COVID-19 Ad Grants Resources

COVID-19 has impacted your ability to accomplish your organization’s goals. We're here to help.
New Applied Digital Skills step-by-step videos were created to help you design your own digital marketing strategy, create effective ads, track conversions, and sustain your campaigns.
We know that this time presents unique challenges for nonprofits. During COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to reach the people you serve, the donors you rely on, and actively engage with them through your Ad Grants account.
Below are some tips and resources to utilize as you evaluate your Ad Grants ads and adapt to dynamic market conditions. 

Plan your way forward

Plan your way forward by asking yourself these questions:

  1. How is my organization impacted?  Start with what’s in your control. Use the guidelines below to make manageable, effective changes to your Ad Grants account.
  2. What are the top priorities for us today?  Have they changed as a result of COVID-19? Use these questions to help direct you when thinking about your ads and their call to action.
  3. How are we pivoting our communications and services for our donors and beneficiaries?  As you think through your holistic online approach, changes to your communications and offerings mean changes to your ads.

Reach the users who matter most

Now more than ever, it's important to reach the people who benefit from your organization's services, as well as those you can contribute. When a user searches for information about your cause on, your ad will stand out the most if it’s relevant to what they were looking for. 

Structure your account around effective keywords

With Keyword Planner, you can find new keyword ideas for your Search Network campaigns that are relevant to your organizations' services. In your Ads account, in the upper right corner, click the Tools & settings icon , then under "Planning," click Keyword Planner.
  1. Select keywords you’d like to show an ad for and cluster them into themed ad groups.
  2. Write 3-5 compelling ads per ad group that are relevant to the keywords in that ad group.
  3. The ads will rotate and prioritize the ads that are performing better than others in the ad group.

The more relevant your keywords are to your ads and your ads are to your landing page, the better the user experience will be and the better your ad quality will be.

Evaluate your ads for a clear message

  • Consider your context and tone. Make sure you’re sensitive to how certain words may make your audience feel. Be careful about the double meanings of words like “protection,” “checkup,” “prevention,” or “virus.” For international campaigns, be aware of local terms that have been used to reference COVID-19 and regional disruptions. 
  • Consider if your message is helpful. For example, edit your ads as needed to let beneficiaries know if you offer modified services like contactless food donation pickup.

Try out this course on Skillshop that can help you deliver the right message with text ads.

 Monitor your performance and help your users stay informed 

Ensure your performance is sustaining during this time by reviewing the key metrics like clickthrough rate that inform your ad effectiveness. Make any needed changes to your ads to reflect the current state of your organization.

Understand your current performance

CTR (Clickthrough rate): This is one of the main indicators of your ads' health. It shows how often people click your ad after seeing it. As a rule of thumb, a CTR under 1% on the Search Network indicates that your ads aren't targeted to a relevant audience. If you find that your CTR is lower than 1%, try improving your ads using these ad tips.
  • Review your performance metrics, and be willing to pivot. For example, significant shifts in clickthrough rate and keyword performance may require adjustments to your message.  
  • Consider tools that can help you adapt. For example, the Google Ads mobile app (iOSAndroid) can help keep you connected to your campaigns.

Learn how to master bidding and budget strategies, successfully reach your audience with the right message, and navigate automated campaigns on Skillshop.

Make updates to your ads as your offerings change

Pause ad groups or ads if needed. Review your services and offerings that are affected by COVID-19 and adjust accordingly. If you have certain events or services that have moved online or postponed to a later date, make sure to pause outdated ads or update them to keep your users informed. 

 Measure impact to inform decisions and save time

Your time is more valuable with so many changes happening to your organization's day to day. Feel confident that your ads will find the best users for you.

Understand whether users are completing the desired actions on your site

Using conversion tracking can help you understand whether your ads are driving the right actions.
Conversion tracking is a free tool that reports on desired actions your website visitors take after they have interacted with your ads. Clicks measure traffic whereas conversions measure value and the impact ads have for your organization. 
If you use a third party (e.g. PayPal, GiveLively) to track donations, check out our third party-specific guides.
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the upper right corner, click the tools icon , and under "Measurement," click Conversions.
  3. Click the plus button .
  4. Click Website.
  5. Next to “Conversion name,” enter a name for the conversion you’d like to track, such as “newsletter sign up” or “wedding bouquet purchase.” This will help you recognize this conversion action later in conversion reports.
  6. Next to “Category,” select a description for your conversion action. The category allows you to segment your conversions in reports, so you can see similar conversions together.
    • Conversion Category

      Nonprofit conversion goals
      • Donations
      • Purchases
      • Membership sales
      • Ticket sales 
      Sign up
      • Volunteer sign-up
      • Email / newsletter sign-up
      • New membership form completion
      • Free account registration
      • Event sign-up
      • Downloads of information
      • Clicks to call
      • Click to email 
      • Clicks to social accounts
      • Contact us form submissions
      • Contact us clicks on a button
      View of a key page
      • Visit to the contact us page if you have no “Contact us” form or button
      • Duration time on site goals
      • Pages per session goals
      • Watching videos
      • Anything else
  7. Next to “Value,” select how to track the value of each conversion.
    • Use the same value for each conversion. Enter the amount each conversion is worth to your business.
    • Use different values for each conversion. Use this option if, for example, you’re tracking purchases of products with different prices. Later, when you add your conversion tracking tag, you’ll need to customize your tag to track transaction-specific values
    • Don't use a value
  8. Next to “Count,” select how to count these conversions.
    • One. This setting is best for leads, such as a sign-up form on your website, when only one conversion per ad click likely adds value for your business.
    • Every. This setting is best for sales, when every conversion likely adds value for your business.
  9. Click Conversion window. Select how long to track conversions after an ad interaction from the drop-down. The window can be 1 to 90 days. Learn more about conversion windows.
  10. Click View-through conversion window. Select how long to track view-through conversions from the drop-down. The window can be 1 to 30 days.
  11. Click Include in “Conversions.” This setting — selected by default — lets you decide whether or not to include data for this conversion action in your "Conversions" reporting column. If you uncheck this setting, data will still be included in the "All conversions" column. You might want to uncheck this setting if you use Smart Bidding, and you don't want to include this particular conversion action in your bid strategy. Learn more about the "Include in 'Conversions'" setting.
  12.  Click Create and continue.

You’ll now see a screen that shows you’ve created your conversion action. Follow the instructions to set up your tag by installing the tag yourself or using Google Tag Manager.

You can learn more about conversion tracking on Skillshop.

Automate your bidding to save time managing your account

We understand nonprofits are strapped more than ever for time because of the changes on your daily operations as well as marketing strategy. 

Automating your bids with Google Ads takes the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals. It can save you valuable time managing your account and help your campaigns automatically optimize towards the ads returning the best results.

Maximize conversions, which is a Smart Bidding strategy, automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.
Goal Bid Strategy

Get more conversions with your target CPA.

Target CPA automatically sets Search bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-action (CPA) you set. Some conversions may cost more or less than your target.

Target CPA bidding is available as either a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns and ad groups.

Learn more about Target CPA.

Meet a target return on ad spend (ROAS) when you value each conversion differently. 

Target ROAS automatically sets bids to help get as much conversion value as possible at the target return on ad spend (ROAS) you set. Some conversions may have a higher or lower return than your target.

It's available as a portfolio bid strategy and a standard strategy for individual campaigns.

Learn more about Target ROAS.

Get more conversions while spending your budget. 

Maximize Conversions automatically sets bids to help you get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.

Learn more about Maximize Conversions.

Get more conversion value while spending your budget.  

Maximize Conversion Value automatically sets bids to help you get the most conversion value for your campaign while spending your budget.

Learn more about Maximize Conversion Value.


Learn more about Smart Bidding best practices on Skillshop. 

Check out additional tips and resources to help you navigate COVID-19 on Google for Nonprofits.

You can also learn more about Google’s overall response to COVID-19 here.

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