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August 27, 2015

3 Advanced Tips for Managing your Google Grant Account

August 27, 2015

A while back I wrote about “How to Secure a $10,000 Google Ad Grant” – an in-kind advertising program Google offers to 501(c)(3) organizations. The grant allows qualifying organizations to show ads on Google’s search engine results page.

Some of our clients and readers have successfully applied for the grant and are now managing an Adwords account so I thought I’d share a couple of pro tip strategies that will help take your performance to a new level!

#1 - Download the Google Adwords Editor

The Google Adwords Desktop Editor allows you to download your Adwords account, make bulk changes, and then upload all the edits to your live account. If you’re managing a small campaign, you might not need the editor, but if you really want to take advantage of the Grant (and potentially spend all $10,000 each month!), you will need to gradually and consistently build the account, loading it with new keywords over time. You can do this in the Adwords interface, but I often like to work in Excel to make my list of terms and then upload via Editor, which I find much easier and more efficient. The tool may feel a little overwhelming at first, but it will save you so much time in the long run. You can download the editor for free here and browse the tool’s help center here.

#2 – Take Advantage of Advanced Settings

One caveat to the Google Adwords Grant is that you cannot use your Grant account for the Display Network. This is a feature that would otherwise allow you to show ads on other sites, not just the search engine results page.

There are however, a few other advanced settings that you can take advantage of:

  • Sitelinks: These are additional hyperlinks that often show up on ads that are in a top position. The links give you more real estate on the search results page, which is great for attracting extra attention while also providing an opportunity to feature additional benefits that might not be represented in your ad copy.
  • Call Extensions: Similar to sitelinks, call extensions give you a little extra space around your ad. In this case, a phone number actually allows people to click to call on mobile phones. You can track the calls like you would other conversions and you can also have multiple numbers for multiple locations.
  • Location Extensions: If it makes sense to also show your address, location extensions are a great opportunity to do so. Like call extensions, you can build out multiple locations. 
  • Dynamic Search Ads: A newer feature that I'm still exploring – dynamic search ads don't use targeted keywords, instead Google crawls your site content and targets users searching for related content on Google. Your ad still shows on the search results page, but you’re allowing Google to identify what’s relevant based on their crawling technology.


An example ad showing sitelinks, a location extension and a call extension.

#3 – Consider Creating a Second Account

Another stipulation with the Grant is that you can only bid up to $2 on any keyword. For some terms, this simply won’t cut it and you’ll need a much higher bid before you’ll start to see any traffic. If the more expensive/competitive terms are critical to your mission, then you might consider running lower cost terms through your Grant account and running higher cost terms in a second, fully paid account. We recently parsed out two accounts for a client and were able to move about 75% of their terms to the grant account, while allowing the remaining terms to thrive in a paid account.

An important note is that your ad manager does need to be very careful with this approach as it is against Google policy to have the same term in multiple accounts – therefore it requires extra attention to ensure the keyword paths don’t cross.

So there you have it! Try a few of these and feel free to reach out with any questions along the way. And keep your eyes peeled for an invite to our October Serial Box, when I’ll be hosting a Google Grants Workshop.

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