15 Google Ad Grant Myths (Busted)!
Updated: Jun 9
This is a guest blog submission shared with permission by Grant Hansel of Nonprofit Megaphone.
In a world filled with accusations of fake news and social media bots posing as humans, it’s good to have a dependable source to get the facts. As an agency specializing in the Google Ad Grant management for more than 300 nonprofit organizations and one of the first nine agencies globally to receive Ad Grants Certified Professional status from Google, Nonprofit Megaphone is qualified to set the record straight on the Google Ad Grant.
First, a quick explanation (or reminder) of precisely what the Google Ad Grant is. The Google Ad Grant gives qualified nonprofit organizations $10,000 in-kind per month in Google ad spends to promote their mission and initiatives on Google.com. Yes, you read that right. Each qualified nonprofit organization receives ads on Google valued at $10,000 per month, every month. Follow the rules, and the grant lasts forever.
Organizations can use the Google Ad Grant to recruit volunteers, attract new donors, and share its mission with its target market. Don’t let any misconceptions keep your organization from receiving the Google Ad Grant!
Value & Return on Investment
Myth #1: It Doesn’t Work.
Like most other things, it doesn’t work if you don’t know how to use it. It can be complicated and time-consuming to set up the Google Ad Grant. For the best results, you need to know how to find the right keywords or target audience, write quality ad copy and content, and set up meaningful tracking. Otherwise, it probably won’t work the way you want it to work. The Nonprofit Megaphone team of experts do research and analyze mounds of data to find what works best.
There’s no question that the Google Ad Grant works if set up and managed well.
Myth #2: Google Grants Will Mean Immediate Increased Fundraising.
The Google Ad Grant is a marketing tool, and like any marketing tool, Its main purpose is to create awareness; the first step in the marketing funnel. Would you expect that ad space donated by a magazine or newspaper to produce more donations instantly? The Google Ad Grant is a marketing instrument that helps organizations reach new people and build and cement relationships to convert visitors into donors.
Myth #3: You Can’t Track ROI with the Google Ad Grant
Actually, with free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, it’s probably easier to track ROI for the Google Ad Grant than other marketing methods. The process includes several steps to help you track meaningful conversion actions, from determining goal types and categories to setting goal values and setting up conversion windows and attribution models. It can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, our expert staff can not only set it all up for you but explain it in easy-to-understand terms.
Show Me the Money
Myth #4: If you don’t spend the allotted $10,000 each month, Google will revoke your account.
Very few organizations consistently spend the total amount each month, and most organizations never spend that much. Google will never close your account because you didn’t spend $10,000 per month. The objective isn’t to spend all the money, but to share your mission and introduce people to your organization.
Myth #5: If you exceed the $10,000 per month allotment, your organization will have to pay the difference.
An organization is never charged for going over the monthly amount. In fact, you are not even allowed to enter payment information into a Google Grants account, so there would be no way for Google to bill you even if they wanted to!
Myth #6: If you don’t spend the $10,000 in one month, the remaining balance rolls over into the next month.
No, you can’t accrue the allowance. Each month a new allotment of $10,000 is provided.
Myth #7: There is a $2.00 bid cap on keywords for ads.
At one time, this was true, but it is no longer valid. This is one of the most common myths of all! Using the Maximize Conversions bid strategy, organizations can bid above $2.
Myth #8: Your organization will have to match the amount of money it spends on the Google Ad Grant.
Nope. No match is ever required. Google provides each organization with a monthly in-kind budget of $10,000.
Myth #9: It will create a terrible tax problem for your organization because you will have to list it on your organization’s Federal Form 990.
Advertising space is considered a “service”. Gifts of in-kind services are not reported on Federal Form 990. While they are included in reconciling items on Schedule D of Form 990, they are not reported as income or expense on Form 990.
Myth #10: If you work with an agency that provides professional services to help your organization obtain or manage the Google Ad Grant, the fee for the agency’s services will be deducted from the monthly $10,000 budget.
The $10,000 in-kind budget from Google is only for ads and doesn’t pay for any other services. Obtaining and managing the Google Ad Grant can be complicated and time-consuming, which is why several organizations choose to work with professionals like Nonprofit Megaphone. Our talented staff live and breathe Google Ad Grants and will help you make the most of your grant.
Size Doesn’t (Really) Matter
Myth #11: Small organizations can’t compete with large organizations & won’t benefit from Google Ad Grants.
Google rewards relevancy, not size. Including your city or region in your keywords helps have your ads shown to users searching for keywords in a specific geographic area. If your organization offers programs and services that people search for online, it will benefit. You don’t need to have an overwhelming response to your ads to benefit from this program.
Google Ad Grants Versus Google (Paid) Ads
Myth #12: It’s impossible to compete with paid ads because they are featured while ads for Google Ad Grants are relegated to later pages.
Google Ad Grants and Google (Paid) Ads don’t compete in the same auction. Ad Grants and paid accounts don’t compete with one another because Ad Grants ads appear only in positions below paid ads.
Myth #13: It’s impossible to have both the Google Ad Grant and a Google (paid) Ad account.
Paid ads can be a great complement to a Google Ad Grant and, unlike the Ad Grant, will make it possible to build a campaign that incorporates features such as graphics and videos, and can show on websites outside the Google search engine.
Facebook Ads Versus The Google Ad Grant
Myth #14: Facebook ads do better, and that’s where nonprofit organizations should spend their marketing budgets.
Facebook and Google are both viable digital marketing options depending on your goals, your audience and your marketing budget. However, Facebook doesn’t have a grant program that provides $10,000 per month for nonprofit organizations. So, there’s that.
Also, Google dominates with more than 90 percent market share in search and processes over 70,000 queries every second (on average)! So, if you want someone to see your information, Google is where you want to be!
The Rules & Regs
Myth #15: Google suspends organizations all the time, and if that happens to our organization, we will be shut down for good.
Semantics play an essential role here. The terms deactivated and canceled are interchangeable. An account can be deactivated and/or canceled if there is a compliance issue regarding policy, but Google will reactivate your account once the problem is corrected. A suspended account is a much bigger deal. There is an appeal process, but it’s not easy. A suspended account signals a severe offense regarding Google’s policy. One of the most common ways to get delayed is by starting to advertise for an additional domain that you did not get approved by Google. Big no-no!
Fortunately, when you work with professionals like Nonprofit Megaphone, we’ll work with you to make sure you’re always compliant.
So, there you have it! Fifteen myths about the Google Ad Grant debunked. As you can probably tell, we think the Google Ad Grant is an excellent opportunity for nonprofit organizations to tell their stories to help fulfill their mission. Find out how the Google Ad Grant works and read about how we’ve helped some clients promote their cause and attract new supporters. Let us know if you have any questions. We love assisting nonprofit clients succeed.