For a company that makes its billions from advertising, the Google Grant is possibly the worst advertised marketing service available today.

In summary, the Google Grant:

  • Gives Non-Profits $10,000 of free Google Search Ads every month
  • Has a maximum Cost Per Click bid of $2.00 (previously $1.00)
  • Can be upgraded to GrantsPro which provides $40k per month in free Search Ads
  • Cannot be ‘rolled over’ – any unspent money in one month does not accumulate into the next month
  • Does not include Display Network ie. Image/banner ads

In reality:

  • As long as you are recognised as a Non-Profit Organisation, you are automatically eligible for the Google Grant – there is no interview/qualification process.
  • The Grant can take several weeks from initial application to a live account
  • The Grant is run in a fresh, separate account to any existing (paid) Adwords account your organisation may have
  • The Grant account can be run simultaneously in parallel with your paid Adwords account. This means it is possible for the same search to trigger two Adwords ads that leads visitors to your website – the only instance where ‘double serving’ of ads is legal on Google.
  • Because of the $2 Max CPC bid limit, ads will rank quite low (think position 4 to 8 on the right hand side) for most commercial keywords
  • For this reason most Non-Profits find it next to impossible to spend their $10k, since the volume of ad clicks gets exponentially lower the further down the right hand side your ad appears
  • Also for this same reason, most Non-Profits can’t rely on the Grant for results, but use the Grant as ‘bonus’ traffic over and above existing paid traffic

For the reasons mentioned above, the constraints imposed by Google on the Grants account *appear* to make the Grant unattractive.

However, every constraint is actually an opportunity in disguise.

If you treat the Grants account the same as your paid account (merely ‘copying and pasting’ your paid campaigns), this will most likely meet with limited success.

But if you see the free $10k per month Grant as its own unique opportunity, this opens up creative possibilities that aren’t available on existing paid accounts (where every dollar spent must be held to account). Savvy Non-Profits may even choose to change their marketing plans to exploit the strengths of the Grant that they may not be able to justify with their Paid account.

For this reason, The Google Grant can be a very valuable gift.

If you are involved in a Non-Profit (or know someone who is), please share this post with the marketing team so they at least know this resource is available.

Thank you to all Non-Profits who daily make such a great impact in each of our communities.

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