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Sep 12 18

4 Quick Google Ads Tips For Small Business Advertisers

by Robert Coats

Google Ads, formerly AdWords, has well established itself as being one of the best platforms for small businesses to reach consumers looking to buy their products and services. Here are a few expert strategies that small business advertisers can use to help drive more sales with Google Ads.

  1. Know your goals.

    What is it you are wanting to achieve? Are you just looking for more traffic to your website? Or, are you looking to have the end-user turn into a customer for your business? And if you are wanting them to be a customer (which you should) what is the product or service you are wanting them to purchase? Be specific in your goal by clearly defining the task that you are wanting that prospect to complete. By doing so, you will be able to tailor craft ads that better engage your prospect and will lead to increased conversions.

  2. Start at the end.

    Once you know your end-goals, you will be able to start at that finish line and work back towards the search query. Many less-experienced advertisers start at keywords and then try to push the user to the point of conversion. Instead, apply the strategy of starting from the conversion point. This allows you to identifying the best landing page to accomplish that conversion, write ads that speak to the content on that landing page and, only then, determine the keywords that are most relevant to the ads and the landing page you have. By taking this strategy, your keywords will be much more focused. The more focused your keywords are, the more likely they are to lead back to conversions.

  3. Leverage the latest features on Google Ads to maximize the impact of your ads.

    Ad extensions such as sitelinks and callouts are a must have for today’s AdWords advertisers. If you have a “brick and mortar” small business, then location extensions and call extensions are also crucial, as well. Be certain to leverage ad extensions since they can help to increase the click through rate (CTR) of your ads. Additionally, other ad features such as Google Ads new Responsive Search Ads can also help to boost your CTR. And a higher CTR can be the catalyst that leads to improved Quality Scores, which in-turn can lead to lower cost per click bids, which means more clicks under existing budgets and ultimately more conversions (i.e. sales) at a lower cost per conversion.

  4. Ensure a good user experience.

    Getting the right traffic to your site is certainly important, however, it is only half the equation. Once your prospect is on your site, you must ensure that they have a good user experience and are able to easily complete the goal you are wanting them to complete. That involves, clear and easy navigation and making certain that your page renders quickly – on the desktop and on the ever-increasingly important mobile device where users are spending more of their time and completing more of their searches. This is especially true for purchase decisions with “near me” mobile searches having grown over 500% over the last two years according to a recent report by Google. (Source: Google Data, U.S., July–Dec. 2015 vs. July–Dec. 2017.) And since most sites loose half their visitors while a site loads, it is crucial that your site loads as fast as possible on both desktop and mobile. So before your write your ads, test the speed of your website at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ By doing so, you are ensuring that your new Google Ads campaigns get off on the right foot.

Conclusion

Google Ads is a great advertising platform for small businesses and Google has made it easy for advertisers to get set up and running on the platform. However, having a good understanding of the platform can help you get the most our of your advertising dollars. These 4 AdWords tips can help. And if you need more help, we are only a phone call away.

If you would like to schedule a specific time, you can easily see real-time availability and schedule a phone call at https://calendly.com/kinseystreet

Jul 24 18

Google Launches New Ad Grants Certified Professionals Program in Support Of Nonprofits

by Robert Coats

Names Kinsey Street Online Marketing as one of the first Ad Grants certified professionals to be published in the directory

In support of their Ad Grants program, which provides qualified nonprofits with $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month, Google has just announced the launch of their Ad Grants Certified Professionals Directory. This new directory of certified professionals will help nonprofits, who need assistance apply for or management of their $10,000 a month ad grant, to easily identify those agencies that have demonstrated expertise in the Ad Grants program.

While some nonprofits are able to find success managing their Google Ad Grant accounts on their own, other nonprofits may not have the time or in-house expertise to effectively manage their account. As such, they turn to professional help through a third-party agency, such as a Google Partner. Even then, success with Ad Grants isn’t assured. This is because even though all Google Partners have experience in AdWords (the platform that Ad Grants runs on) not all Google Partners have experience with Ad Grants. As such, finding the right agency that understands the nuances and policy requirements unique to the Ad Grants program can be challenging – that is where Google’s new Ad Grants Certified Professionals program comes in. The program only includes agencies that have been carefully vetted by the Google Ad Grants team as having true expertise in the Ad Grants program. This helps nonprofits identify those agencies that have experience with Google Ad Grants and can help the nonprofit best utilize the Google Ad Grant.

Kinsey Street Online Marketing, an agency that has long provide Ad Grants management services to nonprofits in the US and around the world was one of the first to be recognized and included in the new program by Google.

“The Ad Grants Certified Professionals directory is going to be a great asset for the nonprofit community and this recognition by Google is a great honor” stated Robert Coats, founder of Kinsey Street. “Since launching Kinsey Street nearly 10 years ago, our focus has always been on helping nonprofits, of all sizes, get the most out of their $10,000 a month ad grant from Google. I am tremendously proud of our team for being recognized for the great work that we do and to have Kinsey Street be one of the first agencies to be recognized as Ad Grants Certified Professionals.”

Michelle Hurtado, Head of Ad Grants, had this to say, “Kinsey Street Marketing has been a friend to Ad Grants for many years, helping nonprofits make meaningful connections online and providing thoughtful guidance in our community forum. We are excited to welcome Kinsey Street to the Ad Grants Certified Professionals Community.”

If you are a nonprofit interested in obtaining a Google Ad Grant or getting the most out of your current Ad Grant account, certified professionals such as Kinsey Street are here to help.

Contact us at 425-405-0690

About Kinsey Street Online Marketing 
Kinsey Street is a Google Premiere Partner and has specialized in helping nonprofits in the United States get the most out of their Google Ad Grant since 2009. For more information, visit https://www.kinseystreet.com/ or follow on Twitter @kinseystreet.

About Google Ad Grants 
Google Ad Grants provides qualified nonprofits with $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month from AdWords, an online advertising solution from Google. This allows nonprofits in the Ad Grants program to attract donors, raise awareness for their organization, and recruit volunteers with in-kind advertising on Google Search using the Google Ads platform. For more information visit https://www.google.com/grants/

See our press release on PRWeb.

Dec 12 17

Top 3 Reasons Google Ad Grants Accounts Are Cancelled

by Robert Coats

Understanding Why Your Google Ad Grants Account Was Suspended.

 

Over in the Google Ad Grants forum of the Official Google AdWords Community the #1 question I get asked by Ad Grants managers is “why was my Ad Grants account cancelled/suspended?” Primarily, the reason is because of a violation of one of (the many) AdWords policies or Ad Grants policies.  Any of these violations could result in a suspended account if not adhered to, however, the top 3 reasons why Ad Grants accounts are suspended are:

1) Violation of the  Active Account Policy 

This policy requires that you sign in to review performance at least once a month and that you make one or more changes to the account at least once every 90 days – these are the bare minimums and to get better results from your Ad Grants account, I certainly recommend active management above and beyond these minimums. If the account is a legacy Grantspro account, the requirements are even stricter.

The policy does also have a section on what to do if your Ad Grant account has been turned off which states the following:

If your account has been turned off because you haven’t met the requirements for active management, you can contact the AdWords team if you’d like to have the account turned back on. Once the account is reinstated, you’ll need to continue following the policies mentioned above.

If you find that you and your organization do not have the time to effectively manage your Ad Grants account and it has been cancelled because of this policy, you may want to consider hiring a 3rd-party agency that provides Google Ad Grants management to manage the account for you. By hiring an agency to manage the account for you, this ensures that the account will receive the level of management required to keep the account within the guidelines of the Active Account Management policy. Further, if the 3rd-party agency is experienced with managing and optimizing Ad Grant accounts then you are more likely to get better results from your Ad Grants advertising, allowing your organization to better achieve its mission.

2) Violation of the Mission-based campaigns policy

This policy states (in part):

The ads and keywords in your AdWords account must reflect the mission of your nonprofit organization and be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services.

Strictly commercial advertising is not allowed. If you intend to promote products or services, the sales and/or proceeds must directly support the nonprofit.

This policy violation often happens when the account manger is trying to go after every keyword that might possibly generate traffic even if it is related to the mission of the organization or not. Simply generating irrelevant traffic to the organization’s website, just to spend the full amount of the $10,000 per month grant, is NOT how Google wants to see their grant money spent. Google wants to see effective account management focused on relevant keywords and ads.

3) Violating the Website Policy by promoting an unauthorized website. 

Any account found in violation of this policy is subject to automatic suspension without notification. The cause of this violation is unapproved websites being advertised within the Ad Grants account. Sometimes, an organization has more than one website they are wanting to promote, and this is allowed, as long as, that organization goes through the steps to get that additional website approved by Google first.

Occasionally, this violation is also triggered when the account has been compromised and a “bad actor” is running ads within the account. If this happens and you see ads within your account pointing to website that you or your organization did not create, the first step is re-secure your account. This Help Center page shows you how to reset your password.

If you believe a violation of the mission-based campaigns policy is the reason your account was cancelled, this too may be able to be fixed and have your account reinstated.  Next, use this form to request reactivation.  (Note, if your account has been compromised, then it will not be reactivated until after you have reset your password.)

Granted the above three are not the only reasons why accounts are suspended but they are the most common. Google may reinstate the account if this is a first policy offense but repeated offenses can result in permanently disabled accounts.

Regardless of what led to the suspension of your Ad Grants account, once your account is reinstated, it is IMPORTANT that you abide by  AdWords policies or Ad Grants policies. Kinsey Street Online Marketing can help you do just that.

Oct 13 17

Important AdWords Policy Update Affecting Nonprofits

by Robert Coats

Charity number required on the landing page

A recent policy change with Google AdWords is now requiring all pages that are asking for donations to include a charity or tax exemption number. Ads submitted with landing pages that do not include a charity or tax exemption number will be disapproved for ‘Missing Information’ which is a violation of AdWords Misrepresentation policy.

The policy reads in-part:

The following is not allowed:

Omitting material information (that is, important and relevant information) when soliciting a charitable or political donation

Examples: Failing to display a charity or tax exemption number for charitable donations, failing to disclose whether political donations are tax exempt

Donations: If your ad or landing page solicits donations that are tax-exempt, please clearly indicate your tax-exempt status on your landing page or donation page, including your charity number. For example, in the United States, 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status is an indicator of the required tax-exempt status.

How this change affects nonprofits

The ‘Misrepresentation policy’ has been around for a while but the recent update to the policy is the addition of the charity number being required on the landing page. For a 501(C)(3) advertising on Google (such as with Google Ad Grants) this means including their EIN on the landing page. Admittedly, this is something that some nonprofits may be hesitant to do. However, this new policy change helps to limit the number of ads being run by non-charities that may be soliciting donations. As such, this policy is actually beneficial to legitimate charities as well as to users who are looking to make informed decisions for their donations. After all, making it clear to the end user that their donation is going to a verifiable charity can increase the user’s confidence which can then lead to increased donations and increased donation amounts.

Since we see a lot of benefit for the nonprofits in adding this information, we recommend to our nonprofit clients that they include the information in the footer of all pages on their website, similar to including a copyright. What we recommend is something along the following lines:

“ABC Charity is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 12-3456789”

Additionally, if the charity has a good ranking in Guidestar.com or CharityNavigator.com, it would not be a bad idea to link the charity’s profile on one of those sites. Doing so provides additional validation for the charity, which can further increase donors’ confidence in that charity.

Sep 9 17

Was Your Ad Grant Account Suspended on September 9th?

by Robert Coats

Here is why your Google Ad Grant was suspended and the steps to take

On August 16th the Google Ad Grants team sent an email out notifying grantees of recent changes to the Website Policies and Promoting Multiple Sites. This email by the Ad Grants team notified grantees that they can only use a website domain that was approved through the Google for Nonprofits application, the Ad Grants enrollment process, or the Additional Website Domain(s) Request form. If you received this email then your account was identified as one that was serving on a domain that had not been approved and would be suspended on September 8th, 2017, if no changes were made.

If your Google Ad Grants account was recently suspended on or around September 9th then it likely has to do with your Ad Grant account being identified as one that was serving on a domain name that was NOT listed as being approved through the Google for Nonprofits application, the Ad Grants enrollment process, or the Additional Domain Request form form.

To get your account reactivated, grantees must fill out the Additional Domain Request form and include ALL domains they are advertising on. Domains that are not approved, must be removed from the account before the account can be reactivated.

TLDR:

  1. Your account was likely suspended for advertising a domain it is not authorized to. (See: Website Policies and Promoting Multiple Sites)
  2. Fill out the Additional Domain Request form to get your domain names approved. (Note: Please include ALL domain names.)
Jul 12 17

Ad Grants Account Suspended?

by Robert Coats

Here is why your Ad Grants account was suspended and (more importantly) what to do now.

UPDATE: If your account was suspended on September 9th, 2017 read the updated article on 9/9 Ad Grants suspensions for what to do.

If your Google Ad Grants account was recently suspended then your account may have been one of the many that was recently deactivated because it was not in compliance with the Active Account Management policy.  This policy requires that you log in to your Ad Grants account at least once every 30 days and have changes made to the account at least once every 90 days. Many grantees have reported receiving emails from Google stating that the account was cancelled and that a budget was due. If you received a “balance due” email, you may ignore it as that is a system auto email that should not have gone out to grantees.

To reinstate your Ad Grants account, you will need to log in and follow the prompts to contact AdWords support and they will likely reactive the account if this is the first time for your account to be deactivated due to an Active Account Management policy violation. Once the account is reinstated, it is IMPORTANT that you abide by the Active Account Management policy or your account is subject to being cancelled permanently.

NOTE: If you do not have the internal bandwidth to provide active account management you may hire a third-party agency to manage the account for you and keep you in compliance with Ad Grant policies. Kinsey Street, does provide low cost Ad Grants management services to nonprofits and many nonprofits find that they achieve greater success with Ad Grants with professional management.

Sep 1 16

Google’s Grantspro Now On Permanent Hold

by Robert Coats

All good things must come to an end… unfortunately, Grantspro – Google’s $40,000 per month Ad Grant is on permanent hold.

I spoke with the Google Ad Grants team today and the official response is:

The Ad Grants team is no longer accepting applications for the Grantspro program as part of new efforts to streamline the program. This update aside, the program will continue to remain open and free to all eligible nonprofits.

While this is indeed sad news, the good news is that the $10,000 per month Ad Grants program is going to continue and is just being streamlined.

As always, more updates as I am able to share them.

Jan 13 16

How To Apply For Google Ad Grants

by Robert Coats

How do I apply for Google Ad Grants?The 11-step guide to applying for and setting up a Google Ad Grants account.

With this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to take your nonprofit through the application, set up and launch of a Google Ad Grants account so that they can start benefiting from $10,000 per month of free online advertising via Google AdWords.

When Google says they are “Changing the world, one country at a time” they certainly mean it. Over 20,000 nonprofits in more than 50 countries around the world currently participate in the Ad Grants program. If your nonprofit isn’t one of these then it is time to apply and get approved today so that you can start marketing your nonprofit for free with a $10,000 per month Google Ad Grant.

Several years ago, apply for Google Ad Grants was a bit more complicated and took several months to get approved. In fact, it took nearly 9 months for one of my clients to get an approval back. That is certainly not the case today and Google has made great strides in improving the application process of the program. So much so, that these days, we could have a nonprofit approved and up and running in under 5 days in some cases!

However, as much as the Ad Grant application process has improved over the years there are still several steps to go through before the campaigns are launched and generating traffic for your organization. With the following 11-step guide, you will learn how to apply for Google Ad Grants so that you can get your nonprofit set up as quickly as possible.

11-step guide to applying for Google Ad Grants

  1. See if you’re eligible for Google for Nonprofits.
    Not all nonprofit organizations are eligible for the Google for Nonprofits program. Please read the eligibility guidelines before applying to see if your nonprofit is likely to be approved.
    Eligible Organizations
    ● 501(c)(3) status required in US (or international equivalent)
    ● Acknowledge and agree to application clause regarding nondiscrimination and
    donation receipt and use
    ● Have a live website with substantial content
    ● Website cannot display Google Adsense or affiliate advertising ads
    Ineligible Organizations
    ● Governmental entities and organizations
    ● Hospitals and healthcare organizations
    ● Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities
    ○ note: philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible
  2. Apply For Google For Nonprofits
    Assuming you’re eligible, you’ll need to apply for Google for Nonprofits.
    Before applying, make sure that:
    ● Your organization is listed in GuideStar.org or you will not be approved. (Note – international charities should be registered with TechSoup.)
    ● Have your EIN, mission statement and other relevant organization information on hand.Most applications can be reviewed within a few seconds of submission. This part of the application process is quick and easy. Do it today.

    IMPORTANT: Always do this yourself. Do NOT have an agency do this for you. It is important that the nonprofit be the one to register. If you need assistance, Kinsey Street consults on this for free.

  3. Wait for a decision.
    As mentioned above, most applications can be reviewed within seconds. However, in some cases an application may require a closer look, in which case you’ll receive a decision within two business days. You can also check the status of your application at any time by logging in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
  4. Create an AdWords account for use with Ad Grants.
    Once your organization has been approved for Google for Nonprofits, you can begin setting up the AdWords account that is to be used for Google Ad Grants. To get started, follow the steps exactly as outlined in the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide. Particularly Step 1, which is a special link ( https://g.co/etoaw) that allows you to bypass billing requirements of a regular AdWords account. Once your account is set up, you must create a campaign with at least one text ad and keyword that are related to the mission of the registered nonprofit that’s listed in the application. The Account Creation Guide highlights some very important things to keep in mind when creating the account, please read it carefully. One of the most important is: Do not enter credit card information, even though you’ll be asked to in your account. IMPORTANT: Please note that the AdWords system and interface is designed for paying advertisers. Because of this, it’s important to understand the key differences between a Google Ad Grants account and a regular AdWords account so that you set your account accordingly. Failure to do so, could result in poorly created account and having to start the account creation process over from scratch. (Shameless plug: we can create your Ad Grants account for you.)

    Once your AdWords account is created, you are now ready to enroll in Ad Grants and submit your AdWords account for review.

  5. Sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
    Make sure to sign in using your Google for Nonprofits administrator account which is the account that you used when you first applied for Google for Nonprofits. It may be different than the account you used to create your Google Ad Grants account which you’re enrolling.
  6. Click the ‘Sign up now’ button.
  7. Click the ‘Enroll’ button beneath Google Ad Grants.
  8. Confirm that your AdWords account is configured correctly.
    If you followed the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide it should be but here is your chance to double check before submitting.
  9. Enter the customer ID of the AdWords account you created in the form field and complete the form.
  10. Click ‘Enroll’.
  11. Wait for a decision.
    After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a decision within 5 business days (But often less than 48 hours.) If your AdWords account was set up correctly using the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide, you’ll get an email telling you that your account has been activated. If your AdWords account contained any errors, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to correct the errors before we can activate it.

Now that you have learned how to apply for Google Ad Grants take the steps today to get your nonprofit set up with $10,000 per month in free advertising via Google AdWords. We can help.

 

Jan 12 16

How To Activate Your Ad Grants Account Without Entering Billing Information

by Robert Coats

Do I enter billing information to activate my free Ad Grants account?One of the questions that I hear often over in the Google Ad Grants Help forum within the AdWords Community is:

“Why do I have to enter billing information to activate my Ad Grants account if it is free?”

The short answer is, you do not, even though the AdWords platform is requesting that you do so. That “enter billing” request ONLY applies to regular paid AdWords accounts. In fact, it is VERY important that you ignore requests to enter billing information when setting up an Ad Grants account because entering in any billing information will turn the account into a regular paid AdWords account and you will be responsible for all costs generated. Please read the Google Ad Grants help article: Ignore requests for billing information for additional information.

Equally important is that you follow all of the steps as outlined in the Ad Grants Account Creation Guide. Particularly Step 4 on how to Submit your Ad Grant account for review which reads:

  1. Go into your account and confirm the following:
    • Currency set to US Dollar: The bids and budgets in your campaign should be shown in US Dollars ($)
    • No billing information added: If you click the settings icon in the top-right corner of your account and choose “Billing”, you should see a request to choose a country (no payment method visible).If your account is set up on a currency other than US Dollar, or billing information was added, you’ll need to create a new account starting with step 1 of this guide. Otherwise, continue.
  2. If you had already started filling out an Ad Grants application form, go back now and finish the form. If you haven’t started, follow the submission process for your country.

Admittedly, it is within this step that many nonprofits get a bit lost in the process because they do not realize that they have to go back to Google For Nonprofits to complete the enrollment process. For all countries that are under the Google For Nonprofits program (such as US) the submission process is as follows:

  1. Sign in to your Google for Nonprofits account.
    Be sure to sign in using your Google for Nonprofits administrator account. This is the account that you used when you applied for Google for Nonprofits. It may be different than the account you use to access the product in which you’re enrolling.
  2. Click the ‘Sign up now’ button.
  3. Click the ‘Enroll’ button underneath Google Ad Grants.
  4. Confirm that your AdWords account is configured correctly.
    See Grants Account Creation Guide for instructions on setting up your AdWords account.
  5. Enter your AdWords customer ID in the form field and complete the form.
  6. Click ‘Enroll’.

After that, it will take about 24-48 hours and then you will receive an email stating your AdWords account is approved (or not) for Ad Grants and that your account is active or that changes need to be made to make it active.

Sep 28 15

Does An Account Level Quality Score Exist In AdWords?

by Robert Coats

Google’s official comment is that Quality Score is only at the keyword level. In fact, in a PDF posted by Google entitled ‘Settling The (Quality) Score’, it states:

” There is no such thing as ad group-level, campaign-level or account-level Quality Score.”

That IS Google’s official stance and in most cases. However, as we all should know… Google measures EVERYTHING.

For instance, to become a certified Google Partner, Google measures the quality of an agency’s Client Center account (also called an MCC account) to determine a “Best Practice” score to see if we manage accounts in a manner at a level that shows expertise to become qualified as Google Partners. In this instance, Google uses a green bar scale but it could as easily be a scale of 1-10 as with keyword Quality Score. So, in a sense, the MCC accounts of agencies certainly have a type of “quality score”.

By the way, here is the “Best Practices” bar for Kinsey Street Online Marketing which ‘scores’ our AdWords management performance and customer care:

According to Google our AdWords management performance and customer care far exceeds that of the average Google Partner.

Yes, we are quite proud of how we scored but the main point of showing you that beautiful green bar is to show that there IS a score to an agency’s MCC account that houses all of their client AdWords accounts. And you are not going to be able to determine the best practice score of an MCC unless you score the quality of the AdWords accounts within that MCC. And you cannot score the accounts within unless you score the ad groups within those accounts and so on and so on.

So yes, there IS an account level quality score. Do they call it an “account level quality score”? No, but as Brother Billy Shakespeare once said:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

So while Google might not call it an Account-level Quality Score, some type of score is certainly there and in fact, Google even alludes to this in the same document (linked above) which they proclaim there is no such thing as account-level Quality Score when they state that:

Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, we start with info about related ads and landing pages you already have. If your related keywords, ads and landing pages are in good shape, we’ll probably continue to have a high opinion of them.

So if Google doesn’t measure keywords from scratch but instead uses “info” from other elements of the account then how is Google developing this “high opinion” of the new keywords if quality scores are only at the keyword level? The answer is that Google’s system really doesn’t form an “opinion” – it is a computer algorithm after all so it bases these new keyword quality scores off of mathematical calculations, using scores to determine the quality of the other elements within the account. In other words, it is scoring the elements of the account to determine the quality scores of new keywords.

So, to use an obscure pop culture reference, “I’m not saying it was aliens. But aliens.” Or in this case, an account-level Quality Score.

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