an experienced PPC professional.
Suspensions and Dealing With Google
As any PPC account manager that has dealt with an account suspension review process will testify, it can be a very frustrating and unpredictable process. The multiple calls to support staff, being given different time frames by each advisor and the various potential reasons for suspension are just some of the factors you need to consider when deciding whether to outsource this to an agency or take it on yourself.
After handling a number of these cases, patterns and trends begin to emerge that may help an account manager to streamline this process. With PPC knowledge and first-hand experience it becomes clearer what to say, who to say it to and how to keep the lines of communication open until your matter is resolved.
The main issue with Google Grants suspensions is that, 9 times out of 10, the advisor can’t tell the account manager what the exact issue is, because they don’t know. Without in-depth knowledge of PPC and knowing what questions to ask, you will struggle to get the issue resolved.
Google’s Compliance Reports
Google have an automatic report that is sent to the account administrators detailing any changes needed on an account, to be in line with the Grants criteria. These reports are supposed to be sent out in advance, allowing account managers time to solve any issues outlined, but this is not always the case. A number of advertisers have received outdated compliance reports, meaning that it is too late to make changes. We have since been told that these reports are not manually checked and are sent out automatically via a computer generated system. It is essential to have someone checking the account daily, or even hourly if possible.
Ultimately Google Grants are a great way for charities and not-for-profit businesses to promote their services. However it is essential to invest in an agency to manage the campaigns for you in order to make the most of the Grant. In the long run, professional account management will more than pay for itself when factoring in both the quality of traffic and the time it will save you in terms of compliance issues.