Top 10 Tips on Setting Up and Managing Your Google Ad Grant
1. How to Create the Strategy for Your Google Ad Campaigns
Plan Your Campaign First
The first thing you want to do is really plan out your campaigns. Campaigns are your overarching goals like awareness, fundraising, building your email list, promoting events, building new programs, or recruiting new volunteers.
Set up the goals you want to achieve and also have a specific target in mind.
Ask yourself what success looks like.
Set clear and specific goals. If you want to increase your online donor base, specify by how many new donors over what period of time. For example, you might want to add 10 new donors per week for a month. You can now adjust your campaign as you see how your ads are working.
Perhaps you want to make people aware of the programs of your nonprofit. To accomplish this, you can increase education around your cause. Each goal is a “campaign” broken up into Ad Groups for different aspects of your overall goal.
2. How to Set Your AdWords Budget
Google Ad Grants gives you a maximum daily budget (ad spend) of $330 per day, which is about $10,000 over 30 days. You have to spend up to $330 per day – it does not rollover.
As you begin to develop more campaigns you’ll need to share the daily budget over all your campaigns. This is where it can get tricky. The total budget across all your campaigns has to be not more than $330 per day.
Managing your daily budget can have a big impact on the performance of your campaigns.
When you have multiple campaigns running you need to set up a “shared budget.”
Set all the campaigns to share one budget and allocate the money where people are clicking.
If you find yourself getting close to the $330 per day limit you can get more precise in your cost targeting, but as you are getting started just have all your campaigns “share” the daily budget.
3. How to Set up Your Geographic Targeting at the Campaign Level
Depending on whether your nonprofit is local, regional, national or international, you can choose the geographical locations where you want to show your ads.
Keep in mind that the more specific your geographic targeting is, the less traffic you’ll get. However, more targeted traffic is usually more qualified, and therefore more valuable to you.
Really targeted traffic also adds to the overall relevancy of your ad, which is very important to Google.
4. How Your Ad Position Works in Terms of Bidding Versus Quality Score
The most valuable ad position is at the top, particularly if you have a high percentage of mobile visitors.
Recently, Google changed the way it displays ads on desktops. Now, Google displays 3 or 4 ads at the top and bottom of the search results, and has removed ads from the right side.
Google now shows Product Listing Ads (PLAs) as well as Knowledge Graph Boxes on the right side.
If your ad appears on page two of Google’s search results, you will get just a small fraction of the traffic that you would have if you had the top position.
This policy change will have a big impact on Google Ad Grants. Because bids are restricted to $2 or less, it will be much harder to compete for high traffic keywords.
How is your ad position determined?
Each ad is, in fact, an auction every time someone searches for something.
If your visitor searches for “summer camps for children”, all ads with this keyword are placed on auction and Google will determine which ads are displayed, and in what order.
What actually determines how competitive you are in an auction?
Your ad position (or ranking) in the auction is determined by two things. The first is called the “Cost Per Click” (CPC) bid and the second is called “Quality Score.”
CPC is the top price you are willing to pay for a click. Keep in mind though, that with Ad Grants you are not actually paying. The cost is being subtracted from your daily ad budget. You are, however, a part of the bidding process with other bidders who are paying.
The other concept is called “Quality Score” of your landing page.
Quality Score is the measure of how relevant your keyword is to your ads and to your landing page.
What is a Good Quality Score?
With Google Ad Grant accounts anything three and up is okay. A lower score, like one or two, isn’t good and you need to either improve your page or use more relevant keywords.
A good quality score would be seven, eight and above, to ten.
What is a Good Bidding Strategy?
A good bidding strategy is to bid $2 for all your keywords until you can see you’re getting close to using your daily budget. Then you can start refining your bidding to get more clicks for the same amount of money.
5. How to Use Keyword Match Types Effectively
Exact Match Keywords
Exact Match means that your ads will trigger whenever someone searches for that exact keyword in that exact order. Your keyword is identical to the search phrase of your visitors search query.
Phrase Match Keywords
Phrase Match keyword means that your ad triggers whenever a search includes your keywords in that specific order. There can be more keywords in the phrase, but you need all the words in your keyword in order.
Broad Match Keywords
That’s the broadest targeting, the least specific keyword that you can use. A Broad Match Keyword means that your ad will trigger anytime a search includes or is closely related to whatever keyword your visitor searched for. The Broad Match keyword takes into account close variations of your keyword.
For example, if someone misspells a keyword, and you’re using a broad match keyword that is close to it, it will still trigger for that misspelling.
This is why broad is good. It will also match different tenses or different synonyms and variations.
In your keyword research process you should use several different variations based on synonyms, tense, spelling, and singular or plural.
Negative keywords are words that stop your ad from triggering. If a search query includes your keyword phrase but also includes a negative keyword, that keyword will not trigger an ad.
Low Quality Score and Match Type
If you’re having problems increasing your quality score, try being more specific with your match type. Choose more specific match types that are more relevant. This will increase your quality score.
The more that Google sees your keywords as relevant, the better quality score they’re going to give you.
Of course, if you’re getting more specific in your targeting, it can be an indication to Google that you’re being more relevant, more targeted. This can help with your quality score.
Negative keywords are really important because they prevent irrelevant searches which also helps increase your quality score.
6. Long-Tail versus Short-Tail keywords and When You Should Use Each
Short-tail and long-tail refers to how many words there are in a certain keyword phrase. The fewer words in a keyword phrase the shorter the “tail.”
Long-tail keywords are the basic keywords with qualifiers. A good example is “SEO Services.” “SEO Services” is the short-tail keyword and “SEO Services Chiropractors Los Angeles” is a long-tail variation.
Short-tail keywords get more traffic but have a lot more competition. Long-tail keywords get less traffic, but the traffic is usually better quality traffic with less competition.
With Google Ad Grants, you have to look for more specific long-tail keywords because of the $2 limit.
Testing various combinations of keywords and variations will help you find the right balance between your short and your long-tail type keywords.
7. Using the Google Keyword Planner Tool to Find the Best Keywords
The Google Keyword Planner Tool is really the only keyword discovery tool you need.
1. Avg. CPC – Average Cost Per Click: how much this keyword costs for each click
2. Clicks: how many click throughs to your website you can expect with this keyword
3. Impr – Impressions: how many times searchers will see your ad in the search results
4. Cost: how much you would pay per day if you got the suggested click amount
5. CTR – Click Thru Rate: what percent of searchers click through on this keyword
Google recommends related keywords (see column left). With this information you can pick the best keywords with the right balance of competition and traffic. Remember, you need to find the keywords with more traffic and less competition.
This tool let’s you find estimates on how many people, on average, are searching for certain keywords.
You can also add one keyword to the Keyword Planner and it will give you ideas of additional related keywords.
8. Using Ad Text Variations to Maximize Your Reach
Headline 1 – Art and Music Camp Kids and
Headline 2 – Music and Art Camp Kids
Headline 1 worked much better than Headline 2.
You can see that the small change in the headline “Art and Music Camp Kids” vs “Music and Art Camp Kids” made a big difference.
The first headline, “Art and Music Camp Kids”, did 366% better the very similar “Music and Art Camp Kids”.
We talked to some of the parents at the summer camp and we found that parents are looking for art camps and that’s what got them to click.
Ad Rotation lets you set how often Google should display one ad versus the other. You can rotate evenly which means that it shows, like 50/50 if you have two Ads, it’ll show them equally for 90 days then optimize based on the data.
If you need to ensure that all ads run equally across Google search, you should select rotate evenly in your ad rotation settings, so that one single ad doesn’t get the preference.
Ad Rotation Settings: “Optimize for Clicks” or “Optimize for Conversions”
When you “optimize for clicks” Google gives preference to ads that are expected to have a higher click-thru rate than other ads in the ad group.
When you “optimize for conversion” Google will show the ads more likely to have a higher conversion rate such as sign-up forms, event registration etc.
After your ads have been running for a while you can look at your data and refine your ad rotation settings.
9. How to Test Your Ads Using the Ad Preview and Diagnostic Tool
If you keyword isn’t triggering an ad the Ad Preview and Diagnostic Tool will tell you why ads are not showing for that keyword. You can preview your ad and see if you have ads displaying for a specific keyword.
You could test your ads by searching Google directly, but then you will artificially inflate your impressions and that will decrease your quality score.
Some of the reasons for your ad not showing might be: a low quality score, a keyword conflict, low ad rank, a negative keyword conflicting with your keyword, wrong geographic target, or the first page bid is over $2.
10. How to Use Google Analytics to Measure Your Results
Google Analytics can be connected to your AdWords account and will provide you with much better information on how your keywords are performing. Your ads will show up in the “Paid Search” row.
Analytics will give very detailed information on your paid search results.
- Sessions: how many visits to your website
- Percent New Sessions: percent of new sessions
- New Users: users who have not previously visited your website, or have cleared their cookies so they appear to Google to be a new visitor
- Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors who visit one page on your site, don’t interact with anything on the page, and hit the back button or close the tab (bounce off your site)
- Pages per Session: the average number of pages viewed by your visitor
- Average Session Duration: the average amount of time the visitor spent on your website
- Goal Conversion Rate: if you have set up goals you can track how your goals are working by percent (not shown)
- Goal Completions: how many goals were achieved (not shown)
- Goal Value: if you’ve added a value to each goal you can see how much value has been added. This let’s you see how much value has been added by your Google Ad Grants accounts (not shown)