Troubleshooting Google AdWords for Nonprofits

Adwords for Nonprofits

We know firsthand that Google AdWords can be a struggle for nonprofits to figure out. Google Ad Grants gives nonprofits this amazing gift for pay per click (PPC) advertising, but creating strategic, successful campaigns can be tough to figure out.

Nonprofits who qualify for the Google Ad Grants receive up to $10,000 per month to spend on pay per click advertising. Advertising your nonprofit and its specific campaigns and initiatives can be a great way to work toward achieving your goals. Effectively using that money each month takes some practice though.

We’ve identified what we consider to be some of the more common struggles when it comes to Google AdWords for nonprofits. We can’t promise that reading this post will turn you into an AdWords guru, but it will definitely provide some clarity and help you work through some of your campaign pain points.

Impressions are Low

If no one is seeing your ads, that’s a problem. Low impressions are usually due to one of two things: either your keyword phrases aren’t high performing or you’re not ranking for those phrases.

Your phrases are low performers

If people aren’t searching for your campaign’s keywords, your ad isn’t going to pop up in Google search results. Your best bet is to choose high-volume keywords. However, the $2.00 bid limit can make ranking for these keywords a bit difficult. We recommend looking at long tail keyword phrases (phrases that are generally 3 to 4 words long, and very specific). Oftentimes, it’s easier to rank for these.

You’re not ranking

 This probably means your quality score is low. Not totally clear on what a quality score is? Your quality score assesses how relevant your keywords are to your ads and the content you’re driving people to on your website. The more they align, the higher your quality score is likely to be, and the more likely your ads are to appear in search results.

Is your nonprofit stuck on this one? Point It has a great post that delves into the specifics of AdWords impressions and how you can improve yours.

No One is Clicking

If you’re getting impressions but no one is clicking on your ads, you might want to revisit your copy. Strong ad copy is key to catching people’s interest. To assess the quality of your ad, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself:

What are you saying?

Think of your advertisements like any other call to action. You need to entice people to click. Inspire them to act, and identify the benefit to them.

Be compelling. Be specific. Don’t just ask them to donate to your fall clean water campaign by giving online. Encourage them to improve the health of an entire community by making a one-time gift to your annual fall campaign.

But, do it succinctly. That character limit for these ads is a toughie. It makes Twitter feel easy.

How are you saying it?

You’ve got to use the right keywords in your ads.

We recently ran a campaign for a client and included the word “lilies” in an ad because it was on target and had a high search volume. We quickly found people like clicking on ads about lilies. You can bet we started talking about all the different kinds of lilies our client was selling in their flower fundraiser advertisements.

It’s important to include high performing keywords in your ads. But, don’t overstuff them. Your goal is to write something that makes people want to know more. You want to include enough keywords to generate impressions and clicks, but not so many that the actual message of your ad gets lost.

Want to see more clicks on your ads? White Shark Media offers some great tips on how you can improve your ad copy to drive more clicks in this post.

High Bounce Rates

People are clicking on your ads. Congrats! That’s half the battle. But, if they’re not sticking around your website, then their clicking isn’t benefiting your nonprofit.

A high bounce rate usually means people aren’t finding the content behind your ad valuable. So, with that being said, what are your landing pages like? Where are your ads sending people?

The page needs to be relevant. It needs to give people the content the ad promised them. If your ad is promising people information on how they can help needy families in the local community, the page you’re sending people to needs to provide them with specific information on how to do this.

Looking to improve your bounce rate? Search Engine Journal has some great ideas on how you can keep people on your landing page longer.

Google AdWords isn’t the easiest to figure out, but it can be extremely helpful in driving interested people to engage with your nonprofit. The right resources can go a long way in helping you work through your specific pain points. Hopefully this post helps you achieve success with your campaigns.

Is your nonprofit taking advantage of Google Ad Grants? What have you found to be most successful? If you aren’t using it, what’s holding you back? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.