The use of Google Ad Grants

Andy 5 December, 2019 - 6 min. read

Non-profit organisations, such as music venues, don't often have much budget available to spend on showing consumers (expensive) advertisements via Google. Google aims to help non-profit organisations with a specific application: Google Ad Grants. In the blog, you can read exactly what Ad Grants is and what steps you have to take to use it!

Google Ad Grants for foundations

The introduction of Google Ads

To get a better understanding of Google Ad Grants, you’ll need to know a little about Google Ads. Google Ads is a Google advertising program which allows (online) marketers and Ads specialists to show advertisements to a search engine’s users.

Google Ads also provides information about the number of times a people enter a search term into Google (search volume), how much it costs you when a user clicks on your link (Cost-per-click / CPC) and how many companies are advertising using the same term (competition level).

What is Google Ad Grants?

Google Ad Grants is an application of Google Ads for non-profit organisations; companies that are not primarily focussed on making money. Examples of non-profit organisations are foundations that focus on cultural developments, such as a pop venue (in the Netherlands these venues are non-profit foundations which are subsidised by the government).

Google Ad Grants provides a 'free' advertising budget for non-profit organisations, which Google has lovingly dubbed 'grantees'. The purpose of this 'free' money is to help them reach potential investors and volunteers through advertisements.

Google Ad Grants works off the same principle as Google Ads, except there are a few conditions for a non-profit organisation looking to use Google Ad Grants (you will find the link if you read on). Also, Google limits the possibilities for advertising through Google Ad Grants. Which makes sense; otherwise a non-profit organisation would have exactly the same advertising options available to them as a company that uses their own money to advertise through Google Ads. This would completely skew the balance between users of Google Ads & Google Ad Grants.

The main goals of Google Ad Grants for pop venues

The main goals of advertising for non-profit organisations are to attract the attention of interested people and to encourage conversion. These groups of interested people can be sponsors in the case of pop venues, but especially volunteers, which are crucial for a pop venue too.

Can I use Google Ad Grants?

Not everyone can use Google Ad Grants. You are eligible for Google Ad Grants if you:

  • ... want to show text-only ads in Google’s search engine
  • … are a non-profit organisation with an ANBI or you are a foundation or association.
  • are not a governmental institution, hospital, health organisation or educational institution.
  • ... are affiliated with Google for non-profits
  • ... are affiliated with TechSoup Nederland
  • ... are a good quality website that meets the Google criteria

You will find a complete overview of the conditions for using at Google Ad Grants.


Keyword research is key

Keyword research is always advisable, and proper research is even more important when it comes to Google Ad Grants. After all, you can only show text ads and have a maximum CPC of $2. People are more likely to click on images and videos and some keywords cost more than $2 per click. You’ll be able to compete, but the chance that you’ll rank high on Google is very small due to the competition - who will probably have a higher CPC.

It’s important to find keywords that are relevant to your organisation and are cheaper than $2.
Google’s Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest are useful (and free!) tools for doing keyword research.

Google KeyWord Planner Google Ad Grants

UberSuggest SEO Neil Patel Keyword Research Keyword Planner

Advertise on geolocation

There are several factors that make an advertisement successful: Is the text clear? Does it provoke a Call To Action? Will the right people see the ad?

No matter how great your ad is, if it’s not visible within the geolocation where your target group is, it will never reach its full potential. For example, if a pop venue in the north of Limburg is going to advertise, it makes no sense to advertise at the geolocation 'Groningen'. No matter how interested people are in becoming volunteers, it’s unlikely anyone is going to travel for three hours in each direction to do it.

Geolocation advertising ensures that your advertisement is visible within a specific area. If you want a lot of volunteers who have a (strong) bond with a particular city, it's best to use that city as your geolocation. If you want volunteers who are more familiar with the wider region, you can use that region as your geolocation. You can carry out geolocation advertisements on different scales, such as city, region or province.

Adverise on geolocation with Google Ad Grants

How do I sign up for Google Ad Grants?

It’s effortless. Register on the Google Ad Grants page and your application will be reviewed extensively. If you get Google Ad Grants status, your ads must be 'non-profit'. Google will recognise an advertisement with 'Buy tickets' as being commercial and you could lose your Google Ad Grant status. You don’t want the whole application process to have been a waste of time.

EVENTIX TIP: Use two Google Ad accounts

Due to the limitations of Google Ad Grants, we recommend that you also use a paid Google Ad Account so you can set the CPC (Cost-Per-Click) higher than $2 if you need to. With a higher CPC, you can compete better with specific keywords and get a higher ranking on Google.

Google Ad Grants' checklist: ten points to consider

If you’ve been advertising for a while, for example, a month or even half a year, you can try to improve your ads. Don't do this every week though; a week is too short to draw any real conclusions about your ads. Google needs time to apply your advertisement to the search results properly. To help you continuously improve your ads, we’ve provided ten points of attention that you can use to get the most out of Google Ad Grants.

The checklist

  1. Use at least two ad groups per campaign.
  2. Use at least two ads per ad group.
  3. Add site links to an advertisement. Sitelinks are the blue links at the bottom of a search result.

sitelink example pop venue

  1. Use (specific) keywords per ad group.
  2. Remove keywords that have less than a two for their quality score.
  3. Set a rule that blocks keywords with a low quality score.
  4. Remove brand names that are not yours.
  5. Delete keywords with one word.
  6. The ads must link to the domain approved by Google Ad Grants.
  7. Advertise by geolocation; near your music venue, foundation or association.

If you want to know more about Google Ad Grants, Google's page has all the information you’ll need.

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