Charity Marketing

How To Set Up An AdWords Campaign For Your Charity With The New Google Guidelines

Written by MicroStartups

Spreading the word about your charity is essential for its survival. Google display campaigns reach 80% of global internet users, which means that paid ads can tremendously increase brand awareness.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have $10,000 a month that you can use to advertise on AdWords and help the world learn about your good cause and join in? Google Ad Grants turn this into a real possibility and can offer you an opportunity to promote your nonprofit and make it thrive.

But, that hefty budget will only be worthwhile if you come up with a smart AdWords campaign, especially now that some guidelines have been changed.

Here are some actionable tips to get the ball rolling for your charity.

Focus on your keywords

Naturally, keywords are at the core of any good SEO campaign, so what you should do is carry out comprehensive keyword research, as that’s something that will help you bring a lot of quality traffic to your website.

In other words, it will allow you to target and reach donors, volunteers, and other people willing to participate.

Until a few months ago, nonprofits that won a $10,000 Google Ad Grant found it difficult to spend that amount on a monthly basis, because they couldn’t bid more than $2 per click. This meant that high intent keywords were out of their league, thus affecting the visibility of their charity.

However, this rule has been changed and the $2 bid cap has been lifted: but only if you use the Maximize Conversions bid optimization strategy.

Powered by machine learning technology, Maximize Conversions is a smart bidding strategy which automatically determines the best bid for you, subsequently helping you to get high conversion rates.

All this doesn’t mean that the algorithm will offer you the best keyword suggestions, which is why it’s a good idea to use a keyword research tool, such as Keyword Planner. You’ll create a long list of related keywords for your charity, and be able to test them out until you find the winning combination.

There’s another important factor to take into consideration when it comes to keywords – match types. Generally speaking, there are three types to choose from:

Exact match keywords

This means that your ad will appear when searchers enter the exact sequence of words in the search box. This way you’ll reach only a precisely targeted audience, and despite a lower website traffic, these keywords are highly converting.

Broad match keywords

Unlike the exact match type, this one will help you reach a wider audience, but on the downside, the high traffic you’ll get won’t be refined. You can tweak this by identifying the most effective long-tail keywords for your nonprofit.

Phrase match keywords

These keywords are a combination of the two previously mentioned types, and it’s a good idea to use them when you want to play it safe.

Negative keywords

These keywords can be very helpful when it comes to disqualifying leads that aren’t a good match for your offer. For example, if your charity’s goal is providing drinking water to the people of Puerto Rico, by including the negative keyword “Africa” in your campaign or ad group, you indicate that your ad shouldn’t be displayed to those who are focused specifically on providing drinking water in Africa.

Craft your ads carefully

After completing the first step, it’s time to get down to crafting your ad copy which should revolve around the right keywords, because that’s the way to serve relevant ads to your target audience when they use that particular keyword in their query.

There’s another guideline change here that you should be aware of. Namely, if your ads don’t hit at least a 5% CTR for two consecutive months, your account will be cancelled. Yes, it does sound scary but provided that your keyword research was thorough and that the copy for your ads is stellar, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Use a specific CTA

Start by composing a headline which has to incorporate a relevant keyword. Make sure that every headline is in the form of a very specific call-to-action, such as “Donate to this cause.” Similarly, you should use action-oriented wording for the text of your add.

Organize your ads by segments

Since your target audience consists of different segments, you need to organize your ads into corresponding Ad Groups. This way you’ll be able to tailor your messages in a manner that will be appealing to each individual segment.

For example, you can have different ads in order to highlight benefits for donors and benefits for recipients. Another useful idea is to differentiate various campaign levels and ad groups, and never use the same ad copy for different ad groups.

Always A/B test

Finally, create several variations of the copy per ad group and test them out to see which one performs best.

Optimize your landing pages

When it comes to the actual ads, there’s something else that you should optimize – your landing pages. Businesses which have more than 40 landing pages generate 12 times more leads than those with one to four landing pages. Namely, you should make sure that all your ads lead to relevant landing pages.

This means that you should create a dedicated landing page for every AdWords campaign.

A well-optimized landing page is the one which closely matches the keywords, ad copy, and the action you want your visitor to take, meaning that the wording should be similar in order not to confuse people who click on your ad. Therefore, if your ad says “donate for our cause,” the landing page it leads to shouldn’t offer those who click to “sign up to volunteer.”

Monitor and analyze the performance of your campaigns

Although AdWords allows you to keep track of your campaigns’ metrics to a certain extent, using another tool such as Google Analytics is a welcome addition because it gives you a more detailed insight into what works and what doesn’t.

It’s particularly useful as it allows you to measure your ROI and help you understand your visitors and their needs, in order to tweak and fine-tune your future advertising efforts.

What’s also important is to track conversions across all channels of communication and see which one is the most effective in terms of performance.

The new guidelines make it possible to spend your monthly Google Ad Grant effectively and promote your nonprofit. However, it will take some skills and expertise to make your campaigns work.

Leslie works for Cube Digital and has helped a few charities meet the new tougher AdWords guidelines from Google.

About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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