The Google Ad Grant program is helping over 20,000 non-profit organisations attract more donations, recruit event participants and share their stories across the world.

The Google Ad Grant program is helping over 20,000 non-profit organisations attract more donations, recruit event participants and share their stories across the world. Ewan Watt, Managing Director at ROI, explains how to make the most of this digital marketing opportunity.

The Google Ad Grant provides eligible charities up to US$10,000 each month in search advertising dollars to promote your cause.

If you are not familiar with the Google Ad Grant program and want to learn more please visit:

1. New Google Ad Grant rule changes

Earlier this year, Google introduced some new rules to add clarity and raise the standards of quality for Google’s free advertising grants. Not adhering to these new rules can result in your Ad Grant campaign being suspended.

Below is a checklist of rules and guidelines you need to adhere to in your Ad Grant account:

1. Ensure geo targeting is set up within your campaign. This means each of your campaigns is segmented by the location of the audience you are targeting. Your ads should also highlight how your charity’s services are provided in that local market.


2. Your Ad Grant account must maintain an average of 5% click through or higher. If your account drops below this mark you have two months to meet the 5% criteria. Click through rate is the % of searchers for a keyword that decide to click on your text ad.


3. Your keywords must meet a minimum quality score of two; which takes approximately two weeks for Google to calculate. High click through rates and relevant landing pages will help you here.


4. Generic and single keywords are not allowed together with bidding on competing brand terms. This includes organisations affiliated with yours.


5. You can now bid over $2 per click within your Ad Grant account, as long as Adwords tracking is installed on your website.


6. Your Ad Grant account needs at least two active Ad Groups per campaign each containing relevant keywords and two active text ads, and two site link extensions. These rules will certainly help improve the performance of your campaign.


7. Any account which has not been logged into within 30 days; or made changes within 90 days may be suspended.


8. Your organisation needs to complete the annual Ad Grants survey for your account to stay active. Make sure your admin email address is correct and up to date.

Sounds overwhelming?

The new rules are designed to help your charity get the most out of your Adwords campaign. The keys to success are great segmentation and using your search query data to expand your keyword lists and add new negative keywords so you continually improve the quality of your campaign.

If you need help or advice – request our free audit.

2. Not spending your US$10K per month?

With all the new quality guidelines it is easy to adopt a conservative approach to your Adwords account and not spend your US$10K per month.

However, when you consider 15% of search queries each month have not been seen by Google before; there is so much opportunity to continually expand the keywords you are targeting.

Below are some campaign segmentation tips to maximise your Ad Grant budget:

  • Segment all campaigns by location
  • Create Brand campaigns to help convert clicks into donations and fundraising
  • Create Event campaigns to convert clicks into donations and fundraising
  • Create “active based” keywords that may include location keywords like Melbourne, search terms with the word “how”, etc.
  • Education and fact keywords for people wanting to know more about your subject area
  • Relevant and related subject keywords which can be generated from your content and used to help improve the readership of your blogs and case studies.

3.  Measuring your Adwords performance

Even with Adwords conversion tracking set up, measuring the performance of your campaigns can be tricky for any charity or not-for-profit organisation in 2018.

It is common across all campaigns for users to:

  • Click multiple times
  • Click across multiple devices
  • Click across different media channels – paid, organic, social, direct etc.

Given that most digital marketing reports only track last click performance, we have a measurement challenge

Let’s take the example:

Step 1: A user types in “best sydney volunteering opportunities” – clicks on your Google Ad.

Step 2: The user then sees pictures of other volunteers on your Facebook page

Step 3: The user then types in your brand website address and signs up to be a volunteer

In this example, the conversion would be through the direct website and would not register as an Adwords conversion.

This is where Assisted Conversion tracking can help. You can find this in the Multi Funnels tab.

Assisted conversions – means the channel in the user journey but not the final interaction before a user converts.

Last click – means the channel is the very last interaction a user has before he or she converts.

Example report above.

Want help improving your Adwords and digital marketing measurement? Request a Free Audit Today.

4. Using your Ad Grant to improve the ROI of your paid digital advertising:

There are limitations to your Ad Grant account and your free dollars can only be used within the Google search network.

Changing your mindset from free advertising dollars to paid media advertising can be a challenge.

You firstly need to understand Google’s rules in detail; plus have the knowledge across re-marketing and web analytics to get both approaches to complement one another.

You can use your Ad Grant dollars to improve your paid digital marketing campaigns in the following areas:

  • Build re-marketing lists to support future fundraising campaigns
  • Set up conversion re-marketing lists to help drive fundraising dollars

For more advanced campaigns, here are some examples of great ways you can use your free ad dollars to help your paid ad dollars:

  • Create existing customer or repeat purchase re-marketing lists
  • Create conversion re-marketing funnels to help convert more donation and fundraising activity traffic
  • Create “new active” re-marketing lists which are people starting to become more engaged with your charity or not for profit organisation
  • Capture email addresses on most of your pages, so you can cost effectively re-engage with your audience

Remember – If you are going to accelerate your investment in re-marketing and display advertising it’s important to have your conversion pages well set up, so you can convert and accurately track all your marketing activities

This “how-to” article was written by Ewan Watt, Managing Director of digital marketing agency ROI. If you would like help with your Adwords campaigns, or you don’t have time to execute some of the ideas in this article, Click here to request a free audit.


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