In case you haven’t heard the news, there are new policies in effect that will govern the use of Adwords grant money. These new policies went into effect on January 1st and effect all accounts that use grant money. There are several changes that happened which everyone needs to be prepared for. I will go into those changes and some tips to deal with them but it seems like Google is making these changes to try and make people use the grant money a bit more responsibly.
You are no longer capped at a $2.00 bid limit on keywords as long as the campaigns those keywords are in are using the maximize conversions bid setting.
Things that aren’t allowed
You can’t bid on branded keywords the you do not own.
You can’t have keywords with a quality score lower than 2.
You can’t use overly generic keywords.
You can’t use single word keywords except for your own brand, this Adwords exceptions list, and some other medical conditions.
Other requirements moving forward
Your account and campaigns must utilize relevant geographic targeting. You can’t just target the entire world to spend money for the sake of spending money.
Each campaign must have a minimum of two ad groups. Each ad group must have a minimum of 2 active ads.
Your ads must utilize at minimum two sitelink extensions at all times.
Your account needs to maintain a minimum of a 5% CTR. If you miss this requirement two months in a row then the account is suspended until you can prove to Google that you have made necessary changes to become compliant again.
Tips For The Changes
Make sure you have a solid account structure moving forward. Campaigns, ad groups, and keywords should be tightly themed and relevant.
Pausing poor content
This seems obvious but an easy win would be to pause keywords with a quality score lower than 2 and/or keywords that have a low CTR %.
Make sure you have relevant geo targeting set up. The default geo targeting applied to new campaigns may not be relevant for you. Check this as it is an easy change.
Ad Copy & Extensions
Once you have a solid structure to your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords then you can write highly targeted ad copy. Include keyword language in your ads where you can to make the ad relevant to the user’s search. You could use a call to action to entice the user to click your ad as well. For ad extensions don’t just the minimum of 2 sitelinks. Use at least 4. In fact, utilize as many relevant ad extensions as possible. Ad extensions increase the likelihood of a click which in turn will help improve your CTR %.
Don’t be afraid to switch campaigns to maximize conversions. This will keep you from getting bid capped at $2.00 on keywords. You are going to have a hard time trying to outbid other businesses in your industry who aren’t capped at $2.00 because they aren’t using grant money. This is especially true for lead gen accounts.