It’s been a little more than 60 days since Google announced some fairly big hurdles for nonprofit organizations to clear. And if you haven’t gotten the scoop on them yet, it’s time.
In essence, two major items have been placed into effect: removed is the $2 bid cap and established is an account-level minimum click-through-rate (CTR) of 5%, which will be evaluated every 60 days. The latter change has some fairly severe consequences: your Adwords account will become temporarily suspended if performance is lacking.
These changes have caused a flurry of activity as nonprofits scramble to comply.
From all accounts, the suspension process is manual; in other words, Google is currently employing Adwords reps to audit NFP (not for profit) Adwords accounts and flag those falling short of the 5% CTR threshold. Therefore, many accounts that technically should be suspended may still be active. If your account has less than a 5% CTR over the past 60 days and is currently active, don’t risk suspension.
Recommendations straight from Google.
- Use specific geo-targeting.
- Create at least 2 active ad groups per campaign.
- Create at least 2 active text ads per ad group.
- Create at least 2 sitelink ad extensions (account level).
- Maintain a CTR of at least 5% for 2 consecutive months (account level).
Recommendations straight from us.
In addition, these are our top recommendations to further help with the CTR threshold:
- Opt-in to the “maximize conversions” bid strategy (this lifts the $2 bid cap).
- Pause non-performing keywords (high-impression, low CTR).
- Add negative keywords by using the search terms report.
- Pause generic keywords (and make sure there aren’t single word keywords in your account).
- Group your keywords into tightly themed ad groups. This allows for more relevant ad copy and will help raise quality score (which in-turn will help lower your cost per click).
- Develop calls to action on ads.
- Leverage match types (remove all broad match keywords).
- Bid on your brand terms (brand terms have high CTR’s).
- Create a filter to show all low quality score keywords (< 3) and remove them. However, if select keywords are important to your organization, try to improve the quality score before removing.
Implementing these changes may seem daunting, but they are doable!
Google does allow you to pause your AdWords campaign and use AdWords Express instead. We don’t recommend this because Adwords Express is a watered down version of Adwords; the system automatically structures your account and makes it nearly impossible to have any control over keywords bids, not to mention how your grant is allocated. Instead, pause your account temporarily and go through our recommendations before activating again.
Whether you need help better understanding these new requirements or implementing these tactics in your account, please contact us today for an Adwords review and consult. And if none of this made sense to you, that may mean it’s time for your nonprofit to learn how Adwords can increase your reach. We can help with that too.
– Rob Humphreys, Digital Marketing Consultant