By Taylor Johnson, Digital Specialist, Dunham+Company
You may or may not know about Google Ad Grants, the not-for-profit edition of AdWords. It provides $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords to qualifying not-for-profits. (You can find out more about the program here).
Once you have a Google Ad Grant, you get $10,000 to “bid” on specific keywords or phrases that would then show, or “serve up,” your ad on Google’s search page. Keywords or phrases could be your organisation name or the services you provide.
Over the last six months, I’ve been up close and personal with Google Ad Grants on behalf of a few of our clients, and I’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks I’d like to share. (Sidenote: Google Ad Grants remind me of the board game Monopoly. You’ll see why below.)
Here are a few things Google won’t tell you, but you need to know, when embarking on all things Google Ad Grants.
Okay, so you just received a $10,000 grant from Google for your AdWords campaign. Congrats! But before you run off and put a down payment on Park Place, here are a few things to consider…
- With a Google Ad Grant, the maximum bid is $2. To use this well, set up an ad group specifically surrounding the name of your organisation, for which keyword buyers will not be bidding. So when people search for you, your ad shows up. However, if you want to compete for the top-notch real estate on Google (i.e., broader keywords that users are entering), you’re going to have to pay for it. And with a $2 maximum bid, this can become very difficult — and sometimes impossible.
- You need to have a landing page that is logically tied to and mirrors the ad and keyword you’re serving up. Your quality score (how well your keyword, ad, and landing page fit together) will be lower when this congruency is missing.
- There are specific rules you have to follow:
- Your daily budget cannot exceed $329.
- As mentioned above, your maximum bid cannot exceed $2.
- You are only able to use the Search Network capability. This means that you are only able to run text ads.
- Be realistic with your expectations. Some of the largest not-for-profits have trouble using all of their Ad Grants each month. Basically, you’re not going to spend your entire budget.
- Consider setting up a paid account in addition to your Google Grant. Why? Your PPC (pay per click) and SEO (search engine optimisation) should be working together on the same team, all pulling in the same direction at once.
Your Google Grant account should be used to serve ads about the organisation and services you offer. Your paid account should be used to compete for the top-notch real estate – the Park Place and Boardwalk of Google results. Using both of these simultaneously is not only efficient but a great way to test and be effective.
In a recent study conducted by SEER, they looked at how PPC and SEO go hand-in-hand on a click-through rate basis. They found that “the click-through rate rose overall from 6% to 56% with both an ad and an organic listing on the SERP (search engine results page).” I’d say that’s a win-win.
In my opinion, unless you’re going to spend money on AdWords anyway, it’s not worth it to spend all your time trying to optimise your Google Grant account. Instead, use your Grant account to serve ads specifically about your brand and create a paid account to compete with popular keywords in order to serve more broadly targeted ads. If you do this well and consistently, you should see your web traffic increase.