Many nonprofits are intimidated by the process of getting and maintaining the Google Ad Grant, which provides $10,000 of Google Ad money to the benefit of your nonprofit organization. However, acquiring the Grant is simple enough, and to maintain the grant, your organization must only meet Google’s basic requirements. However, to make the most of the grant, you’ll need some more information.
As an agency that specializes in the Google Ad Grant and its management, Nonprofit Megaphone has expertise useful for any nonprofit. Our clients are diverse, representing all kinds of missions from across the country.
Based on our wide range of experience, we’ve identified the top ways in which any nonprofit can use the Google Ad Grant successfully. Whether you’re an animal advocacy organization or a food bank, consider using the Ad Grant to expand your reach and build your organization for future success. Keep the following tips about the Grant:
- Keyword Research Is Essential
- Clicks Are The Main Goal
- It Requires Maintenance
- Suspension Is Possible, But Reversible
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Grant! Let’s dive in.
Keyword Research Is Essential
Much of the Google Ads infrastructure is governed by keywords. Ads will only appear if they’re attached to relevant keywords that people are searching for. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of Google Grant management is keyword research.
The first thing you’ll need in order to do keyword research are the right tools. Since so many organizations are working in digital space, there are now a plethora of free and paid tools you can use. At Nonprofit Megaphone, we often use sites like Spyfu and Moz to determine what people are searching for and how. In addition, sites like Answer The Public help spur your creativity and inform how keywords fit within various search queries.
As you’ll learn once you begin your Grant management, not all keywords are equal. Some will perform much better than others. Part of Grant management is modifying your ads so that only the successful keywords are used. Too many impotent keywords will drag down your statistics and threaten your compliance. Keep track of your data and analytics in order to stay compliant.
Finally, when you’ve found keywords that work well, it’s important to integrate those keywords into the ads and the ad copy. This ensures that both the searcher and Google know that the ad is relevant to the search.
Clicks Are The Main Goal
By running ads on Google, your organization will be able to reach a whole new audience. However, this won’t translate into anything meaningful if that audience doesn’t engage with your organization in any way. Therefore, one of your early goals with the Google Ad Grant is to generate clicks. Clicks are a basic metric that demonstrate whether your advertisements are successfully drawing people to your website. Further, clicks are integral to ensuring that you are compliant with the Google Ad Grant standards.
Google requires that all accounts maintain at least a 5% Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR is a metric calculated by the number of clicks divided by the number of times the ad appears. So, if your ad appears 100 times on searches, you’ll need at least 5 people to click on the ad in order to remain compliant. Doing this is one of the keys to proper grant management. In general, a good CTR is maintained by managing your keywords and ensuring that they are relevant to the queries that users are making in Google.
It Requires Maintenance
One of the reasons why many nonprofits choose to outsource their Google Ad Grant management to an outside agency is because of the maintenance. Maintaining Google’s minimum standards isn’t complicated, but it does require that one person or team diligently manage and keep track of the organization’s Google Ads account. Regular maintenance is required to stay compliant, but also to achieve the goals you want with the Ad Grant.
There are few strategies that don’t require at least some maintenance, and any organization will benefit from responding to the data in their Google Ads account. Whether you’re simply trying to stay compliant or achieve ambitious goals, here are some essential facts about account maintenance:
- Login Requirements. One of Google’s simplest compliance standards is the login requirement. Google requires that you log into your account at least once a month. This is done to ensure that your organization is using the Google Ad Grant in a minimally-effective way. After all, if your account is dusty and floundering, Google may decide that their grant funds are better utilized with another organization. As such, ensure that whoever is in charge of your Google Grant management is taking some time once a month to log in and do some maintenance.
- Tracking. Tracking involves using the various data points within the Google Ads interface to make informed decisions. Using tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you can directly link aspects of your website to your Google Ads. The most important metric to track are conversions, which largely determine the success or failure of an ad. A conversion is an important action that a user takes on your website. As long as it’s not trivial, you’re free to make a conversion out of nearly anything on your website. Most often, highly sought after conversions include donations, newsletter sign-ups, and video plays. With conversion tracking, you can regularly see which ads are performing well and which need to be modified.
- Tweaking. Tweaking is a general term that describes the process of responding to the data you’ve collected and making changes in order to improve the performance of your Google Ads account. Regular tweaking involves things like removing or pausing low-quality keywords. This ensures that your keywords are always relevant to your ads. Further, too many low-quality keywords will affect your CTR and your overall compliance. Tweaking also involves making changes to improve your ads, swapping out words, trying new things, and evaluating trends.
- A/B Testing. Related to tweaking is the concept of A/B testing. This approach gives you a proven way to evaluate whether your ads are working or not. A/B testing is the process of creating two similar ads for the same page and keywords and evaluating their performance. If one clearly outperforms the other, then you’ve learned valuable information about that ad. You can then tweak the underperforming counterpart and see if it performs better over time. This aspect of maintenance requires diligence and attention to detail, but is part of what sets expert managers apart from amateurs.
Suspension Is Possible, But Reversible
While employing these tips will help your organization avoid having its Grant suspended, it still may happen to you. Many organizations don’t have the time or resources to commit to the Google Ad Grant which can lead to a temporary or long-term suspension. Whether it’s a slight lapse or a revival, suspension is reversible and easier than applying in the first place.
Reversing suspension first involves identifying which policies were violated. Perhaps your CTR was too low. In that case, you’ll need to go back into your account and do some maintenance. Once you think the problem has been addressed, you’re free to petition Google for reinstatement. Just make sure you learn from your mistakes and integrate your knowledge into your new maintenance routine!
Getting the Google Ad Grant is a fantastic opportunity for any nonprofit organization that wants to jumpstart their digital marketing efforts. While acquiring it can be a time-consuming process, it’s important to remember to utilize it effectively. Maintaining compliance is easy enough with routine maintenance, and even a monthly management plan can help you achieve some of your organization’s goals.
Consider all of the effort your nonprofit puts into its web presence. Having a top-notch website is important and will help nearly anything you do online. But having great web content doesn’t reap any benefits if no one sees it. Using the Google Ad Grant is a great way to affordably share your organization with a wider audience.
Beyond pure exposure, resourceful organizations can use the Ad Grant to jumpstart their programs. Whether you want to drive donations, get volunteers, or increase attendance at your event, the Google Ad Grant has a part to play in reaching your goals successfully.
About the author: Grant Hensel
Grant Hensel is the CEO of Nonprofit Megaphone, an agency focused 100% on Google Grant Management for nonprofits. NPM is honored to manage the Google Grant for 370+ leading nonprofits worldwide and to be an inaugural member of the Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals community.