Google Grant accounts are a great opportunity for non-profit charity organizations which do not have a budget for marketing activities. For those who have never heard of Grant accounts before: Google gives a monthly budget of $10,000 USD to non-profit organizations to set up and run their campaigns in AdWords. For charities which are reliant on donations and invest all their contributions into helping others, this is a valuable support to reach a wider audience.

Overcoming the limitations of a AdWords grant account

Unfortunately, there are limitations for this type of campaign which can make it hard to reach a good overall performance. Not only are these accounts restricted to search campaigns and do not allow display or video, they also limit your maximum cost-per-click (max. CPC) to $2. In other words: once you’ve reached the cap of $2, you cannot increase your bids any further and are not able to push your ads by spending more money. Being limited in the max. CPC for your keywords and ad groups can be quite a big hurdle, especially in the competitive field of charities. However, there are a few other ways you can get the best out of your Grant account without even touching your bids.

Ensure your Ads are relevant

One way is to make sure your ads are relevant. This might sound pretty obvious, but you won’t believe how often it is ignored by marketers. “Relevant” hereby means to include your keyword in the ad copy and make sure it matches the message of your ads and eventually the service or organization you want to advertise. This way you can ensure that a user who is looking for someone like you can really find you. For example, if someone searches for “donations for poor children” and your ad shows up trying to get donations for cancer patients, this wouldn’t be considered to be very relevant. Your potential supporters need to clearly understand which kind of organisation you are and what you want them do for you.

Focus on a high quality score

A second possibility to improve your Grant account is to always focus on reaching a high Quality Score, which is affected by your ad relevancy, the expected click-through-rate and your landing page. While the expected click-through-rate is calculated by Google, the user friendliness of your landing page is fully in your hands. If your website contains many sub-pages, find the one which reflects the message of your ads at best. Try to take up a user perspective to know what your landing page should provide. Does it include all necessary information? Is it clearly structured and easy to read, not only for the user but also for Google? Does it contain a call-to-action? Keeping all this in mind will help to improve the quality of your landing page and eventually boost your Quality Score.

Add negative keywords

Adding negative keywords is another alternative to improve your performance. While it is certainly important to find the right keyword to reach your audience, it is almost equally important to find those which you do not want to target. Excluding certain keywords helps to avoid irrelevant traffic on your website and focus on quality, not quantity. It might look great to have many clicks and a high CTR, but if your conversions remain zero, it’s probably not the right kind of people clicking on your ads. With the ‘search terms’ section in the keywords tab, AdWords offers an easy way to track which user queries triggered your ad. Find those which you do not consider to be relevant and add them as negative keywords to prevent your ad from showing.

Use Ad extensions

One last method is to boost your ad with ad extensions. They come at no extra cost, but provide lots of extra information for the user. More information and options to click in turn lead to a higher chance for the user to find what they are looking for. AdWords offers a wide range of ad extensions, however you may find these three to be a bit more useful than others. ‘Sitelinks’ are probably the most popular ones as they let your ad appear much larger and offer different sub-topics a user might be interested in. ‘Call extensions’ are especially useful for mobile users as with only one click they can call you straight away to enquire more about your organization or ways of supporting you. Finally, with ‘call-outs’ you can state in a few buzzwords what makes your organization unique. In general, you can use as many ad extensions as you want. Google will not always show all of them, however will rate it positively if you set them up.

Grantspro – the reward for a successful AdWords grant strategy

Spending time and effort on your Grant account definitely pays off: Grant accounts which fulfill certain criteria, like a high CTR, regular account optimisations and a monthly spend of $9,000 USD for two months within the last half year can apply for the Grantspro program. This upgrade lifts your budget from $10,000 USD to $40,000 per month in appreciation of the work you’ve invested into your advertising thus far and in hope that you will continue to make the best use of their channel for the betterment of your organization.

Using AdWords grant accounts successfully

Keeping the above in mind, the little boundaries that Google gives you for your Grant account shouldn’t bother you any longer. Relevant ad copies, a high Quality Score, negative keywords as well as ad extensions will make sure that your ad is of high quality. Setting up your account like this and optimising it frequently will let you keep up with your competitors and get the best results for your non-profit organisation.

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One Response

  1. Nice post Janina! To quickly add: if someone is looking for info about the Google Grant options available to non-profits, they should check out http://reefdigital.com.au/blog/videos/rapid-immersion-google-ad-grants-get-up-to-10k-free-spend-monthly/

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