Online advertising metrics basics

You may be saying “Mr. Direct to Donor, why would I read this?  My online advertising budget is limited to whatever I can find between the couch cushions.”

First, please call me Nick.  Mister Direct to Donor is my dad (actually, Dr. Direct to Donor, DDS, but that’s another thing).

Second, knowledge of the basic online advertising metrics, along with a deep knowledge of what you are willing to pay for each type of constituent or click, can help you bootstrap an online marketing budget by making investments that will pay off in shorter timeframes that you can get offline (usually).

So, first things first.  Online advertising is dominated by CP_s.  The CP stands for “cost per” and the _ can be filled in by C for click, A for acquisition, or M for thousand.

(Yes, I know.  It should be “T is for a thousand.”  However, youmille-feuille_franc3a7ais_1 can do that most American of things — blame the French — for this one.  M technically stands for mille, which is French for one thousand.  You may have encountered this in the dessert mille-feuille, which is French for a cake of a thousand sheets, or in the card game Mille Bourne, which is based on being chased by a thousand angry Matt Damons.)

The big question for advertising is “one thousand what?”.  In this case of CPM, it’s impressions.  You are paying whatever amount (the average is $3-4 right now) for one thousand people to see your ads.  It’s basically like every other advertisement you’ve ever seen (pre-Internet) where you buy a magazine ad from a rate card or TV ads based on how many people are watching.

With this new thing called the Internet, however, you don’t need to pay this way in almost any case.  You can measure at a greater level of interaction, so most advertisers will allow you to pay per click, especially in the areas of greatest interest to we nonprofit marketers like search engine listings, remarketing, and co-targeting.

But even that is not enough control for some, who wish to pay to acquire a donor (or constituent) and that’s where cost-per-acquisition comes in.  This is not as popular as CPC, as the publisher of the ad is dependent on you to convert the donation or registration, but has maximum advantage for you as an advertiser.

What you are buying in each successive step closer to the act that you want to achieve (usually donation) is certainty.  With CPA (also CTA or cost to acquire), you know exactly how much you are going to pay for a constituent; with CPC, you know how much you are going to pay, assuming this batch of people converts like the last batch; with CPM, you are spraying and praying other than your front-end targeting model.

The beauty of this level of control is that it can be used to justify your budget.  There are vendors who will run CPA campaigns where they get all of the initial donations from a donor.  Assuming they are reputable, these can be of great value for you, because you then get to keep the second and subsequent donations (that you will get because of your excellent onboarding and stewardship process).  Others will charge a flat CPA; if your average gift is usually over that CPA, you can pull in even these first donations at a profit.  Some are even doing this for monthly donors, where you can calculate a payout and logical lifetime value.

Once you have those running, you now have the budget (because of your additional net revenue) to look at CPC ads.  If you have your donation forms running and effectively tested, you should be able to net money on these as well, by targeting well and testing various ad copy/designs and offers.

So use your knowledge of ads to help bring in some extra money that can be used for… more ads (if profitable)!

Online advertising metrics basics

Let’s get small: microbudgets

Unless you are at a very large nonprofit, you have probably had a miniature budget at one time or another.

True story: I ran MADD’s first pay-per-click search engine ads over a decade ago with $20 from my own credit card (this was pre-Google Grants).  I said I would only claim for reimbursement if we raised back that money.  One $30 donation later and MADD had its first proto-paid-donation-acquisition budget.

The challenge is that many nonprofit budgets are zero to start; they only come about because they are willed into existence.

The one and only bit of good news about a budget of zero is that your budget isn’t negative.  When you think about it, most direct marketing budgets are negative: you are given an amount of money and you have to return an even larger amount of money when you are done.

So you have an idea you’d like to pursue (let’s say display advertising to fuel online donations).  You have no budget.  The first thing you need to do is go to your boss and tell her or him:

  1. About your idea
  2. How much it would normally cost
  3. You are willing to do it for nothing
  4. If you are able to reinvest the new revenues you get in your idea

This last part is the critical thing you are looking for.  Your boss doesn’t have to hear about you talking about your idea ever again if you were wrong.  And if it goes wrong, it won’t cost her/him anything.  But if it goes right, you want to help make it go more right.

This is usually an agreement a boss should be willing to make.  If not, examine 1) you, 2) your boss, and 3) your boss’s impression of you.  At least one of these things is not very good.

So, now that you have your reinvestment plan, you need efforts that will generate net revenue at no cost.  

The first way is Google Grants.  You knew I was going to say this, didn’t you.  There’s almost no way not to be able to additional revenues from this:

  • If you don’t have an account get one.
  • If you have an account, maximize your spend.  
  • If your spend is maximized, optimize your spend.
  • If your spend is maximized and optimized, apply to go to the next level of revenue.
  • If your spend is maximized, optimized, and at the highest level of Google Grants, you are at a large enough non-profit that you should be able to get a small budget for an innovation if you are justifying it well.

The thing is that your grant dollars in AdWords are fairly easy to maximize and optimize, because every time you log into AdWords, they will have recommendations for you to have a sentence in the first half of your ad to increase clicks or split your ad groups up or add keywords or create a dynamic ad or what-have-you.  Follow the recommendations and continually refine.

Failing that, list out your ads and see what has the lowest interactions.  Re-write the ads and test the new ads against the old.

Failing that, list out your ad groups, see what URLs to which you are sending traffic have the lowest conversions and work on the conversion side of things on your Web site.

Eventually, I’ll do a whole week on AdWords, because it is a highly useful tool, but if you continually refine like this, revenues will follow.

The other way to start to create a budget online is with services like eMiles that run cost-per-acquisition donor campaigns.  That is, they will offer to get you donors for, lets say, $40 per donor.  If your average gift is generally $50 per person, run the campaign and take the extra profit.

If these options aren’t open to you, running a co-targeting campaign to your cream of the crop donors online will also generally have positive results.  That will put some of your own money at stake, but, as I mentioned at the opening, I’m not adverse to that.

So these are some ways to kickstart your budget.  Once you have strategies that work for you, grind on it.  Your goal is to be at the poker table continually garnering chips.  You may lose some hands, but with the law of large numbers and the ability to reinvest, you will almost certainly come out ahead.

And, with your $0 budget, you can also subscribe to my free newsletter here.  Hopefully, I’ll have some tips there that will help you get into the high single-digit budgets in no time.

Let’s get small: microbudgets

Mental accounting and the exception expense loophole

We’ve gone through a lot of cognitive biases recently, but one we haven’t talked about is the idea of mental accounting or budgeting.  The idea here is that dollars are fungible: your picture of a dead president and/or founding father on special paper can be exchanged for rent, coffee, donations, whatever.  In fact, money says that right on it: THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.

Onedolar2009series

Image credit. Dollah dollah bills, yo.

But that’s not how we think about money.  In our minds, we have special categories for each type of expense.  Think of it as separate jars into which we are putting our invoice: $1400 for the mortgage, $800 for food, etc.  We experience mental pain every time we have to rob from one cookie jar in order to put it into another, so we try not to do it.

Picture how you think of money; it probably is something like this.  In fact, some budgeting software (we use You Need A Budget at Direct-to-Donor Manor*) formalizes this process to make sure you don’t overspend in a category.  We get comfort from knowing that each month, there is $X set aside for eating out.

Your donors think this way also.  Somewhere in their minds, there are mental Mason jars with “CHARITY” written on them.  There may even be several such jars: one for each organization they support.

If you think of how your donors mentally account, the implications ripple outward.  This is part of why:

So how do we diminish the pain that a donor feels from robbing from their “movie” or “eating out” or “savings” mental accounts to give to us?  Part of this, as mentioned previously, can be framing the gift against the frivolous.  But another technique that breaks through mental accounting is framing your ask as an exception expense.

One quirk of mental accounting is usually there is an “incidentals” budget.  This is a “what happens if my 2003 Saturn Ion** chooses to give up the ghost today” contingency fund that we can dip into.

One study changed the frame on their annual event.  Instead of talking about their walk as an annual event that happens every year, they talked about it as an event that only happens once per year.

You have to admit, there is hardly any difference between the two of these phrases (and it’s always nice to run a test that will slip unseen past your Brand Police).

Yet the results were impressive.  By running Google Adwords with the new, unique, once-per-year framing, study participants said they would participate in the exception version at a 46% rate, compared with 35% for the annual framing.  When they ran the ad for real, people were 11% more likely to click on the exception framing ad.

Similarly, in the mail:

“This mailing is part of a special charity drive that happens only once a year. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is requesting only one donation a year going forward.”

Beat:

“This mailing is part of a regular charity drive that happens annually. The charity is requesting a donation every year going forward.”

Some implications of this research:

  • This can help immensely with your event advertising (and you are trying to get your direct marketing donors to your events and vice versa, right?).  But for us, we also are testing removing things like “10th annual” from the press activities around an event.  The idea of themes could also be potent as a way of differentiating this year’s event as its own unique snowflake.
  • This could explain part of the effectiveness of techniques like a membership campaign and a better way to frame said campaign: “this is the one special time of the year we ask all supporters to make their membership gift.”
  • This may explain as to why scarcity, urgency, and uniqueness are effective persuasive levers.  It’s challenging to use this framing if you are sending four to 24 letters per year, and your donor knows that.  However, techniques that increase urgency or uniqueness like matching/lead gifts, deadlines, urgent petitions, etc. can help give a reason to open the piggy bank.

This may seem to contradict the idea of consistency – that people give to the same campaign year after year.  I would argue that they complement each other.  If you are trying to get someone to do what they’ve done before, play back their previous history and lean into the fact that you and they have a history.  If you are trying to get someone to try something new, you have to figure out for them which jar to take it out of and why.

So go forth and be unique in your messaging; it seems to be a better strategy that appealing from the tried and true.

 

* I have received no endorsement money or considerations from You Need A Budget. But I’m open to it!

** This is absolutely your author’s ride of choice.  As I mentioned in the post where I outed myself as overhead, the life of a nonprofit person should be neither Bentleys or ramen.

 

Mental accounting and the exception expense loophole

Availability heuristics and direct marketing: what we remember easily is all there is

Today, we’ll look at the availability heuristic. Availability means if you can recall an example of something happening, it must be as or more important than something that you can’t easily recall happening.

A classic example of this from the literature is people overestimate the number of words that begin with the letter R. They also underestimate the number of words where R is the third letter.

Or, similarly, some people will say there are more six-letter words that end in “ing” than end in “g” (which is impossible). We can easily recall things that begin with R or end with “ing.” That’s how they are filed in our brains; thus, we think it happens more often.

This can affect how our causes are seen by the public. Quick: how many people are killed by drunk driving versus cell phone use while driving?

Got your answer?

In 2013, the last year for which we have data for both causes, drunk driving killed 10,110 people in the United States.

Cell phone use and driving killed 445 people

Chances are, if you are like most Americans, you thought these were about equivalent. You almost certainly did not think these two numbers were more than an order of magnitude different.

Why is that? Because you can look at the car next to you at a stoplight and see the driver is texting. It is far more difficult for you to look at the car next to you and see that the driver is drunk. And so our availability heuristic can easily recall cell phone use and driving and that gets moved up in our mental queue.

Incidentally, both are dangerous. If you are reading this on your phone while driving, please stop now.

So how can you use (or mitigate) this effect in your nonprofit direct marketing? The biggest example is take advantage of news. Disaster fundraising is in part successful because it speaks to a desperate, urgent need, and partly because it reminds people that those needs are with us. Similarly, if your issue is in the news, most people think to reach out via fast means like email and text messaging. However, we don’t often think to swap out our telemarketing scripts or send out a direct mail piece for an urgent issue. One solution is to pre-print appeals. You can have stationary with a reply device on hand. If there is something urgent that comes up, customize the copy, laser in the text, and go straight to postage.

It’s also important to build plausible scenarios. Were I to do marketing for an organization fighting drunk driving (you know, purely hypothetically), I shouldn’t say “When was the last time you were driving next to a drunk driver?” It’s very difficult to recall this.

However, what if I say:

“When was the last time you were out on the roads and the driver in front of you just didn’t seem right? You know, they were weaving in their lane, waited too long to brake, or didn’t seem to be paying attention…”

My guess is that you have seen numerous people who fit that description recently. In truth, not all of these people were drunk (they could be stoned, distracted, sleepy, morons, etc.), but puts the frame around something that is instantly recognizable.

A less obvious solution is to ask people for a lot of negative feedback. One study looked at course evaluations for college students and found that if they were asked to provide 10 examples of how the course could be done better, they rated the course almost 10% higher than students who were asked to provide two examples.

The idea is that two examples are easy to come up with:

  1. The professor should consider using an antiperspirant
  2. Ethan Frome sucks; we shouldn’t read it

Boom. Done. Having to come up with 10 examples taxes the brain. Thus, we think the class was better because it’s hard to come up with things that are bad to say about it.

This was a shock to me, because one of my favorite open-ended survey questions is “What is the one thing you would change about X?”. My thinking is this a way of cutting through all of the minutiae to find out what is important to people. What I’ve been unconsciously doing is priming people to focus on that bad thing and making them think it’s incredibly easy to come up with bad things to say.

This is probably also another reason to do search engine optimization and use those Google Grants. If people see your organization’s name associated with an issue in the sponsored listings, news section, images section, videos section, and organic search engine listings, you will be top of mind for them. When people are thinking about your cause, they will more likely think of your organization.

If you liked this post, please consider signing up for our weekly newsletter that bundles these along with other hopefully valuable stuff every Saturday.

And if you didn’t, please send me 17 reasons why not to nick@directtodonor.com.

Availability heuristics and direct marketing: what we remember easily is all there is

Acquiring new advocates in (and for) direct marketing

There are several services now set up to bring advocates into your organization on a cost-per-acquisition basis. Care2, Change.org, and CQ Roll Call are the main ones that have come across my desk.

In full disclosure, I have not yet tried these services. I hope that anyone who has can tell about their experience in the comments (or contact me at nick@directtodonor.com; I’d love to set up a guest blog opportunity to help correct my vast areas of ignorance).

But I do know what would be required for me to participate in these types of campaigns:

  • Maximizing free/content marketing efforts
  • Optimized advocacy forms and efforts
  • Strong knowledge of the value of each advocate and a strong projection of the value of these externally acquired advocates versus internally acquired ones.

I’ll go through each of these in turn, as these would be valuable whether or not you decide to invest in cost-per-acquisition campaigns.

Maximizing free/content marketing efforts

First, get your Google Grant.  I know, I’ve said it before, but some of you still don’t have one.  So get it.  Consider it free traffic to your advocacy efforts.

Speaking of, after donation forms, advocacy activities are the best thing you can direct search traffic to, as they convert very well.  It’s usually a safe bet that the person searching for “email congress seal clubbing” wants to email their elected officials about seal clubbing.  And if they click through on your ad, they are probably on the con side.

(A note: as of this writing, there are no nonprofit ads for the term “seal clubbing,” but Humane Society and PETA are on the first page of search results.  Opportunity?)

And, as we mentioned last week, now you know something about your constituent’s interest as you work to, one change at a time, probe their interests and convert them to a donor.

That’s on the search engine side, but the more important part is to make advocacy a part of your communications. The more you talk about activities and activations in your blog, enewsletter, social media, and Web site, the more people will interact with it.  Here are some potential topics:

  • Highlight news stories about your issue.
  • And don’t just retweet that article about your issue; add the note that that’s why we have to pass HB1489 (or whatever) with a link for people to take action.
  • Blog a first-person account from one of your volunteers who lobbied legislators and how rewarding it was.
  • Talk about your lobby day (state or national) and invite your constituents to be a part of a virtual lobby day online.
  • Honor legislators who have been champions of your cause.
  • Tell success stories of passed legislation (since you should be doing these for your online and offline petition signers anyway).
  • Post a legislative agenda for the year and report back on it with the legislature(s) is/are closed.

Hopefully, these will increase interests in your petitions or emails to legislators.

Optimize advocacy forms and efforts.  I probably should have mentioned earlier that you need a platform for emailing legislators that allows you to own the constituent, not whatever petition service you are working.  These can range from setting up your own form on your site to ones that come with your CRM to paid solutions of all stripes.  If there’s enough interest (you can let me know by emailing me at nick@directtodonor.com), I can review these solutions in a future post.  For now, suffice it to say that the value in advocacy online is to whom the constituent belongs.  If it’s you, you can ask for future actions — advocacy and otherwise; if it’s someone else, you are helping them build their house, not yours.

Once you have these forms, it’s important that you treat your advocacy form like a donation form (if possible), where you are continually testing and refining your system.  For example, if you are doing a national petition, you may just ask for name and email address in order to maximize form completion.  I would advocate also asking for zip code; if you are going to be asking people to participate in other advocacy efforts, you will have to know in which districts they fall.  That may be it in order to get people into your organization.  Physical address may impair your form activation rates to the point that it is more profitable (side note: we need a term for profitable, but for non-profits; non-profitable sounds like the opposite of what it is) to leave that off and either ask for or append (or, more likely, both) the data afterward.

Further, there are all the usual things to test:

  • Does your petition work better at left or right?
  • Pictures on the page or spartan?
  • One-step action or multi-step?
  • How much copy to sell the petition action?
  • And so on

You definitely want this tested before trying any sort of paid campaign so you are not pouring water into a bucket without a bottom.

You also want to put similar rigor behind what communications you send advocates after their advocacy.  This would include a customized advocate welcome series, what (if any) is the first mailing they would get, what other actions you ask them to take, etc.  More on this tomorrow.

These are significant determinants of lifetime value, so you want these well in place before…

Determining the value of an advocate

For some organizations, having an advocate is its own reward.  For most, however, it’s also an activity on which you will want to break at least even.  Unfortunately, lifetime value is hard and multichannel attribution is its own week of blog posts at some point.  So here’s a quick and dirty hack for figuring out how much you should be willing to invest to get an advocate:

  1. Pull a list of everyone who came into your online database via advocacy action.
  2. Pull a list of the donations these people made online over the past year.
  3. Average the sum of the donations by the number of people in your database via advocacy action to find the one year value of an advocate.

That’s it.

I can hear purists out there screaming at me: “what about future year revenues from an advocate?”, “what about the value these constituents have in recruiting other constituents?”, “what about the gifts made in other channels?”, etc.

I agree: this is not the best way to pull an average advocate’s lifetime value.  It is, however, a quick one.  And it sets a baseline: if you know the average advocate is going to pay for themselves in 12 months, all of their other activities will be gravy.

That is, if you work this equation and it says the average advocate on your file gave you $3 last year, you know that acquiring an advocate for up to three dollars is valuable.  If your advocacy page converts at 10%, you know that you can put up CPC ads on search networks and pay up to $.30 per click.  You can experiment with online petition sites, which charge at least $1.50 per advocate (in my experience).  And you can value your online communications that bring in new advocates versus those that bring in new donors.

So this dart throw, primitive though it may be, can help you determine your communications mix and investment.  Not back for something you can do in Excel in 15 minutes.

If you would like more tips like this one, please sign up for our weekly newsletter. There you will get to pick new topics for the blog, see related content to what you get on Direct to Donor, and get a TL;DR version of the week’s news.  Thanks!

Acquiring new advocates in (and for) direct marketing

How to use Google’s algorithm in your direct marketing

You may say a search engine optimization strategy is not direct marketing. I humbly disagree.  In fact, working with Google and other search engines (but mostly Google) can help you with your warm lead generation, helping you get your direct marketing program started for free as I’ve advocated in the past.  In addition, by knowing what a warm lead same to you for and about, you can customize your approach to that person in interesting ways.

So, how does the Google algorithm work?  It’s been through approximately a googol different versions throughout the years (there’s a good basic list here), but some of the underlying thinking behind it has been largely unchanged.

It’s instructive to think about search engines pre-Google.  There were two different models: directories that were maintained by hand, by either a company (e.g., Yahoo) or by a community (dmoz) and search engines that used textual analysis to determine how applicable a page was to your search (e.g., Altavista, Lycos).  The first model has obvious problems with the scale of the Web.  The second has problems with determining quality. People who would spam every possible keyword for a page at the bottom of the page or create 100,000 pages each focused on optimizing for its own set of terms performed well in these engines, but probably should not.

The fundamental question was how do you have a computer determine reputation?

The basic insight that the Google founders had was from the world of academia, where a research paper’s quality can be estimated by how many papers cite it.  They realized that when someone links to a page, they are voting for that page’s quality.  Looking at the initial linking pattern, you can get a basic view of what important sites are.  Then, you can factor in the quality of the linking sites to alter the quality rankings.  After all, getting one link from, for example, the White House is more important that 100 different links from Jim Bob’s Big House of Internet.

 

This is the core of the original Google algorithm called PageRank (named after Larry Page, not Web pages, oddly enough).

The changes over the years since have made this influence important, but not the sole criterion as it used to be.  Other factors now include:

  • Machine learning based on what people actually click on (a different type of “voting”)
  • Weighting toward mobile-friendly sites
  • Personalization of search engine listings
  • De-spamming algorithms
  • Devaluation of ads above the fold
  • Incorporation of social signals
  • Situational reputation (e.g., if my blog linked to you, it would help you more for direct marketing terms than with your hummingbird mating pattern blog)

And it’s constantly evolving.  So there are a few implications to this:

The easiest way to get good search engine listings isn’t to optimize for Google; it’s to create quality content.  I know.  This is a bummer.  Or not, if you have quality content.  The goal of Google and other search engines is to evolve to make searching a true meritocracy.  In the beginning, you had a chance of gaming the system.  You don’t have that chance now.

That does include things like not having ad-based content, making it mobile friendly, and prompting social media interactions.

There’s an important corollary to this, which is that anyone who tells you that they have a special sauce either is lying or won’t have their tactics last out the year.  That said, there are a few that you can do that will help both your content quality and your search engine listings.

Make sure you have the terms you want to be found for in your articles.  Not even Google will find the best possible page for “is James Bond a Time Lord?” (hint: it’s this one) if it doesn’t have the words James Bond and Time Lord on it.  Ideally, these will be prominently placed (e.g., in the title or header tags) and frequent (but not spammy frequent).

Check your bounce rates. With machine learning incorporated into the algorithm, you want to make sure people are getting what they came for when they come to your page.  This makes continual testing and improvement of your content will pay dividends.

Create content for the searches you want to dominate. Let’s say you are (or want to be) the premier early childhood education nonprofit in Missoula, Montana.  You find through your keyword research that people don’t necessarily look for “early childhood education”; they look for conditions (e.g., “autism services”, “Down’s Syndrome”) or symptoms (e.g., “child not speaking”, “when starting crawling”, “development milestones”).  Look the volume of search terms, which you can do with Google’s free keyword suggest tool once you have your AdWords account and Google Grant.

You do have a Google Grant, don’t you?  If not, get one ASAP here.  

So, let’s say you want to focus on autism to start — you should be creating content that helps parents in your area learn about autism, what it is, and how you can serve them.  Lather, rinse, and repeat with your other areas of content.  Not only will this help with the Google algorithm (in terms of keyword density and in terms of more people linking to quality content), but it will also help with conversions (as people get content that fills an established need) and in knowledge past conversion (if someone comes in on an autism search term to autism content, you can market to them differently than someone looking for Down’s Syndrome content).

Finally, ask your partners to link to your specific content.  This isn’t link spamming, but rather you linking to people who have good content for your constituents and vice versa.  This will help lift both of your boats.

I’m sorry that there are no magic beans to sell you here from the algorithm. But hopefully this will help you avoid buying someone else’s.

With Facebook, however, there are a few more lessons for organic content that we will cover tomorrow.

How to use Google’s algorithm in your direct marketing

6 intermediate cost-per-click techniques

The original cost-per-click (CPC) search engines did their listings strictly by what you were willing to pay per click.  (I actually used Goto.com for CPC listings, before it become Overture Services, before it became Yahoo! Search Marketing.  Nothing like Internet time to make one feel old).

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Yes. This was once a thing.  A big thing.

Google’s algorithm, however, takes the quality of the ad and the site into account.  This is partly because you will come back if you have positive experiences on the site and partly because it maximizes profits.  For the same reason that you would look at gross revenue per mail piece/phone contact/email/carrier pigeon instead of just response rate in isolation, Google looks at gross revenue per ad shown as the backbone of its infrastructure.

Thus, it is in your interest to maximize your click-through rate (except in one very special case I’ll discuss on Friday); you can pass your better bidding brethren by beating them on quality.  Hence the focus on things like negative keywords and phrase matching yesterday: you want to get your clicks on as few ads as possible.  An average quality score from Google is a 5.  If you are at a 10, your cost per click goes down by 50%; if you are at a 1, it goes up by 400%.

Targeting smarter also helps you get clicks from the people from whom you want to get clicks, instead of those who didn’t understand what they were getting into from your ad.

So here are a few techniques to help get to the next level of pay-per-click success:

Check in on your keywords regularly. This should be at least weekly; daily would be better.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but Google will keep giving you helpful tips on additional strategies and keywords to try.  You can also see what is performing and what isn’t, retooling ad copy for underperforming ads and learning which landing pages aren’t converting as well.

Set up conversion tracking.  In the beginning, Internet advertising was sold in CPM – cost per thousand impressions and the earth was without form, and void.  Then came CPC – cost per click – where you pay for an action, rather than a view.  The ultimate is going to be cost per conversion, where you only pay when you get a donor (or other person you are desiring), and you can set your goals accordingly.  Companies won’t want to do this because they have to rely on you to convert, rather than themselves, but it is semi-inevitable.

You can have this advantage right now if you set up conversion tracking.  You will be able to see how many people convert and, if they give donations, how much you get from the campaign.  Seeing how much you get from a campaign ahead of time, then bidding, is like playing poker with all of the cards face up – it’s remarkable how much better it makes you.

Unbounce your page.  Not every page converts well.  With conversion tracking set up, you can tell if your page is repulsing potential constituents.  Testing with Google solutions or a solution like Optimizely can help you convert more people and lower your CPC costs as your quality score goes up.

Set up dynamic keyword targeting.  A person is more likely to click an ad that has the exact words that they put into the search engine in it.  The trick is that people put all sorts of things into search engines.  With dynamic keyword targeting, it doesn’t matter if they put “rainforest deforestation,” “rain forest deforestation,” “tropical forest deforestation,” “destruction of the rainforest,” “tropic rainforest deforestation,” etc., into the search bar, you can add those specific words into your ad.

Geotarget your ads.  This is especially true if you are a nonprofit with a limited geographic reach.  If you are an early childhood intervention provider in Dallas, you likely don’t want Seattle searchers.  However, this applies even to national and international nonprofits.  If you have chapters, or state-specific content, you can direct those specific searchers to the area more relevant for them.  This works especially well for things like walks and other events, where people will likely only come from a certain distance around to the event.

Go for broke.  If you do get a Google Grant, try to use every cent.  Not only will it get you more traffic, more constituents, and more donors, but it will also allow you to apply for more money.  Your first steps to worldwide nonprofit domination await.

I hope these are helpful.  Please leave any tips you’ve found useful in the comments section below.

6 intermediate cost-per-click techniques