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google ads for nonprofits

Google Ads for Nonprofits: 7 Tips for Exceptional Campaign Management

Google Ads advertising is a great platform for nonprofits and charities because of the many benefits that come from setting up and managing campaigns. It has many tools and features to help you reach donors and volunteers and all audiences relevant to you.

And the best part is that each qualifying nonprofit or charity has up to $10,000 or £7,000 per month of free advertising to appear on Google.

One of the challenges of running Google Ads for nonprofits is the rules that you have to follow to keep your account in regular standing. This includes maintaining at least a 5% click through rate (CTR), not adding single-word keywords, having conversion tracking in place and a few others.

If you’re running Google Ads campaigns for charities already, then follow the tips below to improve performance and to ensure they continue to meet the policy requirements.


1. Setup conversion tracking

One of the important policy requirements is that Google Ads campaigns for nonprofits should have valid conversion tracking. This has been a requirement since 2018 and this helps advertisers run effective campaigns that help them to see which ad assets and keywords are driving sales or leads.

Conversion Tracking

You should also consider setting up goal conversion tracking in Google Analytics (GA) and importing the goal into Google Ads.

In your GA account visit the Admin page and go to Goals and follow the steps in there to create your goal tracking using one of the available templates.


2. Add new negative keywords

As you search for more keywords to add to your campaigns, also look out for negative keywords to add to block irrelevant searches. This will improve the targeting of your ads and will help you to achieve a good conversion rate.

In the search terms report under the Keywords tab in your campaign, you’ll see all the searches your campaign is getting.

And you can then select any that are not relevant and add them to a negative keyword list or at the campaign or ad group level.

Add Negative Keyword List


3. Check Recommendations

Making use of Recommendations in Google Ads is ideal for nonprofits because it provides great insights to improve campaigns. Here you’ll find a wide range of recommendations tailored to your campaigns to boost performance.

Google Ads Recommendations

Make sure you only apply those that are relevant to your campaigns, and dismiss any that are not.

This will help to increase your Optimisation score, which is an estimate from Google Ads of how well your account is set to perform.


4. Find new keywords

Adding new keywords as time goes on helps you to reach many more people and organisations that are important to your charity. Using the Keyword Planner tool in Google Ads you’ll be able to carry out research to find new keywords to add in your campaigns.

Keyword Planner Tool

These should not be single-word keywords unless they are your own brand keywords or approved medical conditions or other cases deemed an exception.

Single-word keywords are not permitted because they usually drive broad searches that are not relevant and have low performance results.


5. Update bid strategy

One of the features in the Recommendations page you should consider updating is the bid strategy. If you’ve been running your PPC campaign for some time and the machine learning system has found a better bid strategy to change to, it will make that recommendation. And you can either add it if it is relevant or dismiss it.

For example, if you started with a Manual bid strategy, you can switch to automated and leverage the power of auction-time bidding to help increase conversions.

Google Ads Bid Strategies


6. Consider broad match type keywords

For nonprofits and charities running Google Ads campaigns, it’s important to review carefully the broad match keywords that you want to add. That’s because broad match could affect your click through rates and that could drop below 5% and affect the approval of your campaigns.

However, adding broad match keywords has many benefits. It helps you target a wider range of searches including long tail keywords. And helps to increase sales or leads for your business.

But, make sure you also add negative keywords to block searches that aren’t relevant for your products or services. This will help to block low conversion and low click through rate keywords.


7. Check Quality Scores

Quality Scores reveal how optimised your campaign is and if there are problems it guides you on how to fix them. It’s a keyword metric that ranges between 1 to 10 and it’s important that you work to improve them and get them closer to 10.

Quality Score Columns

To improve your scores, work on the three factors, expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.

One of the Google Ads policy requirements for nonprofits is that no keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 are permitted. So these should be paused or removed and ensure that you check your scores regularly.


Case Study

The Royal Parks is a reputable charity that wants to help people know about all the beautiful parks in London that they administer. They had been approved for the Google Ads grant but were struggling to comply with the rules. I set up a new campaign which was approved and their conversion rate was now higher than 5% and average cost per click dropped below £1 per click. Read the full case study.


Get in Touch

As a Google Ads expert for nonprofits, I’m able to help you secure advertising funding and also set up and manage your campaigns. Use the form below to contact me to discuss.

    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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