Holidays raise charity awareness Google Ads

Using holidays to raise charity awareness

One important aspect of charity digital marketing is knowing your holidays. Which holidays and charitable events will naturally drive searchers to find your organization?

During certain holidays, searches for “How to donate,” or “Where to volunteer,” will organically peak. If you can create specific messaging for your charity, you can help capture some of this rising tide. Even if your charity doesn’t have a specific program centered around a particular holiday, you can take advantage.

Look at trends for searches for “Thanksgiving” over time (via Google Trends). Not surprisingly, there is a lift leading up to the holiday. There is a huge spike that week, and then relatively little the rest of the year.

Setting up ads around “Thanksgiving 2017 Charitable Donations” or “Volunteer this Thanksgiving 2017” can raise awareness for annual programs. Being aware of every major holiday and event near you can give you several beneficial boosts throughout the year!

Landing pages and quality scores Google Ads

Landing pages are more important than keywords

When setting up a Google AdWords Grants, there are a few limitations imposed on you that you must follow:

  1. Daily budget cap of $329 (roughly $10,000 per month)
  2. Keyword CPC bid cap of $2

Many typical marketing strategies that rely on adjusting bids cannot be used. One method for maximizing the use of grant funds is to seek out strategic, long-tail keywords where competition is lower. This can be an effective tactic, but will often result in keywords with insufficient search volume for AdWords auctions. It may also involve lots of work to “pick up scraps” of traffic.

A better approach is to look closely at the Quality Scores for each campaign landing page. A higher Quality Score can effectively multiply the impact of your $2 budget to put you into auctions for keywords that typically require much higher bids. While these are often highly competitive generic charity-related keywords, many of your competitors also utilize grant funds to bid. You all have the same max CPC of $2 and the only differentiator will be Quality Scores.

How to use Quality Scores

  • Do all the basics – make sure your site is on HTTPS, is mobile friendly, and loads quickly. You can evaluate your load speeds and technical attributes using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  • Make sure the landing page is very relevant to your keyword sets. This may mean creating multiple ad landing pages for a single theme, and splitting large ad groups into smaller tighter groups.
  • Monitor your Quality Scores in AdWords. By using time segments, you can see the evolution over time to see if the changes you make positively influence your score. Raising a score even just to 5/10 can greatly increase your impressions.

Edit your keyword view column to include Quality Score to find areas for easy improvement to drive more impressions and clicks to your site:

Add Quality Score column to your AdWords view
Branded PPC terms Google Ads

You should be bidding on branded PPC terms

I’m often asked why ad budgets should be spent bidding on branded terms. These are most often the name of your charity, your URL, or anything uniquely identifying you or your programs. Because they are so unique, you likely already rank #1 organically for Google searches. So, why ‘waste’ grant funds bidding on branded terms?

A few reasons to bid on branded terms

  1. Ads are typically shown ABOVE organic results. Even if you are #1, you are still not at the top of the page.
  2. You want to “own the page” meaning take up as much real estate as possible. When you are first both in the ads section and the organic section, it lends credibility to your organization.
  3. Because you are so relevant to unique terms these are often the cheapest bids you will win.
  4. YOU control the messaging. With organic results, Google is pulling titles and descriptions from your page to best match the users’ queries. That may not always be the exact perfect messaging. With AdWords ads, you define the header, display URL, description, call outs, and site links. You can promote yourself however you want, or highlight upcoming events – anything you want! Look at all the real estate available to curate your specific message to every user on Google:
    sample charity adwords advertisement

And if you are a registered 501(c)(3) charity, it can be completely free of cost to you! Get started today taking advantage of this immensely effective means of reaching your target audience.

North Texas Giving Day Client Profile

North Texas Giving Day

To say I underestimated the power of North Texas Giving Day may be an understatement! We saw huge turnouts on ad campaigns running on related keywords in the weeks leading up to NTX Giving Day. But, the actual day itself (and day after) have been true record breakers.

North Texas Giving Day clicks

One charity upped their grant spend by about 33X on a single day. This reached the daily spending cap of the grants program! Not only that, but we saw impressions, clicks … and most importantly, conversions … go to new record levels.

It’s great to see efforts galvanizing our community into a day of charitable giving pay off in the data. The right campaigns in the right place ensured our charities got the maximum benefit!