Does that big red message look familiar? If your non-profit received a Google Ads Grant (if not, apply here), you may have noticed a major change in Google Ad Grants policy in 2018. Here is a summary of the new rules from Google, and here is a more comprehensive
- High click-through rate – low (< 5%) CTR is the main reason accounts get suspended. If your account does not maintain a 5% rate for two months, you will get suspended. Loophole: AdWords Express accounts are exempt from this rule.
- Low landing page bounce rate – visitors immediately navigating away from the ad page is another reason accounts get suspended.
- A high percentage (75% is my goal) used of the monthly Grant budget.
- Conversion tracking: clicks are a start, but you should also be tracking on-site conversions (i.e. leads and purchases). This is not just valuable to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, but is now required by Google.
In the process of managing FEE’s $40,000/month account, we were suspended three
- Well defined audiences: this includes both narrowly targeted search keywords, demographic filters, and retarding (if possible)
- Relevant landing pages: landing pages should be specific to the search phrase and have enough information and call to action so that user can complete their search
- Enough campaigns targeting high-volume keywords with > 5% CTR to maximize the Grants budget. For example: with an average cost of $2/click, hitting 100% of a $10,000 budget requires 5,000 clicks*5%CTR = 100,000 searches, or 50 ad sets with 2,000 searches each. These are hypothetical numbers, but 50 campaigns targeting 100K searches seems like a reasonable target to hit a $10K budget. Here is FEE for comparison: about 40 campaigns, 272,000 searches, 22,563 clicks, $28,000/month current spend. That is: 8.3% CTR, $1.23 per click, 1092 leads generated, or $25 per lead.
The three key build-out steps you should take to implement to an effective Grants campaign are:
- Build customer personas: work with your team to build profiles of the demographics and interests, and potential search phrases
- Research search phrases: use the Google Keyword Planner, Moz Pro and other tools to find the intersection of
- high-volume search phrases
- suitable landing pages on your site
- low keyword difficulty
- Build out Ad campaigns: using the keywords and landing pages previous identified, build out
The following practices will be needed on an ongoing monthly basis: Review campaign performance, stop low-performing campaigns (important to prevent Grants account suspensions) and replace them with new ones. Campaigns may also experience fatigue for some phrases and require rotation.
- Research and recommend new landing pages to take advantage of target keywords
- Implement business goal tracking to optimize for lead generation and bounce rate/session duration in addition to click-through rates
- Review and implement with Google Ads feedback (Google provides ongoing feedback and optimization suggestions) and resolve account suspensions.
Finally: landing page considerations:You must have relevant landing pages with clear mission-specific, non-commercial content. One way I did this is by creating “essential guides” for the topics in various campaigns. Another strategy which works great for both organic and paid traffic is to compile pillar pages. Do not expect to be successful by sending all your paid clicks to your homepage. Google states that “your homepage and frequently visited web pages may not be used for Destination goal types” Requesting reactivation: Is your account suspended? Once you’ve complied with all rules above, request reactivation here.