The Google Grants program, which offers eligible NFPs (Not For Profits) a $10,000 (USD) free advertising spend on AdWords, has recently updated its policies – raising the requirements to maintain Google Grand funding.
This has been an eye-opener for many NFPs, who are now at risk of losing their $120,000/Year in Google Grants funding – and even having their accounts deactivated.
What are the changes?
Google Ad Grant accounts must now maintain a minimum click-through rate (CTR) of 5% at the account level, or else risk account deactivation. Failing to meet the 5% CTR for one-month results in a warning, but failing for two months in a row will result in instant deactivation.
Bidding on single word keywords (in most cases) is now prohibited. If your campaigns heavily relied on single word keywords in the past, their performance will likely suffer. Single words like ‘donation’ or ‘charity’ don’t actually give much of an idea of what a user wants. While terms like this used to be used to cast a broad net to attract visitors, Google doesn’t want this – they want to lead users to exactly what they’re looking for. Of course, the point is to stop people from bidding on irrelevant keywords – if your organisation’s name is a single word, fear not, that won’t be penalised.
All campaigns must now have a minimum of 2 ad groups with at least 2 live ads. This has always been good practice, but now Google is enforcing it. This is a great incentive to improve the relevance of your ads, if you haven’t already met this criteria.
All Campaigns must now include geotargeting. This isn’t all bad news, but is just about enforcing good practice. In forcing NFPs to target by location, Google is trying to encourage NFPs to focus on getting more relevant clicks.
All keywords must keep keyword quality scores above 2. This isn’t a huge imposition, however. With an ad score this low, it’s likely that these ads wouldn’t be showing up in the first place. As long as you’re filling out all the needed sections of your AdWords ads, and as long as you’re not trying to rank for another brand’s audience, you’ll almost definitely be in the clear.
It’ll now be more difficult to bid for branded keywords other than your own. A lot of NFPs used their excess budget to bid on competing brand’s names, in order to catch their competitors audience. Because Google wants to bring people to the sites they’re looking for as effectively as possible, this’ll no longer be a viable strategy.
However, the good news is that your account won’t be reviewed until it is 90 days old, so if you’ve just started using AdWords, you’ve got more time to respond.
On a quest for continually improving the customer experience our client The Tea Centre is now winning the trust of new customers even faster with the backing of Google.
The tea-lover’s one-stop has just been awarded a badge of honour by Google’s Trusted Stores program. Entry into the program is coveted in the e-commerce space as not only must the store be making a minimum number of sales per month but they must deliver exceptional customer service to enter and remain in the program.
The badge floats to the bottom right of each page of the site and offers visitors a window into previous customer experiences with a rating out of 5 and a link to read reviews. At the time of writing The Tea Centre had received 39 reviews (mostly during the qualification period) and was holding a 4.9 star rating!
While it’s too early to identify if sales are up we’ve got a hunch that it can only help convert the first time visitor and so look forward to monitoring it’s progress and particularly working with other clients to also secure this badge.
Google Trusted Stores is a free program that sends a positive signal to consumers that your store is a reputable one to deal with. Merchants benefit from a boost in credibility which hopefully leads to increased sales. Indeed, anecdotal reports claim conversion rates lifting 10-15% after being approved for the program.
How does it work?
Google Trusted stores is an opt-in program whereby both store owner and customer must actively choose to participate.
Store participation is not without effort although the requirements for approval were recently reduced making the whole thing much simpler than at launch of the program. After registering for Google Trusted Stores and defining policies for delivery, returns and customer service we place some code throughout the site to send transactional data back to Google. Once these codes have been verified by Googles automated workflow the store enters a 30-90 day qualification period whereby customers are invited to partake in the program at the completion of their order. This is purely opt-in and customers are incentivised to join by guarantee of up to $1000 refund in the event a dispute cannot be resolved. By opting in customers will be invited to leave a review to feedback to the store on customer service and delivery experiences.
On qualifying for the program the store will be awarded the trusted stores badge which sits discreetly at the bottom of each page on the store’s website. Here customers are able to click to read previous customer reviews, thereby developing a deeper sense of whether they should trust the store or not. Our observations are that most stores accepted into the program end up with a rating of 4 or more stars, thereby winning trust of new users quickly.
In the event of a dispute or issue, customers are encouraged to resolve directly with the the store. Given the incentive of the store owner to remain in the program you’d expect most issues to be resolved quickly and with minimal fuss. If for some reason not, customers can at a click, escalate the dispute with Google.
When in doubt, watch the video.
Like to implement this for your store? Reach out and start the conversation.
We’re super pleased to announce our new status as a Google Partner.
Having been an advocate and client of Google Adwords for many years, we’ve now had the opportunity to study up on the latest features, optimise some clients accounts and earn our Google Partner badge status. With this you can be assured of certified expertise when reviewing your Adwords and be confident that we can increase returns on your Pay per Click (PPC) budget.
Get in touch to discuss starting or optimising your PPC campaign.