Google has changed its policy for charities using its free advertising service – meaning that if charities do not receive enough clicks their accounts could be closed.
Charities that use Google’s Ad Grants scheme, more than 35,000 globally, are currently allocated $10,000 USD (£7,450) worth of free advertising each per month.
Charity accounts operate in the same way as commercial Adwords accounts where users create a text ad to direct users to their site and bid on keywords to appear in Google searches.
But now Google has announced that from 1 January 2018 all Ad Grants AdWords accounts must maintain a 5 per cent click-through rate (CTR) each month or face being cancelled.
Its new guidance says: “We recognise there are reasons why CTR may fluctuate, so you’ll be alerted through in-product notifications if your account is at risk of falling below 5 per cent CTR with educational resources offered to improve.
“If the CTR requirement isn't met for two consecutive months, your account will be cancelled. You may request your account to be reinstated after you’ve adjusted your keywords to bring your account into compliance.”
Google has also stopped permitting the use in charities’ adverts of overly generic keywords such as: “free videos”, “e-books”, “today's news”, “easy yoga”, “download games”, “job alert”, names of places and names of historical events or people.