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A Review of the Ad Grant Scheme’s Transformative Last 2 Years

2020 was not an easy year for anyone, but in the Google Ad Grant world, many accounts were reporting huge year on year increases in traffic. Our Paid Media Consultant, Dan, runs through the many changes Google made to the ad grant scheme over the last two years and what it could mean for the future.

The story starts in January 2018, when new requirements were placed upon Grants to remain active. Of these, both the limitation on single word keywords and the minimum of a 5% account-wide CTR reduced the total traffic available to some accounts, but the biggest change that affected traffic in accounts around this time was initially undocumented by Google.

 

Google Ad Grant Traffic timeline
An example of one of our client’s Google Ad Grant traffic over the past 2 years.

 

The change involved the Ad Grant Quality filter, a rather minor part of the ad auction system. Google describes the Ad Quality feature as being “based, in part, on the general ad quality level of the standard ads in the country where you’re showing your ads”. This seems to be a system by which Google limits how much Ad Grant ads show in comparison to paid ads.

Around the same time as the new policies were implemented (in Nov 2018), Google significantly changed how many ads the Ad Quality filter was limiting in grants. This generally affected the lower priority informational content that makes up the bulk of traffic for many accounts. This caused a significant drop in traffic across the Ad Grant scheme as many accounts lost up to 50% of their daily traffic.

The community were unhappy about the changes, to say the least. The timing of the announcement (after many charity staff had left for Christmas) and the short amount of time given to adjust to the drastically different set of rules was not the best Christmas present Google could have given. The Google Ad Grant scheme realised they would have to start giving rather than taking after this change, and over the next year we would see a drastic turnaround in the prospects of Ad Grant accounts.

Most recently Google has offered extra budget in several periods for Grants during peak performance times such as Christmas. In addition to extra budget, the addition of the maximise conversion bidding strategy being allowed to exceed the $2 bid cap, and the introduction of responsive search ads (which seem to be preferred greatly by the Ad Quality Filter) have allowed us to improve traffic levels across many accounts.

In addition, Google have seemed to relax the initial change they made on Nov 2018 to the ad quality filter, causing traffic to climb back up even without any officially announced new changes. You can see the large increase in traffic between the implementation of the policies and the release of Responsive Search Ads as a result of this.

 

The Future of the Ad Grant Scheme

So, what does all of this tell us about the future of the Ad Grant scheme? In our opinion the message is quite clear from Google: adopting new features, such as automated bidding and Responsive Search Ads, will allow you to mitigate or bypass the restrictions being placed on accounts. It is now more important than ever to be quick to adapt to new features and changes being implemented in the Grant scheme, as they often seem to come paired with changes which limit accounts not using them. For example, the ad quality filter change has been mitigated by responsive search ads and being able to bid above the $2 limit allowed higher priority content to bring in more traffic during times of increased budget.

In recent times we have seen changes to search term reporting and keyword match types, reducing how specifically we can target user searches. However, we have been granted access to demographic targeting, which was up until now not allowed within Grant accounts. This will once again require a change in how you operate a Grant account, focussing less on what people are searching and more on who those people are. Moving into the future, it is important to remain up to date on what changes are happening in the Ad Grant scheme and coming up with ways to maximise the benefit these new changes can give to your accounts.

 

If you have any questions on future implications for your ad grant, or are interested in working with us to apply for your non-profit organisation’s own Google Ad Grant, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Why not follow us on Twitter for the latest updates to the Google Ad Grant scheme?

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Google Ad Grant Hits The Mark At Christmas

Extra Funding for Google Ad Grants at Christmas

Extra Ad Grant Funding available from Google.

 

Uprise Up christmas eve 2019

The Google Ad Grants program hasn’t had such good PR in the last couple of years, following new policies in 2018, and even more restrictions placed on new accounts since then.

However, towards the end of last year, Google announced a program to give certain Ad Grant accounts extra funds for the last few months of 2019 (‘Giving Season’).

What a great Christmas present from Google! – the only catch was that your account needed to be invited to apply for this opportunity.

It was not clear which accounts were sent invites, but from looking at the accounts that we manage which were chosen, it seemed like a high usage of the available budget and adoption of advanced conversion metrics were two important factors in this.

 

Christmas edition of Google logo

 

How to apply?

 

Once the organisation received an invite, the application itself was a reasonably lengthy form, asking about what the non-profit in question would do with the funds. There were also five requirements listed that were needed before applying:

  1. Conversion tracking set up optimally to measure all the site’s goals
  2. Smart bidding being utilised (eg. maximise conversions)
  3. 90-day conversion windows
  4. Use of an attribution model other than Last Click
  5. Seasonality adjustments in place for Giving Tuesday

 

Overall, we were happy to implement these changes (with the agreement of our clients), as they were in line with best practices for paid search campaigns. We’d have preferred, however, fewer blanket rules being applied, because different accounts with different objectives may not always want to follow these rules. Quite likely the Google Ad Grant team is using this scheme to ensure its general take on Google Ad Grant ‘best practice’ is adhered to, but this feels a bit too much like a blanket approach.

Also, most of our UK based charity clients do not promote Giving Tuesday in any respect, meaning there was little to be gained by making adjustments for this date.

Then, it was a case of waiting. The original deadline was pushed back by Google, probably because they were overwhelmed with applications from enthusiastic charities!

Our final stats were:

  • 27 accounts invited
  • 17 accounts applied for
  • 6 accounts successful

 

What is slightly disappointing is that the program was closed quite abruptly, seemingly because the total funds allocated to this program had been exhausted. We also cannot find a trend that linked our unsuccessful applications. More feedback from Google would have been welcome, so that charities that were unsuccessful in their applications can analyse where they fell down and improve their application process for any future funding programs. When the program closed it was also revealed that Globally there was $25 million allocated to this opportunity. This sounds like quite a lot, but this meant accounts we manage were allocated 3.8% of the global total! While this is very much a positive, we can’t help feeling that it may have been fairer to limit the total amount a single charity could receive and instead allow this extra budget across more accounts.

 

Results

 

Across our charity clients, results were very positive.

We were able to make use of the extra funds well and drive relevant traffic to various pages which wouldn’t otherwise have been achieved.

For instance, YoungMinds were normally able to achieve up to 1,000 clicks a day from their Ad Grant on a normal weekday. The extra funding allowed this figure to increase by 25% for most of December, up to 1,250 clicks per day. In December we recorded just shy of £13,000 in donation revenue from the Ad Grant account – the highest donation month to date.

Breast Cancer Now were another charity who were able to make great use of the funds. As an organisation they’ve had an exciting year, having been formed by the merger of two charities. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the extra Ad Grant funds came at a perfect time to capitalise on the awareness raised until the end of the year.

On a typical day this account is able to achieve around 600 clicks per day and the extra funding was able to boost this consistently beyond 900 towards the end of 2019. We saw great improvements in conversions too, with £18,500 of revenue raised in Q4 2019, compared to £2,200 in Q4 2018.

 

As a bonus, we found the extra funding actually continued into the first week of January, despite being advertised to finish at the end of 2019 – a pleasant surprise!

 

 

The Future

 

It’s great to see a program like this being introduced by Google. It gives non-profits a bit more confidence that Google still wants to give them a helping hand.

Hopefully we see a program like this again. If so, next time, we’d like to hear more feedback on unsuccessful applications from Google themselves. We think this will spur on everyone to make further improvements to their campaigns and provide extra motivation to be successful. Otherwise, it may be that some organisations will be confused as to where they have gone wrong and will simply not bother in the future.

 

We would love to hear about your experiences, please email us at [email protected]

 

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Google Ad Grant Timeline

Google Ad Grant Timeline

Google Ad Grant Timeline

With Google constantly making changes and updates to their Ad Grant’s programme, we’ve created a timeline to highlight all of the major events and updates – including the introduction of the Ad Quality filter and the change to policy criteria. We will be updating this post as and when any new details are announced.

17th Oct 2018
Quality Filter Update

Another large quality filter update. It gets worse. Similar to the April update, we saw a 25% fall in clicks on average, and a huge (30%) CTR jump. Clearly, total impressions also fell hugely, showing the Ad Grant ads are simply just not being shown as much as before.

 

21st Aug 2018
Support Update

upriseUP become a Google Ad Grants Professional agency.

 

23rd Jun 2018
Support Update

Google announce Ad Grants Certified Professional Community.

 

24th Apr 2018
Quality Update

There was a large adjustment to the quality filter. We saw a substantial drop in clicks and a corresponding increase in CTR.  We wrote a useful blog in May summing this up in the context of being 5 months on from the changes (https://upriseup.co.uk/ad-grants-policy-changes-5-months-on-what-needs-to-improve/)

 

1st Jan 2018
Policy Update

The Ad Grant policies announced in December became live from this date.

 

14th Dec 2017
Policy Update

The new Ad Grant policies were announced on this date. These consisted of major new requirements for all Ad Grant accounts. The most notable new policies include:

  • A minimum CTR requirement of 5%
  • Restrictions on the keywords allowed to be used
  • Technical requirements based on how an account is structured

 

1st Aug 2017
Quality Filter Update

First notable tweak to quality filter. This was the first sign that the quality filter was not a simple constant function and can be tweaked. On this date we saw a noticeable (although small compared to later updates!) drop in impression share across all Ad Grant accounts.

 

Jun 2017
Quality Filter Update

Quality filter announced and first applied to Ad Grant accounts.

The aim of the quality filter is to essentially determine a minimum quality threshold that Ad Grant ads need to pass in order to be shown. This was said to be in response to the fact that Ad Grant ads tend to be of a lower quality than regular Google Ads accounts.

You can read more about this from our blog at the time (https://upriseup.co.uk/adgrants-quality-filter/)

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Ad Grants Policy Changes 5 Months On – What Needs To Improve?

Google Ad Grant Policy Changes

Ad Grant Policy Changes

 

The dramatic new policies rocked the Ad Grant world in December and have required changes to be made to even the best maintained accounts.

We regularly manage well over 30 of these accounts, so we feel we have a really good idea of what this has meant for Ad Grants accounts.

Overall, I like the direction the changes are pushing Ad Grants accounts and have improved the quality of overall traffic. However, there have been some significant teething troubles that have yet to be resolved, which I think can be summed up in two points:

 

1. Lack of transparency

a) Regarding account performance

b) Regarding application of the new policies

2. Poor support

 

 

Lack of transparency

 

a) Regarding account performance

 

The Ad Grants landscape is changing, and with the new policies it is understandable that performance metrics need to be improved.

However, this is made tricky by some changes made behind the scenes in Ads.

For instance, search impression share is falling away consistency (and is now <10% across all our accounts). We would expect that impression share would increase, as with the lowest quality traffic being removed, overall ad rank should improve. However, it seems like the opposite is the case, and that Ad Grant accounts are being penalised more (compared to paid accounts).

 

*Google Ads does not provide impression share data lower than 10%, which is why the line becomes completely horizontal

We’ve also seen a notable drop in clicks across our accounts. While it is to be expected that clicks are lower than they were previously (given the new stricter policies) there are a few dates where clicks have suffered a dramatic drop. The most recent of these was on April 27th, and affected every one of our accounts (although some more than others).

 

 

We have now received confirmation that this was indeed a change relating to the mysterious Ad Grants quality filter. According to Google, accounts are likely to see fewer total clicks, but the number of conversions should be the same. This is big news, as we’ve never had any confirmation that the Ad Grants algorithm is something that can be changed.

This confirms the major take away from our side is that clicks are decreasing (even for all well managed accounts). With this in mind, we think that identifying different KPIs to clicks should be prioritised by charities going forward, as the pure volume of clicks just isn’t there anymore.

 

b) Regarding application of the new policies

 

It has been made clear, that any account under any threat of being suspended for these policies would be given a warning. However, in the last few months, this has not been adhered to. There have been countless reports of accounts being cancelled out of the blue, and with no reason given as to why this has happened. A few weeks ago we had 5(!) accounts suspended like this on the same day.

If this happens to you then there is no need to panic, if you’re one of our clients then we will let you know by email immediately, and phone Google to get the account re-enabled. If we don’t work with you, then please get in contact and we’d love to be able to help you to enable your account again.

Thankfully, all of our accounts have been re-enabled relatively quickly this time. The reason for these suspensions? I was told (for all five) that ‘I need to look at my keywords, because they aren’t targeted enough’. When pushed for some specifics – the support rep wouldn’t elaborate. This doesn’t help anyone – there’s no way of knowing which (of the possible thousands) of the keywords Google are not happy with.

This brings us onto the other problem with these changes, how to get help regarding these new policies.

 

Poor Support

 

Google have communicated that we should be get in contact with Ads support with our questions.

The problem with this is that there is no dedicated Ad Grants support, only one number to call for everything to do with Ads. The support team seem to have an extremely limited knowledge of the Ad Grants programme (in all honesty it seems like they’ve never heard of it before and are just following a list of instructions).

This results in plain bad advice, or more alarmingly, completely wrong advice!

To get the most out of your call, I would advise explaining your problem in detail, making sure to specify you are working with an Ad Grants account.

If you are not sure with their suggestions, then please ask them to explain the changes they’d like you to make in relation to the policies. If you are not sure, then don’t feel pressured!

If you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, then it’s usually easier to politely hang up and try again. Hopefully you can talk to someone more useful.

As an agency, we have experience managing many different Ad Grant accounts, which gives us a great advantage when talking with support. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for anyone managing their own account in house.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Ad Grants team have increased their presence on the community forum, which is a good step forward. However, it’s still not enough, as plenty of questions remain unanswered.

Going forward, I think there should be two major next steps:

 

  1. Re-evaluate your KPI for the Ad Grant accounts:

Clicks are going down across most accounts, and based on the year so far, I don’t see this increasing soon. With the new policies focussing on quality of traffic over quantity, it’s a great opportunity to redefine your KPIs.

 

  1. Be conservative with your choices

With the amount of account suspensions, we are seeing, we would advise only keeping the activity in your account that you are 100% sure doesn’t not violate the polices. You should then focus on this quality traffic – and your new KPI you have hopefully defined.

It’s much better to be able to use the Grant account that not at all!

 

 

Get In Touch

Did you agree with our view on Google’s recent Ad Grant policy changes? Let us know on Twitter @upriseUPSEM or if we can assist with getting the most out of your Google Ad Grant, please send us an email at [email protected] or get in touch via our contact page.

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The Series of Unfortunate Ad Grant Events Continues

Ad Grant Suspensions

More Ad Grant Suspensions

Google has thrown another wrench in the works of the Google Ad Grants Programme, with another wave of ad grant suspensions, this time without a notifying email. This came after an email was sent to MCC accounts (accounts which group AdWords accounts together, often used by agencies or large companies) detailing the compliance of the ad grants under their wing.

There have been several posts on the Google online forums which complain that the table seems to be claiming non-compliance falsely on some accounts, saying that the account contains single word keywords or low-quality scores when it does not. We ourselves have seen an incredible number of accounts deemed non-compliant when we had already taken steps to make sure they were.

Then, only two working days after this table was sent out, the suspensions started. Oddly, not all accounts deemed non-compliant seem to have been suspended, Google seems to be cherry picking which accounts it is hitting first. We’ve noticed that it seems to be smaller ad grant accounts that are taking the most punishment, where Grantspro accounts are being left alone.

We’re unsure of what exactly is going on behind the scenes in the Google Ad Grants team, but what is certain is that charities are being made to run the gauntlet to keep their Grant accounts running. We will update this blog as we discover more information on the most recent wave of suspensions, so come back soon to read more about what needs to be done.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your ad grant account , please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Did you enjoy our update on Google Ad Grants? Why not share this post on Twitter.

 

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Google Ad Grants – Extraordinary Results With ‘Maximise Conversions’

Maximise Conversions Bidding Strategy

The Impact of ‘Maximise Conversions’

 

A while ago we wrote a blog on the new Maximise Conversions bidding strategy , which allowed Google grant users to exceed the $2 bid limit. At the end of that post, we concluded that we’d need more time to test and observe the new system before we could make a decision on it’s usefulness.

 

Well, we’ve had that time, and it’s been a wild ride.

 

For a while Maximise Conversions was doing very little to accounts and, with the Google grant policy changes introduced in December, testing the new bidding strategy took a back seat. This all changed towards the end of January, however, when we noticed Maximise Conversions behaving very strangely.

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC

 

 

The graph above shows the average cost per click for a campaign over January, and you can see how sudden and extreme the change was. In a matter of days, the cost per click rose from under a dollar to over $20.

 

Let’s layer the number of conversions that the campaign was getting over this graph, so we can see whether this has improved performance:

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC vs. Conv.

 

If anything, conversions have dropped and are definitely not worth the ten times higher bid amount.

This is only one campaign in one account, but looking over all the Grant accounts that used Maximise Conversions in our care, we see this:

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC vs. Conv.

 

 

You can see the affect Maximise Conversions has on average CPC by the increase in weeks 4 and 5. There is not, however, an equivalent increase in conversions, which we would expect to see if these users were more likely to convert. In short, the bid strategy was increasing bids without improving user quality.

 

Our belief is that Google Grant accounts were getting into bidding wars with each other. Multiple Grants with Maximise Conversions bidding on the same term caused the accounts to constantly try to ‘one up’ the field, increasing the bids seemingly indefinitely.

 

The extent to the madness becomes clear when you turn off Maximise Conversions, as AdWords sets the maximum bid to the last ones they had applied under the strategy. Here are just a few of the bids we’ve seen:

 

Keyword Max Cost Per Click
[childrens toy box] $53.60
Charity 10K Walk $63.30
Retail Volunteering Ad Group

£1,000 (!)

 

 

In early February Google reverted whatever they had done to maximise conversion, and indeed seemed to spin the dial the other way as we saw accounts, which had been maximising a few days before, start to see traffic drop to lower than it was before the changes. Google confirmed on a forum post that they had made the changes to counteract the abnormally high bids

 

Our recommendation to all Google Grant holders is to avoid Maximise Conversions for the time being. Google is still making drastic changes behind the scenes to how the strategy works, and until they settle on a suitable level of automation it is too much of a risk to leave running in accounts.

 

What are your thoughts on Google’s Maximise Conversions bidding strategy? Drop us a tweet @upriseUPSEM.

 

We’ll no doubt be blogging again on this topic as we see further developments. In the meantime, if we can help you with getting the best results from your Google Ad Grant, securing an Ad Grant, or any other area of digital marketing please do get touch, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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Event:
Local Charities Shine at Community Impact Bucks Conference

Digital Journey Community Impact Bucks Conference

Community Impact Bucks Conference: The Digital Journey

We were delighted to exhibit at this years ‘The Digital Journey’ with Community Impact Bucks on the 5th October. The conference proved to be a great success with over 100 people attending and some great exhibitions on show.

john-digital-journey-edited.jpg

 

From Websites, social media, CRM systems, personalised communication, crowdfunding… the opportunities presented to us by digital tools are enormous. According to a recent report, 68% of charities think that the charity sector will change as digital adoption increases yet surprisingly only 50% of charities have a digital strategy in place.

 

The day focused on how charities and not-for-profits can better use digital tools and how they can use them to tell their story and aid in volunteers and supporters and more. Offering an exciting mix of industry experts in plenary and interactive breakout sessions, the conference helped to get digital running through every aspect of an organisation’s activities; from communicating with donors and beneficiaries to increasing digital fundraising or turning data into meaningful impact measures.

 

Two of the breakout sessions were led by our very own John Onion and Ed Coles from upriseUP, who held a session on ‘Making the most of Google Adwords’ and ‘Q&A Demystifying Social Media’. We have received some fantastic feedback from those sessions so far, so a big thank you to those of you that came along to say hi to us.

 

As always, please get in touch if you have any queries on the Google Ad Grant let us know and we would be more than happy to help!

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Google’s Grant Account Game-changer: Initial Results and Next Steps

Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

Further Clarification

 

A couple of weeks ago we woke up to the exciting news that Google were allowing certain grant accounts to bid over the previous limit of $2. In this blog, we briefly summarise the initial results we have seen and detail our recommended strategy to make use of this opportunity for those who have the option. The 15th of September is an important date, as you must opt-in to the feature by then, or you will lose the option for the time being.

 

If you haven’t read our original blog on the subject, I recommend taking a look at that first.

 

Due to the lack of information available on the subject initially, we have sought clarification from Google about numerous aspects of this news. Google have confirmed that this feature is officially a beta and is only being offered to a limited number of Grant accounts. In our experience, only Grantspro accounts are being invited, but crucially not every Grantspro account gets the new feature.

 

As this is a beta, Google have confirmed that there is no documentation available for this feature. This is frustrating, and certainly makes it extremely hard to optimise campaigns effectively towards this new strategy.

 

If you have not been fortunate enough to have been given access already, the good news is that if the trial is successful, it will likely be rolled out across all grant accounts.

 

 

Our Results

 

In general, there hasn’t been enough time since this feature was introduced to make a conclusive statement.

We have however, seen some extremely promising results. For example the graph below shows Impressions and Avg. CPC for an Event campaign for one of our clients.

 

The Maximise Conversions strategy was implemented on the 30th August, and almost immediately we can see how the Avg. CPC dramatically increases, up to over $6.00 at some points. This shows at this early stage we can achieve a bid three times the theoretical maximum!

As we would expect, the number of impressions increases as well. This is because, due to us being able to bid higher, we can be more competitive relative to others and thus enter more auctions. The more times our ads can show, the more potential clicks we drive onto the website. The more clicks, the more possible conversions that can then be achieved. Always a good thing!

More experimentation will be required to allow us to maximise the number of clicks achieved, and we will also be evaluating how best to configure conversion tracking in order to increase our bids as much as possible.

 

 

Our Recommended Strategy

 

With the optimism of the good initial results as seen above, we would urge every eligible account to opt-in. You must be quick as there isn’t much time before the deadline! Whilst opting-in is easy to do, it is not clear whether you must do so at campaign or account level.

So, in order to not lose out on this opportunity in any of your campaigns, we recommend changing each individual campaign bidding strategy to ‘Maximise Conversions’. It has been confirmed by a Google Employee that you will be able to switch between bidding strategies after the 15th, but only if you have opted-in.

To do this, you must first make sure that conversion tracking is in place in your account. This is something that most advertisers will have in place already. If not, we strongly recommend implementing this regardless of whether you have been invited to the Maximise Conversions beta.

Then all you have to do it change your bidding strategy (in the settings tab) to ‘Maximise Conversions’.

 

If you require any assistance with this, please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, happy bidding!

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Game-Changer: Maximum Bids Increased for Grantspro

Maximum Bids increased for Grantspro

Smart Bidding – Over $2 in Grantspro Accounts

 

There’s been an exciting new development as Google have begun sending invites to selected Grantspro accounts to try out a new Smart Bidding feature called ‘Maximise Conversions’. This feature has been available for Paid AdWords accounts since May 2017, but is only now being made available to (certain) Grantspro accounts.

Campaigns with ‘Maximise Conversions’ bidding enabled will no longer be subject to the Grant bid cap of $2. Instead, bids will automatically vary based on how likely they are to result in a conversion.

This will allow Grantspro accounts to better compete on high value searches, such as those around challenge events, donations, legacy giving and online shopping. An increase in conversions will also mean getting more value for money from your Grantspro account, which is always a good thing!

 

 How Does This Maximise Conversions Bidding Strategy Work?

 

Google uses a combination of historical conversion data, the likelihood of converting and other contextual factors (e.g. time of day, location, device, etc.) to determine an optimal bid amount. Therefore, enabling ‘Maximise Conversions’ means that bids will continually and automatically be optimised, and we’re eager to see what results this can achieve for our clients.

 

How To Get Started

 

This is a major change for selected Grantspro accounts and provides many potential exciting possibilities for charities. In order to take advantage of this, you only need to follow 2 steps before September 15th 2017:

  • Set up conversion tracking (e.g. donations, event sign ups, PDF downloads, calls from ads, newsletter sign ups, etc.)
  • Enable ‘Maximise Conversions’ Smart Bidding

 

We have a great deal of experience with setting up conversion tracking. If you need help setting up conversions before you can take advantage of Maximise Conversions Smart Bidding, then please get in touch.

 

Benefits

 

More Conversions

 

The most obvious benefit is that those using Grantspro accounts can use this Smart Bidding strategy to get even more conversions! Higher bids lead to an improved ad rank, and so being able to go beyond the $2 bid cap with Google’s ‘Maximise Conversions’ Smart Bidding can help get the most conversions for your campaigns. This is brilliant news for those looking to drive even more donations, memberships, newsletter sign ups, or any other valuable actions.

 

Fully Utilise The Grantspro Allowance

 

This Smart Bidding strategy may lead to conversion activity taking up a larger amount of the Grantspro budget, whether your conversions are fundraising, information or communication based.

Increased bid amounts may also lead to a higher average cost per click and therefore fewer clicks, but will enable you to make better use of the $40,000 Grantspro allowance to increase conversions, especially if you are not already maximising and your campaigns are currently limited by the $2 bid cap.

 

Strategic Opportunity

 

It’s possible that adding conversions that are higher up the marketing funnel could encourage higher bid amounts when using the ‘Maximise Conversions’ bid strategy. We look forward to conducting experiments with our clients to see if this could have a positive impact on the bid amounts allowed for competitive campaigns.

If you have any thoughts on our blog or want to discuss with us, then do leave a comment or contact us. Or, if you would like help to maximise the full potential of your Google Ad Grant or Grantspro account, or want help to implement conversion tracking and Maximise Conversions Smart Bidding, then please get in touch!

 

If you’re interested in keeping up to date with all the latest news from the digital marketing sector, why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter?

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Google Introduce New Quality Filter For Ad Grants

Google Introduce New Quality Filter for Ad Grants

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

 

Following an important update to the visibility of the components of ad rank, Google has announced on Google Ad Help support that as of June 2017, a quality filter will be in place on Ad Grant ads in the search auction.

The aim of the quality filter is to increase the quality of Ad Grant ads which, according to Google, is disproportionately low compared to standard paid ads. From the phrasing that Google have used, it appears that the quality filter will be a minimum required quality threshold to allow your ads to show. The minimum required level will be based on the standard of ads being shown in the country your ads are running.

At this stage, we are unsure if it is specifically an ads quality that will prevent it from being shown or whether it is the quality of an ad group, a campaign or the quality of an account as a whole. We have posted this question on the Google AdWords community forum, please email [email protected] if you would like us to keep you updated*.

We have been expecting an update like this since March 2016, when Ben blogged about Google removing the ads from the right-hand side of the search results. He speculated that when removing the ads from the right-hand side, Google updated their algorithm, removing a penalty previously applied to Google Ad Grant accounts that resulted in an almost overnight improvement in average position for grant ads. Whilst no announcement was made, Ben suggested that Google might address this change in the future.

This could well be that response; somewhat later than expected.

We haven’t seen a decrease in traffic to our Grant accounts, but if you have then please get in touch as we would love to gain more insight into this quality filter. Until the impact of this quality filter can be seen more clearly, make use of the new quality score metrics to ensure your ads are of the highest possible quality and you, fingers crossed, should remain unaffected.

If you suspect you have received a penalty, are experiencing a drop in traffic or would like any more information on your Google Ad Grants then please get in touch.

 

*UPDATE: Google have confirmed that the components of quality score (expected click-through rate (CTR), ad relevance and landing page experience) will be used to determine if your ad passes the quality filter. To read the full post click here (https://support.google.com/grants/answer/7404558)

 

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Google Ad Grant – Our Guide On How To Apply

Guide on how to apply for a google ad grant

Applying for a Google Ad Grant

Updated: 25 March 2021

Search engine marketing is a very powerful tool, allowing you to advertise your product or service at the exact time that someone is searching for it. However, traditional pay-per-click (PPC) marketing requires investment in order to bid on keywords and get your ads shown. This investment, however large or small, might be enough of a barrier to stop your digital marketing endeavours in their tracks, especially for smaller charities and non-profit organisations.

However, Google offer a Google Ad Grant of $10,000 a month to registered charities and non-profits to spend on advertising on the Google Search Network, allowing you to drive traffic to your site, attract potentially donors, raise awareness, promote campaigns and so much more.

If you are a registered charity and aren’t already utilising the Google Ad Grant programme, here is a guide designed to get your enrolled in the Google Ad Grant programme to help you get started with search engine marketing.

 

applying for Google Ad GrantHow To Apply

To receive the Google Ad Grant, Google requires you to be signed up for the Google for Nonprofits programme. Google for Nonprofits is available to 50+ countries and gives non-profits access to free resources and products that can help take your mission further.

 

Be A Registered Charity

In order to enrol with in the Google for Nonprofit programme you need to be registered as a charitable organisation. There may be specific criteria you need to fulfil to be recognised as a charitable organisation, for example: in the UK you must be registered with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as a charity for tax relief. For full details of all the individual countries requirements, see Google Non-profits support.

 

Register With Charity Digital

Secondly, you need to be registered with Charity Digital. Charity Digital is a global network that is partnered with Google that provide tech support and other technological tools to non-profit organisations.

You will need to complete the free signup process in order to receive your Charity Digital ‘validation token’ that is required when applying for the Google for Nonpofits programme.

You will need information related to your charity for the signup process, namely your charity number, email address, address and phone number. You can check the Charity Commissions site if you are unsure of your details.

 

Sign Up For Google For Nonprofits

Once you’ve got your validation token you will be able to use this to enrol on the Google for Nonprofits programme. Again, for this step you will need your organisation name, phone number, website and contact details.

Provided your application is approved, you are now successfully enrolled in Google for Non-Profits!

 

Set Up A Google Ads Account

In order to receive the $10,000 Google Ad Grant, you will need to set up an Ads account. During the setup of the account there are some steps to take into consideration.

  • You need to set your currency to USD, regardless of your location. As the Google Ad Grant is in USD, the currency settings need to match. Currency setting cannot be changed once they have been set, so it is important that you get this step right first time.
  • It is important that you ignore any prompts to enter billing information as the Google Ad Grant cannot be given to accounts with billing information added.
  • You will need to set up at least one campaign, one active unpaused ad, and at least one keyword in order to be considered eligible. Your campaign must be set to the Search Network only, and the destination URL for your ad must be a location on your charities site.

Take note of your Ads Customer ID that you are assigned, which is visible in the top right hand corner of the Ads menu.

 

Enrol for Google Ad Grant

Once you have been successfully enrolled into the Google for Nonprofits programme and have set up a Google Ads account, you can now apply for the Google Ad Grant.

Login to your Google for Nonprofits account and click activate under Google Ad Grants. Complete the application form and you should hear back from Google by email within 10 days – it is often quicker. We’ve known Google to approve Grant applications in less than 24 hours”

 

We can help

If you would like any more information, or help with applying for a Google Ad Grant, then please get in touch. We are Google qualified and specialise in the charity sector. We also have a proven track record and considerable success in Ads development, both with paid and grant accounts, and did we mention? We’re pretty good at it too.

 

Applying for a Google Ad Grant: eBook

 

To make the process even easier, we’ve published a free eBook with all the steps you need to take to apply for your own Google Ad Grant!

DOWNLOAD HERE

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YouTube Nonprofits Programme – New Opportunities

YouTube Nonprofits programme

YouTube for Non-profits

As we posted recently, Google Ad Grants have now become part of a larger programme called Google for Nonprofits. As part of this development, Google have also rolled out their YouTube for Nonprofits Programme to UK shores, which had previously only been available to users in the US.

 

New YouTube Donation Cards

As we all know, video is a growing and incredibly engaging medium. This very exciting development means charities can now add ‘donation cards’ to their own YouTube videos so viewers can donate directly from a video by clicking on a ‘card’ that appears as an overlay.

 

YouTube Nonprofits Programme

 

Even better, charities’ own supporters can also use the card on their own content to drive donations. This is especially good news for charities given the strength of fundraising when it comes from supporters to their own networks.

This functionality, for any YouTube user to add a donation card has only been available in the US since January 2016 so is relatively new even there. To see the cards in action watch Google’s own YouTube video.

 

How to Sign Up

Firstly you need to enrol for the Google Nonprofits Programme. Once approved you have the option to enrol in YouTube for Nonprofits, alongside other tools including G Suite for Nonprofits  (previously Google Apps for Nonprofits) and Google Earth Outreach.

All you will need to provide is your YouTube Channel ID and if you don’t already have a YouTube channel you can very quickly and easily set one up.

 

How It Works

All donations are made via the UK charity: Charitable Giving, who then distribute the funds with Google whilst covering any processing fees (in the US donations are distributed on a monthly basis). At the moment, donations made this way aren’t eligible for Gift Aid but Google states it hopes to enable that very soon.

Although we’ve not tested it yet, it should be possible (and indeed in Google’s benefit) to keep these donation cards in place on videos which are also used for YouTube TrueView Video Ads (the skippable video ads that appear before monetised content). This would drive donations without trying to take the viewer away to your website and could have excellent potential to boost results of video advertising for charities using paid AdWords accounts.

 

Things to Consider

As with everything there will be downsides and the major one will be that charities won’t be able to harvest the donor’s valuable details if they donate via a YouTube card. This aside, we do recommend eligible non-profits sign up to the YouTube Nonprofits Programme, if only to allow others to use the charity’s donation card in their own video content.

This is all very new and not without glitches! When I tried to add a donation card to my own YouTube video very recently (as a general YouTube user) the donation card was not an option, but given a little time this could be a very useful development to harness and we look forward to trying it out.

If you are interested in finding out more about YouTube advertising or applying for Google Nonprofits we’d be delighted to hear from you. Do get in touch at [email protected] or give us a call.

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Important Update For Ad Grant Accounts

Ad Grants Accounts Must Enrol for the Google for Nonprofits programme

Today we received emails for all our Ad Grants accounts informing us that Google have updated their eligibility guidelines. Therefore, Google Ad Grants have now become part of a larger programme called Google for Nonprofits.

As a result, anyone with an Ad Grants account must enrol in the Google for Nonprofits programme in order for their Grants account to stay active. This also includes Grantspro accounts and since Google has suspended Grantspro applications it is especially important to enrol for Google for Nonprofits before the deadline.

Once you have signed up for the Google for Nonprofits programme, you will be able to continue using your current Ad Grants or Grantspro account and will not need to create a new one.

Google have set a deadline of the 31st of March 2017 for Grant accounts to enrol so time is of the essence!

 

Google for Nonprofits Programme

The Google for Nonprofits programme began in 2011 and launched in the UK in 2013. Google states that “Google for Nonprofits offers organisations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently and tell your nonprofit’s story”. If you want to learn about the benefits of the Google for Nonprofits programme, read more in their help centre.

 

Eligibility

Before you enrol in the Google for Nonprofits programme, you must first check you are eligible. Below are the eligibility requirements for the United Kingdom:

England and Wales

  • Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales; and/or
  • Registered with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as a charity for tax relief

 

Northern Ireland

  • Registered with HM Revenue & Customs as a charity for tax relief

 

Scotland

  • Registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR); and/or
  • Registered with HM Revenue & Customs as a charity for tax relief

 

Jersey

  • Member of the Association of Jersey Charities

 

Guernsey

  • Member of the Association of Guernsey Charities

 

Isle of Man

  • Registered with the Index of Registered Isle of Man Charities

 

Falkland Islands

  • Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales; and/or
  • In the list of charities prepared by the Attorney General, approved by the Governor, and published in the Gazette under the Taxes Ordinance 1997

 

It should be noted that governmental entities and organisations, hospitals and medical groups, schools, childcare centres, academic institutions and universities are not eligible to apply for Google for Nonprofits, but philanthropic arms of educational institutions are eligible.

 

Validation Token

You must then ensure that your organisation is registered with tt-exchange (TechSoup Global’s regional arm). You can only register with tt-exchange if you are a UK registered charity. Registering involves signing up for the tt-exchange programme and getting validated. Once you are validated you will receive a unique code called a validation token which then allows you to enrol for the Google for Nonprofits programme.

Next you need to enrol in the Google for Nonprofits programme using your TechSoup validation token. Google has said that enrolment may take up to 20 business days so it’s important to apply as soon as possible to avoid your Ad Grants account being suspended!

 

Linking Your AdWords Account

Once you have a Google for Nonprofits account, you can then link your current Ad Grants account by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account
  2. Click Sign up now
  3. Under “Google Ad Grants”, click Enrol
  4. Enter your AdWords Customer ID (CID), which is the same as your current Ad Grants Account
  5. Enter the referral code adgrants2017 and complete the rest of the form
  6. Click Enrol

 

What it means for our clients

If you are one of our clients, then we will be in touch shortly to discuss this recent development and to decide what steps you would like to take. We can enrol for the Google for Nonprofits programme on your behalf and ensure that your Ad Grants or Grantspro account remains active so we can continue to make the most of your AdWords account.

 

Our initial thoughts

We think either Google has decided to merge the Google Ad Grants programme into the Google for Nonprofits to leverage the Ad Grants to promote the Google for Nonprofits programme, or to give themselves the opportunity to review any current Grant accounts to ensure that only appropriate charities are using the Google Ad Grants programme.

Regardless of why Google has taken this step, it is important for anyone with an Ad Grants account, and especially a Grantspro account, to enrol for the Google for Nonprofits programme before the 31st March deadline in order to keep taking advantage of free Google AdWords advertising.

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New Year’s Resolutions…

Capitalising on New Year, New Me

 

We might be munching on mince pies, searching for secret Santa presents and listening to Mariah Carey (who else), but at Uprise Up we’re also working on many of our charity clients’ 2017 event fundraising campaigns, making sure everything is perfectly in place to make the most of the seasonal boost in event sign ups that occur each January.

Whilst December traditionally sees an uptake in charitable donations, it is the start of a new year (goodbye 2016 it’s been, well…) that heralds a rash of enthusiasm for making resolutions to change lifestyles, get fit and make a difference which often results in a commitment to a fundraising event as a personal goal.

From marathons, half marathons and 5ks to extreme Tough Mudder style events not for the faint hearted, not to mention overseas treks, swimming events, cycling, and more there’s an event for everyone and a considerable number of our non profit clients are vying to secure supporters who will sign up to their events and fundraise.

At Uprise Up we are experts at applying and managing charity grant accounts* but with a $2 keyword bid restriction and huge competition for event keywords it can be difficult to reach the desired audience and capture sign ups. With a limited window of opportunity nobody wants to miss out but the good news is there are solutions.

So just what do we recommend? Search is the first place to start from a ROI perspective but as there will only ever be a limited number of relevant search queries, the next place to look is to a Display campaign.

With Display campaigns, we see the strongest ROI using Remarketing lists, targeting an audience who has already visited your website with your sign-up event message. This is a particularly effective when used in conjunction with Paid Search by upweighting keyword bids to the same audience.  So reaching that prospect who is looking for the very thing you are offering at that particular moment, who is familiar with your cause and likely has a close emotional tie.

Other targeting options we’d recommend would be contextual targeting, keywords targeting, demographic targeting, lookalike audiences and affinity audiences. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of optimising the campaign throughout its duration for best results.

With the functionality to put together great quality Responsive Ads in AdWords itself we don’t even need our clients to provide their own banner creative. We’ve found Responsive Ads performing strongly with equal if not better results than the clients’ own creative in many instances.

We’d love to discuss how we can help you with your fundraising campaigns. Get in touch at [email protected] or give us a call. Here’s to 2017 – may we all stick to our resolutions!

* charities can apply for a Google Grant Account where they receive the value of $10k to use every month on AdWords – all our clients are enrolled in a GrantsPro Account with a $40k value to use every month.

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Google Suspend Grantspro Applications

No New Grantspro Applications

 

As of the end of last week, it appears that Google are currently not accepting new Grantspro applications. It’s very frustrating that Google do not engage charities in any communication about forthcoming developments so we have no clear message from them at this time. However, they have made similar suspensions in the past and here at upriseUP we suspect this will be another temporary measure. Our theory is that they might be making amends to the algorithm (possible making tweaks post migrating ads from the right hand side which seems to have had the side-effect of bolstering grant ad position until now).

What is a Grantspro account? Grantspro accounts have an increased level of AdWords spend; $40,000 per month compared to $10,000 per month for a standard Grant Account. There are eligibility criteria to meet including, but not limited to, tracking conversions and hitting budget. Incidentally, to date upriseUP have maximised on traffic for all of our account and all UK accounts are now achieving the increased grant – apart from the last one that we tried to put through this morning! So this is not only achievable but should actually be an aim for all recipients of the Google Grant.

Google Ad Grants

Currently there is a holding message stating ‘The Ads Grants team is no longer accepting Grantspro applications’. Having secured the increased grant for the majority of our clients and looking to apply on the behalf of others this is obviously far from ideal.

We have seen fears that the Grantspro programme is ‘winding down’. The following Google statement “The Ad Grants team is no longer accepting applications for the Grantspro program as part of new efforts to streamline the program. This update aside, the program will continue to remain open and free to all eligible non-profits” is not entirely clear. We are hopeful though that applications will open again in the next few weeks.

We’ll be scrutinising results and any Google announcements and will keep clients and subscribers to our news email informed.

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