Google Ad Grants allow charities a free chance to compete for valuable ad space on Google – here’s how they can start benefiting.
A recent report by the Charities Excellence Framework found that too many charities are still missing out on the opportunities from Google Ads Grants.
You might be completely new to Google Ads Grants for charities, or maybe you already know what Google Ads Grants for charities are and are curious to learn more about the benefits and how to access them. Either way, read on to learn more.
What are Google Ads Grants?
Put simply, the Google Ads Grants programme (commonly known as Google Grants) gives charities and non-profits the chance to advertise on Google completely for free. Eligible charities can get $10,000 (around £7,500) in grants each month to spend towards Google PPC advertising.
The grant is available to charities big and small that fit Google’s criteria.
What is PPC advertising?
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is a model of search engine marketing that can be an extremely effective way of reaching valuable audiences and driving them to your charity’s website.
PPC campaigns are based on the Google Ads service, allowing you to present your advertisement at the top of Google search results when users search for a specific keyword. Organisations pay Google each time someone clicks on the ad to a landing page on their website, hence the term ’Pay-Per-Click’.
In PPC, you ’bid’ for specific keywords against other advertisers, which determines how much you pay for your ad per click. How high up on the page your ad appears is decided by how well your organisation scores compared with other advertisers bidding on the same keyword, based on how much you bid and Google’s various factors in deciding the quality of your ad. And the higher your quality score, the less you should have to pay per click.
Essentially, a good PPC campaign works when a visit is worth more than the amount you paid for it, so this is where Google Ad Grants can represent good value.
What are the benefits for charities?
Google is by far the dominant search provider today, covering over 87% of the UK market, and it’s the largest search engine in most of the world. By advertising on Google, charities drive new donations and spread awareness of their services by displaying your message to the people who are searching for terms related to your cause.
While increasing organic traffic to your site through SEO practices is a free and important way to drive the right people to your charity’s website, Google Ads can be a quicker boost to fundraising and marketing efforts.
Arthritis Research UK, for example, reported that the charity received around 25,000 new users a month and 30 registrations, along with many more interactions and donations, as a direct result of the Ad Grant.
How can charities can access Google Ad Grants?
First, you’ll have to get approved. Charity Digital serves as the intermediary between charities and Google in the UK. You’ll need to sign up through Charity Digital’s Google Ad Grants service – all you need is a Google account for your charity, and an account with Charity Digital Exchange (both free). Charity Digital will then give you a validation token to sign up with Google Ad Grants.
You’ll need to hold registered charity status and comply with Google’s other eligibility requirements, such as having a high-quality website with substantial content, using proper security certifications. Certain categories of charities, such as government bodies, schools, academic institutions, Universities and hospitals may not apply.
How can my charity get the most out of Google Ads?
Here’s the snag: as we explained in our recent article ’Five steps to plan a successful PPC campaign’, it takes time, skill and some know-how to run well-performing ad campaigns on Google, so research is needed once you have your Google Ads Grant up and running.
There’s quite a lot to consider. Some charities who lack time employ the services of a specialist PPC agency who can support them with the right expertise in getting started and help them get the most value from their paid advertising. Look for agencies who are Google Accredited.
Should you want to explore on your own, Google provides online guides to setting up, managing and optimising your ads. There is an art to bidding and choosing the right keywords. There are many online tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner which can suggest keywords and alternatives to more pricey ones.
Next, you will need to write concise, persuasive ad copy. NCVO advises that charities try a new ad format called Responsive Search Ad, which lets you write up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google will then show these in random combinations, learning over time which combinations work best.
Once your ads are live, you can use Google Analytics and conversion tracking to understand how your ads are performing and answer questions around which keywords are the strongest and which ads are driving donations or recruiting volunteers, so you can continue to improve their effectiveness and get more people to your charity’s website.
You can find additional guidance on accessing the Google Grant in our DFD webinar.