Part of the available services within Google for NonProfits is Google Ad Grants (GAG), which subsidizes upto $10K/month in Google Adwords. That sound amazing, almost too good to be true, and while it is awesome to get Google Adwords for your church or non-profit for free, it’s actually pretty difficult to utilize the $10k/month currently. There are a few reasons for this.
First a little background in Google Adwords in general:
- Adwords allows you to post ads of different types using the Google Adwords network, which includes both the Search Network ads (the text ads you might see at the top of a Google search), as well as Display Network ads (which are video/media ads you might see on the side of Google search), and Network partners. As of this writing, GAG only subsidizes the Search Network ads, meaning text only. You can certainly still leverage Display Network ads under a different AdWords account, which you pay for outside of the GAG account
- Adwords is based on a bidding system, where you effectively bid against other Adword users for specific keywords or phrases:
- Bid high and you stand a better chance of getting your ads posted.
- Adwords only charges (in this case, against the $10K/month) when the ad is displayed, so if your bid is lower than others, your ad may not post, and may not incur costs against the $10K
- GAG currently limits bids to $2.00 per ad display, where others outside of GAG can big significantly higher.
Let’s take an example: Let’s say your church is named Family Christian Center in Centerville, TX, in the Dallas Metroplex. So first, you want to get traffic for people looking for “Family Christian Center”. But this is a directed search for someone that already knows your name. You would also want to get hits on searches for “churches in Centerville”, “churches nearby”, “bible churches”, etc, to get traffic from people doing general church searches. Then add in some happenstance searches: people searching for “bible”, “Jesus”, “Christian”, with the hope that these searches will include some of the terms that trigger your ad.
Outside of the directed search for your name, how many other churches might be bidding for general church search keywords or the happenstance search keywords? In a rural area, maybe not many, but in larger cities, many of them likely are, increasing the bid competition.
How many of these are using GAG, where its free for them but limited to $2/ad? How many are paying for Adwords outside of GAG? Those that pay directly, and are therefore not limited to $2/ad, will have a clear bidding advantage.
Bottom line – you *should* sign up for GAG and take advantage, since it costs you nothing. This will help get you started with Adwords, allowing you to monitor the metrics and effectiveness of your ads. These metrics will help you to determine how effective your bidding is, and if need be, what ads you might want to pay for outside of GAG.