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

By Adam Finch, McKinley Consultant and Google Adwords Expert

Adam 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. In this two-part series Adam breaks down what nonprofit marketers need to know to maximize the opportunity of Google Adwords. Although these tips are primarily to optimize for nonprofit campaigns, they can also be applied to for profit campaigns as well.

Did you know nonprofits are eligible for up to $10,000 per month in free advertising from Google? Used strategically, this free advertising can be highly beneficial to any nonprofit. The challenge is that the ads have a maximum cost-per-click of $2 so you can’t buy your way into a top ad position on a competitive keyword.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can maximize your impact given these restrictions.

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

  1. DO optimize for conversion rate–not click-thru rate. 

    This is a very common mistake in the non-profit community and even with some for-profit clients. You should spend more money and optimize off of the ads that deliver the most donations, email sign-ups, video views downloads or other key conversions, not just the ads that bring the most clicks to your website. Click-through-rate was the holy grail of web advertising until about 2006–and it’s still important to monitor in some regards, of course–but with the birth of in-page analytics there is no reason your ads should not be analyzed with the bottom of the funnel in mind. Link your AdWords to your Analytics account, get your pixels in place, and optimize to the ads that actually deliver results, not just page views. 

  2. DO carefully map your landing page content to your ad.

    Taking a user directly from an ad on Google to your default homepage is not a successful strategy. Landing pages curated to your user’s specific search are much more successful. At a minimum, each ad group should have its own landing page specifically for that ad group. If you really want to have a well-designed campaign, you should go the extra mile and make sure every landing page aligns perfectly with the content of the individual ad. Match the headline to your ad copy exactly, and ensure the page is delivering exactly what the user is searching for. If the user doesn’t get what they are expecting after clicking your ad, they are going to bounce away fast. 
  3. DO utilize remarketing with display ads.

    Sometimes you’ll get a visitor who genuinely wants to support your cause, clicks on your link, but doesn’t make the final conversion for whatever reason. Enter remarketing. Google remarketing allows you to easily serve to that user again, reminding them of their intent to donate, and giving them another chance. This can increase conversion rates significantly, so don’t forget to try it now that you’ve got your Analytics and AdWords linked.

Before embarking on the opportunity that is Google Adwords, it’s important to do your homework and get familiar with how Adwords work so you can make informed choices and implement best practices. Adwords can be a great tool for any nonprofit to use if you are willing to put the time in to make strategic decisions.

by McKinley Marketing Partners