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Google Grants Increases Max CPC bid to $2

by Robert Coats on January 25, 2013

Big news from Google Grants today as they sent out emails to grantees notifying them that major changes to the program would go into effect this January.

From the email:

First, as of January 28, 2013, Google Grantees may bid up to $2.00 USD on keywords. This is an increase from the previous CPC bid cap of $1.00 USD and may allow your ads to enter auctions previously unavailable at the $1.00 bid cap. Second, to balance the interests of businesses who pay to advertise on Google search, your ads will now appear below the ads of traditional AdWords advertisers.

If anyone needs help getting their Google Grant accounts prepared for the upcoming changes, (or applying for the Google grant) feel free to reach out to me for Google Grants help.

For those that are not familiar with Google grants, it provides up to $10,000 per month in free AdWords advertising to qualified nonprofits. You can learn more about the program at the official Google grants website or on our Google Grants overview page.

Also, feel free to contact me with any questions about the program and I will be glad to answer them for you.


1/28 – Many grantees are reporting that they are unable to increase their bids to the new $2 bid cap – I just spoke with the Google Grants team and they said that the changes are rolling throughout the day so grantees should be able to make the CPC increase to $2 fully by tomorrow.

1/28 – Most Grantee ad positions remained unchanged for now, as well. Several of my nonprofit clients have ads appearing in the top positions for competitive terms.

1/28 Noon PST – Changes to the max bid cap are now going through for many accounts.

1/29 – Most grantees not only survive the first day of changes but thrived with increased impressions and clicks.

1/29 10am PST – The Google Grants team shares a message about the recent program changes on the Google Grants Help Forum .



  1. Ryan permalink

    Google grants is such a sham. You realize that they are introducing artificial inflation into adwords….and that after 1 month all the net benefit to non-profits will be erased?

    Think about it – if everyone can bid $2 with free money, on any term….CPC’s will rise across the board. Ever since they launched grants you cannot find ANY keywords with less than $1 CPC.

    The real unfortunate part is that non-profits spend a lot of money to take advantage of grants, and end up getting very little return for the efforts.

  2. Hi Ryan,
    Thank you for your comment and your perspective. From the sounds of it you have never used Google grants or you have never had much success with it.

    Google Grants is hardly a “sham”. There are thousands of nonprofits around the world who have been able to get the word out about their charity and have been able to reach their mission goals thanks to the Google Grants program. The Google Grants program has made it possible for nonprofits to reach a much larger audience and increase their efforts to do everything from share artistic works, build communities, feed hungry, save animals, provide clean water, cloth children and build schools, plus so much more. To say that Google Grants has helped nonprofits to impact and save lives would hardly be over-stating it.

    Yes, it is true that many nonprofits struggle to find success with Google Grants, but that is because not everyone has the expertise or time to effectively manage an AdWords campaign. That is not a fault of the program, it is just a simple fact and it is something that even paid advertisers run into.

    The same applies to many things in life. For example, racing; I am a good driver but if you put me in a race car, I am going to come in at the bottom half of the racers. It is not the fault of the race car that I lost the race (after all it has the same type of engine and tires as the cars of those that won the race) but it is because I am not a professional race car driver.

    I am, however, a professional AdWords manager and when it comes to AdWords, I win. I have taken nonprofits that were barely spending $150 a month and have helped them to fully max out their $10,000 a month budget and then move up to the GrantsPro level of $40,000 per month. No sham, just expert AdWords management.

    Cream will always rise to the top; the rest will sink to the bottom. The same is true of AdWords and the Google grants program. Those that manage it well will be successful, those that do not will merely blame the system, complain that it doesn’t work and call it a sham.

  3. Hello Robert,

    I would like to know if you have seen a change on trafic since this changes. I manage 1 account of Google Grant, and since february the traffic is going lower and lower. I have called the Adwords people and they told me to check the messages, but i dont get to stop the traffic. Have you notice something since january or february?

  4. Hi Alex, Thanks for the question. There can be a lot of reasons for a decrease in traffic in an AdWords account and especially with a Google Grants account that is limited by its max CPC. For the grant acounts that I manage, some of them have seen a decrease in traffic but this has more to do with the fact that they are already maxing out budget and the new bid increase (along with displaying below paid advertisers) has resulted in fewer clicks but still maxing out the budget. Other accounts have benefited from the increase and I believe that overall, the increase to a $2 Max CPC was a positive thing for Grantees.

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