On the surface, Ad Grants seems like a great deal. However, many organisations struggle to make the most of the cash. Part of this will be down to your organisation and how people search. If you’re a medical charity, there’s probably quite a lot of relevant search for symptoms and support. If you’re a lifeboat charity, or a frog charity (as random examples), the “at need” search is probably very different.
The subheadings below: objectives, keywords, ad copy, landing page aren’t big news as things to get right. And yet many organisations still overlook best practise, or fail to think creatively enough to get strong results. Ad Grants are TOUGH to get the most out of. To reap the benefits, you need to put in more work than you would for a normal PPC account. But once you’ve found a process and framework that works for you, it gets quicker, easier, and it pays off.
If you’ve got any questions on the points below, or you want to have a chat about improving or starting your own Ad Grants campaigns, get in touch.
Decide on your objective(s)
If you’re using the “maximise clicks” objective, you’ll find your bids capped at £2. For many industries, this makes it very difficult to compete. Instead, change to the “maximise conversions” objective. If you have a really compelling conversion action for your visitors, such as sign up to X and receive Y in return, this might be enough to get a strong conversion rate that the algorithm can learn from and optimise towards. Great examples of this are animal and conservation charities that give away soft toys in return for sponsorship.
However, if you don’t have an incentive, or your audience are less emotionally attached to your cause, it might be difficult to drive a hard conversion from a cold click. Instead, set up “soft” conversion goals in Analytics. Check out how long people tend to spend on your website before they convert. For example, if they tend to spend over three minutes, or view four pages on average, you might create a goal for “session over two minutes” or “three pages viewed”. This allows the algorithm to optimise to slightly less qualified traffic, but still with a strong indication that people who enact these behaviours are likely a relevant audience to attract and optimise towards.
Look for mid-tail keywords
Too long a tail, and there won’t be enough search volume for ads to show at all. But for highly competitive terms, that bid cap isn’t going to be enough for your keywords to show. Google will always prioritise fee-paying advertisers over Ad Grants. And if your ads do show but at the bottom of the page, it’s going to affect your click through rate – which needs to average a healthy 5% for your account to stay eligible for the grant. Which leaves many organisations in a tight spot!
If you provide support services, think about what kinds of searches someone might conduct before they are in need of your services – what are the risk factors or the causes that might show up in search? For example, if you are a homeless charity, you might target people searching for information on eviction rights. Are there themes in the media or soap storylines than you can piggyback off the back of that your organisation can provide information on? Or try qualifying your search queries with location based keywords, such as “manchester charity” or “North Wales sanctuaries”. Use the Answer The Public tool to look for questions, or just use Google yourself to see what specific questions appear in the People Also Ask box, and target those.
Write cut-through ad copy
The number one rule of ad copy is that it needs to match closely to the user’s search query. But aside from this, be creative. Numbers can often uplift click through rates, such as “5 Things You Need To Know About X”. Controversial wording that drives an urge to know more can help, too. Try along the lines of “Three Excellent Conservation Projects, and Three Doing More Harm Than Good”. You’ve probably noticed my use of sentence case in the above – the grammarians amongst us might shudder, but use of caps increases click through rate, too.
Get your landing pages RIGHT
This is absolutely critical. If your landing pages don’t relate closely enough to a user’s search term, your quality score will crash. Create multiple pages – you can “no index” them if you don’t want them appearing in Google search. Make sure the query, the ad, and the page are all very closely linked. Check the headline, subheadline and the introductory paragraph every single time – is the user’s need clearly addressed? To be honest, it’s very unlikely that an existing page on your website will be your strongest opportunity for an Ad Grants landing page – we always encourage our clients to create bespoke pages where they can.
The page needs to deliver on whatever you promised in the ad, and it also needs to stimulate your conversion action – whether that’s making a donation or signing up to a newsletter, or spending more time or viewing more pages on your website. Whatever you have set up as the conversion action for the campaign needs to be borne in mind when designing the content and linking on your landing page.