Tips for driving donations through your Google Grant Ads

Tips for driving donations through your Google Grant Ads
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Google Grant Ads are one of the most useful but under-appreciated digital marketing channels. Here’s why they’re great:

  • They’re fantastic for reaching a warm, interested audience. People who are searching are demonstrating interest and intent.
  • They’re great for ‘always-on’ promotion and acquisition.
  • Once they’re set up correctly, they’re easy to maintain.
  • They’re very frequently neglected – so having good Google Ads will give you a competitive edge.
  • You can advertise in multiple countries.
  • They’re great for supporting work on other channels – people who see your ads and messages on other channels will frequently Google you to see what you’re about. Good Google Ads will help to move those people down the funnel.
  • They’re free (FREE!) under the Google Grant, with an ad spend of up to $330 per day / $10,000 per month.

Tips for using your Google Grant Ads to drive donations

  • Generally, donation campaigns targeting keywords like ‘donate to X cause’ don’t really perform, even for very large brands. My theory for this is: when people are prompted to want to support a charity (e.g. after seeing some media coverage or an ad), they are most likely to just Google the charity name, and then see what options to get involved are on the website when they get there.
  • Across a large number of Grant accounts, I’ve seen Brand campaigns drive way more donations than fundraising campaigns – because those are the ads people will see when they Google a charity’s name or the cause.
  • Sitelink extensions with a donation call to action on the Brand campaign can work really well for driving donations (see this sample from the WWF – I got this ad when I Googled “wwf”).
  • The exception to the ‘people don’t really search for “donate to X charity”‘ rule is when there’s a huge international crisis or emergency. At time of writing this (May 2022), there are lots of people searching for ‘donate to Ukraine’, ‘support people in Ukraine’, etc. If you’re a charity helping people affected by a big crisis like this, you should also set up a campaign targeting specific ‘help people in X crisis’ searches.
  • This shouldn’t replace your brand ads though – run both a brand campaign with donation sitelinks, and a separate campaign for the specific emergency. That way, you’ll have ads for two separate types of searchers: people who want to support the current emergency, and people who want to support your cause for other reasons.
  • It’s really important to sort out your landing pages and website donation process – you can have really strong ads and sitelinks, but if the experience is bad when people arrive, you’ll lose them. Improving the UX and user journey on your website will benefit all your channels, not just Google Ads.
  • Finally, conversion tracking is key for making the most of Google Grant Ads. If you don’t have this done already, set up a conversion / goal for donations on Analytics, import it into Google Ads, and then optimise the Brand campaign for conversions. This means Google will allow you to spend more than the $2 limit on those keywords.

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