The Ultimate Guide to the Google Grants Dashboard

What Is The Google Grants Dashboard?

In December 2019, Google launched the live “Google Ad Grants Account Review Dashboard”! This replaces the monthly compliance report that was previously emailed to grantees. You can find your dashboard here. The purpose of the new Google Grants Dashboard is to display an overview of account health in real time. It offers transparency and guidance on how to run a high-quality Google Ad Grant account.

However, while the Google Grants Dashboard can be a great tool, it may also be overwhelming. Read on for an in-depth guide to help you decode what the new Google Grants Dashboard is telling you.

Decoding The Google Grants Dashboard

The dashboard contains a series of tables that use symbols to annotate compliance status in a variety of categories.

 A red cross means action is needed, and the account needs work in a specific area. Google provides links beneath each table listing the requirements to resolve these issues. We will also discuss each topic below.

A dash means the category is not applicable (N/A).

A green checkmark means no action is needed. Your account is compliant in this area!

Section 1: Summary

The first section of the Google Grants Dashboard is a summary of your current overall Ad Grants account status, grouped into 5 categories:

Account Policy Compliance: This section shows whether your account is compliant (green checkmark) or noncompliant (red cross) with Ad Grant policies.

  • If your account is non-compliant, jump to Section 2: Compliance Policies and address any issues there. Failure to do so may result in your account being suspended.

Account Best Practices Adoption: The barometer icon shows whether your account has a high, mid, or low level of adopted best practices. Following the recommendations will help you get the most out of your Grant.

  • To raise the bar of your adoption barometer, review items in Section 3: Best Practices.

Account Quality Above Average: “Account quality” refers to how relevant your account is to users who are shown your ads. This metric directly relates to your keywords.

Section 1 of the google grants dashboard

Approved Domains: These are the domains that you are permitted to use in your Google Ads. Keep in mind that by default, you’re only allowed to promote the domain you used in your application. If you want to promote to other domains that you own, fill out this form to request an additional domain.

Your Website Is Secure: Secure websites are becoming more and more important. A website secured with HTTPS protects data sent by you and your users.

  • If you see a red cross here, you will need to implement HTTPS as soon as possible to avoid suspension. Learn more about website compliance and HTTPS in our recent blog post. .

Section 2: Compliance Policies

Section 2 of the Google Grants Dashboard gives you a snapshot of your account’s compliance with Google Ad Grants policy. Failure to comply may result in account suspension or possible removal from the Ad Grants program. 

Section 2 of the Google Grants Dashboard

Conversions: As Google continues to refine their Ad Grants policies, they’ve placed a heavy emphasis on proper conversion tracking. While it used to be acceptable to just track website engagement conversions such as time spent on site or pages visited in a session, Google now requires grantees to track more ‘meaningful’ touchpoints. This entails conversions such as donations, purchases, newsletter sign-ups, information requests, or calls. Tracking meaningful conversions allows you to quantify the impact of your grant account. Furthermore, it allows you to use the most effective Smart Bidding strategies to increase overall performance. Accounts created after January 1, 2018, must have valid conversion tracking or risk suspension.

Bidding: To ensure your account is making a meaningful impact, Ad Grants policy requires that accounts use conversion-based Smart Bidding strategies across all campaigns. If your account has conversion tracking enabled, this process is also an easy way to boost performance.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, be sure to address the conversion column before changing bidding strategies. We recommend using the “Maximize Conversions” bidding strategy.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR): Google Ad Grants accounts must maintain a 5% overall click-through rate each month. Click-through-rate is calculated by clicks divided by impressions. It represents  the ratio of users who click on the ad to the total number of users who have been served an ad. For example, if your ad had five clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 5%.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, consider pausing keywords with a high number of impressions but few clicks. This will increase the average CTR of all keywords. 

Account Structure: Accounts must have at least two ad groups per campaign, each containing highly relevant keywords. Campaigns must also have two ad variations per ad group, and these ads should direct users to relevant landing pages.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, invest time in restructuring. This will not only reduce your risk of account suspension but could also boost performance. 
Section 2 of the google grants dashboard

Location Settings: If you have a red cross in this section, check your campaigns’ geo-targeting settings to ensure that your ads are only showing in locations where users will find them useful and relevant.

Ad Extensions: Sitelink extensions, or links with short descriptions that may appear underneath your ads, give users more opportunities to click directly from your ad to different pages on your website. Sitelinks increase account performance and generate more conversions.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, add a minimum of two sitelink extensions to your account. 

Survey Submitted: All grantees must complete an annual program survey.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, the link to the survey can be found here.
Section 2 of the google grants dashboard

Does Not Have Single or Generic Keywords: The Ad Grants program’s mission-based policy does not permit single-word keywords. Some exceptions are allowed, such as the name of your brand and approved medical conditions (find the full list of exceptions here).

  • If you have a red cross in this section, we recommend creating a filter to remove any single keywords. Navigate to the keyword level of your account and filter for ‘keyword text’ ‘does not contain’. In the text box, enter a single space to see a list of single keywords in the account. Select all applicable keywords and pause them. 

Does Not Have Keywords With A Quality Score Of 1 – 2: Google ranks keywords, assigning each one with a ‘Quality Score’ from 1 to 10. This quality score is based on the relevance of your keywords, to your ads and landing pages. To ensure high-quality scores, choose keywords that are highly relevant to your campaign’s ads and landing page.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, we recommend setting up an automated rule. Google has an excellent video that explains how to set up an automated rule that pauses low-quality keywords automatically. 

Section 3: Best Practices

This section of the Google Grants Dashboard is based on the behaviours that Google has observed in top-performing nonprofits. Best practices are recommendations beyond the minimum policies of the Google Ad Grants program. While they aren’t mandatory, implementing them will help you get the most out of your Ad Grant.

Section 3 of the google grants dashboard

Conversions: As stated in Section 2, conversion tracking is one of the most important aspects of Google Ads.

Bidding: Grantees have a $2 bid limit when using manual bidding strategies. By using Google’s automated conversion-based bid strategies, you are no longer restricted to the $2 limit. Automated strategies include ‘Maximize Conversions,’ ‘Target CPA,’ and ‘Target ROAS’.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, consider implementing automated Smart Bidding strategies. For more on Smart Bidding, read through Google’s explaination here.

Has Enough Keywords Per Account: As a general best practice, this checks to see if there are at least 50 keywords in your account.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, use the keyword planner tool to discover keywords relevant to specific campaigns and either create or assign them to an ad group. 

Tracking Different Values: Not all conversions are equal. Some are worth more than others—specifically goals with dynamic values, such as donations and purchases. If you assign values to your conversions, you’ll be able to gauge the direct monetary value driven by your ads, rather than only the number of conversions. This will allow you to identify and focus on the highest-value conversions. If your website shows the specific values of each conversion and users are not redirected to a separate thank you page after each transaction, use Google Analytics’ Ecommerce tracking or Google Ads’ Transaction-specific conversion values to track the dynamic values. 

Attribution Model: Google Ads credits the source of a completed conversion. It does this by following a user’s path toward that conversion. For example, a user may click one of your ads, leave, return later through a link in your newsletter, and then finally convert after clicking your Facebook ad. You can choose from a few different attribution models to tell the platform how to distribute the credit. Google is encouraging grantees to move away from the ‘last click’ model. This model attributes 100% of a conversion to the last click in the user’s journey. In the example above, the Facebook ad would get 100% of the credit for the conversion.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, we recommend using the ‘position-based’ model. This  gives 40% of the credit to the first and last interactions, and distributes 20% to the interactions in between. In the example above, Google Ads would get 40% of the credit for the conversion. 

Extended Attribution Window: The default conversion window is 30 days. This means that you will track any conversions attributed to your ad within 30 days of a user’s first click. However, many conversions may require a longer consideration cycle.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, we recommend changing your attribution window to 90 days. You can modify this window in Google Ads by navigating to Tools & Settings, clicking ‘Conversions,’ and then editing each conversion goal. 

Has A Good Cost Per Action (CPA): You can calculate Average Cost per Action (CPA) by dividing the total cost of conversions by the total number of conversions. For example, if your ad receives two conversions, one that cost $2 and one that cost $4, your average CPA for those conversions is $3. Reviewing and evaluating your cost per action (CPA) is a good metric to understand how effective your campaigns are. Generally, a lower CPA will help you stretch your budget further.

  • If you have a red cross in this section, consider taking actions to lower your CPA, such as setting up meaningful conversion tracking, increasing CTR by ensuring your ads are compelling and highly relevant, and providing an excellent post-click landing page experience

The Google Grants program requires monitoring and optimization to remain compliant and get the best results. The Google Grants Dashboard is a great tool to help you with this, but if it seems daunting, consider getting in touch for a free consult of our professional Google Ad Grants management service.

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About Conversion Tracking

What is a conversion?

A conversion is defined as any action a user takes on your website that you deem valuable. For some, this is a donation, for others it’s a registration.

Why track conversions?

Tracking conversions is essential to the success of any digital marketing effort. If you don’t understand what actions are leading to growing your impact, you can’t effectively make the right decision to optimize for them.

How we track conversions

Our team will install and implement platforms such as Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to track and assess these metrics. Our best practices with this valuable data enables us to optimally manage your account.

The Role Of Your Account Manager

What is an Account Manager?

Each one of our clients is matched with a Dedicated Account Manager (AM), who is both your digital marketing expert and main point-of-contact.

What is their expertise?

Upon joining ConnectAd, all AMs go through an extensive training & certification program before managing nonprofit accounts. Additionally, AMs go through further training each week as part of our culture of learning so that they can continue to develop their skill set.

As a result, AMs become proficient in multiple areas of digital marketing to the benefit of our clients.

A $499 Setup Fee May Apply

Before you apply for the Google Ad Grant, nonprofits require:

  1. Access to an approved Techsoup account
  2. Access to an approved Google for Nonprofits account
If you have both of the above, we will waive the $499 setup fee and complete the rest of the Google Ad Grants application process on your behalf. If you already have the Google Grant but lost administrative access or has been deactivated, we will apply this fee toward helping you getting your account back and reactivated.

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