Henry J. Kaiser Family FoundationAbout

Website: kff.org

Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is a nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues as well as the US’s role in global health policy. They serve as a nonpartisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, and the public.

The Challenge

KFF was the recent recipient of the Google GrantsPro award, which increased their grant amount from $10k to $40k a month. With four times the funds to spend on this in-kind advertising, they needed help strategizing and restructuring the account to use it as effectively as possible. Additionally, they had multiple programs (including Greater Than AIDS and Kaiser Health News) with which they wanted to strategically share their grant funds. Moreover, they wanted to prioritize US regions that had the greatest need for health education.

What we did

Through a short-term AdWords-focused project, we helped KFF build on its prior success with the grant and trained their team to confidently take the reins on strategy. 

Discovery + Strategy

We performed an audit of the account and conducted discovery conversations with the KFF team to understand their challenges with the grant along with what pages and actions were the highest priorities for promotion. From there, we created an account wireframe to help ensure that each campaign would be bidding on unique keywords and to determine how budgets would be split across the three websites. We also used keyword research tools to figure out how people were talking about health issues on the internet and used that to inform our keyword strategy.

Google Analytics Configuration

To make sure the grant is being used effectively, it is important to track how AdWords visitors are using the KFF site. We performed a Google Analytics audit to find opportunities to improve the configuration in order to better track web data. Setting up goals also allowed us to measure important actions like social shares, page scroll depth, video views, and downloads. This way, we know how well the grant is performing and can improve it over time. Lastly, we built out dashboards that show AdWords performance at-a-glance for all three websites. Now, all team members can easily be kept up to date on how their ads are performing.

AdWords Account Management

We dove headfirst into the KFF AdWords account, setting up the newly planned campaigns and optimizing what already existed. This included writing new ad copy and setting up A/B tests to see what messaging would work best for different audiences. Since the grant was meant to be shared between multiple sites, we strategically adjusted budgets and bids to make sure the breakdown was in line with KFF’s priorities. Ultimately we brought the account to 100% maximization (meaning that KFF is spending the full grant amount every day), increased clickthrough rates by 19%, and decreased cost-per-click by 10%, so the grant is driving hundreds more sessions than before. And those users are more likely than ever to stay on the site and engage with the site’s content.


In addition to ongoing conversations and how-tos, we devoted several meetings to training on different aspects of AdWords grant strategy, including landing page best practices, setting up new campaigns, writing compelling ad copy, using Google Analytics to analyze account performance, and ongoing account optimization. Now that the training wheels are off, the quick-learning KFF team is managing the account themselves and using the grant more effectively than ever to educate Americans about important health issues.



“We were introduced to Whole Whale by our colleagues who manage the Greater Than AIDS campaign who had been working with Whole Whale for a while. Shortly after WW provided a complimentary AdWords and Analytics audit, we knew that a short, focused engagement with them would be well worth the investment. While I had been managing the account on my own for 10 years at the $10K per month level, it was clear that we’d need assistance to be able to fully utilize the $40K grant. After our engagement with WW, we’ve seen improvement in CTRs, and we now have measurable goals that help us evaluate the performance of our ads, as well as more of an understanding about how to create effective ads. WW’s expertise with non-profits enabled them to easily understand the constraints of our small team and give us tools to ensure long-term success in AdWords. They completely lived up to our expectations for the engagement and were a pleasure to work with on this project.”

– Robin Sidel, Associate Director, New Media & Marketing (March 2017)

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