Google Ad Grants are a valuable asset to many nonprofits, but confusion turns some away. The program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 per month to spend on ads. Nonprofits can receive these funds in perpetuity, until they are no longer eligible.
While accessing Google Ad Grants can provide many benefits for your nonprofit, eligibility and the application process are not always clear. A lack of familiarity with managing grants can result in losing the grant or missing advertising opportunities. Gaining a deeper knowledge of Google Ad Grants and their requirements will make the experience go much smoother.
We are here to clear up the confusion around Google Ad Grants and make sure you can take full advantage of your account. This guide will simplify Google Ad Grants for you and your nonprofit through the following points:
- Why Are Google Ad Grants confusing?
- 5 Google Ad Grants Marketing Challenges
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Google Ad Grants Management
If you’re ready to dive into the world of Google Ad Grants, keep reading!
Why are Google Ad Grants confusing?
If you feel mystified by Google Ad Grants, you’re not alone. Many nonprofit professionals have trouble with their Google Ad Grants accounts, and this can lead to missed opportunities. Some roadblocks you may face are:
- Confusion about how to apply
- Uncertainty around eligibility
- Limited experience running paid search ads
- Unfamiliarity with account management requirements
Receiving a Google Ad Grant requires that you undergo a lengthy application process. This process involves multiple steps, such as getting verified by TechSoup and registering for a Google for Nonprofits account. With so many steps, there is room for error and confusion in the process.
These errors may lead to your nonprofit’s rejection without a clear understanding of why. Before the application process, you may not be sure what preparations you need to take, like ensuring your status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Beyond the application, maintaining a well-functioning Google Ad Grants account is often difficult for busy nonprofit professionals. A limited understanding of how to run high-performing ads or lack of quality ad content can result in inefficient management of the grant. Further, those who are unfamiliar with the Google Ad Grants policies may run into their account being suspended due to not complying with the requirements.
All of that said, managing marketing grants for nonprofits doesn’t have to be confusing. Learning more about the Google Ad Grant program can prevent potential challenges.
Google Ad Grants are a great benefit to nonprofits, but they can bring about some unique marketing challenges. You may not have extensive experience in paid advertisement management— if so, you’re not alone! Let’s walk through 5 common challenges that nonprofits face when using Google Ad Grants.
1. Failing to abide by Google Ad Grants guidelines.
Unfortunately, many nonprofits fall victim to the Google Ad Grants guidelines. These are guidelines for keyword usage, quotas, and other requirements. Failing to follow these guidelines can result in suspension from or loss of the Google Ad Grant.
For the most part, these guidelines are simple and easy to follow. Nonprofits may be unaware of these rules, fall behind on quotas, or experience confusion around what they mean. Because these rules are fundamental to how Google permits spending the grant, you should keep a close eye on whether your site is keeping up.
In case you are unfamiliar, here is a quick breakdown of Google’s guidelines:
- Avoid single-word keywords. Avoid using single keywords that are not included on this list of approved exceptions. The keywords you choose should relate to your nonprofit specifically rather than being generic or broad.
- Choose keywords with a minimum keyword quality score of 3. Google grades keywords for quality on a 10-point scale. Ensure that your keywords maintain a score of at least 3.
- Maintain a minimum click-through rate of 5% for your account. Your account must receive a click through rate of at least 5% for all ads. In short, this metric means that at least 5% of those who view your ads click through to your website.
- Use at least 2 ad groups per campaign. For each active ad campaign on your account, you must have at least two ad groups. Within these ad groups, you must feature at least two ads.
- Use at least 2 sitelink ad extensions. Sitelink ad extensions enable you to link specific pages related to your ad. You should include at least two of these.
Now that you are aware of the guidelines, it should be easy to follow them. While these rules are extremely important, they can also guide your organization. Many of these rules can double as tips that can improve your ad campaigns.
2. Neglecting your website’s landing pages.
Being accepted in the Google Ad Grants program deserves excitement and celebration. But, it is important to fortify your web presence before doing so, to give your ads the best chance of success. Don’t fall behind and neglect your website— the ads you purchase using the grant send visitors to your site, but your landing pages are what seal the deal!
Each ad you run will direct searchers to a landing page on your website, through which they’ll be able to complete a desired action. This could be registering for an event, joining your volunteer program, or making an online donation. If these web pages are outdated or have unclear calls to action, your supporters won’t know what to do once they follow an ad and land on the page.
Want more tips? Check out our complete guide to nonprofit marketing.
3. Targeting broad, generic keywords.
You may think targeting broad keywords like “donation” or “fundraiser” is a no-brainer. However, targeting short, generic keywords can bring about challenges for your nonprofit.
Keywords like “fundraising event” are very vague and they often have many bidders. Google’s algorithm is not particularly conducive to smaller organizations winning these highly competitive terms. It’s unlikely that your nonprofit will be able to edge out large organizations that are bidding on the same words, which means there is a lower likelihood your supporters will be able to see your ads.
In addition to competing with large companies for these broad keywords, Google bans targeting single-word keywords. Not only can generic keywords lessen the effectiveness of your marketing, but it can also result in suspension from the Google Ad Grants program.
4. Only running a single ad per group.
Running only one ad violates Google’s policies and could put your account at risk. According to Google Ad Grant guidelines, you should have at least two ads running at all times. The consequences of noncompliance can result in suspension from the program.
Another problem with running a single ad is lost potential to grow and develop your ad strategies. Running one ad doesn’t allow your nonprofit to track and evaluate performance. Further, it can be hard to improve if you have no way to note how and why ads perform differently.
Single ads can only reach so many people. With fewer touchpoints, there is less likelihood that you will reach the right people – people willing to support your organization. Don’t limit your organization to the audience they can reach with only one ad.
5. Unclear calls to action.
Calls to action are an important element of nonprofit marketing, both in ads and on websites. Lack of clarity can easily derail their success and leave supporters feeling confused.
When you create a call to action, be specific. Ensure that what you say in your ad aligns with what you want viewers to do. For example, an ad encouraging viewers to “donate here!” that directs to a page about your upcoming events will not garner the success you are hoping for. Instead, this creates a bad user experience and leaves potential supporters feeling confused and frustrated.
Take the time to be clear and dedicated to consistency with your calls to action.
We discussed the challenges of Google Ad Grants marketing, but there are plenty of things you can do to step up your marketing efforts. Here are 5 tips to help you improve your marketing efforts.
1. Prioritize creating valuable and promotable web pages.
For a webpage to be useful within the Google Ad Grants program, it should be both valuable and promotable.
There are a few steps you can take to make your landing pages effective before you implement ads directed at them:
- Include a high search-volume topic. Topics with a high search-volume are more likely to receive clicks than those that are extremely narrow and focused. Highlight these popular topics on your webpage to engage supporters.
- Limit to a single focus for each page. Avoid including several topics on one page. Narrowing each page on your website to a single focus will make it easier to target ads.
- Feature rich content. Including different media formats on a page of your website is much more engaging than just a few sentences of text. Try to engage site visitors with images, videos, animation, and more. But, ensure all multimedia elements have an accessible version— such as alternative text— so all viewers can engage equally.
- Highlight a clear call to action. Be consistent and clear with calls to action. Clearly label any direct action you’d like the supporter to take, and link them to the page on which to do so. Or better yet, embed the sign-up form (whether an online donation form, volunteer sign-up, or even event registration) directly on your landing page.
- Make your site accessible to all visitors. Make sure that your web pages are accessible on both desktop and mobile formats, including both mobile phones and tablets.
A valuable landing page is a must-have to ensure high conversion rates from your ads. These five suggestions help nonprofits reap the many benefits associated with an optimized website.
2. Familiarize yourself with Google Ad Grant compliance.
Ensuring that you follow the Google Ad Grant policies is a crucial step in maintaining your grant status. We broke down these policies above, but you should continue to check in with them in case they change or develop. Committing these rules and what they mean will keep you on track to succeed.
Knowing these policies well will make account management much simpler. Think of the rules as tips. Not only does following them uphold your Google Ad Grants account status, but it also benefits your ad performance. Keep these rules in mind as you continue to develop your Google Ad strategy to ensure the best results.
3. Use Google Analytics for conversion tracking.
Tracking conversions is a helpful way to see what supporters do after viewing your ad.
To get started, make sure you are tracking your click through rate to ensure you meet the 5% threshold. Not only is this 5% threshold necessary for maintaining grant compliance, but Google Analytics will only track conversions once this threshold has been met.
From there, you can begin to set goals for the individual actions you want people to take, like making a donation or registering with their email. These steps can help you see which ads best accomplish meaningful conversions.
When setting goals and tracking conversions, make sure you are looking at conversions that are valuable to you. Google wants to see that nonprofits are paying attention to conversions that are important to them. What those are might change depending on your organization’s mission.
4. Make the most of your Google Ad Grant allowance.
You put in the work of applying and maintaining your Google Ad Grants account status. Now that you have an advertising allowance, what is the best way to make the most of it?
Here are some tips for managing your funds:
- Run multiple ad campaigns. Use around 3 – 5 ad campaigns, each with tightly-focused ad groups. This is a great way to center ads around a few key concepts that you want to advertise.
- Use at least 3 ads in each group. Using this approach, you should have at least one RSA, or Responsive Search Ad. These ads allow you to input several different headlines and descriptions which will change based on Google’s algorithm. Ads will then be more tailored to individual viewers.
- Make use of the full character limit. Taking advantage of the entire character limit for headlines and ad descriptions will make your ad appear larger to viewers.
Using $10,000 per month can be a challenge, especially when you want to make the most of it. These tips are a great place to start when you are budgeting your Google Ad Grant.
5. Work with a Google Ad Grant agency.
Working with an agency can make applying for, managing, and maintaining your Google Ad Grants a more straightforward, manageable process. Getting Attention is a certified Google Grant Agency that is ready to help with all of your Google Ad Grant needs, big or small. No matter where your starting point is, take advantage of Getting Attention’s full range of services such as:
- Google Grant Application: Get your nonprofit accepted into the program with the help of Getting Attention’s team.
- Google Grant Hygiene: Cleaning data and avoiding using data that is irrelevant or unnecessary can be difficult to manage alone. We can help you maintain a clean, strong dataset to ensure the best results.
- Google Grant Management: Tracking conversions can be a confusing part of the management process. Our team will help you decide which conversions you should be tracking and how to stay on top of them.
If you are interested, contact us for a free consultation! Getting Attention is a great resource for marketing your mission as a nonprofit.
The Google Ad Grant is a great option for many nonprofits. While it could be a game-changer for your nonprofit, joining the program can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Don’t let this intimidation stop you from reaping the benefits of the grant!
We have plenty of resources to boost your knowledge of Google Ad Grants. Check out these articles to continue researching:
- Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits: Everything You Need to Know: This ultimate guide details everything you need to know about Google Ad Grants from the basics to working with a Google Grant agency.
- A 2021 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing: Want to know more about nonprofit marketing? This is an excellent resource for learning what nonprofit marketing is, how to create your own marketing plan, and best practices.
- Google Grant Agency: 3 Certified Partners for Nonprofits: If you are having trouble finding a Google Grant agency, look no further. This guide highlights some great contenders as well as what to look for in an agency.