Another Look At Google Grants Changes

Yesterday we posted about positive changes to a Google Grant account with the use of CPA bidding. Those positive changes came after updates to the AdWords Ad Grants program which were announced back in December.

However, not all accounts respond the same to such changes. In another Google Grants account I also used the “Maximize Conversions” CPA bidding method on 3 of 4 campaigns (those with less than 5% CTR) starting on December 20th.

This is the data for the 6 weeks prior:

As you can see, the account-wide CTR is just under 3% (which had to change) with a steady flow of impressions, clicks, and conversions while still adhering to the $2 CPC limit. But we had to get the CTR up, so the bidding method was changed to “Maximize conversions” for Campaigns #1, #2 and #3 (the Experiment of Campaign #1 also used this bidding method, but limited each ad group to just 1 ad variation which was the current CTR champion). The Control campaign already had over 5% CTR so it was left on manual CPC.

Here is the data for the 6 weeks after the change:

Overall, it doesn’t appear so drastic.

  • There were 9,258 clicks before and 5,292 clicks after.
  • Impressions dropped by 1/2.
  • CTR only improved to 3.59%.
  • The only metric to show significant improvement was conversion rate.

However, the data from the first 4-5 weeks of the experiment water down the effect. Look at these charts of performance toward the end of January:

As the automated bidding began raising bids, the budget was being quickly exhausted and driving click and conversion volume down to Christmas Day levels.


Comparing the results from our example in the previous post to the example in this post, there are a couple possible theories:

  • Accounts seeing success with the $2 CPC may be incentivized to continue using this bidding method because the higher CPC can’t justify the lower volumes with a strict daily budget of $329.
  • Automated bidding doesn’t appropriately account for the budget limitation.

If you have a Google Grants campaign that is meeting the 5% CTR threshold and is utilizing more than $3K-$4K/month of the budget then I would recommend small-scale testing via an experiment. See if the trade-off with higher bids overcomes the potential loss of volume (and limit the daily campaign budget or it may eat the budget of currently successful campaigns).

Have you seen recent changes in your AdWords Ad Grants account? Do you have management tips? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.