Google Grant accounts present a fantastic opportunity for charities and not-for-profit organisations to leverage the power of online search to help grow the organisation and increase supporter numbers.
What Is Google Grants?
The Google Ad Grant Program (part of Google for non-profits) is available to charitable organisations and gives advertisers free spend on AdWords. There are criteria and conditions that must be met, but if eligible, you can spend up to $10,000 a month on paid search!
One thing to consider (and almost the reason why this blog has been written) is that any unused spend does not rollover, therefore any day that the daily allowance isn’t fully invested is a lost opportunity.
There are a few restrictions and rules to adhere to for a Grant account:
- Link your ads to only one domain – this domain is specified in the Grant application process.
- Active account management – the account must have a user that has logged in once a month and makes changes once every 90 days.
- Text-based Ads only – Grant accounts only facilitate Text-based ads (no images, videos or shopping ads) and will not serve on the GDN.
- The maximum cost-per-click is limited to $2.
- You’ll receive $10,000 of AdWords advertising each month (Approx.£330 per day).
- All campaigns must be keyword targeted – this rules out additional targeting methods such as remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).
- No offerings of financial products such as loans, credit cards or mortgages.
Any breach of these terms and conditions can result in removal from the program, so it is crucial they are adhered to.
These conditions and rules also mean that you must have a plan and strategy to your Grant account to ensure you are utilising the opportunity fully.Therefore, we have developed our top tips for Grant accounts, to help you maximise your spend.
Use all match types – including the old school broad match
Anyone who is accustomed to paid search will understand why the use of the traditional broad match type is becoming extinct. Broad terms are notorious for being inefficient, expensive and irrelevant. We now have the modified broad match option in AdWords which gives you far greater control of which queries to match to. However, the classic version of broad match does have its place in a Grant account!
If you are not maximising the spend in your Grand account, we would recommend implementing each keyword on all match types within the account. This gives you the best opportunity to not only ensure you are showing for all searches, but the broad match plays a key role in unearthing new search terms for your account, which you can apply on exact and phrase match too. This is all designed to ensure your keyword set is ever-growing along with spend.Regular optimisations, including search query reports, are still required to maintain relevance and wastage, but adding the broad match keywords can have a really positive effect on spend and reveal some potential new keywords for your account.
Maximise your bids
Unless you are already hitting your daily/monthly allowance, this strategy is a no-brainer! Grant accounts have a maximum CPC bid limit of $2, so it makes sense to set your bids to the maximum to ensure you are showing in the highest position. A higher bid leads to a higher ad rank, which determines your position on the search engine response page. So, the higher the bids, the better! If you’re re struggling to utilise spend, the higher bid will increase your average CPC and, in theory, improve your position. This will result in more clicks and, in turn, lead to more donations and sign ups!
If your Grant account begins to spend the daily allowance consistently, it is wise to tweak your CPCs. As with any account, some keywords will be more efficient than others, and so your bidding strategy needs to reflect this once the focus of the account has shifted from maximising daily spend to driving conversions or other KPIs.
Uncap your campaigns
The monthly allowance of $10,000 per month equates to roughly $330 per day, and this is what Google caps your daily spend at. Therefore, it’s important you monitor your overall daily cap to check this isn’t lower than your daily allowance. The best practice, when it comes to a Grant account, is to set campaign daily caps to an elevated level. This will allow you to gauge how much potential each campaign has and how much search volume there is to go after.
Obviously, when your account is fully investing, it will be necessary to reduce the caps to ensure you are spending in the most efficient areas, or the areas of focus for the advertiser. Once the Grant is fully investing consistently, you need to optimise it in the same way you would optimise any PPC account.
Focus on awareness, not conversions
In the early life of a Grant account, the focus tends to be on utilising the spend. There is a temptation to restrict the account to brand and acquisition-based terms, but we have seen impressive results when we broaden the scope of our keywords for our Grant accounts. Awareness-based terms do a fantastic job of driving more visitors to your site,which you can then use for retargeting in other activity. Consider entering auctions for broader generic terms and don’t rule out keywords which have been, or are likely to be, inefficient against KPIs.The media spend through AdWords is free and you may want to consider other advantages such as site visitors, RLSA and retargeting through other channels
Cover all types of engagement
All charities will have a range of online KPIs they will be measured by, and from our experience, these typically include some, or all, of the following:
- Membershipsign up
- Volunteer sign up
- Newsletter sign up
There are many other conversion types across charity sites, and Grant accounts shouldn’t be limited to just driving donations or memberships. It’s important to consider setting up campaigns to drive other types of traffic, including informational and visitation traffic. It’s best to consider a holistic approach to the Grant account and set up campaigns that are designed to drive footfall to centres or events, for example.
It is important to drive awareness through the Grant account when you are maximising spend,so you may wish to set up campaigns that direct to educational content linked to your charity and ensure you are directing traffic to all areas of your site. This will help grow brand awareness and site visits which could evolve into memberships or donations at a later date. At the very least, any increase in traffic through the Grant account can be utilised through retargeting of other channels!
Bonus tip – aim for Grantspro!
Whilst the Grantspro application process is closed, it could become available again at any time (Google have closed and re-opened the application process in the past), therefore it is important to keep aiming for a Grantspro account. If you are meeting the Grantspro eligibility criteria, then you will be able to apply for a Grantspro account instantly if the application process opens again.
There are two levels of Grant accounts, the base level gives a charity $10,000 a month but there is a larger allowance available if you qualify for a Grantspro account. Grantspro accounts give charities $40,000 AdWords spend per month. Should your account meet the criteria you could be moved up to the next level.
To be eligible for a Grantspro you must be achieving the following:
- CTR must be greater than 1%
- AdWords Conversion Tracking applied to the account
- You must fully utilise the monthly allowance (at least $9,900) for at least 2 months (in a 6-month period)
Hopefully we’ve given you some handy ideas for maximising spend in your Google Grant account, but if you have any questions regarding Grant accounts, please get in touch with us today!