There are plenty of reasons why a nonprofit would be interested in applying for a Google Ad Grant, which can grant up to $10,000 of free, in-kind Google search advertising every month, but before you can start reaping the benefits of a Google Grant, your nonprofit has to first qualify and successfully navigate the application process.
Certain types of organizations are excluded from the Google Ad Grant program entirely including:
- hospitals and certain kinds of healthcare organizations;
- government entities;
- academic institutions (such as schools, universities, and nonprofits that sell courses or other types of educational services); and
- ecommerce sites.
So if you aren’t in one of those categories, you might be ready for a Google Ad Grant! But there are a few other things to consider before you start the application process. We are a digital marketing firm that has almost a decade of experience applying for and managing search advertising grants for our nonprofit clients. We’ve created a simple three answer checklist that can help you figure out if you are ready:
Google Ad Grant Eligibility Checklist
If you answered no to any of these questions you are not quite ready.
We know that time and resources are tighter than ever right now and you might want to know if it is worth your energy to explore this more. Our team of certified Google Ads specialists put together this quick guide to help you figure out what you’ll need to do to qualify, and benefit from, a Google Ad grant.
What You Can Do To Get Ready
1. Build a high quality website.
To fully benefit from a Google Ad grant you will need to have a “high quality” website. For Google,“high quality” means the site is helpful or provides value to your visitors and that your content demonstrates high levels of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
We’ve found that the more high quality content you have on your site, the better you will be able to fully utilize the $10,000 per month in free advertising.
Keep in mind that Google Ad grant dollars are allotted in $329 increments on a daily basis. Unused grant dollars do not roll over to the next day so if you don’t use it you lose it.
If your website does not already feature a lot of high quality content, then you may need to focus your attention on creating and publishing high quality pieces on topics you want to drive people to using Google Ads before you begin the application process.
Aim to create educational content on topics that your target audiences are interested in and searching for online. In order to fully utilize the grant, the topics you choose need to be searched for thousands of times each month. We recommend a research and strategy phase before launching your Google Ad grant campaign.
2. Decide Which Goals You Want to Achieve
Your organization will need to understand what you want to get out of these campaigns – and you need to go beyond asking for donations. If you are only interested in asking for donations, we have found that Google Grants traffic is not likely to help your organization.
What are some of the other ways these campaigns can help you achieve your goals? Here are a list of actions (trackable conversions) that nonprofits may want to ask people to take through these campaigns:
- Downloading a resource or guide
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Registering for events
- Submitting membership applications
- Filling out inquiry forms
- Phone calls
3. Set up Conversion Tracking on Your Website.
Your organization will need to add conversion tracking code to your website so you can monitor the actual impact of your ad campaigns. You may need to pay a web developer to install conversion tracking on your website. There are ways to incorporate Google Tag Manager within your website so that installing conversion tags will be easier. Usually web developers will do this if there are lots of tags to install. Tag Manager works seamlessly with Google Ads so there will be no issues with tag compatibility. For websites that need fewer tags, they can be installed manually. In most cases this still requires at least an hour or two of support from a professional website developer.
Once you get conversion tracking installed on your website your organization will be allowed to bid higher than Google Ad Grant’s baseline bid, which is a $2 Cost Per Click or CPC, by using an automated bidding strategy.
This same conversion tracking work brings another significant benefit in that it enables automated reporting so you can track the effectiveness of your Google Ads and campaigns. That means you could arrange for someone on your team to be automatically emailed the results periodically.
For more information about what it will take to be successful, read JB Media’s Guide A Plain Language Guide to Google Ad Grants for Nonprofts.