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Optimisation tips for your new Google Ad Grant account

Anyone who has run a campaign on a Google Ad Grant account will know how difficult it is to meet the required benchmarks. In order to keep your $10k per month grant (up to $120,000 per year!), you’ll need to be maintaining a click through rate of 5% or higher, using target keywords that have a quality score of 3/10 or more (you can learn more about that here). Sometimes even the smallest tweak or optimisation of an ad or a keyword list can be the difference between meeting, exceeding or falling below the benchmark.

At PN Digital, we specialise in helping businesses manage their Google Ad Grant accounts, creating campaigns and performing on-going optimisations. As we are passionate about sharing our knowledge, PN Digital’s resident Google Ads specialist, Mel Gray shared her top three optimisation tips to improve your campaign performance.

Expanding your keyword topics

One of the biggest issues we see is grant recipients struggling to use the entirety of the $10k grant each month. With the 5% CTR restrictions, this is not surprising! Realistically, ads can only target the most relevant keywords to keep the CTR above this threshold, so it may feel like your keyword options are quite limited. However, with some out-of-the-box thinking and a fair bit of time, in most cases it is completely possible to use the full grant and really grow your website traffic.

Our favourite way to grow the account is by creating new campaigns on different topics. While there are many ways to improve a poor performing campaign, the quickest and easiest way to grow is by creating additional campaigns. These should be based on other products or services related to your NFP. You should continue expanding until you’re sure that you’re covering every possible keyword a user may be searching for; targeting those who could benefit from your organisation’s offerings.

If you’re thinking you’ve already covered every possibility, you may want to think about the core problems your organisation is solving, or the biggest benefits of your offerings. Rather than targeting specific keywords to describe your offering, try to describe the user’s issues or the benefits they would see from using your service. Do you help your customers save time, or save money? For example, typical keywords for a gym may include; “best gym near me,” however an alternative topic may be keywords around the theme of losing weight or getting fit, such as “how to lose weight.”

One word of advice: we recommend creating new campaigns with caution. New alternative keywords may be at risk of falling below the 5% CTR threshold, especially if they’re not relevant enough. Regular management and care must be taken when creating new campaigns; ensure non-performing keywords are removed prior to the CTR falling below that 5% mark.

Adhering to the keyword restrictions

When using the Google Ad Grant, there is a significant volume of restrictions that you are required to adhere to. Ensuring that you are diligently meeting all the criteria can be quite a challenge.

One such restriction is ensuring that you’re not targeting any single-word, (usually overly generic) keywords. For example, an education provider would not target the keyword ‘school.’ School is a very generic and broad term; the user could be searing for universities, TAFEs, primary schools, early education facilities, high schools and more. Instead, they would target something more specific, usually a keyphrase, such as ‘universities near me.’

When creating large volumes of campaigns at a time, with hundreds of keywords, there is always a chance that a singular keyword may slip into the mix. Here is one of our favourite hacks that will allow you to check for any single keywords in under 10 seconds:

  1. View your keyword list at the account level
    1. Add a filter for “keyword text” does not contain “[space]”.

If there are any single word keywords in your account, they will appear here, allowing you to identify and pause them quickly.

Getting better quality traffic

For organisations who are spending the full grant account each month, your focus will likely be on getting higher quality traffic, rather than increasing traffic volumes. Thorough conversion tracking is the most effective practice in this case, and should be set up for all relevant actions that can be taken on the website.

However, there are a few other metrics that can be used to improve the quality of traffic coming through to your site, which can ultimately lead to an increase in conversions.

Our top metrics for measuring the quality of website traffic include:

  • Average. session duration
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session.

Each of these can be imported into your Google Ads campaign by linking your account to Google Analytics. Using these metrics has given us a lot of insight into identifying both top and poor performing ad campaigns.

All in all, optimising your Google Ads Grand account and subsequent campaigns is integral to the health of your account and the performance of the ads. Creating effective campaigns and performing on-going optimisations is definitely the key to maximising your grant spend, as well as ensuring the grant stays in place for a long time.

Related Reading:

Google Ad Grant Damage Control: Case Study
How we helped an NFP keep their Google Ad Grant
5 things you need to know before applying for the Google Ad Grant
How to set up your first Google Ads campaign

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