Grantee Best Practices, Tread Lightly!

Thursday, May 7, 2009 | 12:00 PM

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With outdoor recreation season coming into full swing, one Google Grantee, Tread Lightly!, is strategically positioned to spread its message of outdoor ethics to an engaged audience of outdoor enthusiasts. By leveraging the power of AdWords and measuring metrics meaningful to their org, Tread Lightly! has been able to improve their ability to achieve their mission in ways that may be helpful for your org, too.

Leverage the power of AdWords to achieve your org's mission

Own the success of your program

  • Tread Lightly! dedicated a staff member to work on their AdWords account with the goal of increasing the quality and number of ads and keywords in their campaigns. As a result of their recent work, site traffic has increased 271% since the same time last year.

Make it easy for your users to engage with your org
  • Tread Lightly! created 42 different ads with direct landing pages that connect people instantly to quick tips for their type of recreation. Rather than risk losing these interested visitors as they click around the site, these ads connect them right to the information they're seeking. For instance, this ad connects users to this page that is focused specifically on tips for responsible fishing. 



Previously, this audience of fishermen was one they struggled to reach, however, since launching this new ad group they've seen an enormous increase in traffic!

Identify emerging trends to reach new audiences
  • Tread Lightly! was seeing a spike in the popularity of UTVs, resulting in a growing need for UTV ethics. As a result, they created an ad group focused on UTV ethics with unique ads pointing to a targeted landing page, which helped them successfully reach this new audience of recreationalists. 

Unique ways to measure success with AdWords

Encourage engagement and advocacy
  • If you have ways for users to engage with your organization, you can track them. This helps you measure brand awareness and engagement and see how your audience is growing. Tread Lightly! encourages visitors to become a “Friend of Tread Lightly!” as a pledge to recreate responsibly, and through tracking they've seen an increase of over 50% in new "friends".

Track your org's mission-based goals
  • Look at your org's mission to see what goals you have as a non-profit that could benefit from tracking. This can be an easy way to relate marketing efforts back to the mission of your organization. Tread Lightly! wanted to become more involved in the water recreation community which was reflected during last summer's water sports tips ads, when they saw nearly 10,000 clicks to their boating/personal watercraft tips and video.

Use impression data to gauge brand awareness
  • Measuring brand or cause awareness is a challenge for all businesses, for-profit and non-profit alike. Tread Lightly! equates impressions to valuable exposure because they know that it helps associate Tread Lightly! with outdoor recreation - an awareness goal. In their yearly analysis, they found that their campaigns received approximately 15.3 million impressions - even if searchers never clicked through to their site. That's a lot of awareness for minimal effort! If you designate individual ad groups in your campaign to brand awareness, you can validate their ROI by tracking growth in impressions. 

Tread Lightly! is a nonprofit organization that strives promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship. Tread Lightly! has been a participant in the Google Grants program since 2007 and uses tracking tools and reporting within AdWords as part of their online marketing program.

If you have your own best practices or experiences that you'd like to share with other grantees and nonprofits, we encourage you to strike up a conversation with other members in the discussion forum and possibly submit your testimonial to our team.