How can a non-profit benefit from the Insights for Search Tool?

Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 4:00 PM

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Back in November of last year, we mentioned a useful Google tool which could help identify trends on Google searches across a wide spectrum, including time frame and geographic location. This tool is called Google Insights for Search, and can provide AdWords advertisers with data to help make strategic decisions regarding keyword selection, ad text messaging location targeting and more.

What does it do?
Google Insights for Search analyzes a portion of worldwide Google web searches from all Google domains to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you've entered, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.

How can this tool help improve the success of my AdWords account through Google Grants?
So you may be thinking, “OK, this sounds pretty cool. But, as a non-profit, what can I use this tool for and how can I benefit from it?”

Examine seasonality trends
If your non-profit relies heavily on donations from your constituents, you may find that December is the time of year that you receive the bulk of your funding. But what month is the second highest grossing in terms of donations?

By using the Insights for Search tool, you can compare search volume for phrases such as ‘donate to charity’ or ‘charity donations’ for each month, year over year. Perhaps you noticed a trend of increased donations received in the month of February for the past two years. In preparation for another potential increase in search volume next February, you may increase the amount of ‘donation’ related keywords in your account, or have a campaign in your account dedicated to soliciting donations with its own budget.

Capitalize on Emerging Markets
You may be thinking that since you are a local non-profit and Google search is worldwide, this tool may be ineffective for you to hit your goals. On the contrary! Let’s take a look at an example for a local animal shelter based in Charlotte, NC.

One challenge you may encounter in working with your AdWords account is the inability to increase relevant traffic to your ads. You run and operate a medium-sized animal adoption shelter in Charlotte, and are targeting the city of Charlotte. You have been toying with the idea of increasing your location targeting radius to include all of North Carolina, but are worried about the negative effect on your quality score due to increased impressions.

Using Insights for Search, you can search for ‘animal + shelters’ in the state of North Carolina, and compare the data across the major regions. By doing this, you can get a sense of where interest for shelters within your state is more prevalent. From this data, you may wish to expand the regional targeting in your AdWords account to include areas such as Greensboro, where the distance between the two cities is minimal and the search volume in this close region is much higher.

Choosing the right messaging
One of the most common tips you will hear when trying to create new keywords for your account is to put yourself in the users shoes by asking yourself, “If I were searching for my program or services, what would I type on Google?” Insights for Search makes this tactic that much easier.

Within your target region, you may find that the user population interchangeably uses the terms ‘charity’ and ‘non-profit’. But which term is more commonly used?

Perhaps users in your target location search more for the term, ‘charity’, rather than the term, ‘non- profit’. If this is the case, you can use the data to ensure your ad text and keywords focus on this terminology specifically, and avoids the term ‘non-profit’.

To learn more about Insights for Search and how it can be a powerful tool for your organization, take a look at the video below. Happy searching!