Expert Interview: Jeff Yin and the State of Google Ad Grants

Jeff Yin is the man behind LeadPup’s Google AdWords campaigns. He has an outstanding record (like, perfect) of maxing out Google Ad Grant budgets for countless LeadPup clients.

In the past few months, Google has announced a few changes to their Google Ad Grants program.

With thousands of organizations using this program to drive change for their cause, we wanted to check in with the expert on what these changes are and what they mean for nonprofits.

Jeff, what’s your story, and how did you end up as a Google AdWords guru?

I am a bit far afield for someone who got a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences! After leaving climate research and then a job in wind energy, I was lucky to have a friend (and true AdWords guru) teach me how to manage AdWords campaigns. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to gain experience managing real-world AdWords campaigns in the Trada marketplace, where I was paid based on the performance of my campaigns. These campaigns included a few Google Ad Grants campaigns, which gave me my first taste of the fulfillment that comes from working with nonprofits.

What do you like about running Google Adwords programs for people?

Since 2013, my AdWords work has been focused on working with nonprofits, which I like because it gives me the opportunity to help organizations that are making great contributions. AdWords provides an excellent way to make more people aware of the amazing work that these nonprofits are doing, and I appreciate being able to contribute to getting the word out.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of how the Google Ad Grants program works?

Google provides $10,000 per month in free AdWords budget to eligible nonprofits, which includes most 501(c)(3)s here in the United States. This budget is available to spend on showing text ads in Google search engine results, so people doing searches relevant to a nonprofit’s mission can have the opportunity to visit a linked page on the organization’s website. When the entire monthly budget is spent, this can provide over 5,000 monthly visits to the nonprofit’s website.

Can you explain the recent changes regarding Google Grantspro?

Grantspro is a program in which Google boosted the $10,000 per month Ad Grants budget to $40,000 per month for nonprofits who were spending their entire budget and met a few other conditions.
Unfortunately, as of September 2016, Google stopped accepting applications for the Grantspro program, and it is unclear whether Google will re-open the program in the future. I have seen this referred to as a “permanent hold” on Grantspro, so I am not particularly optimistic that it will open again in the future.

What does this mean for organizations on a Google Grantspro?

Organizations that are currently in the Grantspro program will continue to receive the $40,000 per month AdWords budget, as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for Grantspro.

What if your organization is still on the 10/k per month grant?

Sadly, this means that there is no longer the opportunity to increase the organization’s budget to $40,000 per month, unless Google re-opens the Grantspro program. However, the organization will continue to receive the $10,000 per month AdWords budget, as long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for Google Ad Grants.

And what about recent changes requiring applicants to register for Google for Nonprofits?

Google is asking organizations to enroll in Google for Nonprofits if they have not already done so, and to then link their Ad Grants account to their Google for Nonprofits account. Google says this must be completed by March 31, 2017, or their Ad Grants account will be suspended.

What does this mean if you already have a Google Ad Grant (of either size)?

If your organization received a notice from Google asking you to sign up for Google for Nonprofits, follow the instructions in that email.

One suggested tweak to the instructions from that email:The form that you fill out to enroll in Google Ad Grants may default to using AdWords Express, in which case you should find the “AdWords Classic” link in this form, then fill out the form that link takes you to.

If you did not receive this notice from Google, you don’t need to do anything. Just make sure that you check the inbox for the email address that you use to manage your Ad Grants AdWords account.

What if your organization has not registered for Google Ad Grants yet?

Nothing has changed. You still need to start the Google Ad Grants application process by enrolling in Google for Nonprofits, which you can do at

1 piece of advice for nonprofits on Google Ad Grants?

Don’t ask for too much! AdWords is a great way to reach people who are doing searches relevant to your mission but have not yet heard of your organization.

These people are much more likely to take a small action, like signing up for your email list, rather than a large action, like donating to your organization today.

Many of those email subscribers will become donors as you cultivate your relationship with them over time.

1 thing you should know if your organization is not yet on Google Ad Grants?

A Google Ad Grant can be a great resource for your organization to reach more of the people you want to reach. However, many organizations find it difficult to utilize much of the $10,000 per month budget if they don’t have someone with the time and AdWords expertise to test and optimize ads to build an effective campaign. I recommend getting help from someone with experience running Google Ad Grants campaigns to make the most of this resource.

And one curveball – anything you read lately that really made you think?

I was reading an email from Hawai’i senator Brian Schatz opposing the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Senator Schatz cited the statistic that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are responsible for climate change, and quoted Pruitt as saying that the climate debate is “far from settled.” That made me think that, in any statistic, people see what they want to see.
It also made me wonder what would have more people want to see that we would be better off moving away from fossil fuels?

Thanks Jeff!

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