The $1.00 CPC Limit

Monday, November 24, 2008 | 4:16 PM

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From time to time we receive questions about the $1.00 CPC limit within the Google Grants program. Today we are hoping to make this limit, and the reasoning behind the limit, a little more transparent.

What is the limit?

Google Grants accounts have a $1.00 maximum CPC bid. The $1.00 maximum bid is non-negotiable and should be sufficient for most keywords if you are maintaining a high enough click through rate (CTR). High CTRs are usually obtained by choosing highly relevant keywords in conjunction with closely related and engaging ads.

Why do we have the limit? Can I bid more?

All Google Grants accounts have their bids capped at one dollar ensuring a level playing field for all of the nonprofits in our program. Under no circumstances can this limit be raised, nor is it possible to supplement the $1.00 bid with your own funds in a Google Grants account. The only alternative to using a $1.00 bid is to open a paid AdWords account. For this reason we recommend that Google Grants recipients work to maintain high quality scores and also utilize less common/competitive keywords, which are more relevant to your organization.

Why are some of my keywords not generating any traffic?

If you see that your keywords are not performing well or not showing with a $1.00 CPC, it is likely that one of two things has happened:

1. The most common reason that grants recipients will obtain a poor quality score is due to a low click through rate (CTR) and other quality score factors.

Essentially, the Google algorithms are designed to show only the most relevant information for each search done on Google. This is because there is a limited amount of space on the search results page and the goal is to provide the user with the best and quickest search experience possible. If a certain keyword/ad combination is not performing well it will earn a low quality score and will rarely show ads.

2. Alternatively, you may be bidding on highly competitive keywords and finding that other advertisers' ads are outperforming your ads. This can happen if you have selected keywords that are very common such as "volunteer" or "donate." Likely, there are thousands of nonprofits that would like to show ads for those terms and only 10-12 ad slots on the first page of Google's search results. Therefore, all other factors being equal, only the top 10-12 best performing ads with the highest quality scores will show.

How can give my keywords the best opportunity to succeed within this limit?

Optimization is the best way to increase your keyword's performance without increasing your CPC. To learn how to optimize your account, see the Optimization Tips page in our Help Center. If optimization does not help, you may also want to choose less competitive, more specific keywords for your account.