Goodwill Google Ad Grants Case Study

Goodwill Industries of San Diego

Ad Grants intervention skyrocketed conversions.

About

Living in the US? You’ve likely stumbled upon a Goodwill or two. Today we’re going to zoom in on a particular one situated in San Diego.

Goodwill Industries of San Diego has been hitting the ball out of the park in assisting the less fortunate for quite a while now. They’re not just giving a handout, they’re rolling up their sleeves and providing valuable training, cultivating skills that can set individuals on the path to landing a solid job or advancing their careers. The results are nothing short of impressive and so is their Ad Grants journey, which is why we’ve decided to provide you with a little insight into how professional management of your Ad Grants account can help you increase your account’s performance and essentially your impact.

  • Website: sdgoodwill.org
  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Cooperation period: 04/2018 – ongoing

Marketing goals

  • Audit existing Ad Grants campaigns
  • Fix conversion tracking
  • Increase keyword relevancy
  • Configure new campaigns covering new keyword areas
  • Increase utilization of Ad Grant
  • Generate new monetary conversions – primarily e-commerce, contact initiations, and event sign-ups

Initial situation

Goodwill San Diego ventured into the Google Ad Grants ecosystem in early 2017, eager to harness the power of digital advertising for their non-profit organization. Despite using the grant extensively, they faced a significant challenge. While they attracted a lot of website visitors, the number of actual conversions remained frustratingly low. Fast forward to 2018, Google implemented new compliance requirements that made many of their search terms unusable, causing a sharp drop in their search performance.

Poor keyword selection, lack of attention to quality scores, and a low overall conversion volume created an environment where ads weren’t serving and bidding algorithms didn’t have enough data to target ads properly. The continuing decline in campaign performance and inability to fix these problems internally pushed the marketing manager of Goodwill San Diego to search for external help.

Performance of campaigns

(Campaign performance for the period of Jan-Mar 2018)

Impact of Google Ad Grants

Embarking on a collaborative journey in April 2018, our partnership with Goodwill San Diego presented a series of transformative milestones. The initial focus was on aligning the account with compliance standards, crafting new campaigns, increasing the ad copy relevancy and implementing conversion tracking. The results spoke volumes as the account’s performance ascended swiftly, unlocking the full potential of the grant and yielding a plethora of conversions. With an eye for precision, we later introduced advanced conversions via Google Tag Manager and kept optimizing campaigns to amplify the number of these highly desired conversions.

List of conversions

(List of advanced conversions)

In 2023, our commitment to innovation shone through as we facilitated Goodwill Industries of San Diego’s seamless transition to Google Analytics 4. This marked a pivotal moment, allowing us to establish and rigorously test new conversions.

Higher quality scores stemming from higher campaign relevancy, broader keyword coverage, a continuous stream of conversion data, and rigorous campaign optimization focused on maximizing the overall conversion volume helped us bring the smile back on the faces of the client’s marketing team. In the first year of our cooperation, we’ve managed to use over $91k in grant funds, generate over 19k website visits, and track over 3.6k meaningful conversions.

The competition in the Google Ads advertising auction in Southern California is substantial. Many top-performing e-commerce, donation, and career-related keywords are targeted by commercial advertisers. These advertisers not only push the media price up but also limit the advertising space for Ad Grants advertisers as Google prioritizes commercial advertisers. Our strategy in this market thus involves constant testing of new keyword variations and focus on less-competitive, cheaper, yet well-converting long-tail keywords.

The Road Ahead

Our forward-looking strategy involves the implementation of value tracking, a pivotal step in refining our approach to maximize the impact of campaigns. With an eye on the future, we are poised to elevate the volume of e-commerce transactions, envisioning a scenario where a significant portion of clicks translates into a tangible value for our client. Our commitment to innovation extends to experimental testing of commercial Google Ads and Bing Ads campaigns, exploring new avenues to enhance outreach and engagement.

The evidence of our success lies not only in the remarkable growth we’ve achieved but also in the satisfaction of our client. Goodwill Industries of San Diego, delighted with our work, has not only entrusted us with their ongoing campaigns but has also extended their recommendation to other Goodwill organizations.

Today, we proudly manage campaigns for a diverse array of Goodwill entities, harnessing the full potential of grants to not only meet but consistently exceed our conversion goals month after month.

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