10 Google Grants Tips for Nonprofit Professionals

Here at Media Cause, we try to fill nonprofits in on everything there is to know about Google Grants.

We’ve compiled 10 tips to help your organization make the most of this amazing program, which gives nonprofits that qualify $10,000 for in-kind AdWords advertising on Google.com every month.

Tip 1: Sign up for Google Grants

You can sign up for the program at Google.com/nonprofits. Here are some tips from our CEO Eric Facas on how to get involved with the program: Getting Started with Google Grants.

Sign up for Google GrantsTip 2: Check the daily budget on every campaign

We constantly hear from nonprofits about their difficulties in spending their entire Google Grant. So we always start by reviewing the daily budget on each campaign. All too often we find that they haven’t set their budgets high enough to capture all of the traffic available. Check each campaign’s daily budget and raise them where necessary. It’s highly likely that one of your best performing campaigns is being throttled because the budget is set too low.

Tip 3: Ignore the notification to input billing info

This is less of a tip and more of a warning. The input of billing information is a common mistake, because nonprofits create their accounts through the same interface as other advertisers (AdWords). You may receive messages that prompt you to fill in the billing section to complete activation. Don’t fill out this section as it will disqualify your account from the program. Google instructs you to ignore these requests.

Tip 4: Look for keyword ideas

The “Keyword Opportunities” tab in the “Tools” menu in AdWords is a helpful resource for discovering new keywords. Google uses keywords already listed in your account and your URL to generate a list of  relevant keywords. Simply click the “Add” button when you see keywords that seem like a good fit.

Tip 5: Create a robust keyword list

Keywords are everything. Don’t just rely on Google’s Keyword recommendations. You’ll need to do some additional research on your own. Incorporate all of the words or phrases that describe your organization’s mission, programs and goals. Include problem and solution-oriented keywords. Check out these keyword tools to help expand your list:

Tip 6: Use all match types

Use all three match types: broad match, “phrase match” and [exact match] for higher volume keywords. Each keyword variation could have a different click-through rate, quality score or conversion rate. By separting them by match type, you can place a different bid on each, depending on which position it’s in and how it performs.

Tip 7: Use negative matching for keywords

Filter out keywords to eliminate unwanted traffic and target your ads to people who are more likely to click on them. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on polar bear preservation, you would want to include “teddy” among your negative keywords. This is to exclude people who are unlikely to click on your ad, because they are searching for the stuffed animal.

Tip 8: Use appropriate geo-targeting for your ads

It’s not just about where your nonprofit works – it’s about where your supporters are. Geo-targeted campaigns can also be used to improve the relevancy of your ad. If you know everyone that sees the ad lives in a certain country or region, your message can be much more personalized. Example: “Come on Californians, let’s help preserve our State Parks.”

Tip 9: Keep forms on your landing pages short

Limiting yourself to four fields is ideal to ensure that your nonprofit’s landing page gets the highest possible conversion rate. For more information on landing pages and how to make the most out of them, check out How to Create Effective Landing Pages for Your Nonprofit.

Tip 10: Test three to four ad variations at all times

You want to make sure your nonprofit is getting the most of its $10,000 monthly grant, so it is important to ensure you are focusing on the best performing ads. Every month, select one to two of the worst performers from every “Ad Group” for deletion, and then put in a new one with some similarities to the top performing ad to see which performs best.

Looking for even more information on the Google grants program? Check out slides from our webinar: Google Grants: The Biggest Missed Opportunity in Nonprofit Marketing.


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