In early 2018 nonprofits found their Google Ad Grants management strategy needed to dramatically change in order to stay compliant with Google. This change happened when Google updated their Google Ad Grants Management Policy and started pausing accounts that didn’t comply.

These policy changes were created by Google as an effort to improve the quality of digital advertising as a whole and to forcibly teach new nonprofit ad managers how to successful with their ad platform.

Google Grants Management Policy Important Changes

Google has been pushing Google Ad Grants managers to optimize their non-profit accounts for the past three years. Google took action in January 2018 by informing nonprofit ad managers to change the following or they would be non-compliant:

  • No single word keywords
  • No overly generic keywords
  • No keywords with a quality score of 2 or less
  • Maintain a click-through rate of 5%
  • Must have valid conversion tracking

This list is manageable and can be easily maintained which is why Google made these part of the new policy. However, the last point on conversion tracking is the most important change to Google’s policy, because it is the first step towards conversion based bidding.

Keep reading to learn more about meaningful conversions conversion based bidding.

Meaningful Conversions

Google wants to ensure nonprofit accounts have at least one meaningful conversion in their list of conversions. A meaningful conversion in Google Grants management means tracking at least one meaningful action including:

  • Donation
  • Email capture
  • Newsletter signup
  • Contact form
  • Event registration

In addition, nonprofits must ensure actions that track monetary values are categorized under ‘purchase/sale’ and marked ‘yes’ in the conversion column.

However, if a nonprofit is focused on awareness, Google Grants management recommends implementing smart goals which use machine learning to track likely conversions.

“Smart Goals use machine learning to examine dozens of signals about your website sessions to determine which of those are most likely to result in conversions.”

When one meaningful conversion is in place, Google wants nonprofit managers to start testing conversion based bidding. Which is the last section of this blog.

Google Grants Management Conversion Based Bidding

Google has been pushing nonprofit Google Grants management towards conversion based bidding, which uses machine learning to maximize conversions within nonprofits $329/day budget to allow keyword bidding over the manual $2 CPC bid limit.

This form of conversion based bidding is called Maximize Conversions. Maximize Conversions is like Maximize Clicks in the sense it is automated and Google focuses on optimizing your ads for audiences who will most likely convert over clicking.

Switching over to Maximize Conversions is simple by following these steps from Google Ads Help:

  • Check that the campaign is not part of a shared budget. A campaign that uses Maximize conversions needs its own budget.
  • Check your daily budget amount. Maximize conversions will try to fully spend your daily budget, so if you’re currently spending much less than your budget, Maximize conversions could increase spend significantly.
  • Check your ROI goals. If you have an ROI goal for your campaign, such as a target cost-per-action (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS), you may want to switch to a Target CPA or Target ROAS bid strategy. Like Maximize conversions, these strategies automatically set bids for each auction, but the goal will be to achieve the average CPA or ROAS target you set, rather than spending your full budget to maximize conversions.

This paradigm shift from spending a nonprofit’s entire Google sponsored $10,000 monthly budget, towards a more accurate strategy of focusing on conversions is the future of Google Grants Management.


I hope this blog informs nonprofits on the importance of following Google Grants management policy and how to leverage conversion based bidding.

If you are a nonprofit and want to learn more about being successful with Google Grants new management policy. Holler At Us!


Brennan Grout
By Brennan Grout