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Top 5 Mistakes Made with Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grant is a great, free resource available to all nonprofits. When it’s working correctly, it can significantly increase traffic to your website. More traffic means more exposure for your organization, which will ultimately lead to more donors.

BCA has helped many of our clients maximize this tool. We know that it can be a tough thing to manage. Google has stringent rules. Violating their terms means your account will be suspended. Of the clients in which we manage the Google Ad Grant account, a third came to us with suspended accounts. In many cases, this was due to having multiple accounts setup for the same organization – someone sets up an account, they leave, the next person sets up a new account, and so on.

Based on our experience on-boarding new Ad Grant clients, here are the top five mistakes we see when righting (or creating) the accounts:

  1. Not Using Ad Grants

    • Of the new accounts we setup, about half of the organizations had not heard of Ad Grants and/or didn’t know if anyone in their organization had setup an account. Plan to spend several hours a month managing, updating and optimizing your Ad Grant account. Or consider out-sourcing to a Google Partner, like Brad Cecil & Associates, if your organization does not have the capacity to maintain the account.

  2. Not Knowing the Ad Grant Policies

    • One of the most common mistakes we see is that the basic policies are not being adhered to. All non-profits must maintain the following to remain eligible for the Ad Grants program:

  3. Poor Ad Copy

    • The Ad Grant is all about driving people back to your website. Your ads should be driving people to specific pages related to the keywords you are using in the Ad Grant account. It’s a no-no to send people searching for “adopt a dog” to a landing page about cats. A bad or irrelevant landing page could end up hurting your keyword quality score – which could risk account suspension.

  4. No Routine Cleanup

    • It’s pertinent that you perform monthly routine maintenance on your Ad Grant account. Just like a car’s oil needs to be changed after a while, so do your keywords. Check in to make sure that all your keywords are above a 2 quality score. Check that all your campaigns follow the basic requirements listed in #2 above. Prepare to spend 5-10 hours a month keeping your account healthy and active.

  5. Not Testing Ads

    • You should always be testing ad copy which means that there should be several ads (Google recommends three) with copy variation. The Ad Grant has a requirement of two ads, so be sure to write your copy to appeal to various audiences. Google will show the “winning” ad more often, so revisit the lower performing ads and test, test, test some more.

We know Google Ad Grants works! One of our food bank clients saw a 65% increase in site visits within 12 months of setting up their Google Ad Grant account!

Interested in learning more about Ad Grants? Check out how to maximize your reach with the Google Ad Grant here or get in touch with us at

PS… Thanks to the great work of our digital ad specialists, Brad Cecil & Associates was named an official Google Partner. It took 14 months of consistent, high-quality search advertising to earn this coveted badge. This was done through our diligent work in both paid ads and Google Ad Grants on behalf of our clients!

Picture of Katie Kinsley
Katie Kinsley
Hailing from the great state of Wisconsin, Katie Kinsley is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Brad Cecil & Associates. She is a content creating, email marketing, overambitious plant-lover (read: killer) and Google Ad Grants aficionado who is the fur-mom to cat and dog, Potato and Colt.

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