Now that you know all about the Google for Nonprofits programme and how to set-up a Google Ad Grant account, it’s time to focus on how to turn your free search engine advertising account into a potent tool in your NGO’s marketing strategy.
Before we move on to provide tips to help you manage your own Google Ad Grants AdWords account, let us revisit some of the critical limits set by Google for the programme:
Google Requirements for AdWords for Nonprofits
- The daily advertising budget is USD 329, which translates to about USD 10,000 per month.
- Only keyword-targeted campaigns are allowed, and keywords must have a Quality Score that lies between 3 and 10. More on how to improve the Quality Score later in this article. A keyword is a search term entered by the user in the search engine.
- At least two active ad groups with two active text ads must be a part of the campaign. The ads are allowed to be placed on Google search result pages which shall appear below the paid ads.
- Geo-targeting is essential to ensure that the ad is displayed to the users in the location where the NGO’s services are available or where likely donors are located, depending on the purpose of the ad.
- Ad extensions should have at least two sitelinks. These links lead the user to the exact page they wish to go to on the website instead of the homepage.
- In case you have set-up an AdWords account, you must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR). A click-through rate indicates how often people click on your ad. It is a measure of the success of the ad performance and the keywords used. The minimum 5% rate ensures that only relevant and useful ads are displayed.
In case the required rate is not maintained for two consecutive months (accounts are only reviewed with regards to this requirement 90 days after activation), your account will be deactivated. Once you have made certain adjustments to your ad to drive up the CTR to cross the target, you can request for re-activation. If you are unable to achieve the 5% CTR, you need to create the simpler version – AdWords Express account which does not have the minimum CTR requirement and place the AdWords account on hold. AdWords Express accounts, however, do not allow customisation or setting up automation scripts.
- You are eligible for a maximum limit of USD 2.00 cost-per-click (CPC) at the time of an ad auction. There is an option however to enable the Smart Bidding strategy – ‘Maximise Conversions’ which automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget. Maximise Conversions may bid higher than USD 2.00 if appropriate to your account goals. Note that other Smart Bidding strategies, such as Target CPA (bidding based on target cost per acquisition) or Target ROAS (bidding based on the target return on ad spend) are capped at USD 2.00 CPC.
- In case you have set-up a smart bidding strategy like the one above, or if your Ad Grants account was created after January 1, 2018, the ‘Conversion Tracking’ must be set-up correctly for the account. Conversion tracking involves the analysis of the performance of the campaign. A campaign could have any or more of the following monetary or non-monetary goals: donations, ticket sales, sale of other articles, member fees, email sign-ups, newsletter downloads, volunteer sign-ups, member applications, information request submissions, calls made to your organisation, or navigation time on your website. By using tags from the Ad Grants account or importing goals from Google Analytics, you can track the actions website visitors have taken after they have clicked on the ad. For more assistance with conversion tracking, refer this guide.
All the above requirements are mandatory, and non-compliance of any of the above criteria could lead to suspension of your Google Ad Grants account. The procedure for the revival of suspended account is provided later in the article.
Essential tips for successfully managing your Google AdWords Grant Account
The first step to managing your Google AdWords Grant Account is to improve your Ad Quality Score. The quality of your ad affects the position, cost, probability of appearance and overall effectiveness of your ad.
A ‘Quality Score’ helps you assess the quality of your ad campaign.
How to Improve your Ad Quality Score?
There are two significant steps and several sub-steps to improving your Quality Score and subsequently your account performance.
- Improve your Landing Page
The website’s landing page is where the visitor lands after interacting with the ad searching for answers. It must be easy to navigate and should have relevant content that is easy to find.
- Improve your CTR
A good ad is the one which is clicked on more. So the CTR is an excellent indicator of the success of the Ad Grants campaign.
There are four aspects to improving the Click-Through-Rate or CTR of your ads:
- Create Effective Ads
- Choose, review and optimise Keywords
- Create relevant Ad Groups
- Use Geo-targeting
- Let us understand each of these in detail.
Let us understand each of these in detail.
How to create Effective Ads
There are three main steps to make an ad that will be clicked on by the search engine visitor:
- Create advertisements that persuade a visitor to align themselves with your NGO’s goals.
- The ad copy should be relevant and showcase your cause/impact clearly
- The ad headline should indicate where the user will land on the ad and what action he/she shall be expected to take on landing
- The ad should contain the URL to the site and should include the name of the brand
- Create at least three ads per ad group
- Ensure you use the ‘Optimize’ ad rotation setting
- Amplify your ads with extensions to improve the visibility of your ad
- Create sitelinks and callout extensions
- Ensure that your ad has at least one extension.
Ad extensions provide additional information and improve the odds of the ads being clicked.
The image below indicates the different types of sitelinks a nonprofit can use, depending upon its purpose.
Ad Extensions have a hugely positive impact on the CTR as indicated in the image below.
Here are some pointers for creating useful ad extensions.
- Test your ads’ effectiveness by making small changes at a time
- Making testing a routine activity
- Implement the insights from testing
How to choose, review and optimise Keywords
A keyword is a search term entered by the user on a search engine. Let us now look at various aspects of a good keyword:
- As per the keyword policy requirements set by Google, you must avoid single word and generic keywords and ensure that keywords that are specific to your business and those that will be useful to the user are added. The keywords should surpass the quality score of 3.
- A good keyword compilation contains several variations of the ways in which a user could ask something.
- Refer your Website, upcoming programs, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner and Search Terms Report to arrive at the best possible keywords for your ad campaigns.
- Some tips for improving the quality score of your keywords:
- Pause –
- high-impression and low CTR keywords
- generic keywords
- Pause –
- Add –
- Negative keywords
- Brand Keywords
- Add –
How to create relevant Ad groups
An ad group is a collection of keywords. It is always advisable to have at least two ad groups with specific keyword based on the theme of the ad group with each one having at least three ads.
A good ad group will contain 5- 50 relevant keywords.
The importance of Geo-targeting
Geo-targeting helps you reach out to your intended audience for the ad on the basis of their location. A successful ad campaign will ensure that the ads are designed for the local audience and mention the specific features applicable to that audience.
What is the importance of organic SEO in boosting the AdWords performance?
Ad grants is a form of paid search marketing. Organic SEO is the non-paid form of search marketing. Good organic SEO also boosts the performance of the paid ads.
Organic SEO is all about driving inbound traffic to your website through native, purpose-driven content that genuinely adds value to your target audience. Organic SEO is driven by genuine engagement.
Engaging marketing campaigns, videos, visuals and thought to provoke blogs executed periodically can induce interest and action from your target audience.
The basic tenets of organic SEO also boost the ad performance:
- Rewriting content to match the most often used keywords
- Writing meta tags on the website to match the keywords
- Focus on the quality of the content to establish authority
Restoring of Ad Grants account post-suspension:
You know your account is suspended if you see the following notification when you log in to your account:
“Your Google AdWords account has been suspended for violation of Google’s Advertising Policies in this or a related account.”
Let us now explore some of the most common reasons that lead to account suspension:
- You have repeatedly submitted ads that have been disapproved by Google.
- Your ads are intended to mislead the users.
- You imply that you’re a competitor in your ads.
- You’re providing inaccurate information about the content on your site.
- You are not providing the user experience.
- This might be diagnosed from a very high bounce rate and poor engagement; possibly as a result of poor targeting or creation of misleading ads.
- You do not meet the 5% CTR requirement
- As explained earlier in the post, this is one of the biggest reasons for account suspension.
It is easier and more intuitive to rectify the first four errors. The fifth one, however, requires several steps that need to be taken to restore the account back to normalcy:
- The campaign with the most impressions should be your starting point since they have the biggest impact on your overall CTR.
- Check the CTR of campaigns and:
- Pause the lower performing ad groups
- Check your search term report and in case your ads are being displayed for irrelevant search terms, add negative keywords.
- Try and keep your key campaigns running while trying to reach the required target.
- In case you are not sure what to do or do not have the time to analyze, merely pause all the campaigns or ad groups that have CTR below 5%.
- The last resort would be to shift to the AdWords Express account which is an automated version of the AdWords account and does not have the 5% CTR requirement. It however also does not have several other useful features of the AdWords account either, and so the shift should be a last resort.
Once you have made the changes required to restore your account, you need to contact AdWords Support then. After they have activated your account back again, you need to take the necessary steps to continue to meet all the conditions to prevent suspension in the future.
How to use Scripts for controlling the AdWords Account?
As you saw in the section above, Google has several conditions that need to be met for an Ad Grants account, the failure of which could lead to the account being suspended. It can take a lot of time and effort to regularly track compliance along with creating and managing the ad campaigns. A simpler and efficient way to do so would be by adding scripts to your AdWords account. Scripts are nothing but pieces of code or rules that keep track of the parameters that are required to be monitored. Reports are then generated, providing you with the necessary information to make adjustments, if needed. For non-coders, it may be slightly tricky to understand the technicalities. However, there are some readymade scripts that you can incorporate easily, even if you are not an expert.
Key Performance indicators that need to be met in case a third party manages the account on behalf of the Ad Grantee
Google allows for the Ad Grants account to be managed by a third-party such as an advertising agency, on behalf of the NGO. By delegating the responsibility of the daily management of the Ad Grants to a specialized expert, the NGO can focus its energies on its philanthropic goals. In such a scenario, the NGO needs to assess the agency on the following parameters:
- Google Ad grants expenditure on a monthly basis ( % of grant spent )
- Number of visits on ‘Donations’ Page
- Number of Newsletter or other sign-ups
- Average Ad position on Google search
- Quality Score (Normalised score out of 10 )
Based on discussions between the NGO and the agency, the above parameters can be set for different intervals and can regularly be assessed. Non-attainment of these goals will have to be explained by the agency, and if required the targets can be adjusted.
Recently, we worked closely with an NGO in India that focuses on Rural Empowerment in our country. Our primary goal was to manage their Ad Grants account on their behalf. By keeping in mind all of the above tips and ensuring that all the requirements of Google were met, we were able to provide a more than satisfactory performance for the NGO’s Ad Grant Account.
The orange line indicates incoming traffic to the NGO’s donate page before Ad Grants were implemented.
The blue line indicates incoming traffic to the NGO’s donate page after Ad Grants were implemented for the NGO.
The following facts highlight the impact of Ad Grants on the online performance of the NGO:
- The above image displays data from over six months indicating that the number of visitors improved by 130%. There were also significant improvements in the stats about new users, sessions, and page-views.
- The number of Visitors on Donate Pages increased by 1800 for six months.
- The number of Newsletter Subscribers increased by 2800.
- The Average Position rank of Keywords for targeted AdWords rose to the 2nd position.
To know more about how we can help you set up Google Grants for your social enterprise, leave us your contact details below. We will call you back in 48 hrs.