Advanced strategies for Google Ad Grants

Back in January we looked at getting set up with a Google Ad Grant account and how to stay eligible for the program once live.

It might sound easy, but as our previous article pointed out, this isn’t the case and there is a compliance guide that must continually be met in order to stay active. This includes things like maintaining click-through-rate (CTR) above 5%, no keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2, and Google product adoption for ad extensions like sitelinks. If these are not met, the account will be suspended with immediate effect.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, we have a comprehensive daily checklist, automated notifications and rules which alert us to any areas of an account that may be falling behind against the grant account compliance. This enables us to react quickly to keep the account online.

The next level

Assuming you followed all the advice from our previous blog, you will now be benefiting from the program and driving qualified traffic to your website for free! (Grant accounts can be up to $40K per month).

Here at Croud we work with a wide range of charities, including the Royal British Legion, Marie Curie and RNIB, which has given us extensive experience of the sector and how to get the best out of the campaigns. In this article we’ve selected our top five tips to maximise and grow a grant account.

1. Integrate grant and paid accounts

A restriction of grant accounts is the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $2, which can be an issue where estimated first-page bids are above this. The result of this is ineligibility to appear and low ad rank (which is based on your bid). One way to get around this is by also having a paid account, which is something a lot of advertisers do, enabling them to increase bids above $2 on keywords which are suffocated by the grant $2 maximum CPC.

In most cases, charities run a paid account for shopping campaigns, which are not currently available with grant accounts and can easily be set up with Croud to support the grant account.

Paid campaigns are also often set up for standard search campaigns where automated bidding strategies (discussed below) are not getting traction due to limited timescales for campaigns, like quick turnaround events. The paid campaign then gives you the freedom to increase max CPCs above $2 in line with the recommended first-page bid estimates.

2. Embrace automated bidding strategies

If setting up a paid account isn’t an option, to a certain degree Google’s automated bidding strategies are a way around this. The maximise conversions bidding strategy is something we have tested for our charity clients, and we have seen average CPCs increase above $2, therefore allowing keywords to enter auctions that were not previously available. The result of this has been increased traffic, as well as conversions, and this has been a key growth area for accounts which have room within the monthly budget to test this strategy.

3. Join up on- and offline activity

It is often the case that charities are also running offline campaigns and, depending on the strategy, PPC can quickly pivot to capture traffic that is a direct result of the offline activity. TV advertising is a good example of this, as PPC can deploy ad scheduling in conjunction with TV spot times to ensure there is maximum online coverage.

The ad schedule can be set up quickly with specific times, plus bid modifiers can be applied to increase maximum CPCs to push for high positioning on the SERP. This approach has seen increases in CTR and conversion rates for our charity clients, and where budgets are tight, it is an excellent strategy to maximise your ad spend.

4. Leverage location targeting

Fundraising events are a big part of all the charities we work with, and location targeting for specific events – whether in person or virtual in the current climate – is something we often set up for PPC activity. This allows you to choose the specific location to target in conjunction with an event, allowing you to focus on specific areas where people are more likely to sign up to an event, again enabling you to be very targeted with your spend.

We have also previously used location targeting for an event that was advertised in London tube stations. Using Google Ads location targeting,we were able to target a five miles radius of the stations where the advertising was in place and we saw a notable uplift in CTR whilst the tube station advertising was live.

5. Explore Microsoft’s philanthropy program pilot

This is a similar program to Google Ad Grants; however as the name suggests, it is still in the pilot phase, which started in October last year.

Croud were selected by Microsoft to manage charities which were eligible for the limited pilot, and we will be able to give more information on this when the program comes out of pilot.

To find out more about grant accounts or about Croud’s overall PPC services, get in touch.

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