So you have successfully applied and have your Google Ad Grants – what could possibly go wrong with $10,000 of free in-kind advertising on the world’s leading search platform?
Here are the top 10 mistakes when using Google Ad Grants and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Knowing Your Google Grant Policies
Google Ad Grants has specific rules for running Ads to ensure searchers are still having a great experience. What does this mean for you as an advertiser? Google requires Grant accounts to abide by the rules listed here. Ad Grants Accounts must maintain a CTR of at least 5% for the account overall by creating highly relevant, quality ads, and not use single-word keywords, or those with a low quality score.
2. Not Knowing Your Google Ads Policies
Apart from Ad Grants specific rules, you need to keep on top of Google’s wider ad policies which change regularly. While Google allows for a great deal of freedom with advertising, they have policies restricting or suppressing ads for ticket selling and reselling, technology repair, addiction treatment centers, and content regarding drugs, gun violence and other sensitive subject matter. Grant users are not exempt from this wider set of guidelines. You can read up on Google Ads Policies here.
3. Not Putting Yourself In The Searcher’s Perspective
If you want to find monthly donors, what might your keyword be? Put yourself in the searcher’s perspective, how often have you found yourself searching for an organization to donate to with the words “money donations”?
Searchers are more likely to look for information about the cause area they are passionate about. When planning for campaigns or keywords, think about what people might be typing in their search bar. Even better, do some keyword research using tools like the Google Ads Keyword Planner.
4. Relying On Google Ads for 100% Of Your Marketing
Google Ads may not always be a good match. It can work well for advocacy and awareness campaigns, especially for topics that people want to find out more about such as animal welfare or hot topic museum exhibitions, but for campaigns specifically raising money or getting the word out about a local charity event, Google Ads can be hit and miss.
You’ll get the most out of the Google Grant program by integrating it strategically into a larger marketing ecosystem of social media, organic posts and traditional marketing. Why not use your ads campaign to build brand awareness, and then remarket your upcoming event/ or donations drive to all those new website visitors through paid display remarketing or paid social media? Or set up a lead generation landing page to collect emails for your newsletter?
5. Not Using Smart Bidding
Google Grant keyword bids are capped at $2. That is, unless you use a smart bidding option like Maximize Conversions, Target CPA, or Target ROAS. Without using smart bidding, your options for keywords will be limited as you will not be able to compete once the bid surpasses $2. To set up smart bidding, you need to be tracking meaningful conversions and setting goals within your account.
6. Set It and Forget It
With a Google Grant account, it can be tempting to set it and forget it. With so many other competing priorities it may simply fall to the bottom of your list. But, in neglecting to check into your account, not only might you be missing key trends, search term suggestions and optimizations, you are running the risk of falling out of compliance and being suspended. Once your account is suspended, all of your ads will be prevented from running.
When you set up your new Google Ads account, plan to be spending 4-10 hours a month managing, updating and optimizing. Consider hiring a Google Ad Grant management team if you do not have the capacity to maintain your account.
7. Underspending The Grant
Organizations may operate their Google Ad Grant account under the impression that they must highly limit their keywords, and run only a limited number of campaigns to stay within the grant budget. In fact, many organizations using Google Ad Grants, particularly those that serve a niche topic or a local audience, struggle to spend the entirety of the grant. Therefore, make sure you strike a balance between casting the net wide and keeping an eye on the budget. The strategy for a Google Ad Grant account should differ to a paid ad account. You can generally experiment, be highly creative and put in as many relevant keywords as you can think of as long as you abide by other Google Ad policies.
8. Going Too Broad
However, going too far the other way is another common mistake. Above all, your keywords must be highly relevant. For example, it would not be wise to add all the suggested “water” related keywords to your campaign to raise awareness and donations for the global water crisis. An ad about the water crisis is not likely to interest a person searching for a “water bottle”. A poor ad experience will bring down your click-through rate which could result in an account suspension.
9. Not Having A Good Website
Your Google Ads are only as good as your website, so if your website is not user-friendly, your campaigns will not perform well, no matter how great your ad copy, keywords and bidding strategies. We know that redesigning a website can be time-consuming and costly. A quick work-around for this is creating landing pages for your ad campaigns. An optimized landing page will improve the user experience of your ad campaign and increase those coveted conversion rates. If you want to learn more about landing pages, check out our landing page services.
10. Know Your Resources
Reach out when you need assistance. We’ve all had our fair share of poor customer service and no replies but it would be a mistake not to make use of Google’s Support Team. You can contact them any time of day through phone, email or chat.
The Google Help Center is also an invaluable reference for keeping up to date and finding step-by-step guides to accomplish your goals.
If you’re facing a more specific issue with your Google Ad Grants account, it is likely someone else has experienced the same issue too. Check out the Google Ads Help Community or simply search the web.
These are the top 10 mistakes that could impact your Google Ad Grants management. Make sure you’re using your Google Ad Grants to its fullest potential. If your account needs a little more TLC, contact firstname.lastname@example.org we’re always happy to chat.