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Our Top 7 Hacks for Google Grants

Google provides financial support to non-profit organizations (NPO) through the Grants program by Google Ads. The platform provides up to $10‘000 per month in advertising budget on Google Ads to any NPO that meets the eligibility requirements. However, this financial aid also comes with conditions. Often, these requirements reduce the performance of the campaigns and make it difficult to exhaust the budget. To ensure that your Google Grants account performs optimally, we reveal our top hacks below.

1. Automated Bidding: Workaround for the $2 CPC

Your maximum cost per click (CPC) may not exceed $2 in the Google Ad Grants program – this is Google’s guideline. However, there is a fairly simple workaround for this CPC rule: Automatic conversion-based bidding strategies such as “Maximize Conversions”, “Target CPA” (Cost per Acquisition) and “Target ROAS” (Return on Ad Spend) allow you to spend more than $2 per click also for Google Grants.

Please note: You must follow the Google Grants guidelines for conversion tracking. It is not enough to define a page view as conversion. More effective at this point are sending a donation form, sharing a page in social media, or a contact request.

2. Create Dynamic Ad Groups

When creating a new campaign, keyword research sometimes proves to be the biggest obstacle. This is because the keywords in the Grants account must neither be too general nor consist of just one keyword. Dynamic ad groups offer a very effective workaround here, in contrast to a regular standard ad group. This is because with these ad groups you do not select keywords, but dynamic targets such as URLs or categories. Hence, the search terms can consist of generic terms or one-word terms, and still lead individuals to your ads. For one of our clients, an NPO for generation projects, we were successful with a dynamic ad group and managed to increase clicks by 111%, ad costs by 66%, and conversions even by 280%.

Tip: Use the keywords of your standard ad group in the dynamic group as negative keywords. This way you can prevent the dynamic group from receiving the majority of your searches, and you can better optimize.

3. Pause Keywords With Low Quality Scores Automatically

According to Google Grants guidelines, the keywords you use must have a quality score of more than 2. This is made up of: The landing page, ad relevance, and click-through rate (CTR). Your landing page should therefore be optimized for the keyword, as should the ad text. In addition, the goal is to achieve a high percentage of ad clicks from your target audience. Should the quality score of a keyword drop below 3, you must pause or remove the keyword. If you do not check your keywords regularly, Google could block your account.

Helpful here is a set rule that automatically pauses keywords with a bad quality score. To configure this, click on “Rules” in the Google Ads account under “Tools & Settings” in the top right-hand corner (tool symbol). By clicking on the plus symbol and then on “Keyword Rules”, you can choose to pause the keywords as an action and, as the condition, set a quality score smaller 3.

4. Automatic Notification When CTR Drops Below 5%

If your click-through rate drops below 5% for two consecutive months, Google may temporarily suspend your account in the Grants program (here is a guide on how to reactivate it). It is best to set up a rule for this as well and get an email notification so that you can follow up in time. To do this, select a campaign rule in your Google Ads account (under “Tools & Settings”). Then define that you will be notified when the CTR drops below 5%.

5. Increase Ad Relevance With a Granular Ad Group Structure

Of course, an automatic rule helps to quickly pause keywords with a bad quality score. But you might want to use these keywords for your campaign in particular because they are relevant for your business. A granular structure of your ad groups supports you in this. Match your keywords exactly to the ad text and increase ad relevance and, ultimately, the quality score.

6. Whitelisting for Sensitive Topics

Does your non-profit organization deal with sensitive issues, such as natural disasters, health emergencies or tragic events? Since Google wants to avoid these topics being used for marketing and, as a result, ruthless companies making a profit of this, ads and keywords for these topics are often not shown. As a non-profit organization, however, you probably want to achieve exactly the opposite: To change grievances and help people in need. Talk to Google Support about this and ask them to put you on their whitelist.

7. App Ad Extensions to Promote Apps

With Google Grants, you can select only the search network for your campaign. Display, shopping, video and app campaigns are not an option according to Google’s Grants guidelines. However, if your organization would like to promote an app, you can use the app ad extension. These allow you to link to your mobile or tablet app in your text ads without violating the Grants guidelines.


Thanks to our hacks, the effort required  to create a campaign and, above all, to improve its performance can be reduced – even though there are conditions attached. Do you need help? We are happy to assist you!

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