Spend Down on Google Grant

It’s time to stop focusing on meaningless spend and refocus on performance to get value from your Google Ad Grant.

We’ve had calls from a lot of non-profits recently telling us that they’re really struggling to spend the full $10,000 Ad Grant. The thing is, it’s really nice to know you’re getting that full $10,000 of free traffic to your website each and every month, it equates to 5,000 visits at $2 per click. If you can get clicks for less than $2 then you stand to get in front of many more eyeballs.

But… And this is a big BUT. Traffic isn’t everything…

In fact, part of the reason Google introduced a list of new policies for Ad Grants customers in December 2017 is to stop people from focusing on meaningless spending and to try and transition people into thinking about meaningful results.

After all, what’s better, 5,000 visitors to your website who do nothing or 200 people who come to your website and sign-up to your latest downloadable offer?

What’s better, 5,000 visitors who do nothing or 200 people who take an action that involves them handing their contact details to you so that you can follow-up?

Our advice is to make sure you’re always measuring outcomes, here are just some of the outcomes that you can measure using Google Analytics and Google Ads:

  • Donations
  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • Petition signatures
  • Lead generation “squeeze pages”
  • Document downloads
  • Video views (from initial play to % completed)
  • Page scroll depth

And the list goes on…

The thing is all of the above can be used to trigger conversion goals in Google Ads and help your organisation to unlock “Maximise Conversion Bidding” which allows you to push above the $2 bid cap imposed by the Google Grant.

Get your fair share

By starting with outcomes you can get things up and running in the most efficient way possible.

Then it’s time to make sure you’re maximising your outcomes!

To do this, before you even consider expanding your keyword research you should make sure you’re getting a good share of impressions on the search terms that are already resulting in conversions.

We’ve seen so many Google Grant Accounts recently that are getting less than 10% impression share for some of their most important search terms. In fact, in some cases, this scenario has even applied to a charity’s brand search terms! Impression share is calculated by taking the total number of searches that your ad was eligible to display vs. the number of searches for which it was actually displayed. For example, if I had an ad that was to display against searches for “assistance dogs” and in one month there were 100 searches, yet my ad only displayed for 10 of these searches, I’d have a 10% share of impressions. Clearly a missed opportunity.

Not all conversions are made equal

When setting up your conversions make sure you think about the outcomes that are important to your organisation, these can usually be broken down at a high level into:

  • Macro-conversions – the big ones! This includes anything where you end up collecting supporter information (name, email, phone) and usually ranges from donations to petition signatures and newsletter sign-ups.
  • Micro-conversions – the small (but still important) ones! These usually include metrics around important actions that don’t directly result in you capturing your supporter’s details, for example, document downloads, video views, page scroll depth, and so on. You can usually use one or a combination of these measures to determine visitor engagement and improve targeting/bids.

We’ll cover the detail of how to configure these conversions in a future post.

Who manages your ad grant?

Even if you’re not paying a specialist to manage your Ad Grant account and you’re doing it in-house, the costs in terms of time and opportunity cost are still significant! By shifting your focus to outcomes you’ll be more confident that your investment in the Google Ad Grant is giving you a satisfactory return.


Whilst it’s important to make sure you’re maximising your usage of the Google Ad Grant in terms of the available monthly budget, it’s more important to start with focusing on outcomes. It may be harder to achieve tangible outcomes than it is to get your monthly spend away, however tangible outcomes nearly always matter more!