Grantee best practices summary

Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | 10:04 AM

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This quarter we have a lot of great feedback about how grantees are using the power of analytics data to measure, optimize and report on the success of various initiatives. Grantees are also paying close attention to their specific success metrics and how seasonality affects their organization. See what you can take away to use at your organization and then share your tips in the Optimization Tips and Tricks section of our discussion forum.

Conceptually, it’s fairly simple to understand the impact of paid search ads on your website’s traffic, but have you tried to dig deeper into the numbers? Some grantees use Bounce Rate, Pageviews and Time on Site to understand more about the quality of the traffic coming to their site via their paid search ads. They look beyond just the number of visits and see that the quality of their traffic improves (ie. more conversions occur) as Bounce Rates go down, Pageviews go up and Time on Site increases.

This is especially important to keep in mind when you launch new content on your site. If you use conversions to set benchmarks for your initiatives, you’ll definitely want to keep them in place as you bring on new content. As one grantee shared, they’re migrating their Google Analytics code and conversion goals from their old URLs to their new URLs so they can measure improvement once the new content is live.

Learn more about how grantees are using analytics.

We bring up seasonality frequently with AdWords advertisers because knowing your organization’s seasonality traits can affect your campaign strategies and be the difference between a successful campaign and one that appears to have fallen below the mark.

One grantee noted that, for their organization, March is typically a slow month for donations, so when they’re reviewing their analytics data, they expect the dip in conversions. To optimize for seasonality, it’s a good idea to plan your marketing initiatives for times when seasonality indicates your traffic to be highest and/or conversions strongest and use slower months as times to fine tune your campaigns and website content.

For one organization in the Grants program, they knew that their ads would see more traffic in April, around Earth Day, so they created and optimized an Earth Day ad group in March and then saw a significant uptick in spend during April.

Every organization has a different way of measuring success, and some of our grantees have shared their metrics and how they use them to drive their programs.

One grantee follows new and repeat traffic closely, and defines their success metric by their donor lifecycle, which they’ve calculated at 6 months or more. So, new visitors traffic is excellent for them to see, but they know that they won’t see an uptick in donations from a percentage of those visits until they’ve visited the site a few times over the following six months.

Linking a new metric with an established one can also help improve your success rate overall. One grantee used an established high traffic page on their site as the direct link from their related AdWords ad to then drive traffic to their new goal of increasing newsletter sign-ups.

A word of advice from one grantee: “Non-profit advertisers new to Google Grants AdWords should take note of the fact that if one of their goals is driving new users to their website -- which it is for most non-profit organizations -- they can easily measure this progress using the Analytics '% of New Visits" tool.'”

Check back each quarter, or better yet, add our RSS feed to your reader, to get the latest in AdWords expertise from non-profits around the globe. You can read previous summaries like this by clicking here or searching this blog for "Grantee best practices summary". If you've had a recent success with AdWords or Grants that you'd like to share, please visit our discussion forum to share with other grantees right now.