Tag: digital advertising

In prior articles about Google Ad Grants, I’ve primary shared technical advice, particularly in light of new compliance requirements. Yet for nonprofits that aren’t as familiar with Google Ads, there’s an opportunity to take a bigger picture view.

Google Ad Grants gives you up to $120,000 per year on the world’s largest advertising platform, which allows your organization to send users from Google’s search engine to your website when they search for a term that’s relevant to your cause.

Given this basic function, how can your nonprofit use this tool? Start by amplifying your strategic initiatives.

Mission-based goals

As a nonprofit, you exist to do some good in the world. And you need outreach to make your mission successful.

Children’s Eye Foundation uses Google Ad Grants to spread the word to parents that many eye conditions thought to be permanent can be treated if they’re caught early enough. With the Google Ads that link to this page on the foundation’s site, more people all over the world can learn how to treat their children’s eye conditions.

Volunteer, job, and board positions

Use a Google Ad Grants campaign for your open positions for volunteers, jobs, and board. The tool is especially useful for taking your job listings nationwide for people searching with terms like “nonprofit jobs” or “Membership job.”

Selling products or services

The most common use of Google Ads is to sell. To qualify for Ad Grants, Google requires that your nonprofit website be mission-focused, but they don’t ban commercial activity entirely. If you do sell products or services online, such as textbooks, set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics so that you can see the data on the web visits that lead to sales, and improve future sales by appropriately informing the maximize conversions bidding system.

Maximize Conversions Bidding is what Google calls a “smart bidding” strategy. Instead of setting a specific maximum that you’re willing to pay for a click, you instruct the machine to bid what it thinks is necessary to get more conversions (the desired action that you want a person to take, such as a purchase, an email list signup, or a contact form submission). Valid conversion tracking is mandatory for any accounts enrolled after January 1, 2018, for it to be compliant (older accounts were grandfathered in).

Online auctions

Similar to sales, Google Ad Grants can promote auction items. Creating a Google Ad Grants campaign for your auction item is the digital version of attracting more buyers in the auction hall. Getting more bidders in the game, particularly those who are searching for the item you have, will help you sell that item at a higher price.

Many nonprofits will sell one unique item as part of a fundraiser, such as a football signed by an NFL player.
Memberships

This one is a bit tricky, since most people don’t often search for how to become members of a nonprofit. However, if there are member benefits to joining your organization, bid on Ad keywords related to the benefits your provide.

For example, a Friends of the Library keyword might be “discount books” and a member benefit would be 10% off at the store or an invitation to a members-only pre-sale.

Events

“Things to do in NYC” gets searched 135,000 times a month. Take advantage of web traffic in your geographical area by promoting your events to generate more revenue.
Classes and videos

Another thing you can promote is a class, whether in-person or online. If your class isn’t behind a paywall, you can embed the video on your site and set up pre-roll ads for the video. Google has forbidden Grantees from using AdSense ads, but have not restricted video ads, at least at the time of this publication. If you do pre-roll ads, be sure to monitor compliance rule updates, as Google may take further steps in restricting other types of advertisements for Grantees.

Donations

A common misconception is that Google Ads are great for getting donations. Though you can and should build campaigns for your donation page, a better development strategy is to use Google Ad Grants to build your lead list and actively pursue those leads.

Those who access your site through Google Ad Grants are likely visiting for the first time. Expecting them to donate as a first-time visitor is the digital version of bumping into a stranger on the street, making small talk, and then asking them to support your nonprofit. If you’re looking to use digital marketing for fundraising, check out my recent article on Facebook’s Giving Tuesday promotion.

Go beyond these recommendations

Don’t feel limited by this list. If there’s a project or strategy unique to your nonprofit, go for it. Though there are a variety of circumstances that will affect your level of success, Google Ad Grant campaigns can be created to raise the visibility of any page on your website.

Now in its fifth year, the 2019 report has data from hundreds of organizations from more than 20 countries, and features in-depth guides and expert advice. With actionable ideas for every organization, it’s a valuable resource for nonprofit digital teams hoping to improve their results in 2019.

Learn how to better measure the ROI of your fundraising efforts, simple ways to improve cross-team communication, and how to think outside the #nptech box to find software solutions that fit your organization.

Download your free copy here.

Report webinar on February 28

Interested to hear directly from the research and report partners? Join Care2, hjc, and NTEN for a webinar to discuss report findings on Thursday, February 28, at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET. We’ll recap trends and strategies, and highlight best practices and expert insights along the way.

 

Though it varies by situation, I think that in most cases, sticking with AdWords Classic is the better bet. Here’s why.

Too much automation can lead you off track

The Classic version of AdWords can be a bit overwhelming because there are so many choices. However, those choices exist for a reason: they let you home in on reaching people who are important to you. And hiring a vendor or in-house staff person who understands Google Grants is worth the cost as their knowledge will help you deliver your ads to the right people. This is particularly true when it comes to keyword selection.

If you managed a Classic account prior to 2018, you may have gotten a taste of how the machine determines your appropriate keywords. For those who are unfamiliar, Classic accounts used to include keyword suggestions in their opportunities tab. They would often come in batches of as many as 25 suggestions for an Ad Group on a daily basis, for which you could pick and choose your favorites or add all of them in the batch.

These keywords that were decided by the machine weren’t very relevant to what was in the advertisement and landing page, but it was very convenient to be able to add so many in so few clicks. They may not add much per keyword, but they weren’t doing any harm.

Then Google radically changed their compliance rules, and those keywords started doing a lot of harm. All these keywords that were added due to the machine’s recommendation now made it harder to stay compliant because they had extremely low quality scores and click-through rates.

Given the lack of relevance for machine-generated keywords in the opportunities tab as recently as 2017, you should not expect the machine for AdWords Express would be more relevant in selecting keywords. For those who suspect that I’m making a big logical leap in comparing the opportunities tab in Classic with the automatic keyword selection in Express, I’m doing this as a comparison for those who only have exposure to the Classic version as it is something you’d be familiar with and remember from less than a year ago. But this same argument can be made when looking at the actual keyword selections of the machine in AdWords Express.

A few of my clients have come to me with Express accounts, asking that I change it to Classic and use my own judgments in selecting keywords that are right for them. I saw in their accounts that the keywords that the machine selected didn’t capture the nuance of what someone would type when looking for my clients’ programs.

One thing to keep in mind when you use AdWords Express is that you can turn off certain keywords, but you cannot add new ones. Those are added by the machine based on your business product or service. Further, you can’t decide how many keywords the machine will add. Because you cannot import the keywords you had in the Classic account to Express, switching to Express to bypass the new rules won’t let you perfectly replicate your 2017 pre-rule success.

When to make the switch to Express

However, I must recommend AdWords Express for one situation and one situation only: as a stopgap. For all its limitations, it has three very valuable features:

  1. It lets you bypass many compliance rules.
  2. It sends traffic to your website for free.
  3. It doesn’t preclude you from using a Classic account at a later date.

So if you are really struggling to stay compliant and you know that you can’t commit the time or money to it in the immediate, make the switch to AdWords Express as a stopgap. Having an Express account is far better than having a Classic account that has been suspended for several months with no end in sight.

I must emphasize that this should be a temporary measure. To make sure it is temporary, you should add reassessment tasks in your schedule. For a fiscal year that matches your calendar year, you should meet with stakeholders in July to discuss how to handle this problem, build a plan in August, and incorporate funding for the plan in the organization’s budget in September.

Without these deadlines, you likely won’t do it. And I’m not trying to be critical in saying that, just honest about what I’ve noticed in how people work. I have a set of unopened headphones that I could sell for $200 but they’re depreciating in my closet right now because this task has no deadline and I can always do it later. This is why many people who heard about Google Grants years ago have yet to do the work in looking into how to apply. However, this opportunity is too valuable to postpone indefinitely. I recommend you be better than me.

If you work in a communications role at a nonprofit, you probably have news and social media alerts set up for keywords relating to your organization’s work – for example, a housing nonprofit might have an alert for terms like “homeless,” “couch surfing,” or “sleeping rough.” But what if the people you’re trying to reach don’t use those words? What if they don’t use words at all?

I’ve been running some experiments in emoji search, both individual and in groups that give added meaning.

Sophia Guevara NTEN author quote about nonprofits adopting their own emojiThe first search I conducted on Twitter was using a “handshake” 🤝. I was able to find posts of users who had tweeted using the same emoji. I decided to complicate the search by adding two and then three emoji together. The second search was a “handshake” and a “briefcase”. There were still a lot of results until I added the third emoji, a graduation cap. One result: a tweet about a diversity event.

Searching emoji on Facebook was less fruitful. Searching for “trophy” 🏆, I came up with three video results that had made use of that emoji in their description. Using the “fries” emoji 🍟 produced a nacho fries recipe. On YouTube, a search for the “donut” emoji 🍩 resulted in a video of donut economics.

Is your nonprofit optimizing for emoji search?

Online marketing consultant Jayson DeMers wrote in an article for Forbes last year that searching for emoji in a search engine would bring up posts that used that emoji, but also posts relating to the topic that emoji represented.

Right now, with emojis usually used as an embellishment for written text, it seems frivolous to think about emoji search or its impact on SEO, but linguists predict that emoji communication will only get more popular and perhaps may even become a language of its own.

After learning more about emoji searching on social media channels, I wondered how one could propose a new emoji or associate an emoji with their own brand. The Unicode Consortium has developed a formal process to do so.

The Oakland As found success adopting the baseball emoji. Is there an emoji that your nonprofit should use?

 

There are trees, and there is forest. There are anecdotes, and there is data. There are the pinprick pixels of our individual experiences, and there is the vast picture they paint together of the world we share.

The M+R Benchmarks Study is our annual attempt to bridge that divide. This year, we have collected an extensive array of data points from 154 nonprofit participants. Each of them marks a single digital interaction with a supporter: an email opened, a donation made, a petition signed, a website visited, an ad clicked, a Facebook post liked, or tweet retweeted. All told, these add up to 4,699,299,330 email messages, 527,754,635 web visits, and 11,958,385 donations.

NTEN is proud to partner with M+R once again for the latest Benchmarks report. Explore or download it here.

 

2018 Digital Outlook ReportDo you have the strategies you need to launch your nonprofit into the stratosphere? NTEN, along with partners Care2, hjc, and Resource Alliance, have produced the 2018 Digital Outlook Report, which includes data collected from over 500 nonprofit professionals in more than 20 countries.

The theme of the 2018 report is expand your nonprofit’s universe, and it encourages nonprofit professionals to explore new worlds of digital marketing and fundraising innovation.

Key points include:

  • Pundits claim that no one uses email anywhere and that its time has passed, but the report shows that for fundraising success, it’s more important than ever that nonprofit emails reach their intended inboxes.
  • A focus on mobile is central to improving a nonprofit’s digital strategy.
  • Tracking, analytics, and proper attribution have been an Achilles’ heel for most nonprofit organizations, so the report focuses on the benefits of digital tracking and attribution.

With in-depth guides and expert advice, we’ll walk you through three areas that may be uncharted terrain for your organization: mobile optimization, tracking web conversion, and email deliverability.

Providing actionable ideas for every organization, the 2018 Digital Outlook Report is really a must-read for any team hoping to improve.

Download your free copy here.