Google Grants: An Introductory Search Advertising Guide for Nonprofits
What is Google Grants and Why Should You Apply?
- A daily budget must not exceed $330 USD, which is equivalent to about $10,000 per month.
- There is a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit of $1 USD.
- You can only run keyword-targeted campaigns.
- Your ads can only appear on Google.com search (even though AdWords typically enables you to run display, video and/or mobile ads, in addition to Google.com search ads, if you’re paying out of your own pocket).
Examples of How You Can Take Advantage of the Program
- Focus on brand.
- Really think about your goals.
- Use it for pilots to build data and justify bigger spend.
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- As you figure out your target keywords, you’ll have to see if the average CPC in your target area for your ads is over/under $1. Using historical data out of a previous AdWords account is best for this exercise, but if you don’t have access to that information then you can use the AdWords Keyword Tool for your country to view approximate CPC.
- If your average CPC for your keywords is under $1, that’s great, and you’ll likely have high average positions in the SERPs for your ads through Grants. If the average CPC is over $1, then your ads will likely appear lower in the SERPs, which may or may not be a bad thing – you’ll have to do some testing to see which positions lead to higher conversions. The main thing is you just don’t want the average CPC to be so high that it knocks you out of appearing at all from the SERPs with your $1 bid per keyword through Grants.
- One for ads run out of the Grants account where the average CPC hovers around $1 or less.
- One for ads run out of a “paid” account, where you spend money out of your own pocket for average CPCs higher than $1.
Note: if you run Grants ads and paid ads, then Google requires that they must be out of two separate AdWords accounts.
If you take a look at your brand terms performance (i.e., keywords that include the name of your brand), you’ll notice that often your average CPC is less than $1. So this is one major area where you can really take advantage of Google Grants – run at least your brand campaigns out of your Grants account and other campaigns out of your paid account as necessary. Assuming your AdWords budget stays the same over time, this allows you to pump more money into those other campaigns in your paid account throughout the month.
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Don’t focus on one area for running your Google Grants campaigns – think about your organizational goals and get creative to use your account to drive any of the following:
- Donations (as long as they’re 501(c)(3)-related).
- Downloads on your site.
- Traffic to educational pages.
- Jobs and volunteering opportunities.
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You might have a great idea to increase performance around one of your goals, but no budget identified to put any real money towards the program. Google Grants is a great way to test out different hypotheses and and see what might work for your organization. Once you have the data, you can start to build a business case and take it to your supervisor to discuss budget opportunities.
Note: in the recent past Google offered a Grantspro program for eligible nonprofit advertisers to receive up to $40,000 in free advertising per month for those that hit their $10,000 per month cap three consecutive months in a row. As of this writing, Google has discontinued accepting new applications for Grantspro, and it’s not clear whether they will open it back up. Let’s hope they do for nonprofits that could really use the advertising dollars but don’t have the budget.
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