How Bid Increases are Affecting the Way You Manage Your Google Grant

By Amanda Sides | Apr 30, 2013
More Articles by Amanda


Google for Nonprofits offers a grant through Google AdWords to give nonprofits the ability to advertise on Google.com to promote awareness or increase donations, volunteers, etc. If you have been managing a Grant or Grantspro account, you may have noticed a major change earlier this year. Grant accounts used to be restricted to $1 max CPC keyword bids, which really held back a lot of companies because a lot of keywords they want to target are highly competitive and are not eligible to show ads for a lot of their more important terms. Google decided to make a change to help advertisers with this problem, but it still came with some brand new issues to work with. Learn about the update, how it changed your data, and also what you need to do to improve performance with the new updates.

Google Grants AdWords for Nonprofits

Update: January 28, 2013

On January 28, 2013, Google AdWords made a widespread change, increasing keyword bid limits for Grant accounts from $1 to $2. The notification came via email to Grant account owners and Admins, with the portion regarding the change below:

We are writing to let you know about a few changes to the Google Grants program.

As part of our ongoing efforts to grow our advertising program for nonprofits, we are making two changes to the Grants program. First, as of January 28, 2013, Google Grantees may bid up to $2.00 USD on keywords. This is an increase from the previous CPC bid cap of $1.00 USD and may allow your ads to enter auctions previously unavailable at the $1.00 bid cap. Second, to balance the interests of businesses who pay to advertise on Google search, your ads will now appear below the ads of traditional AdWords advertisers.

To take advantage of the raised $2.00 CPC bid cap, log into your Google Grants AdWords account and edit the CPC of keywords that you would like to bid more on. Learn how to edit your keyword maximum CPC bids.

How it’s Changing Your Data

You probably immediately changed your bids from $1 to $2 as soon as you could. Not a bad idea, it’s always good to test and see what you can get with the extra flexibility. Depending on how competitive the arena you are advertising in, you probably noticed your average position decrease a little bit, and your CPC increase, as expected. One major issue this causes, however, is that the increased cost-per-click leaves room for fewer clicks. Even though this money isn’t coming directly out of your pockets, you still want the most bang for your buck. Fewer clicks means less traffic to your site, and also probably a decline in conversions as well. So what should you do to combat this?

How you Need to Adapt

Whatever your grant status, $10,000 per month or $40,000 per month, you want to be sure you are using those funds wisely. After you run for a week or more at $2 bids, take a close look at your data. Some of the broader words that are costing you a lot may be poor performers that are eating into the budget and impression share for keywords that may be more targeted and actually bring you conversions. You want to reassess your bid strategy and continually adjust bids based on performance. Simply do this at the Ad Group level to change the default bids, or more granular at the keyword level.

This is something you never really had to do in the past, and will be a new endeavor for many, but if you can get it mastered, it will absolutely prove to be beneficial. Another thing you need to keep a closer eye on is budget allocations. Some of your campaigns with competitive keywords included might be spending a lot more after the bid increases, so pay attention to those and figure out if you need to cut budgets to give better performing campaigns the impression share they need to bring in those more targeted clicks and hopefully conversions.

Have you experienced new issues or problems to solve with the recent bid increases? Find me on Twitter @amanda_sides to ask questions or share what you’ve learned is working for you!

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