Laptop work space image and title about Bidding Strategy for Google Ad GrantsAs of the beginning of the year, Google has implemented some policy changes to the Google Ad Grants program. There is one policy change that is affecting account performance in a major way. The Maximize Conversions bidding strategy has finally given Google Ad Grant managers the opportunity to be a little more competitive with non Grant AdWords customers $2 maximum keyword bid. This comes with some pluses and minuses.

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Of course the first plus is removing the $2 maximum keyword bid. This has long been a frustration for many of the Ad Grants advertisers. As keyword costs continue to creep up, this works against the Ad Grants customers leaving them no room to bid competitively for some of their most relevant keywords. When the bidding strategy is changed to Maximize for Conversions, Google takes control of the maximum CPC bid.

On “paper” this sounds helpful. Not having to worry about bids and Google optimizing to get you the most conversions for your free ad spend. But what happens when your keyword was getting some decent activity… lots of clicks and generating conversions, and then this happens…

Google Ad Grants CPC graphs showing a decline in clicks and CPC

How can you generate conversions when you can only get 3-6 clicks a day blowing through your budget so expeditiously?

Google clearly did not consider the outcome of letting a good portion of the 35,000 Ad Grants accounts move to Maximize for Conversions and now compete with one another. Are we all paying $100 a click on a term like “volunteer opportunities” even with local targeting? We find that hard to believe that this is functioning properly. Many Ad Grants managers have seen these incredible increases in their CPCs.

Chart showing increase in Google Ad Grant CPC costs

What Should You Do?

Our recommendation is wait for the dust to settle. Go back to manual bidding on these over-inflated terms. We suspect you were probably doing it well before these policy changes.

On a positive note, we have seen some campaigns move over the $2 max and closer to $3. This is on much more specific terms related to the organization. It makes sense that these terms would get more in line with what they ought to be competing with — not seeing conversions necessarily but definitely seeing ad positions improve.

So the jury is still out on the Maximize for Conversions bidding strategy for the sole purpose of being able to get past the $2 max bid. Perhaps Google will make the appropriate back-end keyword auction adjustments. For now we are testing a mix of bidding strategies. We recommend you do the same.

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