Following an important update to the visibility of the components of ad rank, Google has announced on Google Ad Help support that as of June 2017, a quality filter will be in place on Ad Grant ads in the search auction.
The aim of the quality filter is to increase the quality of Ad Grant ads which, according to Google, is disproportionately low compared to standard paid ads. From the phrasing that Google have used, it appears that the quality filter will be a minimum required quality threshold to allow your ads to show. The minimum required level will be based on the standard of ads being shown in the country your ads are running.
At this stage, we are unsure if it is specifically an ads quality that will prevent it from being shown or whether it is the quality of an ad group, a campaign or the quality of an account as a whole. We have posted this question on the Google AdWords community forum, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to keep you updated*.
We have been expecting an update like this since March 2016, when Ben blogged about Google removing the ads from the right-hand side of the search results. He speculated that when removing the ads from the right-hand side, Google updated their algorithm, removing a penalty previously applied to Google Ad Grant accounts that resulted in an almost overnight improvement in average position for grant ads. Whilst no announcement was made, Ben suggested that Google might address this change in the future.
This could well be that response; somewhat later than expected.
We haven’t seen a decrease in traffic to our Grant accounts, but if you have then please get in touch as we would love to gain more insight into this quality filter. Until the impact of this quality filter can be seen more clearly, make use of the new quality score metrics to ensure your ads are of the highest possible quality and you, fingers crossed, should remain unaffected.
If you suspect you have received a penalty, are experiencing a drop in traffic or would like any more information on your Google Ad Grants then please get in touch.
*UPDATE: Google have confirmed that the components of quality score (expected click-through rate (CTR), ad relevance and landing page experience) will be used to determine if your ad passes the quality filter. To read the full post click here (https://support.google.com/grants/answer/7404558)