Google Ads Grant Compliance – The Guide

The Google Ads Grant is a $10,000 search ads budget awarded to qualifying non-profit organisations.

The grant can be spent in Google Ads, where you can promote your organisation’s mission through paid search ads. These ads allow you to maximise the reach of your charity, and connect with those looking to donate, or use the services your organisation offers.

Whilst using a Google Grant account, there are a few things you need to do to remain within Google’s guidelines. This is important, as if your Grant account doesn’t adhere to Google’s policies, your account could be deactivated.

To help you keep hold of that Grant budget, this article will walk you through how to maintain your Google Ads grant compliance via your keywords, account structure, bidding and conversions.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide


The first thing to check when carrying out a Google Grants compliance audit is your keywords.

When checking your keywords, there are four things to look out for:

  • Single Keywords

In your Google Grants account, you must avoid adding single keywords.

For example, the word ‘charity’ is not permitted, but altering the keyword to be ‘children’s charity’ would be a compliant substitution.

You can root out single words by applying a filter to your enabled keywords. Filter by any keyword that does not contain a space in the keyword text.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If your keyword is either a brand keyword, or an approved medical condition, then it would be deemed as compliant.

  • Overly Generic Keywords

The next thing to check for is any overly generic keywords.

Genericness could be quite a difficult thing to gauge, so Google has suggested to use landing page experience as an indicator:

“If a keyword has a landing page experience below average, this indicates that users weren’t finding the content that they were looking for when they searched.”

Sorting your search keywords by landing page experience should give you a good starting point for identifying generic keywords.

Although, it’s important to remember, landing page experience could indicate something different, such as a slow site speed, so rule out these factors before altering your keywords.

  • Keywords With a Quality Score of 2 or Below

Keywords with a quality score of 2 or below go against Google’s Mission based policy. Any blank Quality Scores (those marked with a ‘—’), aren’t considered in this area.

To identify these keywords, you can either sort your keywords by Quality Score and fix them manually, or you can set up an automated rule to pause the offending keywords.

If you choose to use automation to keep on top of your Quality Score compliance, ensure you have email notifications for when keywords are paused. This way, you have the opportunity to identify and optimise the keywords with a non-compliant Quality Score.

  • Maintain a 5% Click Through Rate (CTR)

To remain compliant, your account must have a 5% total CTR each month. If your account CTR dips below 5% for 2 months in a row, your Ads account could be deactivated.

In your Google Ads account, you can check your account CTR on your keywords tab. If it starts to get close to 5%, a quick fix is to pause the keywords with the lowest CTRs until the account CTR is stronger. 

However, if you want to keep those keywords active, you need to head to the root of the problem. Identify the keywords that are pulling the CTR down and optimise the ads that they are associated with.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

Account Structure

Your account structure is also reviewed as part of policy enforcement. There is no minimum stipulation on the number of campaigns or keywords, but you must have:

  • 2 ad groups per campaign
  • 2 sitelink ad extensions per campaign

How you choose to implement this other than these minimum requirements, is up to you. For example, you may choose for your second ad group to consist of dynamic ads, rather than responsive search ads. Or, you may choose to apply at least two sitelinks to your account, rather than apply them to each campaign individually.

The only way to check that your account structure is compliant is by manually checking through your campaigns, ad groups and ads. Once this is done, you can upkeep it by structuring all future campaigns and ad groups with the minimum amount in mind.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

Location Settings

Although not outlined as a main compliance factor within Google’s guidelines, Google does specify that when setting up your campaigns, you need to be targeting only relevant locations. For example, if your organisation only provides services to people in the South of England, you need to ensure that your ads are showing only to people in that area.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

Location targeting can only be done on the campaign level. So, when organising your account, ensure that ads targeting different areas sit in different campaigns.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide


Again – not part of Google grant policy specifically – but effective bidding is a key part of managing Google Ads campaign.

Accounts that were created after the 22nd April 2019, that aren’t using Smart campaigns, must be using a conversion-based Smart bidding strategy on enabled campaigns. These include:

  • Maximise conversions
  • Maximise conversion values
  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS bidding

According to Google’s Account Management Policy, this recommendation is made to improve the performance of Grant accounts.

Failure to implement the recommended Smart bidding strategies, could result in your bid strategy being automatically updated to comply with regulation.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide


To ensure your account can use conversion-based Smart bidding, you must ensure conversions are set up correctly.

Accounts with functioning conversion tracking, should be reporting 1 or more conversions per month. If you’re not achieving this, check the conversion tracking you have in place and troubleshoot where necessary.

If you are already reporting conversions, you should also be on the lookout for an unusually high conversion rate. Google highlights that “Your total number of clicks should not nearly equate to your total number of conversions.”.

If you discover your conversions are through the roof, you need to check that your primary conversions are a meaningful action for your organisation.

Actions such as donations, newsletter sign ups, contact forms etc. are all forms of conversion actions that are ideal for Grant accounts.

If you wish to track other things as a conversion, such as homepage visits, you can still do this – but they must be listed as secondary conversions. This means that they will be there for reporting purposes under ‘All conversions’, but won’t be used in Smart bidding.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

Programme Survey

The last one is arguably the easiest to comply with.

Once you’ve set up your Google Grant account, and then annually thereafter, you’ll be sent a programme survey. This survey is used by Google to “understand how your organisation uses and benefits from Ad Grants”.

The programme survey will be sent to your email for you to complete. When you complete the survey, it’s important to ensure your customer ID is correct, so that Google can match your submission to your account.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

In Summary

The Google Ads Grant presents an amazing opportunity for your organisation to expand their reach into paid search, without the added cost.

Keeping an eye on your keywords, bidding, conversions and account structure ensures you are compliant with Google’s policies, meaning you can focus on the goals of your organisation – connecting with potential supporters and people who need your services.

Navigating Google’s policies whilst also maximising the positive impact of the Google Grant can be daunting and complex. So, if you’re looking for support with PPC management or Google Ads training, get in touch with our knowledgeable team at Atelier who can support you with your Google Ads Grant.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the qualifying criteria for receiving the Google Ads Grant?

There are three requirements for receiving the Google Ads Grant.

  1. Your organisation must be an eligible non-profit
  2. Your organisation must have a high quality website that adheres to Google’s website policy#
  3. The organisation must be able to comply with the Google Grant policies

Can I use the grant on display or video ads?

No, the Google Ads Grant can only be spent on search ads. For any other type of ad, you will need to have a regular non-grant account. As a charity you can have a separate account to allow you to still be able to run display and video ads.

What are paid search ads?

Google’s paid search ads are made up of text, and appear with a ‘Sponsored’ label at the top of the results page after a Google search.

What happens if I forget to optimise the account and I lose the grant?

If your account is deactivated, you must first fix the issues in the account that are causing it to not comply with policy. You can then put in a request to have your account reinstated.

It’s important to note, that continual violation of Google policy can lead to an account being permanently suspended.

How can I check my landing page experience?

You can check your landing page experience by going to your ‘Keywords’ tab, and selecting ‘Search Keywords’. Using the ‘Columns’ button, add ‘Landing Page Experience’ to your table view. Then, sort your keywords from highest to lowest experience, and check for any that are categorised as ‘Below Average’.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

How can I improve my landing page experience?

Landing page experience is a measure designed to indicate how well the landing page serves the searchers needs.

You can improve your landing page experience by:

  • Ensuring your search keywords and ad copy match what appears on the landing page
  • Make the landing page easy to navigate
  • Improve the speed of your landing page

How can I check the Quality Score for my keywords?

You can check the Quality Score of your keywords, by heading to the ‘Keywords’ tab, and selecting ‘Search Keywords’. Using the ‘Columns’ button, add ‘Quality Score’ to the table. Then, sort your keywords from highest to lowest Quality Score, and check for any that are rated as a 1/10 or 2/10.

Google Ads Grant Compliance - The Guide

How can I improve my Quality Score?

Quality Score is made up of three factors: keyword relevance, expected CTR and landing page experience.

Improve your keyword relevance by including your keywords in your ad copy, and making sure the keywords in your ad group are all closely related to one another.

Check your Expected CTR by adding it as a column in your keyword table view. Ads with a good CTR have engaging and specific ad copy with a strong call-to-action (CTA).

If your landing page experience is below average, check the speed, ease of navigation and the presence of search keywords and optimise your landing page where necessary.

What are common causes of a low click through rate (CTR)?

Common causes of a low CTR include:

  • Headlines and descriptions are not compelling enough
  • There is no clear CTA in the ad copy
  • Your ads do not meet the search intent of the keywords you are targeting

What are dynamic search ads?

Dynamic search ads are text ads that use your website content to automatically target keywords that Google detects as relevant. You only input descriptions for dynamic search ads, as Google also generates headlines and landing pages (unless you’ve specified specific URLs) that match the users search query.

What are responsive search ads?

For a responsive search ad, you specify a minimum of 3 headlines, a minimum of 2 descriptions and the landing page. Google will display the headlines and descriptions that it predicts will best serve the search query for that user. In this ad format, you tell Google the search keywords that you want your ad to show for.