Google Adwords Changes Badly Affect Charities

How will Google’s change in Ad display effect Ad Grants charities?


Google Ad Grants for charities have been helping non profit organisations make more from their PPC campaigns for a few years now. But are the recent changes to how adverts are displayed on Google searches going to damage charities more than anyone else?

How Google Ads have changed


Only last month Google announced that they were to get rid of the adverts that are displayed on the right hand side of search results. We can’t say that this came as much of a surprise.


Firstly, as we progress towards a mobile dominated surfing environment, websites need to now be built for mobile devices first and foremost. As such, sidelined content is becoming a thing of the past. By removing the right hand side adverts across the board they can now create a similar user experience on both desktop and mobile.


Secondly, with a reduction in the amount of advertising spaces offered, Google hope to improve the quality of links adverts delivered to users. By removing additional links and increasing the price of the remaining advertising spaces, it should follow that the adverts produced will become more relevant.


All of which we can’t argue with. Better user experience and less advertising. Sign us up! But what does this mean for companies, such as charities, whose PPC budgets are considerably less than their large competitors?

How will the Adwords changes affect charities?

Cost Per Click (CPC)

With the Google Ad Grants, the maximum a charity can bid per click is only $2. This was already a pretty sizeable limitation given that most relevant keywords would come in at a considerably larger sum. That’s beside the fact that it’s pretty hard to spend a budget of $10,000 when you can only bid $2 per click.


We Think


With less space to advertise, we’re anticipating a rise in the CPC of the more generic keywords, as well as the more unique ones. However, smartly crafted keyword campaigns ought to be focused on long tail keywords that are highly targeted to their audience. Charities will need to get a bit more savvy when it comes to creating and executing campaigns.

Hopefully this might spell the end of the $2 cap which Ad Grants users are pinned to. But then that would mean a bigger loss in profit to Google… I suppose we will have to wait and see just how charitable they are.

Less Impressions

There’s no doubt about it. With there only being 7 advertising spaces on offer now, compared to the 11 there were previously, your impressions are going to be down. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Christopher Whalen at Torchbox has been studying the affects on his clients’ PPC accounts since the changes began. He has found that whilst his impressions are down by an average of 6%, the click-through-rate is up by 18%.


We Think


A better click-through-rate wins out any single day. Anyone who tells you that you’re creating awareness with impressions on the right hand side is either lying to you or, even worse, they actually believe it.

Advert Positions

A study on the positions of Ad Grants adverts found that less than 50% of impressions were coming in the top positions on the page. Now that the right hand side bar has gone, this is up to 64% – a considerable increase.


We Think


Whilst this is a huge improvement, it’s an obvious one. The only place adverts can be displayed is either at the top or the bottom of the page. However, in order to secure the top PPC positions, charities will need to start looking at how to best optimise their Adwords campaigns. Competition is about to get stiffer.

Read Our Ultimate Ad Grants Guide


Philip Likos-Corbett

Information Architect

The smartest, best looking and most captivating guy at Spot Studio, Philip also writes these biographies.