Google Grants: Making the grant even better
I've been running a Google Grants campaign for Vital Ground (habitat and safe corridors for grizzly bears) over the past 16 months. Thank you Google. I measure success with an exposure metric, E= clicks x avg session time, and we're the beneficiaries of some 40,000 seconds a week of visitor eyes, all thanks to this generous and far-sighted program. That's the good news. The less good news is that traffic falls off markedly when school is out of session. Clicks by kids are valuable, but what non-profits see as more valuable are clicks by adults, who may become contributors.
I think kids tend to click on the first thing that comes up, while adults are content to click on something labeled Ad only when they want to buy something. Otherwise they scan down looking for an organic hit.
I would love to suggest to Google that it label Google Grants impressions as Public Service Announcements rather than ads (PSA rather than Ad). Does anyone know how I would get a message to someone high up in the Google Grants world? I'd be happy to write a snailmail letter complete with all the information that leads me to believe Grants recipients are getting disproportionately much kid traffic. And making the case that labeling our appearances PSAs might be to everyone's benefit: better PR for Google, better clicks for non-profits. But to whom do I send that letter?
Re: Google Grants: Making the grant even better
I will be glad to pass your recommendation on to the Google Ad Grants team for their consideration.
As someone who manages several Ad Grants accounts, I can share with you that many nonprofits run into the same situation, where traffic decllines when schools are out. This is because students of all ages use the Internet for research and many nonprofits focus on providing informative content and providing facts on a given topic - exactly the type of content that these students are searching for. This is particularly true with wildlife conservation nonprofits but it also carries across to nonprofits that deal with hunger, disease and other human conditions.
The more kid friendly the topic is (such as grizzly bears) the bigger impact will be seen in impressions and clicks. However, how your ads are written can also have an impact on how many students click on your ads as well as the keywords you're targeting. For example, "grizzly bear habitat" will certainly generate more searches from the younger audience then will "grizzly bear conservation". Just as an ad with the phrase "learn about a grizzly bear's habitat" will attract a different audience than an ad that states "learn how to protect the grizzly bears vital habitat".
Making sure that we are writing for the right audience is certainly a skill. And it is something that goes beyond just Ad Grants accounts and nonprofits. We also see this in B2B accounts that target the same keywords as a B2C account would.
For a nonprofit like yours and with the type of content on your site I would actually recommend that you embrace the student audience to include shareable lesson plans. Within these plans I would include phrasing such as "kids talk to your parents about…". Not only will this get more adults looking at your content but it also gets a young audience advocating for your cause.
Lastly, please change your username so as not to cause any confusion to readers who may think that you are posting in an official capacity as the Google Ad Grants team.