Charities that receive up to £7,450 worth of free advertising on Google every month could see their grants withdrawn under a new policy, a Shropshire internet marketing company has warned.
Google has changed its policy for charities using the free service – meaning that if charities do not meet a number of stringent requirements, their grant funding could be stopped.
The Google Ad Grants scheme is used by more than 35,000 charities globally, each allocated over £7,000 of free advertising every month.
But Google has announced that from January 1, 2018, all Ad Grants AdWords accounts must meet a number of key requirements, including achieving a five per cent click through rate (CTR) each month.
Helen Culshaw, of Ascendancy Internet Marketing based in Shifnal, said: “Charity accounts operate in a similar way to business accounts where a text ad is created to direct users to a website and these ads appear on Google when particular phrases are searched for.
“We have three charities as clients that currently use the grant and we are now in the process of auditing and overhauling their accounts to make sure they don’t lose their grants.”
Google have said they recognise there are reasons why CTR may fluctuate, so charities will be alerted through “in-product notifications” if their account is at risk of falling below five per cent CTR, with educational resources offered to help them improve.
However if the CTR requirement is not met for two consecutive months the guidance says the grant will be cancelled.
“Charities can request that their account be reinstated after it has been adjusted to bring it into compliance,” added Helen. “So there are things that can be done if a charity finds themselves with a cancelled account.
“There are keywords that cannot be used in charity accounts – those that Google believe are overly generic such as free video, today’s news, job alert and the names and places of historical events or people.
“Meeting Google’s new requirements for charities on an ongoing basis is challenging, and requires constant attention to the account and a strong knowledge of best practices.
“Our expectation is that many charities will find the new rules too difficult to meet, and will lose their free advertising grants as a result.”
For more information or advice on what to do if you are a charity currently using a free advertising account contact Helen on 01952 462845 or email [email protected]