When your charity needs a paid AdWords account

image of laptop showing when your charity needs a paid AdWords account

If you run a Google Grants account, you’ll be loving all the free traffic it brings you. But sometimes, the limitations are just too, well, limiting.

To get around them, most big charities run paid AdWords accounts alongside their Grants account.

Should you do that too?

The signs to look out for

Some signs that it’s time to make the jump to a paid account include:

  • Seeing the words ‘Below first page bid’ on all the campaigns you try to launch
  • Having lots of great images of your cause, but only having Twitter and Facebook to promote them on
  • Having an online shop that really should be doing better
  • Not having many campaigns that recruit fundraisers

Why use a paid AdWords account?

You can do some cool things in paid AdWords accounts that you can’t in Grants accounts. Like:

  1. You can make display ads – you can create your own banner ads to appear all over the internet. So much easier on the eye than those text ads, and great for brand building.
  2. You can make YouTube ads – even easier on the eye, your video content can appear to millions of people on YouTube, getting that film that’s been gathering virtual dust out to the world.
  3. You can make shopping ads – if you have an online shop, getting the products to appear in Google search results gets awesome results.
  4. You can target by demographic – if you know things like the age, gender and parental status of the people you’re trying to reach, you can target your campaigns just to them, for better results.
  5. There’s no keyword limit – probably the main reason to go paid. Your charity can smash that $2 keyword limit, and spend more to enter competitive world of, say, events fundraiser acquisition.

One other benefit we often see for our clients in using a paid AdWords account is an unusual one – it focuses everyone on outcomes, across the board.

When you’re spending real money, you’re won’t just satisfied with traffic as an end result – you want actual fundraisers, volunteers and service users. This conversion-focus then tends to be applied across the board.

How to open a paid AdWords account

This bit is pretty straight forward.

Just follow the sign-up process on the AdWords website, with your work credit card in hand if that’s how you want to pay, and away you go.

Things to remember

If you do open a paid account too, here’s some things to think about first:

  • Make sure you know why you’re doing it – have you maxed out your Grants account? Have you identified the keywords that are more than $2? Make sure there’s a good reason to spend that cold hard cash.
  • Learn from Grants account – identify the top performing ads across your Grants account and list reasons you think make them work. Do they focus on impact? Are the best ads those that include particular keywords? Find out, and apply the learning to your planning.
  • Do your research – if you have a random list of keywords in an ad group in your Grants account, the worst that will happen is you’ll get a lot of irrelevant traffic. If you do that in your paid account, you’ll waste lots of valuable charity money. Worth a bit of planning.
  • Set up Analytics properly – tracking conversions on your website is important at the best of times. If you’re spending real money, knowing the ROI is an absolute must-have.
  • Don’t double serve – having two accounts can cause confusion. Don’t run ads triggered by similar keywords for the same organisation (known as double serving).
  • Start small and focused – pick two or three targeted campaigns with clear outcomes, and launch those first. Then learn from them before expanding.

If you need a bit of help getting your paid account off the ground, or need help in establishing the return of investment, drop me an email to find out how we can help.

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