The Google Grants Blog Has Moved

Thursday, March 3, 2011 | 12:44 PM

The Google Grants blog has moved! We’ve joined forces with the Google for Nonprofits blog and will no longer be updating this page. Check out the new blog for relevant news and updates from the Google for Nonprofits Team.

Free Transaction Processing For Google Grants Recipients Continues Through 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011 | 8:08 AM

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Cross posted on The Official Google Checkout Blog

We’re thrilled to announce that as part of the Google Checkout for Non-Profits program, free transaction processing for Google Grants recipients will be extended through 2011.

So if you’re part of the Google Grants program and you have a Google Checkout account, you’ll be able to use Google Checkout to accept donations without paying transaction processing fees in the coming year. We hope many non-profits take advantage of this benefit through the next year as they raise funds to advance their causes.

For more information about other Google tools for non-profits, check out the Google for Non-Profits website.

Industry Benchmarking Series

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | 10:00 AM

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Last year we conducted our Annual Survey, which collected responses from our grantee base on a range of topics like AdWords usage, performance, marketing strategy, product adoption, organization needs and case study information.

In an effort to better understand the needs and trends of organizations within our grantee base, we also asked for NTEE codes from US grantee respondents so that we could begin to associate these needs and trends with sub-categories of the NGO industry and offer some insight into the NGO industry in which your organization works.

We’re excited to be able to now share this insight with you in the form of industry benchmarks.

Over the next few months we’ll feature a series of posts that offer benchmark data for each of the NTEE categories represented within our grantee base. The benchmarks are an aggregated and averaged interpretation of the NGO categories that were well represented in the survey results. We won’t provide benchmark data for those categories that were under represented or didn’t have any results.

You can look forward to industry information like types of tracking metrics, mission objectives, marketing objectives, AdWords performance and agency usage.

We’ll begin our series with the Arts, Culture & Humanities category and continue in batches until we’ve shared benchmarks for all represented industries.

Add our blog feed to your reader to see when your industry benchmark is posted.

Announcing The 2011 Nonprofit Video Awards

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | 1:51 PM

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If you’re a non-profit organization who has created one or more amazing videos in the past year, we have good news for you. For the second year in a row, YouTube is teaming up with See3 Communications to present the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards, a celebration of the best non-profit video on the site.

Whether you created a high-definition documentary about street slums in India or shot a quirky cellphone video of rescue dogs at your animal shelter, we encourage you to submit your video at www.youtube.com/nonprofitvideoawards. We’ll award prizes like $2500 grants from the Case Foundation, Flip Cams, free admission to the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and a spotlight on the YouTube homepage to small, medium and large organizations, plus a special award for the “Best Thrifty Video”.

To give you a sense of what works, here are the finalists’ videos from last year’s competition:



The deadline to enter is March 2, 2010 and you must be a member of the YouTube Nonprofit Program at the time of judging, to enter. Good luck!

New Regions And Cities Available For Targeting On AdWords

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | 3:00 PM

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Cross posted on the Inside AdWords Blog

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out city targeting in 12 additional countries to help you reach more customers in local markets with your AdWords campaigns. With this expansion, city targeting will now be available to AdWords advertisers in 34 countries. In addition, we’re also announcing the ability to target regions in Argentina.


The countries with new city and region targeting options in AdWords are:

Argentina (region targeting only), Austria, Brazil, China (coming soon), Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland (coming soon), Hungary (coming soon), Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine


Location targeting helps you tailor your ads toward specific markets, analyze your AdWords campaigns by market, and optimize your campaigns for higher return-on-investment (ROI). Now, you can go a level deeper and optimize the performance of your AdWords campaign at the city level.

For example, let’s say your organization operates in Mexico. You conduct a campaign level analysis and learn that you’re getting more conversions from big cities, such as Mexico City, than from rural areas. Here are a few steps that you can take to optimize your AdWords campaign:

1. Run an AdWords geographic report or Analytics report to determine where your users are located and where you’re getting your most valuable traffic.

2. Adjust your campaign setup:
  • Run a campaign targeting cities bringing in the most traffic and increase the bids on the keywords in that campaign to maximize your impressions in those cities.
  • Consider setting up a regionally (or nationally) targeted campaign with potentially lower bids on the same keywords to capture additional traffic from outside your top-performing cities.
3. Adjust bids accordingly to optimize for the highest campaign ROI.

We hope that with the expansion of city targeting, advertisers in more countries will be able to reach their local users more effectively. Visit the AdWords Help Center to learn more about getting started with this feature.

Managing Your Account With Limited Time

Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 12:07 PM

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“Time is on my side” might be true for The Rolling Stones, but probably not for the rest of us. “So much to do, so little time” is a more accurate sentiment. We never seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done that we want to, especially within the business realm.

Managing your AdWords account is no exception. We know it requires continual management for maximium effectiveness - including adding new keywords, deleting keywords and ads that aren’t performing well, updating the account based on changes to your products, services, and landing pages, adjusting CPCs, taking advantage of new AdWords features, etc. On top of this, most non-profit organizations also have limited resources. How do you do it and do it well?

Fortunately, there are ways to make the account management process much easier and faster. Here are five features that can simplify the process:

1. Keyword Insertion

Keyword insertion dynamically inserts your keywords into your text ad(s). This allows the user to see an ad that is highly relevant to their search, which increases the chances of a click. If the keyword triggered is longer than the character limit, the default ad text you specify will show instead.

Tightly themed ad groups are always ideal, but keyword insertion is a great alternative if you don’t have time to separate each individual micro-theme. Still, all of the keywords should be fairly related to ensure success. It’s also important to ensure that all of your keywords make sense when inserted into the space at hand. That may mean deleting or separating keywords for competitive products/services, keywords with “reviews” if you don’t show comparisons, etc.

Implementation is easy - you simply place one snippet of code into your ad. See this quick guide that explains further.

2. Broad Match Modifier

Broad Match Modifier is the newest keyword match type, which is essentially a cross between broad and phrase match. It allows more search flexibility than phrase match, but more precise targeting than broad match. It’s identified by a plus (+) sign immediately proceeding any word within a keyword - and you can utilize this feature for certain words or all words within a keyword.

Words with the plus sign must appear in the actual search query, or a very similar variation. These variations include misspellings, plurals/singulars, abbreviations, ancronyms, and stemmings (like “donate” and “donation”). Unlike broad match, it does not include synonyms and related queries.

The time-savers with BMM are that you a) can safely use it as as your default match type for any new keywords, without having to worry about broad/phrase/exact, and b) avoid having to identify and add as many negative keywords to filter out unwanted traffic that broad can require.

3. Conversion Optimizer

Getting traffic to your site is half the battle; the other half is converting the traffic to the action you want them to take. Conversion tracking measures the effectiveness of your traffic, by showing which keywords lead to the important action(s) you specify on your site - a sale, lead, signup, etc.

Implementation does require some effort, but it’s well worth it. The good news is that once you have conversion tracking enabled, AdWords can do the heavy lifting through a great tool called Conversion Optimizer. This tool uses your conversion data to maximize conversions at a lower cost.

With Conversion Optimizer, you bid at either a maximum CPA (the most you’re willing to pay per conversion) or target CPA (average amount you’d like to pay per conversion). The tool automatically adjusts your cost-per-click bids for each ad auction accordingly. That means no more manual adjustment of CPCs is needed. Conversion Optimizer does the work for you.

To use this feature, you need to have at least 15 conversions recorded in the last 30 days. To activate it, go to the Campaign tab > Select campaign name > Settings tab > “Bidding Option: Edit” > “Focus on Conversions”.

4. Custom Alerts

If you find yourself continually checking the account for any unusual behavior, budget monitoring, or to make sure certain metrics are still “in the green”, try Custom Alerts. This feature notifies you when metrics fall or rise past a certain threshold that you set. For example, you can set a custom alert to notify you when you’re close to hitting your daily budget (you choose the amount). You choose whether your notifications appear within the messages section of your account, or emailed to you directly. This frees you up to pay attention to the account only as necessary.

5. Automated Rules

What happens if you take custom alerts to the next level, and not only provide alerts, but action on those alerts? You get a brand new and exciting feature called Automated Rules that takes a specific action based on the parameters you set. System-implemented changes can be made to the bids, budgets, and status of campaigns, ad groups, ads and sets of keywords.

For instance, you may use it to:

  • Raise CPCs by a certain amount for all keywords that fall below position 4
  • Activate ads late Sunday night for a promotion that begins the following morning
  • Increase your daily budget during the weekdays when you have customer support
You can have up to 10 rules at a time. There isn’t a way to edit each rule, so just delete and create new ones as desired. And stay tuned, because new levers and options are in the works...

In general, AdWords is continually developing the platform to allow for more automation and to make your life even easier. For now, take advantage of these features. And time will start to be a little more on your side.

Your Keywords And Quality Score

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 | 4:34 PM

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The AdWords system calculates a ‘Quality Score’ for each keyword in your account. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query. A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In fact, a Quality Score is calculated each time your keyword matches a search query or every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).

Viewing Your Quality Score

You can find representations of your keywords’ Quality Scores in three places: your account statistics, the Keyword Analysis field and via an account report. Please see below for details on each method.

1. To find representation of your keywords’ Quality Scores in your account statistics:
a. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
b. Select the appropriate campaign and ad group.
c. Click the Keywords tab.
d. Click Columns at the top of the ad group table.
e. Select Quality Score from the drop-down menu.
f. Click Save when you’re finished. Each keyword’s Quality Score will be measured and displayed on a scale of 1-10.

2. To view the Keyword Analysis field for any keyword, follow these steps:
a. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
b. Click on a campaign.
c. Click on an ad group.
d. Select the Keywords tab.
e. Click the icon in the Status column next to any keyword.

3. To view Quality Score via an account report, run a Keyword Performance report and make sure to select the Keyword Quality Score Detail checkbox. This option appears in the Add or Remove Columns section under Advanced Settings.

Moving Your Keywords & Quality Score

A keyword’s Quality Score may change after you move it to another ad group. However, the keyword’s performance history will not change. This is true regardless of whether you delete and re-add the keyword or transfer the keyword using AdWords Editor.

Here are two ways that a keyword’s Quality Score can change after moving to a new ad group:

1. A keyword’s Quality Score is influenced by its relevance to the ads in its ad group. If you move a keyword to an ad group with more relevant ads, therefore, its Quality Score may improve. Similarly, the Quality Score may decrease if the ads are less relevant. For example, if the keyword ‘camp volunteer’ is in an ad group with ads seeking volunteers for camp it is likely to have a higher Quality Score than if the keyword was in an ad group with ads promoting camp registration.

2. In addition, moving a keyword to an ad group with more relevant ads can improve a keyword’s clickthrough rate (CTR) going forward. This, over time, will improve its Quality Score.

Improving Your Quality Score

The best way to improve your keywords’ Quality Scores is by optimizing your account. This entails making sure that each of your ad groups contain descriptive ads all promoting the same thing, and that each keyword in the ad group closely relates to the ad. For more information on optimizing your account check out these tips for success and the AdWords Optimization Center.