Today, we will be discussing the topic of how should you go about choosing an agency to work with you on managing the Google Ad Grant. We get asked this question a lot because we are an agency ourselves. Nonprofit Megaphone is an agency focused exclusively on the Google Ad Grant and helping our clients there. We’ve seen lots of people, and we’ve coached lots of people through different decisions in terms of finding an agency that makes sense for them. 

The first thing that you’ll want to look at when you’re selecting an agency is you’ll want to check if they’re certified by Google. Google has created a list that’s called the Google Ad Grants Certified Professionals. If you just type that into a Google search, it will come right up.  Just Google “Google Ad Grant Certified Professionals.”

You’ll be able to see a list of all the different agencies that have gone through Google’s certification program that proves that they know what they’re doing and they know how the Google Ad Grant works. You can sort it by geography. You can sort it by language and find agencies that might be a good fit for you.

This is a really important step because there are thousands of agencies in the world that “say” they will help with the Google Ad Grant, but there are only a few dozen that are actually certified. It’s really important to be certified because the Google Ad Grant is very, very different from normal Google ads. There are a whole host of compliance rules, which you may have heard of, that are associated with the Google Ad Grant, and so we often see situations where if a new agency is taking over a Google Ad Grant account and they’re not fully up to speed with all of the rules, the rules won’t all be followed and the ad grant will get suspended. Then it becomes this painful process to go and talk to Google and get it reactivated and get everything fixed, which you can avoid that whole issue just by going with someone who knows what they’re doing in the first place.

The second thing to look at, which is also in that vein, is whether this program – the Google Ad Grant – is a main focus for the agency. A lot of times, agencies will do many, many things, and it will be a small team, and the Google Ad Grant will be one of them. That can sometimes cause issues because the program changes so quickly, and there are often new features available that if you don’t have at least a couple of people focused just on that as their sole area, a lot of times you find yourself falling behind the turf.

Another thing to look for is the pricing model. Pricing varies wildly in terms of what folks charge. So it’s worth doing your homework and investigating to see what’s out there. I would say that most of the time charging a set-up fee would not be the standard market practice, so you probably want to take a look and see if the agency that you’re talking to does charge a set-up fee. More normally, that’s not the process. Most agencies will help you get the Google Ad Grant for free if you don’t yet have it. They’ll walk you through that application process and get you all approved for free. It’s kind of a reverse set-up fee. They do work for you at the beginning. That’s a good thing to look for because it lets you vet them out while you’re still in the set-up process and haven’t yet paid anything.

Another interesting thing to look at is the case studies that they have with organizations that are similar to yours. Many different nonprofits are similar based on their industry, and often the lessons learned from other clients will be immediately applicable to your account and help you get started that much faster. Most agencies will list case studies on their website, and you can just sort them often to see if it’s an organization that works with animals or an organization that works with children and then filter based on those categories and then see the other organizations that this agency works with.

The final thing to check is just reviews, which I know is sort of obvious. Good places to look are Google reviews, Facebook reviews, or other sources – those are probably the two main ones – and see which of their clients are willing to put their names out there and publicly say we recommend this agency and we’re really appreciative of the work they’ve done. If they don’t have a lot of reviews, it’s probably worth wondering why and maybe it’s because they don’t have that many clients that do the Google Ad Grant or maybe some other reason. That’s just a good thing to check.

I would say the final thing, which has been interesting to hear about, would just be response time. If you reach out to an organization and you email them – are they emailing you back in the same day?. Or does it take multiple days? Do they email you back at all? We’ve heard lots of interesting stories of messages being sent and just disappearing into black holes, and it’s unclear if they were ever received. If you book a call with an organization, are they calling you right at the time that was specified or are they calling late? These are a few tips to keep in mind as you get a sense of the professionalism of the agency and what type of quality service they’re willing to provide.

Thank you so much. Let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to put them in the comments below. Are there other criteria that you use to evaluate an agency? Just let us know as we’d love to answer those questions as well. Thank you.

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