75 Google Tips Part 1

75 Tips + Tricks to Optimize Your Google Ad Grant: Part 1

As digital marketing experts, we wanted to give you some best practices for your Google Ad Grant optimization. Whether you’re new to Google Ad Grant management or you’ve been working within your account for a while, it’s never a bad time to check to ensure you’re using all of your free Google ad spend effectively. (Don’t have a Google Ad Grant, learn more here!) 

This is part one of a two-part series that will cover everything from structuring your account to ad copy, landing page optimizations to target setting. See part two here.

In this post, we’ll cover:

Creating + Structuring Your Account

Target Settings

Selecting Keywords


Creating + Structuring Your Google Ad Grant Account

  • Break out brand and non-brand keywords into separate campaigns. This allows you to shift budget between campaigns that you can rank for organically versus ones that you should run ads for.
  • Don’t spread your budget too thin across several ad groups and keywords, especially if you have a smaller budget. Instead, focus on a core group of services or resources.
  • Create labels to organize your account. With labels, you can quickly sort data, run automated rules, and filter views. To create a new label, click the checkbox next to a campaign/ad group/ad/keyword → click “Label” in the blue banner that appears along the top of the table → click on “New Label” on the bottom left corner of the drop-down.
  • When initially setting up your account, be sure to set every campaign to a budget of $330/a day (i.e. the maximum amount), as any unused Ad Grant funds do *not* roll over to the next day.
  • If you’re struggling to maximize spend on your Grant account, look at your keyword list first. Are there more keywords you could add? Have you looked at Keyword Planner lately for new ideas? Are there new blog posts or topics on your website that you could build campaigns around?
  • Although it’s Google’s default option, do not use the maximize clicks automated bidding strategy, as it focuses on clicks instead of conversions / leads.
  • Begin with manual bidding for more control over your budget. You can always go back and switch to an automated bidding strategy later.
  • When selecting an automated bidding strategy, go with maximize conversions. Not only does this allow you to be more competitive with your bidding, but it also helps spend more of the ad budget.
  • Be sure to link your Ad Grant account to your website’s Google Analytics account. This will help you track website traffic coming from the grant so you can make more informed decisions based on landing page performance.
  • If you’re starting a new campaign, don’t optimize your ad rotation. Keep ads rotating indefinitely to see which messaging works best and optimize manually on your end.

Targeting Settings 

  • If your campaigns are targeting folks in the United States, add in states individually for better targeting and data tracking. To add all 50 states, simply click on “Advanced Search” → “Add locations in bulk.”
  • Even if you’re planning on running your ads 24/7, create an Ad Schedule for all of your campaigns. This will not only provide you with data from when your ads are performing well, but it will allow you to adjust the optimizations moving forward. To add in a schedule, go to a Campaign —> click on “More” under Settings —> Schedule —> Select a campaign —> Select “All Days” —> ClickHit Save.
  • Unless it makes sense for your organization, do not target “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations.” This option is the least restrictive and can quickly consume your budget. Instead, target “People in or regularly in your targeted locations.” This is the best option for most, as it provides more control over who sees your ads.
  • If you know your competitor’s IP address or physical location, exclude them to prevent showing unwanted ad impressions and paying for inadvertent clicks. Same goes for your employees or anyone else you don’t want clicking on your ads.
  • Exclude “People in, or who show interest in, your excluded locations.” This is the recommended option as it provides more control over exclusions.
  • Bid more aggressively for users who are closer to your organization to ensure they see your ad. This can be done via the advanced location settings in Google Ads, under the “Locations” tab → Select your targeted location → Narrow down by location type (state, city, zip, etc) → Check off a location → “Edit” → “Add targets and set bid adjustments.”
  • To exclude a device type, place a -100% bid adjustment. Go to the “Devices” tab → select a device type → change the bid adjustment to “Decrease” by 100% → Click “Apply.”
  • Reduce your bids for tablet device — especially if you’re working with a limited budget. Conversion rate performance for tablets is typically lower than that for desktop and mobile devices.

Selecting Keywords

  • Conduct a Google Search of potential keywords you want to target and look at the “Searches related to…” section at the bottom of the search results page to help generate keyword ideas and variations.
  • Use Google Trends to expand your keyword ideas and explore what people are searching for.
  • Experiment with mixing and matching different keywords using Merge Words.
  • When creating a new ad group, a good rule of thumb is to include ~25 keywords per group. However, if you have enough ad budget and enough search volume, and you want to perform keyword tests, you could potentially have an ad group with dozens of keywords.
  • Google’s Ad Grant policy does not allow the use of single word keywords. To check your account for single word keywords, bring up the list of all your keywords and click on “ Add Filter” → “Keyword Text” → “Does not contain” → “ ” (adding a space in the field). This will bring up any keywords that are not multiple words.
  • Make sure to bid lower on upper funnel keywords and higher on lower funnel keywords. Upper funnel keywords include broad, general search queries used in the awareness stage of the consumer funnel while lower funnel keywords are typically longer and more specific.
  • Use broader match types to help you discover terms you might not be aware of already and exact match for those terms you know your supporters will be using when they’re searching for something you want to provide specific messaging for.
  • Don’t forget about negative keywords! Just as you want your ads to show for certain search terms, there is a good chance you don’t want your ads to show for key terms. Remember too, when adding negative keywords, you don’t need to add the whole phrase as a negative keyword, but certain words can be added.
  • Use ad group level negative keywords for “traffic sculpting” – that is, adding negative keywords to an ad group to avoid competing with a similar keyword in a different ad group.


For more tips, read 75 Tips + Tricks to Optimize Your Google Ad Grant: Part 2, or download our free resource, The Ultimate How-to-Guide to Google Ad Grants.


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