I’m willing to bet you $10 (it’s all I have in my wallet right now) that you’re not maximising the traffic from the available grant money.
Don’t feel bad, most organisations aren’t, that’s why we’ve pulled together this article based on our experience of working with Google Ad Grants.
Whenever I review an organisation’s Google Grant account I find that most of them have a lot of room for improving the way they spend the grant to maximise the traffic.
Here are some of the key issues we find in grant accounts that are being under utilised:
- Wasted money. Most of $10k monthly budget remains unspent at the end of each month. The unused funds do not roll over into future months so this is effectively lost money :-(.
- Low click through rates. This happens quite regularly due to poor account structure as a result of being set up and initially stuffed full with lots of different keywords stuffed into a small selection of ad groups and campaigns. Then the person who started up the account moves on or loses interest, quite quickly this can impact your return as keywords are triggering ads that are not as relevant as they could be (due to the initial stuffing), resulting in declining click throughs each time the ad is displayed.
- Not proactively maintained. This means that the campaigns and ad groups in the account are often promoting initiatives that are out of date or in the worse cases directing traffic to pages that are no longer valid.
- Bids not optimised in the account. As you may already be aware the Google Grant account comes with a maximum allowed bid of $2, this means that many organisations simply set every campaign to bid up to the $2 bid limit. This can often be a good approach for highly competitive terms, however, it’s not always the right approach. For example, some campaigns might see a better return if they were optimised to appear in a position further down the page, freeing up budget to push other terms.
- Conversions not being tracked. If you’re not tracking your conversions (either donations or sign-ups) it can make it difficult to justify spending more time on optimising your grant account. Make sure you set up conversion tracking using Google Analytics, if you’re taking donations online then make sure you’ve rolled out Google Analytics eCommerce tracking.
With all of the above in mind the biggest single issue we see is that many organisations are spending less than half of the available $10k. With the restrictions that the big G place on the grant it can sometimes be tough to spend the full monthly budget, especially as the monthly budget is actually broken down to a $329 daily budget (that doesn’t roll over if you underspend on any given day), so some accounts find that they spend the entire daily budget on a few key dates/campaigns and then massively underspend for the rest of the year.
Even if you bid the maximum $2 for each and every click your Ad Grant account could deliver you 5,000 potential supporters each and every month. It’s unlikely that every click will cost you $2 so that number of potential supporters reached could actually be much higher!
By spending time in your grant account adding campaigns, ad groups and keywords and optimising within them, you will quickly find that you start to see a bigger return from the AdWords Grant (assuming you’ve got your tracking set up properly). You’ll need to take time to think about all the work that your organisation is involved in and how you can find an angle to promote this within AdWords. Make sure you focus your energies on keywords that are most closely aligned with your overall objectives, for example if you’re aiming to grow fundraising or advocacy then you should think of keywords relevant to your appeal or advocacy campaign.
You should make sure you’re using AdWords to support any other channel activity, for example if you’re lucky enough to be running DRTV campaigns then you should consider memorable components of the TV commercial and ensure you have keywords in a campaign to make the online page trackable, these keywords could be as obscure as a person’s name in the commercial or words that are spoken or appear on screen as part of the story.
If you can get this right then your organisation could qualify for the Ad Grants Pro Programme, giving you $40k of free advertising investment to play with each month!
If you’d like us to help you manage your Google Grant then please get in contact and we can talk to you about how we work.
If you’re a registered charity then you’re probably eligible for the Google Ad Grant Programme which gives you access to $10,000 of free advertising on Google AdWords! If you’re not already registered for Google Grants then you can find out more about Google Ad Grants here.