Oliver Farrer: The key to a successful Google ads grant

The Google Grant is a $10,000 (£8,000) gift by Google to spend specifically on Google Ads. Any legitimate charity will be approved as long as they have a website that is up to scratch. The website must be secured, load quickly and not contain broken links.

As a free resource, it should be a valuable marketing channel for every relevant charity. The core purpose of the Google Grant is to enable charities to appear at the top of Google searches for a new audience searching for their cause. Currently, over 40,000 charities globally are currently taking advantage of the grant; however, this remains a small percentage of the total number of charities that could benefit.

Google Ads is built by three components, Campaigns, Ad Groups & Ads.

The Campaigns control the budget and bidding strategy and should follow a certain theme, Ad groups house groups of keywords that match the adverts.

These are the adverts that appear at the top of Google search results. Google requires grant accounts to have two ads per ad group and will tend to prefer to serve one over the other. This is a great opportunity to test messaging and monitor how audiences respond.

Dynamic Search ads are the most recent development by Google asking for a diverse combination of advert copy that is automatically tailored to the Google search.

The fourth key component is the charity website. It doesn’t need to be super high-tech or flashy, it just needs to have the right content that relates to the questions people might be asking on Google.

People are searching constantly for information on Google. For example, in the UK, 450,000 people search every month for information about climate change. As a result, all charities with a link to climate change should have the information readily available on your website that relates to those questions. If you don’t answer that specific question Google won’t show your ad.

Google’s strength is that it captures people when they are in the research phase and the Google Grant enables charities the opportunity to appear in front of them when they’re actively searching. Your ad appears in front of someone in their moment of need or interest.

An example is if someone is searching for the difference between fostering or adopting a child. This is early in the process of someone exploring the idea. This is a great time for a fostering agency blog article to appear, highlighting the core differences, benefits and impacts of fostering over adoption or vice versa.

A benchmark is 10 pages of meaningful content, 10 promotable pages that have specific information related to your cause. If an organisation has a bank of content then they will most likely be very successful with the grant as long as they have the time and expertise to manage Google Ads effectively.

Once you have promotable content readily available, conversion tracking is key to measuring the success of any marketing activity. Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager are again free resources that can be linked to your Google Ads Account. This lets you see a user's journey from their Google search through your website. An example being the ability to see how many people submitted a contact form or made a donation, and which Google search drove them to this action.

Conversions allow you to track people who take meaningful actions which in turn is valuable feedback, a positive feedback loop. This will give you a sense of what is the actual impact of the people the grant is driving to your site.

Examples of conversions might include membership sign-ups, ticket sales, email subscribers, brochure downloads, and of course donor lists.

Running a Google Ads Grant takes time and expertise. If the core components are followed it will set any charity up for success.

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