Take advantage of your NGO status in AdWords - Adviso
This content has been updated in 2020 by Laurence Cardin.
Are you an NGO? Did you know that Google has a program that could give you access to USD$10,000 per month worth of free advertising on their search network?
Google for Nonprofits is a program created to support organizations by giving them access to several of Google’s products. We’ll focus here on one in particular: Google Ad Grants.
This program is designed to help you promote your website. You’ll have access to USD$10,000 worth of AdWords advertising per month to put your organization’s mission front and center in Google’s paid search results.
There are several steps to follow before you can be approved to use the service. With nearly ten active Google Grants accounts in our care, we’ve developed a practical guide to quickly get an account approved and running. The idea being that we would rather focus our time and effort on the development and optimization of the account, rather than on getting it approved.
In 2017, Google made a number of changes to the terms and conditions of its program to help NGOs in their quest for visibility on the behemoth that is the Internet. These changes were made with a very specific goal in mind: increasing the relevance of search results and improving the experience users have with the search engine. It’s true that these changes impose more rules and limit some aspects of SEM, but they also encourage the adoption of industry best practices.
For example, a widespread practice in the management of Grants for AdWords was to target very broad terms that weren’t necessarily directly aligned with the NGO’s area of interest. This technique was used by many organizations to maximize impressions and gain more clicks, without worrying about other metrics like bounce rate, which serves as an indicator of how well the landing page’s content reflects the user’s search intention. Google wants campaign managers to adopt a “post less, post smarter” mentality.
To encourage these best practices, Google has, among other things, decided to loosen the restrictions on maximum bids for NGOs. Organizations who adapt their approach to target search intentions that align with their programs’ priorities will benefit from an intelligent bidding system that is optimized based on conversions. Organizations will therefore be able to bid more than $2 per click, which was impossible up to now.
The program has several restrictions you will want to keep in mind:
- It only applies to text ads in the Google Search Network (no display, no YouTube).
- The maximum bid is USD$2, unless you are using the bid optimization system known as Maximize conversions.
- Your maximum budget is USD$10,000 /month for a total of USD$120,000 per year.
- Ads must drive to a single domain.
- Ads that are strictly commercial are prohibited.
- Your click rate can’t drop below 5% for two consecutive months.
- Geo-targeting is mandatory.
- Every active campaign must have a minimum of two ad groups, each of which must contain a minimum of two active ads.
- You must have at least two sitelink extensions.
- The quality score for your keywords must be higher than 2.
- You must bid on a combination of keywords. You can’t bid on a single-word keyword, for example “Show”, although there are a few exceptions.
- Your site cannot host Google AdSense ads.
- If your site hosts other types of banners, these should be unobtrusive. The content of the site should be the main focus of every page.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the restrictions, it’s time to take advantage of the Ad Grants program. To do this, Google for Nonprofits requires you to meet several eligibility criteria.
- Send a membership application request to Google for Nonprofits
- Be able to prove your status as a charitable organization (find country-specific details here)
- Recognize and accept the necessary provisions concerning non-discrimination, receipts and the use of donations
- Have an operational website with substantial content
N.B. Certain entities including government bodies, health care organizations, schools, daycares, institutions of higher learning and universities are not eligible to take advantage of the program. However philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible.
Once your application to Google has been accepted, it’s time to create your Google Grants AdWords account!
A Grants AdWords account is the same as a standard AdWords account, but the payment information belongs to Google. If you already have an AdWords account, you can’t use it for the Ad Grants program. You’ll need to create a new account.
Google provides a complete account creation guide on its support platform. Here we will summarize the essentials and draw your attention to a few significant points. Our guide is accompanied by screenshots so you can follow along step-by-step.
It’s important to follow each step in the account creation guide to the letter. For this exercise, we are going to create a campaign that redirects towards a fictional NGO: Adopt A Big Blue Elephant.
There are four types of conversion in AdWords:
- Website actions (visits to a specific page, submitting a contact form or simply making a purchase on your site)
- App downloads, or in-app actions
- Phone calls
- Offline conversions
You’ve now arrived at the final step: submitting your account to Google for approval. Before submitting it, it’s very important that you don’t pause your campaign, but rather leave it active (see screenshot below).