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The DOs and DON’Ts of AdWords for Nonprofits: Part Two

This is the second in a two-part series by guest contributor Adam Finch on utilizing Google Adwords in nonprofit marketing. Finch is a McKinley consultant who specializes in creative digital content, web production and online word-of-mouth for social good. His approach to digital media management and production is supported by strong commercial business acumen and his ability to think both strategically and in detail. Catch up on part 1 here.  

In the last post we walked through the “do’s” of Google Adwords: optimize for conversion rate, carefully map landing page content to your ad, and utilize remarketing with display ads. Here are three “no-no’s” for Google Adwords.

 1. DON’T set it and forget it.
Google’s targeting tools are extremely useful, however don’t be tricked into thinking they’re perfect. A couple years back I was called in to help manage a campaign for a public health client who had an interest in reaching parents of toddlers. When I looked at their targeting, I noticed some very high click thru rates in mobile which looked suspicious. It turned out that some of their display ads were landing in simple learning games and apps played by 3-4 year olds. These kids were inadvertently hitting the ad and opening up the page as they were playing their game–not exactly the most likely group to convert! The lesson is to monitor your campaigns closely, always take time verify the types of pages where your ads end up, and if you see any problematic placements make sure you exclude them from your targeting. If you don’t you’ll be paying a lot of money for wasted clicks.

 2. DON’T lump your ads into one ad group.
Far too often I see clients who put all of their ads into a single group, directing different types of users to the same ads and landing pages, when it would behoove them to break those ads up into multiple groups with multiple strategies, landing pages, and targets. You don’t operate under the assumption that the same fundraising strategy works for every lead on the phone and in real life, so why would you assume it works for every lead online?

3. DON’T think that content doesn’t matter just because the ad is paid for. One might think that since you’re paying for the ad spot, Google could guarantee a #1 or #2 ad spot placement at a given price level as long as the keywords you’re working with aren’t too competitive. Don’t forget though, that even though you’re paying for the ad, Google still monitors the bounce rate of your placements and gives your content a “Quality Score.” If your landing page isn’t delivering what users were expecting, your average cost to be in a #1 or #2 ad position can increase, and you may not be able to stay under Google’s two dollar threshold for non-profit CPC bids. On the bright side, this also means that if your content is good enough, you can minimize your costs compared to others who are targeting the same keywords. The bottom line is that what holds true for organic SEO, social media, and email marketing is likewise true for SEM and AdWords: Content is King.

When it comes to utilizing Google Adwords, it’s important to make thoughtful choices, keep the user experience top of mind, and stay engaged with your ads. You’ll maximize the opportunity, save dollars, and reach your goals in a more timely fashion.

by McKinley Marketing Partners