Once you have mastered the basics of managing the Google Ad Grant, the next hurdle is optimizing the account with campaigns that actually drive good traffic. Coming up with Google Ads campaign ideas is inherently more difficult for people inside an organization because of the Curse of Knowledge: Knowing too much about a topic makes it difficult to imagine people searching and encountering the topic for the first time.
To counteract the Curse of Knowledge, we’ve pulled together some tried-and-true ideas for optimizing the grant for conversions based on our years of experience spending millions of Google dollars for good. All of these Google Ads campaign ideas require that you have a working knowledge of the grant and that you have measurable goals tracking on your site through Google Analytics. Without goals set up, there is no way to tell the efficacy of traffic being sent to the site. And because we’re aiming to boost conversions along with traffic, you’ll want to keep an eye on those goals to make sure you’re not driving meaningless sessions with these strategies.
1.Brand Defense Campaign
This includes basic term matches for your organization’s brand, including misspellings and long tail variations like [organization] + board, + staff, or + 990. You probably already rank highly for your own brand name, but this Google Ads campaign idea can be very effective in helping you pull in even more traffic and correct any misconceptions.
2. Content Amplification Campaign
Pick existing informational content and build traffic around it. This is a basic starting point for building out a Google Ads campaign based on what your organization does and how it solves a need. If you have fact pages about a specific health condition, build a campaign around “[condition] facts” and “[condition] information.”
- Using Google Analytics connected with Google Search Console can give great insight into how people are already finding you. Double down on what is working
- Encourage even more conversions by adding popups or in-line calls to action within the content
3. Edge Reach Campaign
How can you satisfy a fringe need of your audience? This is a broader Google Ads campaign idea designed to capture your target audience based on their behaviors, wants, habits, and needs. For example, if you want to target college kids, build a campaign with keywords around “professor ratings,” “exam schedule,” and “financial aid deadlines.” If you want to pull in healthcare providers, use “CPR certification test” or “BLS training plan.” If you want to recruit organ donors, advertise on keywords that new drivers would use, since this is the most common registration moment. Even if it’s remotely related to your organization, find the keywords that resonate with your target audience and use them to your advantage.
- For this strategy to work, you need to make sure the content “scent match” works (this means the words in your keywords actually appear on the page that users land on). For example, if you are trying to reach teachers by advertising for free lesson plans, build out lesson plans around those keywords.
4. Event Surfing
The Super Bowl happens once a year, elections every 2 years, and there’s always a national celebrations around the corner. It is possible to create ads that can ‘surf’ this episodic wave of traffic. Creating semi-relevant content around the topic is necessary to improve the Q Score.
- Check out Google.com/Trends to see when you can expect searches to pick up for specific events and plan a campaign accordingly
- Make sure to set an end date on any event-related campaigns so you’re not accidentally bidding on “#GivingTuesday” in June
5. Pop culture campaigns
Sad but true, Selena Gomez gets five times the search volume as most causes can expect. Find pop culture references to your cause space and build from there. Is there a character in a current TV show that is dealing with an issue your organization helps with? This could be a perfect hook to teach a new audience about your organization and cause.
- Use with caution. This Google Ads campaign idea can quickly eat up the majority of your budget and, while it can be a great first touchpoint, they are not always high-converting campaigns.
6. Disaster Campaigns
Be ready to go with a hurricane or flood campaign in your Google Ads account to capture people when they are searching for information and ways to support when disasters strike.
- Keep Geotargeting in mind. You can limit these Google Ads campaigns to the area affected if you have resources for the affected community, or to areas most likely to donate if that is the main service you offer.
7. Regional Campaigns
Rethink the content and audience needs that are related to your organization based cities, states and other regional divides. How might someone search for your keyword in New York vs. California? Campaigns can include regional keywords and/or be geotargeted for those areas as well.
- Since your account is capped each day, and restarts at midnight in whatever time zone your account is in, you’ll probably get lots of traffic from Asia and Europe if you don’t use geotargeting at all
- Grant accounts can only geotarget in regions where you operate or where your services are applied
8. Day and Time Campaigns
People (generally) drink coffee in the morning and eat dinner at night. Google Ads campaigns allow you to control the time of day and day of week when ads run. When left unset, ads simply start running at 12 am and run until the ad spend has maxed for the day. So if you want users to engage around dinner-time but you exhausted your daily spend at 10 am, those users won’t get to see your ads. Try adjusting your campaign to start at noon instead.
- If you’re having trouble maxing the grant on weekends when search volume is lower, weekend keyword terms can open up tons of new opportunities to engage users. If you are trying to reach parents consider ‘weekend activities’ or ‘family friendly trips’ keywords to help parents looking for ideas, and set those campaigns to only show on Saturday and Sunday. Again, this requires scent match content.
9. Seasonal Campaigns
Not unlike the “event surfing” Google Ads campaign ideas above, different seasons evoke different feelings — feeling cozy and hygge during the Winter, fun in the sun in the summer. Consider tailoring your messaging to reference holidays and seasonal sentiments so your ads feel relevant and stand out among the noise.
- Again, make sure to set an end date on any seasonal campaigns so you’re not accidentally bidding on “Halloween” keywords in January
Google Ad Grant for Nonprofits
Learn how to apply for and effectively manage the Google Ad Grant
Have more Google Ads campaign ideas? Share them with us and tweet @WholeWhale.