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Google Grant Performance

  • 1.  Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 07, 2019 10:41
    Hi All!

    I'm curious to know how Google Grant performance is doing for other orgs? With the new 5% CTR rule, our monthly spend has significantly dropped (like in the hundreds!). We also have a PPC account, so trying to determine if continuing with the grant is worth it, especially since we are paying to have it managed by an outside agency.

    Happy to discuss with anyone offline!

    Christina

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    Christina Schnoor
    Director of Digital Fundraising
    Anera (American Near East Refugee Aid)
    Washington, DC
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  • 2.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 07, 2019 10:47
    I'm deep in the weeds of my client's Google Analytics reports for Q4 2018, and I can tell you, you're not alone.

    Many orgs have turned off AdWords altogether, as they figure out what a new successful strategy might be. Those orgs who haven't turned off their AdWords campaigns have seen significant decreases in traffic from Paid Search.

    I haven't heard any universally applicable tips from my clients for improving ad performance under the new guidelines, but I'm excited to hear from the NTEN community!

    Best,
    Yesenia
    https://smartcausedigital.com

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    Yesenia Sotelo
    Digital Skills Trainer & Web Developer
    SmartCause Digital
    @silverbell
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  • 3.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 07, 2019 12:41
    Edited by Patricia Bohl Jan 07, 2019 16:45
    Hello,

    my agency manages Google Grant accounts and my clients are still happy with it.
    Although performance is lower than it was before and it became all a bit trickier, that's true!
    Maintaining CTR was never an issue.
    On average, 1/3 of website traffic still comes from the Google Grant Ads. Although that's less than before the policy update, we observe that bounce rate is heavily reduced. Website visitors spend more on the website and visit more pages.
    That's the main reason why my clients don't want to give up Google Grants.
    I use the SKAG approach (single keyword per ad group) and use a thorough maintenance plan.
    Please let me know if you have any dedicated question, it's good to exchange experiences on this topic.
    With the new policies we all have to re-think and re-learn a lot I guess.

    Kind regards,




    ------------------------------
    Patricia Bohl
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  • 4.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 07, 2019 15:42
    We have experienced a significant drop in site traffic from our Google Grant campaigns since March of last year.  We worked closely with a respected Google partner to adjust and refine our approach based on what Google had changed.  The result:  the partner tried every tool in their tool bag and could not move the needle.  They finally threw up their hands and said they had no idea how to fix it.  And here we are today, still working to recover from the loss of traffic.

    ------------------------------
    Ted Davis
    Web Director
    AmeriCares
    Stamford, CT
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  • 5.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 13:18
    Thanks for your feedback, Patricia! To confirm, those clients who are still using Google Grant, are they only using that account for ads or do they also have a PPC account? We are also still happy with the traffic performance, it's just the ad spend that is way down each month, hence trying to determine if it's worth paying for management of that account. Thanks again!

    Christina

    ------------------------------
    Christina Schnoor
    Director of Digital Fundraising
    American Near East Refugee Aid
    Washington, DC
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  • 6.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 13:25
    Hi Christina,

    besides Google Grants my clients use else 'only' occasional social media ads, but no Google Ads.
    Yes, I also have difficulties spending the entire budget.
    Maybe you can forward Jason King's and my experiences to your account manager?

    Good luck and kind regards
    Patricia

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    Patricia Bohl
    Ping Marketing Strategies
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  • 7.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 04:43
    Edited by Jason King Jan 08, 2019 04:43
    The 5% CTR rule has become easier to comply with. Most accounts saw a rise in CTR in mid October due to tweaks to something called the Ad Grants Quality Filter. Most of my accounts rose about 1% - 1.5% almost overnight. There was an accompanying drop in impressions on some accounts from 17th October - quite dramatic for some orgs - but that's reversible if you take steps to improve both ads and landing pages.

    Currently across 23 accounts, I'm averaging 8% CTR, with half over 10% and some ~ 12%. The average for the Ad Grants program as a whole is higher than you might expect.

    There are many techniques for raising CTR, for example: adding extensions; ads that target your brand; removing keywords that are both high impression and low CTR. See this video by the Ad Grants team: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJgtAOqdLKk&t=19s&list=PL9ood6Q0jRMdp12uWuPVSvHortE5y_c0p&index=6

    If you want to get more impressions at a decent CTR, try dynamic search ads. Quick and easy to set up, and they tend to work best on accounts that are either new or missing opportunities. Dynamic search fills in the gaps in your advertising, and can be helpful in identifying new keywords and landing pages with potential.

    Biggest tip I would give anyone using Google Ads is: polish your goals until they shine. Make them meaningful. Make sure your website tracks events, and those events can be used as goals in Analytics. Use the Maximize Conversions bidding strategy. Get your CMS, Analytics and Google Ads working together. Stop worrying about impressions and clicks, and focus on conversions.

    Comparing paid accounts with Ad Grant accounts can be eye-opening. They require quite different approaches. Because Ad Grant ads always appear below paid ads, they will never get equal results. Depending on your field of work, and how competitive it is, especially if you compete with businesses for keywords, then an Ad Grant might perform well... or not at all. But it's a case of using each account for the right purpose. To give an example, a nonprofit that arranges small business loans gets very few conversions from its Ad Grant because the financial sector has insanely high CPA, so those ads have to go in the paid account; but they also advertise for people to be volunteer business mentors, and those keywords are less popular and able to get impressions in the Ad Grant account. It's worth doing competitor research using tools such as Serpstat and SEMrush to figure out who you're in competition with, how much they spend on keywords, and what kind of ads they run.

    I don't have anything other than a hunch to back this up, and I will be enquiring further, but I suspect that Ad Grants have tweaked some algorithms at the beginning of this year. Suddenly, some of my accounts are getting better results, up to 20% more impressions with no reduction in CTR, and no obvious reason. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has experienced the same thing.

    Not sure if people here are aware, but there is an active official forum for Ad Grants at https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Google-Ad-Grants/bd-p/adgrants# and an NTEN forum to discuss digital advertising at https://community.nten.org/communities/digital-advertising.

    ------------------------------
    Jason King
    Freelance WordPress development and Google Ad Grant management
    Mirepoix, France

    www.kingjason.co.uk

    Twitter: @jasoncsking
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 15:14
    Wow, thanks Jason! This is all very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and resources.

    Christina

    ------------------------------
    Christina Schnoor
    Director of Digital Fundraising
    American Near East Refugee Aid
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 17:03
    Very helpful discussion on a subject that appears to be challenging a lot of us of late.  Thank you, Jason, especially, for the insight.  Google Ads represents a rapidly changing landscape and this story will continue.

    ------------------------------
    Ted Davis
    Web Director
    AmeriCares
    Stamford, CT
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 10, 2019 18:25
    Hey NTEN Community!

    We've absolutely seen this affect our clients as well, and it's been a lot of work getting them to fully optimize the grant. It's been a bit of a blessing and a curse. However, with the $2 bid cap removal, and with a lot (and I mean *A LOT*) of tweaking, the ads are performing much better and we're seeing some really solid results. We created a step by step guide on how to fully optimize, and can be found here: Google Ad Grants Recent Changes for Nonprofits: The Complete Guide

    If you have any particular questions - feel free to drop me a note at kevin@mondaylovesyou.com and happy to help out.

    Thanks, and have a great Thursday!

    Best,
    Kevin

    ------------------------------
    Kevin LaManna
    Principal | Monday Loves You
    Chicago, IL

    www.mondaylovesyou.com
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  • 11.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 09, 2019 10:08
    Edited by Lindsay Doran Jan 09, 2019 10:08
    Thank you for this information, Jason!

    We'd let our Google AdWords fall into inactivity, but I recently went back in and did what needed to be done to re-activate it. I really took time to familiarize myself with how it works, what goes where, etc. so I'm eager to keep it working well for us.

    For the 5% CTR, is that overall CTR or does every keyword you use need to be over 5%? Our overall CTR is 10.37%, but we have some keywords at 4% and some at 0% with only 1 impression because it's only been running for a few weeks, and we're a local org. These are keywords I'd like to keep to see how they perform over time, but if they need to be 5%+ for each keyword then I will remove them.

    Thanks again for your help with this :)

    ------------------------------
    Lindsay Doran
    Thunder Bay, ON
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  • 12.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 09, 2019 11:12
    The 5% CTR rule is across the account as a whole for each month. You don't need to worry about individual campaigns, ad groups or keywords. And only if the account falls below 5% for two consecutive months, does it become a compliance issue.

    Over 10% is great, carry on! You have a safe margin to add more keywords, knowing your CTR won't drop to dangerous levels.

    It takes time for new or dormant accounts to get momentum. Definitely try dynamic search.

    Local or niche orgs will struggle to get a lot of traffic, so focus on conversions not clicks when determining the value of your Ad Grant.

    ------------------------------
    Jason King
    Freelance WordPress development and Google Ad Grant management
    Mirepoix, France

    www.kingjason.co.uk

    Twitter: @jasoncsking
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 09, 2019 13:56
    Thank you, Jason! This extremely helpful (and good to hear).

    ------------------------------
    Lindsay Doran
    Thunder Bay, ON
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  • 14.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 08, 2019 08:51
    ​We abandoned ours sometime last year. Being understaffed right now, I just don't have the bandwidth to monitor it and we don't gain enough from it to invest in having an outside agency manage it.

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    Ariana Estes
    Web and Social Media Specialist
    Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
    Richmond, VA
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  • 15.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 10, 2019 15:43
    I hadn't heard of the SKAG method before @Patricia Bohl​​ mentioned it. Does anyone else follow that approach? I'm going to do more research on it.

    ------------------------------
    Emilio Arocho
    Director, Technology and Digital Strategy
    Food and Drug Law Institute

    Community Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data group.
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  • 16.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 10, 2019 17:06
    Definitely use SKAG for your most important keywords, or all of them if you have the time to micro-manage your account.

    See https://klientboost.com/ppc/single-keyword-ad-groups/

    Some of us define the S in SKAG to mean Several, rather than Single. Main thing is that all keywords in the group appear in the ad text too.

    ------------------------------
    Jason King
    Google Ad Grant Certified Professional
    and Google Partner
    Mirepoix, France

    www.kingjason.co.uk

    Twitter: @jasoncsking

    Email: jason@kingjason.co.uk
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 11, 2019 18:10
    I'm so glad this conversation came up and I saw it today!

    My organization had a Google Grant and we weren't doing so well on the managment and results of it. When Google's policy changed and they had a deadline for getting the performance up to speed, we were in the throes of a website redesign (and that went waaayyy past timeline)  I tried to find some help from the G.Grants folks to understand how to navigate the perfect storm we had going, but I couldn't find a live person to talk to.

    I haven't checked to see if our Grant was rescinded or if it's still limping along, with no one paying attention to it. Any suggestions for me--and maybe others are in the same boat--to return to the G.Grant world to reactivate our use of this resource? We have a marketing company on retainer and they have the skills to manage the work involved if I can bring life to the old G.Grant or try to reapply for a new edition.  Thanks, all!



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    Barbara Gorzinski
    Director of Program Development
    Associated Ministries of Tacoma-Pierce County
    Tacoma, WA
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  • 18.  RE: Google Grant Performance

    Posted Jan 13, 2019 12:01
    @Barbara Gorzinski

    If your Ad Grant ​was suspended, you should have received an email to that effect, and suspension is just temporary until you fix any issues and contact Google Ads to request un-suspension. You should not try to re-apply if you already have an account.

    You can phone Google Ads support on 1-866-246-6453 to ask them what needs to be done, but if it's a question about Ad Grant policies it can be better to post it on the official forum at https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Google-Ad-Grants/bd-p/adgrants.

    You will need to ensure your website has a statement in the footer to say you're a nonprofit, and state your registration number.

    Note that although there is now an Ad Grants rule that says you can't use single word keywords, "homeless" and "homelessness" are on the exemption list so you can use them.

    ------------------------------
    Jason King
    Google Ad Grant Certified Professional
    and Google Partner
    Mirepoix, France

    www.kingjason.co.uk

    Twitter: @jasoncsking

    Email: jason@kingjason.co.uk
    ------------------------------