Author Archives: Michael Keating

Google Ad Grants help a U.K. nonprofit save lives

Editor’s note: Today is World Mental Health Day, a day run by the World Health Organization with the aim of breaking down the stigma of mental health and draw attention to resources and organizations available to help people cope. One of those organizations is Samaritans, which is a recipient of Google Ad Grants

Every six seconds, someone contacts Samaritans in need of support. And for the more than half a million people we reach each year, our more than 20,000 volunteers are here.

Founded in 1953, Samaritans is a U.K.-based organization dedicated to making sure fewer people die by suicide. We provide more than 20,000 volunteers over the phone, by email and face to face. My team manages the digital side, including search, social media, video and email outreach to raise awareness and connect with people who need our services. 

For over 13 years, my team has been a recipient of Google Ad Grants, which provides eligible nonprofits with free Search ads to connect people to causes. We use Ad Grants uniquely to help two types of people: Those struggling to cope with mental health issues, and those trying to help loved ones who are struggling.

People struggling to cope often turn to Google for several reasons: to better understand their symptoms, to find resources or—at worst—with the intent of harming themselves. For some searches with intent to self-harm, Google has a feature that surfaces our help line at the top of results to provide people with resources in their time of need. 

But beyond that, there’s more we can do with ads. Our Ad Grants ads ensure that the many different ways we provide help is front and center for people in need of support. For example, when someone comes to Google struggling to cope themselves, our ads proactively offer resources to get them help and shift the focus toward ways to get better.

The Google Ad Grants program helps us save lives.

Uniquely, Search ads from the Ad Grant also allow us to provide resources to people who want to help others. We run ads targeting people who are looking for information on how to start difficult conversations or how to support friends and family who might need it.

Overall, Google Ad Grants has been a critical tool in supporting our organization’s mission and connecting people to life-saving mental health resources in real time. Our free Search ads have incredible reach and help us drive measurable results in the real world, such as raising awareness of our helpline, driving donations and increasing volunteer signups. All of these results from Ad Grants enable us to serve more people in need.

Last year, our Ad Grants ads were seen 2.6 million times. More than 320,000 people, seeking either support services or expressing interest in volunteering, clicked on our ads. A key part of our success is using free Google tracking tools (such as Analytics and Conversion Tracking) to measure the impact of our ads, learn what support offerings are most desired and see firsthand in our reports how many lives we are touching. Samaritans relies on Google to help us reach hundreds of people a day who are in need and might not otherwise know our services exist. The Google Ad Grants program helps us save lives.