A case study.
Google Ad Grants are one of the best ways of promoting your non-profit organization. Just by signing in to this system you are getting the opportunity to use 10.000$ for Search Engine Marketing. Ten thousand dollars! Although using the whole amount becomes an incredibly difficult task – you can’t set the bid on the key-words so you can’t compete with the commercial organization. Still, there are countless possibilities and words that you can use, to make your non-profit more famous and bring new people to your website to help with your mission.
While all of this you are getting for free, you have to remember: there are a lot of rules you have to abide. A lot.
Sometimes you think that everything you are doing with your Ads should be ok. Your keywords have a big score, your CTR is doing great. But then you get an email from Google. “Your Google Ad Grants account is suspended”. Shivers. Numbers of users on your website are starting to dive down, your conversions became almost non-existent and all of the blog posts you’ve planned for the next weeks are not going to get some boost from Ads.
What we’ve done lately when this situation occurred to us? First, we’ve checked all of the alerts from the Google Ad Manager. Usually, we try to do this on a daily basis, but we wanted to be sure that we’ve done everything right.
1. We’ve checked all of our keywords
First of all, their score. Sometimes your keyword can have a 4/10 or even 5/10 and later fall down all the way down to 1/10. See its performance and think: is it worth it to keep? If yes, you have to do some work. Edit your Ad, Article to make it more relevant to the keyword you want. Add it directly to the text and see if it helps to add at least some points to the score. If no, just delete it – with this budget you can experiment as you want, so don’t be afraid of changing things.
Then check other things about them. Do you have any single words in your list? Delete them. Any generic things, like “free stuff”? Delete it also. Do you use copyrighted terms or company names? They are going out too.
2. Conversion rate – does it work as it should?
Setting up the conversion rate can be tricky, especially for the non-tech person. And let’s be honest – most people from the Non-profit Organizations aren’t tech wizards. But thankfully, we can choose the Smart Goals, that will take the most difficult job from our hands. Just double-check that everything is working, so you can be sure that your account won’t be taken away from you.
3. CTR – are people clicking enough?
The Google Ad Grant want for your ads to be as high quality as it is possible. One way, that the system is checking this is by CTR. What is hiding behind these three letters? Click-Through-Rate – a percentage of your ads that are clicked by the users. And this is a very tricky part. Most of the commercial Google Ads have CTR is about 2% rate. Everything above that is considered to be a large success. What is a minimum CTR for nonprofits program? About 5%. So a lot. That is why you have to be sure, all of your advertisements are at a very high level. Because if they aren’t – you can lose your account.
Unfortunately, after checking all of these rules we have to apply to, we didn’t find anything wrong. Our Google Ad Grants account was suspended and we didn’t know how to fix it.
First appeal to Google Ad Grants
Maybe the system has suspended our account this one day one of our keywords fall down all the way to the 1/10? Or there was a mistake? We try with our first appeal.
After the week (and the half) we’ve got an answer. Negative. Still very confused we’ve checked all of our ads again, but we still didn’t have a clue what went wrong. So we turned to the Google Support Staff.
They are very friendly, so just in terms of pure communication, this wasn’t a big problem. They needed some time to check why our Google Ad Grants account was suspended. And after waiting for their response…
They didn’t find anything that could be responsible for suspending our account. In one way this was a relief, we didn’t break any of the rules. On the other, we really wanted our Ads back and still don’t know what to do, to get them. Thankfully, the Google Support told us, that they are going to investigate it further.
Probably the worst part. It can take a while before Google will answer your appeal. Or to support to get the answers you need. But this time can also be used productively. When we were checking if all of our ads are in line with all the rules, we also did some cleanup. Not for the rule-breaking ones (because there were none), but for weak ones. At the beginning of our journey with Google Ads we experimented a lot and, let’s be clear, not all of them were at the level we wanted them to be. We learned a lot through the first year and when we’ve come back to our first tries, we saw what we could do better. And we did – we’ve completely remade some of the campaigns, making them more appealing and interesting and improve the score of a lot of our keywords.
We are not sure if our proactiveness has impressed the Google Bots, but we know one thing – it didn’t make things worse. Our Google Ad Grants account maybe still was suspended but we didn’t want to just stay and do nothing.
An answer from Google Ad Grants
Finally, Google Support told us what went wrong. And this was something we didn’t expect at all.
It wasn’t our ads. It was our website.
Let go back a couple of weeks. We had a meeting with potential new partners, that could bring work of our non-profits to the completely new level. So, of course, we wanted to impress them. We’ve redone some of our websites to make it more appealing to their particular needs. And if we did a pretty good job at it, it also broke the rules of the Google Ad Grants.
We wanted to present ourselves as experts, consultants, persons that are great to do projects with. But in all of this, the message of what and why we want to do this (help people in need through technology) was lost in the new version of the website.
And Google saw this. Your website can’t be focused on the things that are just tools that you use to achieve things. Your mission has to be on the front page, so everyone can know from the getgo, how you want to change the world for the better.
Fix was pretty easy – we’ve redone our site quickly and according to the all of the guidelines. And the message was also positive – remember about your goal and don’t lose it along the way. Another appeal was a success and after 33 days our account was reactivated.
Always read everything that Google is sending to you and look out for the messages in the Google Ad themselves. But remember – sometimes it isn’t enough. Read articles about Google Ad Grant account rules, they can change a lot through the year and get you suspended. When your account is suspended, and you don’t see why to think outside of the box. Reread all of the things that you have to do to get the Google for Nonprofit Grant and inspect if anything changed from your website and ads. And most important: be patient. Google Support is a pretty good one, but maybe not the fastest. Sooner or later – you’ll get your ads back. And your users.
If you want to know, how to acquire Google Ad Grants account, you can learn this in our tutorial:
If you want to know more about Google For Nonprofits, you can also go to their official site: