Google Adwords Tricks of the Trade – Part I

With year-end fundraising officially over I thought I would share some insights from the various Google Adwords campaigns I manage for my non-profit clients.

There a few things you should know upfront. First, the campaigns were run on Google’s paid advertising platform — not Google Grants.

Also, my tips are based both on my experiences and calls placed to Google Adwords. Many people don’t know this but you can call Google directly at 866-246-6457 and they will answer any questions you have with hardly any wait time.

In part one I explain things to be aware of during the set-up process in order to get optimal results. So let’s get started.

Ad Rotation
Under the advanced settings heading, make sure you choose optimize for clicks. Optimize for conversions (the second option) sounds tempting but it is only effective once your ads have been running for a while and Adwords has some historical data to work (around 15 conversions). If you choose the second option it can make your ads less competitive.


Ad scheduling
Ad scheduling allows you to specify what times of the day you prefer your ads to be seen. If you have a phone number listed in your ad for example, it probably makes sense to show that ad only during business hours. You can find this under the Ad Scheduling tab under Setup.

You can also set bid adjustments for different time blocks. Let’s say the ad in your campaign may be appropriate to show any time of day, but you suspect that people are more likely to donate at lunch time. You could increase your default bid amount by 15 percent from Noon to 2:00 which will make it more competitive. A bid of $1.00 would then increase to $1.15.


Location Preference
If you reviewed your Google Analytics account you may notice that people from certain countries are donating in greater numbers than others. You can use location preferences to target all the countries you are interested in targeting and then bid adjustments to increase your bid for those countries where people are donating from the most. The location preference can be found under the location tab under settings.


Device Preference
There’s a lot of discussion about mobile optimized websites these days. This is absolutely true but the jury is still out as to whether people are actually making donations from their mobile devices. A current client of mine received only six percent of its donations from mobile devices in December for example. Once again using bid adjustments you might want to reduce your ad expenditure on mobile devices as seen below. Of course if you were running a mobile only ad this wouldn’t make any sense but for a standard ad it probably does.


Hopefully these set-up tips will help maximize your Adwords success. In part two I’ll delve in deeper and explain the ins and outs of managing display ads, including targeting audiences and making adjustments as your data starts coming in.

photo-thumb-brett-2Brett Gerstein is Donordigital’s Director of Search Marketing. Brett works with Donordigital clients to optimize their web initiatives through search engine optimization and online paid advertising. He has over twelve years of experience providing online marketing advice to NGOs, Members of Congress, and for-profits.

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