Google Ads Optimization: 7 Steps For Improved Performance

Google Ads are an incredibly useful tool when it comes to broadening your nonprofit’s audience reach and driving conversions. They allow organizations to display advertisements strategically at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). Doing so promotes increased traffic flow and interactions with your organization, further driving your mission to the public.

If you’re looking to thrive in the online space, utilizing Google Ads is the answer. However, running a Google Ads campaign is not a one-and-done solution for promoting your nonprofit.

It is vital that organizations continuously refine and improve their Google Ads strategies to most efficiently target their desired audience.

At Getting Attention, we specialize in helping nonprofits make the most of Google Ads using the Google Ads grant. In this article, we’ll cover a fewcritical topics for optimizing your Google Ad campaigns,, including:

Continue reading to discover the ways Google Ads can benefit your organization!

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This section covers the benefits of Google Ads for nonprofits.

Is Google Ads worth It?

Simply put: yes. Considered the world’s largest and most widely used online advertising platform, Google Ads have helped countless organizations drive their missions. In fact, Google estimates that businesses make $11 in profit for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.

This statistic highlights the value of Google Ads for nonprofits.

These advertisements provide an array of benefits that are irreplaceable by other nonprofit marketing tools. Some examples include:

This graphic showcases the benefits of Google Ads Optimization.

  • Increased online conversions such as event sign ups, donations, and volunteer registrations.
  • Broadened reach to donors and supporters new and old, inspiring them to take action.
  • Simultaneous campaigning including the ability to market multiple ad campaigns simultaneously.
  • Efficient performance tracking ensures campaigns are always improving.
  • Greater audience understanding to better meet the needs of your organization’s digital supporters.

Another key component that differentiates Google Ads from other online nonprofit marketing tactics is its high customizability. Google Ads allow organizations to create highly specific advertisements in order to best serve different segments of their target market.

For instance, Google Ads allow the use of geotargeting. This is an important strategy that displays advertisements in geographically relevant locations. Let’s say your organization is promoting a fundraising event at a restaurant in Chicago. Geotargeting ensures nearby users will see such promotional efforts. This will prevent your organization from wasting resources on displaying these ads to distant audiences, such as users in California.

In addition to being customizable, Google Ads are an integral tool to nonprofit marketing because they are highly measurable. Google provides many analytical tools that allow your organization to efficiently track campaign success and make any necessary adjustments.

If your organization has dabbled in Google Ad use but found little success, optimizing your ad strategy and expanding your budget through Google Ad Grants can make a big difference. Putting in the effort to find success with your Google Ads campaigns with reap long-term benefits, as Google Ads is an extremely flexible tool that is worth the investment. With thoughtful strategy and proactive management, success will soon come your way.

Google Ads vs. AdWords: What’s The Difference?

This graphics shows readers that Google Ads and AdWords are the same.

Essentially, Google Ads and AdWords are the same thing. In shifting towards a more audience-centric mindset, Google made the decision to consolidate their abundance of ad offerings into three main platforms: Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ads Manager. This meant saying goodbye to the formal naming of AdWords.

Even though the formal title is gone, the offerings of AdWords still exist under the Google Ads umbrella. The elimination of AdWords was simply a rebranding decision. Google implemented this change to make the purpose of Google Ads more clear: helping marketers to connect, through advertisement campaigns, with the billions of Google users.

Now that we have cleared up any confusion, it’s time to uncover the ways Google Ads can help you.

This section covers the costs of Google Ads campaigns.

Are Google Ads expensive?

Many organizations shy away from using Google Ads out of fear of draining their marketing budget. However, the reality is that Google Ad pricing can vary and will depend mostly on your organization’s budget.

However, there is one particularly useful tool that can help you optimize your Google Ad opportunity, and that would be the Google Ad Grant. This grant program allows your organization to greatly expand its advertising budget with free monthly Ad spending. Even better, there are Ad Grant agencies available to help guide you along the Ad Grant process and ensure you are optimizing your resources.

Interested to learn more? Follow along as we unpack the Google Ad Grant program and all that it offers.

What are Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants provide eligible nonprofits $10,000 in monthly ad spending. This boils down to $329 per day in Google Ad use at no cost at all.

If your nonprofit is new to the world of Google Ads or is currently running some unsuccessful campaigns, Google Ad Grants and the assistance of professional agencies can be the keys to your success.

Ad Grant agencies, such as Getting Attention, are made up of certified experts in the realm of Google Ad Grants. They provide services such as:

This graphic highlights Google Ad Grant agency services.

  • Google Grant Application: Experts will walk you through every step of the application process to ensure your account is reviewed and accepted.
  • Google Grant Hygiene: When it comes to Google Ads, data is everything. With the help of experts, you will not have to deal with duplicate points or outdated data weighing down your processes.
  • Google Grant Reactivation: If suspended, agencies can help get your account up and running again—allowing you to avoid the headache—and make sure it stays up and running
  • Keyword Research: Professionals help make sure your website content is effectively serving audience needs, while also inspiring them to take action.

Essentially, anything you could possibly need help with, Ad Grant agencies will be there ready to assist. In order to best optimize your Ad Grant opportunity, reach out to an agency today!

Aside from agency assistance, we are going to uncover the essential practices your organization can implement to promote success in your Google Ad campaigns.

This section discusses the best ways for optimizing Google Ads campaigns.

How Do I Optimize Google Ads? 7 Steps

Some nonprofits enter the Google Ad sphere with a “set it and forget it” mentality. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but this strategy of setting up a campaign and failing to adequately monitor it will get your organization nowhere.

Initial setup may be the first step in generating a Google Ads campaign, but it is certainly not the last. Follow along as we uncover the steps of Google Ad optimization from start to finish, beginning with current ad evaluation.

This graphic highlights the 7 key Google Ads Optimization tools.

1. Evaluate your current ads.

The first step to optimizing your Google Ads campaigns is to evaluate your current ad performance to see what is and is not working. The five key metrics you will want to pay attention to are:

This graphic showcases the important metrics to evaluate for Google Ad Optimization.

  1. Impressions: An impression occurs every time your ad is displayed or seen by someone on Google. In order to increase impressions, you will need to broaden the visibility of your campaigns. The best way to do this is through increasing ad quality and relevance. If Google deems your ads irrelevant to the audience you’re targeting, they will not display the campaign to a high number of searchers. This leads to low impressions and poor performance, ultimately wasting your resources.
  2. Conversions: A conversion occurs when a user takes the desired action of your advertisement. This will happen off of the search engine results page and on your website. For instance, if you’re running an ad in hopes of increasing swimsuit sales for your brand, a conversion would be the amount of people who see your ad and follow through with the purchase. Keeping track of the amount of impressions that lead to conversions will help you quickly identify which ads in your campaign are performing the best.
  3. Cost: “Cost per click,” or CPC, helps to most accurately determine your organization’s spending budget. Scaling ads to see how much money must be spent in order to drive the desired conversion is a great place to start. Your bid, quality score, and rank will also impact how much your nonprofit must spend. A bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to spend for a click, while quality score is a rating of ad and keyword relevancy. The rank will then determine your ad’s placement on the SERP.
  4. Click-through rate (CTR): This metric is the best way of measuring ad relevance. A high CTR means a large audience is seeing the ad, clicking it, and performing conversions. CTR is determined based on the number of clicks and impressions.

Knowing and evaluating these five important metrics will set your organization up for advertisement success.

2. Check for lost impressions.

A great way to keep track of key metrics is by organizing them in a spreadsheet separated by the hours of the day. With designated columns for clicks, impressions, CTR, conversions, and cost, your organization can clearly see at what times during the day your ads are performing most successfully. Google Analytics makes this information easily accessible by going to Reports > Predefined Reports > Time > Hour of Day.

The spreadsheet will also showcase where you’re missing the most opportunities.

For example, to check for lost impressions, you will want to reference the Search Lost IS (budget) column. Lost impressions are missed impression opportunities between you and your audience. This column will outline the potential impressions percentage that could be lost without allocating an adequate budget towards your ad campaigns. If this value is staggering, consider investing more.

If all of this math and budget talk is not really your thing, no need to worry. Google Ad Grant agencies can assist with this aspect of ad management to make sure your ads have optimal performance, with no opportunities going by the wayside.

3. Identify negative keywords.

Unlike their title, negative keywords are not inherently bad. Simply put, these are phrases your organization may not want their ads to share association with. Hypothetically, if your organization is hosting a fundraising gala, you may not want to make “gala” on its own as a keyword. What happens if people search for Met Gala photos? They will be directed to your site.

Since your organization is charged every time someone clicks on your advertisement, it is vital to exclude irrelevant search terms for your Google Ads campaigns. Failing to do so will result in your nonprofit paying money for clicks that never turn to conversions. So, when formulating your campaigns, pay attention to and exclude wasteful keywords.

Start by generating a negative keywords list. Begin by searching through the Google Ads Keyword Planner to help generate ideas of negative keywords for your organization. The Keyword Planner will provide you with a list of related terms to those keywords, along with some data on their search volume and competition. Doing individualized research of what keywords won’t serve your organization well will aid your ad campaigns in the long-run.

4. Adjust ad targeting.

As with all other types of digital marketing, targeting is an incredibly important factor when it comes to Google Ads. Having a solid understanding of the intent of your audience is essential to formulating an effective campaign. Some questions to ask yourself about your supporters include:

  • What does your ideal supporter want?
  • What does your ideal supporter look like?
  • Where does your ideal supporter live?
  • How much money do they make?
  • What are the interests of your audience?

Answering these questions and incorporating them into your ad targeting strategy will allow your organization to best predict what will lead to the highest conversions. There are many audience metrics advertisers should pay attention to when running a campaign. A few key factors are:

This graphic highlights key audience metrics for Google Ad Optimization.

  • Demographics: Target your audience based on gender, age, location, and device.
  • Affinity: Reach your target market using search and display networks.
  • Market: Display ads to individuals with a history for searching products or missions similar to yours.
  • Intent: Select keywords related to the people who engaged with similar content in the past.
  • Re-marketing: Target people who have interacted with your organization in the past, but may have not converted. Your efforts will push them towards conversions.

Paying close attention to these metrics will allow your organization to target advertisements for optimal performance.

5. Use A/B testing for the best ad copy and design.

A/B testing is a useful method for comparing and evaluating ad performance. It is a method of comparing two versions of a web page against one another to properly determine which is the optimal performer. Conducting an A/B test can help you optimize your ad copy and design, specifically concerning:

  • Your offer
  • Your headline
  • Your description
  • The url

If any of the factors listed above are inhibiting your ad performance, your organization should test them against something else. The essence of A/B is to learn the culprit of poor ad performance. An example of incorporating A/B testing into your practices would be altering headlines to see how they impact performance.

Alongside A/B testing, there are a handful of copy best practices we suggest your organization incorporate in ads, including:

  • The use of active language
  • Incorporating personal pronouns like “you”, “we”, “us”, and “our”
  • Using the words “get”, “buy”, “shop”, or “try” effectively in CTA’s
  • Focus on benefit to the potential customer; what they’re ultimately trying to achieve by using your product or service

A/B testing and proper copy formulation will boost your ad campaign success.

6. Improve your landing pages.

If an ad is performing well and getting a lot of clicks, but conversions are still low, the problem may be your landing page. Since users spend less than 15 seconds on a webpage before deciding to stay or leave, it’s essential you optimize your landing page to drive your desired conversions.

Some important components to pay attention to when it comes to your landing page include the following:

This graphic shows how to best optimize nonprofit landing pages.

  • Prioritize and update your content layout. To keep users on your site, you must ensure your content is updated. Keeping your website’s design simple and easy to navigate will increase users’ likelihood of staying on the page as well.
  • Improve the readability of your pages. Your website should be readable for everyone, regardless of device or ability. Make sure your font is easy to see, the content is broken up into skimmable sections, the background and font color are contrasted, and all writing is spell-checked and grammatically reviewed.
  • Add engaging graphics or images. A great way to break up your text is through using engaging graphics. Humans are visual learners, so providing useful images will increase their affinity towards your site.
  • Incorporate interactive or clickable elements. Using interactive or clickable elements on your site is a great way to increase visit length and drive conversions. They will help capture user’s attention and encourage interaction with your site.
  • Optimize your most popular landing pages. For many websites, the homepage is considered the most important landing page. However, that is not always the case for nonprofits. Whether it be online donation pages, event registration pages, or volunteer opportunity pages, optimizing these sections will ensure users are having a positive experience with all aspects of your website.
  • Incorporate internal links. Internal links help to encourage interaction amongst your content, as well as improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) quality.
  • Show credibility. As soon as a user enters your site, they will likely be searching for reasons to trust your organization over competitors. Establishing credibility will lead to increased trust with your audience. You can do so by linking to social profiles, adding awards and certifications, and includes bios of staff members.

Following these steps will allow your organization to create the best online experience for users and subsequently drive conversions.

7. Use the right tools.

A great thing about Google Ads is that there are many tools organizations can use to help manage and evaluate ad performance. These offerings will help ensure your nonprofit is optimizing its ad opportunities and not wasting valuable resources on poor performing ads.

The main optimization tools to note are:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Ad Grant Management

In the next section we will tap into how to properly make use of each tool.

This section covers essential tools for successful Google Ads campaigns.

3 Essential Google Ads Optimization Tools

Here we will dive deeper into how the following tools can help you identify opportunities for optimization and make running google ads easier overall – a win-win!

This graphic showcases the 3 essential tools for successful Google Ads campaigns.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows your organization to easily track data on your Google Ads. With the valuable insight this data provides, Google Analytics is crucial to ensuring your ads are performing well. Here are some benefits Google Analytics provides:

  • The big picture. Linking your ads to Google Analytics enables you to measure performance, so your organization can compare its ad efforts to other marketing channels. You can also gain valuable insight on keywords, user behavior, and ad performance which will allow you to attain a better understanding of your customers.
  • Access to engagement metrics and reports. Google Analytics provides many useful metrics, such as bounce rate, average pageviews, and average time spent on site. Linking to Google Analytics gives access to all of these metrics and more, allowing your organization to best evaluate ad campaign success.
  • Improved Google Ads reporting. Google Analytics allows organizations to clearly see what users are doing when they arrive on their site and discover why they are shying away from converting.
  • Identify conversion-drivers. If you’re tracking several different conversions in Google Ads, it can get confusing at times. Once you have linked to Google Analytics, it is far easier to identify which keywords and ads are generating the most conversions.
  • Understand the customer journey. Google Analytics provides a well-rounded look at the customer journey, focusing on key moments that will help you edit your advertising campaigns to enhance the user experience and drive conversions.

It is evident that Google Analytics serves as an incredibly valuable resource when it comes to running an ad campaign. To optimize your Google Ad experience, consider using this tool today.

Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to help you formulate your ad campaigns. When you have a solid understanding of what keywords would be best to target, you can optimize your ad spend. Google Keyword Planner allows your organization to:

  • Discover new keywords. Google Keyword Planner allows your organization to search for words or phrases related to your mission. Using this tool will unlock the keywords most relevant to your nonprofit.
  • Research keywords. The research tool gives insight into how often certain words are searched for and how those searches may have changed over time. This will help your organization to narrow down the list of keywords you really want to use.
  • Get bid estimates. The planner will provide suggested bid estimates for each keyword to help your organization properly determine its advertising budget.
  • Make your plan. Once you have identified your desired keywords, you can add them to your advertising plan with the Google Keyword Planner. When you’re ready, you can finalize your advertising plan and begin launching campaigns.

Keywords are the essence of Google Ad success. Without the right keywords for your audience, you will fail to adequately reach your target market, spread your mission, and drive conversions. Therefore, Google Keyword Planner is the perfect tool to assist in this part of the ad formulation process.

Google Ad Grants Management

Enlisting the help of a certified Ad Grant agency plays an integral role in ad campaign success. Their many services allow your organization to reach a wider audience and save money in the long-run.

For example, at Getting Attention we offer a number of Google Ad Grant management services including:

  • Google Grant Management. Tracing conversions and campaign performance is an ongoing process. Experts can assist with staying on top of reporting, while also pinpointing useful opportunities and goals for your nonprofit.
  • Creating, maintaining and optimizing ad campaigns. With effective results requiring 3-5 ongoing campaigns, having professionals there to continuously track performance and refine strategies will prove incredibly beneficial to your overall success.
  • Optimizing website content. In order to best serve the needs of your audience, your website will need refinement to account for the increase in generated traffic. Getting Attention can help keep your website in the best shape via keyword research, landing page relaunches, and more.
  • Practicing account upkeep. To avoid grant suspension due to poor account maintenance, agencies can help make sure your organization is in constant compliance with Google Grant guidelines. This will help to avoid ever having to go through the account reactivation process.

If your organization is feeling frustrated with ineffective ads, overwhelmed by how to set up those ads, and unable to effectively manage them, Ad Grant agencies are here to help you.

To learn more, request a free consultation with Getting Attention today.

This section provides additional Google Ad resources.

Wrapping Up

To make sure your nonprofit thrives, it is essential that you not only set up Google Ads, but ensure that they’re performing well over time. Although the process may seem daunting, your nonprofit is never alone!

Remember that there are several resources – such as the Google Ad Grant and Ad Grant agencies like Getting Attention – that are available to help you succeed. To learn more, contact our team today.

If you are looking to investigate further in the meantime, here are some helpful resources: