Google Ad Grants, how the nonprofit organizations works

Google Ads has long been considered one of the leading advertising platforms of reference for professionals and companies.

But what about nonprofit organizations? Well, there are exciting opportunities explicitly designed for them.

Let’s see what it is.

The Topic Of This Post

  • 1 What are Google Ad Grants?
  • 2 How to start from scratch
  • 3 What are the benefits
  • 4 What are the limits
  • 5 5 tips to get you started on the right foot

What are Google Ad Grants?

That’s is perhaps the first, simple (but not so obvious) question that a nonprofit reality asks itself when it approaches the complex world of advertising (abbreviated ADV) means advertising.

Behind the “Google Ad Grants” label lies (almost) the same platform that we all know as … Google Ads. However, there are, at the same time, great opportunities to be seized and precise limits to be respected compared to other “paying” advertisers.

Yes, because the Ad Grants program allows certified nonprofit organizations (of all types and sizes) to design and manage campaigns – with text-only ads delivered in Google – thanks to a budget. Free advertising of $ 10,000 / month.

No, it is not a typo. That’s is about $ 329 / day made available by the program to intercept quality traffic. Sound interesting?

How to start from scratch

Unlike in the past, entry into the Google Ad Grants program is now defined by a concrete series of steps.

Google explicitly emphasizes not to create Google Ads accounts independently for your nonprofit. Only once the various necessary review processes have been passed will Google invite the nonprofit to access the advertising account with free-spending.

Google, of course, does not issue refunds of any kind for advertising account activity created outside of the proper process.

So here’s how to get started.

  1. Evaluate that you meet the necessary eligibility requirements

To apply for a Google Ads account within the Google Ad Grants program, an organization must first be appropriately registered as a charitable organization in one of the (many) countries where the program is active. Italy is one of them.

Furthermore, adherence to specific eligibility criteria is required, different for each country, which for ours can be summarized as follows:

  • be registered with SocialTechno, the regional division of TechSoup Global;
  • be associations, foundations, or cooperatives registered as ONLUS, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, religious institutions, or other organizations operating as nonprofit for public utility purposes.

Government bodies, organizations (including health care), hospitals, schools, academic institutions, or universities cannot participate in the Ad Grants program.

  1. Apply for a Google account for Nonprofit

To receive a Google Ads account funded by the Ad Grants program, you must first request an account from the Google for Nonprofits portal.

By clicking on “Start” at the top right, you can follow a guided path towards completing the request.

In the different steps, you will be reminded of the program requirements, and you will be asked to confirm the reference Google account for the request.

  1. Wait for TechSoup to validate

TechSoup is the reality that deals with verifying the requests to the program, usually within 1-2 weeks, during which it can request, if necessary, further information and carry out checks on your nonprofit reality.

Verification by TechSoup is a fundamental requirement to activate one or more products of the Google platform for nonprofits (including, in fact, also Google Ad Grants).

  1. Activate Google Ad Grants

TechSoup, you can return to the Google portal for nonprofits, go to the Google Ad Grants section and click on “Start.”

By following the steps indicated by the platform, the request will be concluded. Finally, it will take up to five business days for Google to review the proposal.

An important reminder: Do not create a Google Ads account yourself at any time, 

Sounds complicated? In reality, it is probably more straightforward than in the past. On balance, these are times when – rightly so – Google and its partners take the time to make sure that applicants for access to the program present the proper credentials.

What are the benefits?

If you already have a smattering of the potential of Google Ads on the search network, well, Google Ad Grants work much the same way.

The budget available, we said, is equal to $ 10,000 / month, or about $ 329 / day. The funding not disbursed at the end of the month does not carry over to the following months and is “lost.”

You can then use the account provided to deliver search or brilliant campaigns through text-only ads in Google.

Through the keyword planning tool, you can understand the searches of the people most important to you, outlining a precise strategy to intercept them and get them interested in your nonprofit.

By harnessing the power of expanded and responsive text ads, you can use the best levers to drive a click, as well as improve its performance across all available ad extensions.

You’ll likely want to make use of site link extensions (showing an additional link and a few more lines of text for each), call (showing a phone number), callout (showing different short readers), and structured snippets (showing key pairs and proper values ​​to describe your services). And much more.

Then, thanks to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool, you will be able to have a clear overview of the ad performance of your campaigns in the various locations chosen, tweaking what is necessary for the ad text to ensure the best possible yield.

What are the limits?

Together with these exciting opportunities offered free of charge to nonprofits, it is necessary to respect specific, precise rules to take advantage of the program. Some of these limits are technical, others related to compliance with the account’s effectiveness and active campaigns.

First, the deliverable ads are entirely textual. Therefore, no display, video, or other campaigns are available. The ads will also appear below those of paying advertisers.

Again, campaigns will not be able to make use of remarketing lists.

And what about bidding strategies?

From April 2019, all campaigns created of a non-intelligent type must employ automatic bidding strategies. The maximum CPC that these strategies will work with is set to a maximum limit of $ 2.00. Only through the use of Maximize Conversions strategies, ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend, “return on advertising investment”) is the revenue generated by an advertising campaign minus the cost of advertising. It’s a popular metric.CPA: acronym for Cost per Acquisition or cost per action. It is the average cost of an advertisement when a specific action is taken. These actions Target the platform may exceed this limit.

These are technical limits imposed by Google. Together there are requirements to be respected over time regarding the cleanliness and effectiveness of the account.

Google Now gives a lot of attention to the geographic targeting of campaigns created through the Google for Nonprofits program, stimulating advertisers to carefully choose the best locations to inspire people to take action towards the organization. Therefore, no to campaigns distributed indiscriminately on entire nations, welcome more targeted campaigns instead of on the regions or cities in which you operate, with equally specific ads.

If you are not using intelligent campaigns, at least two active ad groups are required for each campaign, each geared towards distinct and focused keywords and at least two text ads for each group.

Remember when I was talking about extensions? The use of at least two approved and active Sitelink extensions is specifically required.

Furthermore, suppose you use brilliant campaigns (and therefore decide to guide the movements manually). In that case, it is required to maintain a CTR For Click Trough Rate (acronym CTR) or click rate. Of course, we mean the number of times users click on a link or banner ad, at least 5% monthly at the whole account level.

You will therefore be able to have more or less performing campaigns, with CTRs higher or lower than this threshold set at 5%, but the average account cannot drop below it for more than a month.

After two months of “infringement” of this rule, the account will be temporarily deactivated. Once the situation has been reported under control ( following Google’s suggestions, such as suspending ads, keywords, or entire low-performing campaigns), it will be possible to request its restoration with a specific form.

Finally, Google requires that at least one conversion action in web marketing; conversion means when a user takes a specific – measurable – effort important to your business. Examples are access to the site, the visit of like a donation, a purchase, a call, 

Finally, for automatic bidding strategies to work correctly, it is essential to act at the level of a single conversion action, applying the flag on “Include in conversions” only on significant conversion actions such as donations, purchases, leads, and the like.

And what about the destination site? Within the program, advertisements can only direct users to domains approved during the registration procedure (which can be integrated with additional requests).

You must own the domain and the high-quality site, with original content, precise and meaningful for users, without broken links, with pages that load quickly and are protected by the HTTPS protocol. In short, what is expected from a good, reliable, and credible site?

Finally, forms of advertising on the pages are allowed in a limited form and only when highly relevant to the nonprofit’s objectives. For example, no affiliate links or Google adsAdSenseAdSense is a Google advertising platform that helps website owners monetize their sites by displaying contextually relevant advertisements.

These limits may seem restrictive, but by looking through them with the eye of an experienced advertiser, you can understand how in reality, they are good practices that allow Google to ensure that the budget made available for free is well spent.

5 tips to get you started on the right foot

How to make most of Google Ad Grants opportunities?

By focusing our attention on rendering text ads delivered exclusively to Google, we can select some good recommendations.

Adopt a good account structure

Remember when I wrote about the importance of maintaining a minimum account-level CTR of at least 5%? Here, the way to best manage this value is to work on a clean and efficient account.

I am referring in particular to the architecture of the countryside. Remember that budgeting in Google Ads is managed at the campaign level and shared across all ad groups within it.

At the campaign level, you can also manage the target locations, the language, the daily and hourly scheduling of ads. Therefore, distinct campaigns for specific regions, cities, or radii on an area are welcome.

Ad groups that group (in fact) well-focused keywords for specific research purposes are also welcome. Thus, it will be much more intuitive to identify underperforming groups with many impressions but few clicks, therefore working on the particular ads involved.

Work on your search term matching options

In Google Ads, it is inaccurate to say that “we buy keywords to show ads.” We don’t buy keywords at all. Instead, we purchase the matches of searches of real people, in Google, concerning the keywords we have indicated on the platform. It’s a big difference.

That’s why mastering the matching options is critical.

The platform does not allow the adoption of keywords in the general correspondence of a single term (with the exclusion of a restricted list of words) unless the time is the name of your nonprofit. By adopting generic matches, the risk is to show ads for user searches even very far from the desired ones.

It’s essential to adopt phrases or exact matches consisting of multiple terms that your potential users might adopt in their searches.

The keyword planner is handy for getting to the right level of detail, allowing the platform to show ads in the best context.

Work on the Quality Score

The concept of Quality Score is directly linked to the choice of search terms. That’s is a rating that each advertiser in Google Ads receives as an estimate of the quality of the keywords chosen, the ads shown, and the landing page we have selected to target users.

It’s a number, from one (very bad) to ten (very good), divided in the metrics available on the platform, between expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.

 I, therefore, recommend that you delve into the nuances of the quality score and always keep an eye on its yield for active campaigns.

Set up a conversion action

While not a valid requirement for compliance with conversion tracking policies, you can still import minor conversion goals from Google Analytics such as:

  • viewing a landing page
  • a session duration reached
  • several pages/session reached
  • an event unleashed on the site

These conversions, which are valuable for understanding user behavior on your site, must, however, have the “Include in conversions” flag removed and the conversion category set to “Other.”

Follow the resources dedicated to Nonprofits.

Needless to deny, all this information can intimidate many advertisers, so I can imagine the effect on a nonprofit that is taking its first steps with digital marketing strategies at Google.

To help, Google has made available an exciting YouTube channel for Google Ad Grants, which hosts free insurance content and periodic live streams to provide nonprofit organizations around the world with ideas and suggestions to reach people. Most important to them.

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