I have put together a Three Part Series on the socially responsible gift from Google called Google Grants. The goal of this series of posts is to highlight on the key differences and similarities of Google Grants as compared to the mainstream Google Adwords program we have come to know and love. I also provide detailed insights and some "outside the box" thinking that goes beyond the idea that Google is just giving Nonprofit free clicks to their websites. I hope you enjoy
In 2003, Google launched Google Grants, a truly remarkable and unique type of advertising offering that was designed specifically for 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organizations. In a nutshell, Google is giving away $10, 000 per month in free PPC advertising. The overall goal of this program is to utilize and transform the Google Adwords system into a powerful tool to spread advocacy, awareness, volunteer-ism and provide the ability to increase donations, both online and offline, to make the world a better place.
Since it’s launch, Google has put very specific requirements in both applying for the grant as well as managing the grant. Throughout this article I will be focusing on the key differences and similarities between Google Grants and the traditional Adwords program that we are, in general, familiar with as well as discuss additional strategies that will help every participating Nonprofit get the most out of this program.
The key differences between the mainstream Google Adwords program and Google Grants program are mostly about the limitations of what can be done from a tactical perspective. For example, for many of us who are used to a multi-level strategy that includes testing with different networks, image display ads, and bidding tests, that this is NOT an Option with GG. In fact, two of the biggest restrictions facing the Grantee is placement on (1) Google.com only and (2) Maximum $1.00 CPC (cost per click). Advertisers are forbidden to spread that free “Google Funny Money” to the other participating networks such as their search partners, Content and Site Placement Networks.
This lack of advertising freedom, as compared to the mainstream Google, does make it a little more difficult for the search marketer to allocate what campaigns and Adgroups should be given priority. Regardless of whether Google is Free or not, the end goal is to drive as much qualified traffic to the website and track the performance using analytics to decide what is working and what is not working. I would also like to note that with Nonprofits, integrating high-powered analytics filled with nifty bells and whistles is not suitable for them because of the cost and the extensive knowledge needed for them to simply understand what they are looking at.
Grantees are also stifled by inability to increase their bid for a quick jump in position, which is done almost religiously everyday in the mainstream. This is especially difficult for them, because many of the Nonprofits Topics, Issues and Causes require a specific industry related keyword(s) that are highly competitive, possess a higher worth and hence becomes an uphill battle to try and achieve a better position.
On the other hand, I have seen “actual” real life evidence where traditional account and click history along with a little help from the “magical algorithm fairies” within the Google Grant program have revealed magical positions within the search results. With that said, there is one major similarity which MUST be applied to counteract this cost vs. position issue, and that tactic is the infamous and ever changing Google Quality Score for which all search marketers have been victim of this love vs. hate relationship.
In Part II of Google Grants: Much more than Free Clicks for Nonprofits, I will dive into the tactical area of the Quality Score, Google Editorial issues as well as some additional strategic opportunities.
So please check back next Monday for Part II of this article.