If you haven’t already, you need to take advantage of Google Ad Grants. Google offers a monthly in-kind gift of $10,000 to registered nonprofits to use towards ad campaigns. It’s a reasonably easy grant to get, and when used correctly, it can be a great way to find potential volunteers and donors.
Using keywords, your nonprofit can run unlimited awareness and donation appeal campaigns that pop up when someone searches your targeted keyword. Google Ads will always hold the top spots in their search engine, generating over 300 million clicks a day! In short, Google Ad Grants are a terrific free resource that can help nonprofits get noticed through Google search.
It’s important to note that you will need staff time to dedicate to manage the grant. Carefully read the guidelines and research other organization’s experiences. There are several guidelines you must meet, particularly, you must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month (at the account level, not necessarily each keyword) , and if you miss this benchmark for two months in a row your account will be temporarily deactivated. Google doesn’t want you to "set and forget” your AdWords, but actively use it to further your cause. This CTR rate will take work to maintain it.
So whether you’re looking to reach a broader audience for your charity or promote a specific event or program, we outlined our top tips to help get your ad campaigns started.
1.Drive More Traffic Using Keywords
Google Ad Grants will gift you a lot of money, up to $10,000, to be exact! To use up most of your AdWords grant, you're going to have to run a lot of ads. Do this by creating a variety of ads with different landing pages targeting relevant keywords for each.
Discover keywords by thinking about what your ideal donor would search and how it relates to your nonprofit. Maybe they are looking for a dog to adopt or a food bank in their community. What would they type into Google to search for those terms? An excellent place to start looking for AdWords is your website, as it has a ton of great destination pages for your Google Ad Grant Search ads to lead to. Find your most popular pages and set up ads specifically for them.
Think about what that webpage is about and how it would answer some of the web's most searched questions. Use Google’s Keyword Planner
to find the best keywords and phrases, making a note of each word’s search volume and performance. Use these insights to choose a list of keywords to optimize your ads.
2.Focus Ads On Conversions
Engagement and traffic are great, but you also want to drive revenue. Do this by targeting ads for donations, fundraising programs or events, then utilize a strong call to action by being specific, using the name of your charity in the title.
Ad Grants is a great tool to drive traffic to your site, but much of the magic happens on our webpages. Set up your website to convert traffic from your Google Ad Grants into donations by incorporating features like a donation button in your header, a call to action on your information pages and filling your site with donor-centric messages.
Pay close attention to how you define a conversion within your account. Make sure it is something that makes sense for your users who are looking for you online, for example, a click through vs. a phone call.
3.Take advantage of Google’s Optimization Tools
Google is a sophisticated advertising platform that applies the latest machine learning technology to improve strategic bidding, ad relevance and ad conversions. It offers real-time recommendations based on machine learning to improve your ads’ optimization score, while the Performance Planner makes it easy to predict potential returns on your ads.
Smart bidding looks are data from all the campaigns in your account to make informed predictions based on past performance data. Learn more about Google’s AI on their support page
4. Automatically Set Bids
Automating your bids with Google Ads can save you a lot of time. You can maximize conversions in your Bidding Strategy to get the most out of your budget. It identifies which keywords are likely to create the desired action and will bid more towards those compares to others. You can automatically activate this feature in the settings tab
of your campaign.
However, you can only spend two dollars per click. Digital Marketing Specialist Steven Aguiar came on the Fundraising Superheroes Podcast recently and explained that there is a lot that goes behind Google’s AdWords Program.
Steven Explains, "Ten thousand dollars a month in free search advertising sounds great, but there are actually many strings attached. Google has a much higher sort of expectations or standards for companies that run. You have to have certain things right about your account structure to ad groups in every campaign, to ads, in every ad, in every ad group. The other thing to keep in mind is that if you're optimizing your campaign for clicks, you can't spend more than two dollars per click.”
Listen to our full interview below for more tips and expert advice on using Google's Ad Grant!
5) Avoid Smart Campaigns
Formerly known as Google AdWords Express, Smart Campaigns is a stripped back version of Google Ads that are easier to use. Although Smart Campaigns offer a highly simplified campaign experience, it sacrifices access to many features that make Google Ads so powerful. It also hides access to valuable campaign reporting data that helps inform your ad strategy.
So before jumping into Smart Campaigns, take the time to familiarize yourself with the full version of Google Ads through Google’s learning center to take advantage of the full suite of ad management and reporting features. If using Google Ads still seems daunting, it may be wise to have a volunteer, staff or agency help with your Google Ad campaigns. Remember that you will need to invest in continually managing your account, so ensure that you have long-term resources dedicated to it!
Google's ad grants provide an amazing advertising opportunity that is worth investing in. Having a dedicated person to manage your ad campaigns will ensure it is getting the attention it deserves and help reap the most rewards from your work.
In addition to using the tips listed above, we highly recommend you check out Google's website for more information and to see if you can qualify for Google Ad Grants. Some qualifications include:
- You hold a valid charity status. Governmental entities and organizations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, academic institutions, and universities are not eligible for Google for Nonprofits, but educational institutions’ philanthropic arms are eligible.
- Acknowledge and agree to Google’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.
- Have a high-quality website that meets the Ad Grants website policy.
- Get approved through the Ad Grants pre-qualification process after enrolling your organization in Google for Nonprofits,
- In addition to the qualifications above your nonprofit also needs to follow the program's policies. Make sure you go through the qualifications carefully to know if you can take advantage of Google's Ad Grants.
Good luck, and happy fundraising!