The Google Ad Grant Program is an amazing opportunity that every qualified nonprofit should be taking advantage of. In the program, Google provides nonprofits with $10,000 per month in free advertising on the Google Search platform.
Once you have qualified for the program there are a few ways things can go sideways and even get your account suspended.
In 2018, Google made changes to the Google Ad Grant Program and there are new guidelines that nonprofits must follow to remain eligible:
Please read our full summary of the Google Ad Grant Program policy changes for 2018.
As of 2018, this is actually now a violation of the Google Ad Grant Program. You must have at least 2 ads running in each ad group. Even if that were not the case, this is still a best practice for running Google Ads.
You want to constantly be testing ad copy to see what works best with your searchers and in your community. Always run 2 ads in a 50/50 split test and measure the results. Once you have enough data to declare one ad the winner, pause the other one and replace it with a new ad.
You want to evaluate the ads based on your click-through-rate and conversions.
This is a common mistake new advertisers make. Do not bid on terms like “events”, “events in [your town or city]” or “donations”. These terms are too broad. Your ad will be up against big competition for terms like these. Google is also restricting Ads Grant accounts from bidding on more generic and single-word keywords.
Instead of bidding on “events”, bid on “charitable events in [your town]”. This is a more specific search to what you are offering. Events could include fairs, festivals, car and motorcycle shows, tours, etc. Charitable events in York, PA however is both specific to an area and type of event and is going to more closely match your target market.
These more specific search terms also typically come with the added benefit of being cheaper to bid on.
You can spend all the time in the world tweaking your keywords, bids, ads, but if the page you are sending people too is not also optimized, you could be doing all of that for nothing.
Google does take notice of what people do once they get to your page, and if they notice that most people are leaving right away or not interacting with your page, they will be less likely to send people there in the future.
This can have a compounding effect impacting your entire account. It can be damaging to keyword quality scores which can cause your ads to show up in lower positions. Your ads showing in lower positions can lead to lower click-through-rates. As of 2018, if you do not maintain a minimum of 5% click-through-rates throughout your account, you can be suspended from the Google Ads Grant Program and lose the $10,000 in free advertising every month.
You also want to make sure your landing pages are converting your traffic. If you are advertising for more volunteers but not getting any signups, that could be a problem with the page you are sending people too. It is often a good idea to split test landing pages just like you split test ads.
I often talk to organizations and they tell me that they do not see a need to advertise for their brand name since they already rank #1 for brand related searches.
Advertising for brand related searches has two benefits. The first is that it prevents competitors from showing up #1 for search terms related to your brand and potentially taking away visitors.
The second benefit is that brand campaigns tend to have a very high click-through-rate. This improves the account quality score, but it also helps to offset poorer performing campaigns that have a lower click-through-rate.
As mentioned above, advertisers in the Google Ads Grant Program need to maintain a 5% CTR across their account. Brand campaigns we have run often see CTR’s of 15% and higher. Sometimes people skip ads, but many times they click on the first listing providing what they want.
Running a brand campaign can carry your CTR’s across the whole account to make sure you remain eligible for the grant.
Some businesses still choose not to use a brand campaign because they just do not want to pay for the clicks. For a nonprofit in this program, there is no reason not to do it. It’s free money.
If your marketing team has never run a Google Ads campaign before it can be a little daunting getting started. If you would like training, consulting, or full management of your campaign, then fill out this brief contact form and we will be in touch to discuss how we can help.
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