Google Ads for Charities: How to get started (2020 guide)

Google Ads for Charities: How to get started the right way
The Google Ads Grant gives charities access to $10,000 (£8,000) worth of free Google Ads spend. Here's how to make the most of it.

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The Google Ads Grant gives charities access to $10,000 (£8,000) worth of free Google Ads spend, every month.

The even better news is that Google have made their notoriously tricky process much simpler to navigate, so now there really is no excuse not to apply for the Google Grant for your organisation and take advantage of that free monthly ad spend.

Once you’re approved for the Google Ad Grant, Google gives you thousands of free ad spend every month, but any budget left over at the end of the month is lost. 

Using as much of that budget as you can is going to take some understanding, so setting up a system in the right way from the start that will pay off in dividends for months, or even years, to come.

The most important thing is that if you set your Google Ads account up right from the get-go, it’s going to make your life way easier down the line. Here are several tips on how to do that.

Assign someone direct responsibility

If someone is not on the line, it’s not going to get done. We see this way too often at charities, where Google Ads accounts are not being regularly checked and so not being made the most of.

Or worse, logins to the account are lost and no one knows how to access their Google Ads for your charity!

Pick one person who will be responsible for maintaining the account and make sure that they document the logins for the account.

We recommend the person responsible logs in to Google about once a week to maintain the account. It’s going to take a little more time to set it up in the beginning. But after that, once the ads are rolling, about an hour every week should be plenty.

Create a list of keyword ideas

Before you even start running Google Ads, think about what keywords you want to be showing your ads against.

Not sure where to start with creating keywords? Here are some ideas that may help.

Your site is the answer to their question, but what’s the question that users have in mind when they search?

There are many tools you can use to come up with new keywords to use.

Using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool will give you a lot of great ideas for keywords to use. It’s a free tool that comes with Google Ads, so make good use of it.

Another good way to find keywords ideas is to use Google’s autocomplete feature. Go to google.com. And start typing in a phrase around your cause. and see what Google comes up within its autocomplete.

This auto-complete function shows you what other people are searching for, so it is a good source of data.

The last place to find keywords is from your content. Scan the content on your website for keyword ideas. You’re the expert for your cause, you have tonnes of content around it.

See what keywords you’re already using in your content. Then you can adapt those into keywords for your Google Ads.

Set up your account

Now you have all these great keywords ideas, think about how you are going to organise these in your Google Ads account.

Now you have all these great keyword ideas, think about how you are going to organise these in your Google Ads account.

You will need to create a campaign, which is where all your ads will be kept. 

Within each campaign, you will have ad groups, which contain different ads.

If people click on your ad, they will be taken to a page on your website – a landing page. 

A good rule of thumb is that different ad groups (one or more ads that share similar target) within a campaign (a set of ad groups) should be pointing to the same landing page. If you need a different landing page, create a new campaign for that landing page.

If you’re going to be doing any geographic location targeting (e.g. showing ads only to people in Manchester or Wales) you can only do that at the campaign level. You need to think about that when you’re figuring out how to organise your campaigns.
Confused? Google has a helpful guide to setting up your Google Ads account.

Choose your landing pages

Selecting your landing pages for your Google Ads is important.

For each campaign, make sure your landing page is one of the most engaging pages on your website that gets people to do what you want them to do.

This might be a newsletter signup page, it could be a donation page, whatever is important to your organisation. That’s where you want your ads to go.

Write your ad copy

We recommend writing two ads per ad group. If you write too many, they’re going to be competing against each other. 

Create two ads, and then after a week, see which one’s performing the best. And then write a new ad and try to beat it.

This is a good formula to follow for your ads:

  1. Use a catchy headline, including the keyword because that’s what people are searching for. 
  2. On the next line, but the benefits, how can people enjoy what you’re offering. 
  3. On the next line, add a special offer, a promotion or some kind of call to action to get people excited.

For nonprofits, this can be a little tricky, since buying a product often isn’t the goal. But this formula still kind of works. 

Staying informed, receive news, free resources, etc. These can all be good benefits for users.

Set up your campaign

So you’ve got your keywords, you have your ads, you have your campaigns. Now it’s time to set it all up and watch it grow. 

I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty here. There are loads of resources out there on how to do this. 

Here are a few of our favourites:

Analyse your campaigns

It’s important to make sure you’re making the best use of the Google Grants, so look at your analytics!

When the responsible person for your charity (see step 1!) logs in for their weekly check on the account, here are some questions to think about to help analyse how the campaigns are performing:

  1. What campaigns are performing well? Which are underperforming and need improving?
  2. Which keywords are driving the most clicks?
  3. Which keywords are driving the most conversions?
  4. Which ad copy is driving the most clicks?
  5. Which ad copy is driving the most conversions?
  6. What landing pages are performing the best?
  7. Can the landing pages be changed to improve conversions?

To make it even easier, Google now provides recommendations for simple ways to improve your Google Ads. Simply follow their recommendations and you can be confident that your ads are being well optimised.

Follow these tips and you’ll get started with your Google Ads Grant the right way and be well on the way to success. Need more help? Take a look at our Google Ads Training for Charities.

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