3 Website performance metrics your nonprofit may be misunderstanding

As someone trying to get traffic to a nonprofit website, you have to admit it can be thrilling to quickly log in to Google Analytics, look for nice stats and then peace out. On the flip side, you might notice some dips in traffic or high bounce rates and panic, wondering if you need a drastic change in strategy. Either way, the data you’re taking in isn’t telling the full story. In fact, it might be telling you the wrong story.

Before we get into that, if you’re not even checking your website metrics, we need to talk. I know you don’t have a lot of spare time, but numbers matter. If you can understand your site data, you can understand what website content interests users or why they don’t convert on your donate now form. To fully understand how vital these numbers are, read why and how to do more with Google Analytics for nonprofits.

Now, let’s reassess how you’re viewing and interpreting your website performance metrics and how you can ensure you’re taking the right action based on these numbers.

3 website performance metrics to reexamine

Pages per visit

*What is "pages per visit?" The number of pieces of content—or web pages—on your site a user views before exiting the site
website-performance-data-pages_per_session
To find this stat, go to the Audience or Behavior tabs

This stat gets marketers excited as it can highlight information regarding the user experience on your site. Some marketers interpret it as users enjoying your content and site flow enough to look at more than one page.

However, it’s not that simple. This could also indicate that people are landing on your site and not finding what they want. They have to click through several pages to get to the volunteer information for which they originally came to the site.

To understand if people are finding and enjoying your content, first come up with a hypothesis. Then use a combination of metrics and tools—such as the User Explorer Report—to see if this hypothesis is supported.

Time on page

*What is "time on page?" The length of time—in minutes—a user spends on a web page before moving to another page on your site or exiting completely.
website-performance-metrics
To find this stat, go to the Behavior tab

Similar to pages per session, a higher time on site can indicate that people aren’t finding the content they want fast enough.

To better understand this metric, combine it with other stats. For example, bounce rate: if your time on page is high and so is your bounce rate, it could indicate people searched all over the page but left when their search didn’t bring up what they wanted.

Besides that, you can consider the page you’re looking at. You should be able to tell if it’s clean vs. cluttered. If it’s clean and strategically laid out, a corresponding high time on page could very well mean success.

Bounce rate

*What is "bounce rate?" The percentage of visitors that after landing on the web page from an outside source, leave the web page without visiting other site pages. 
website-performance-metrics
To find this stat, look under the Audience or Behavior tabs

A high bounce rate often freaks us out. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people don’t like your content.

For one, it could be Google’s fault. Or rather, the user typed in a search, Google brought up your nonprofit’s content in search results, but when the user came to your site the content wasn’t a fit. Not your fault, just a mismatch between query and result. To help Google avoid this, be picky with the content you put on your site.

A high bounce rate could also indicate that your blog post was what the user wanted, but it didn’t lead them to take action. This isn’t necessarily bad, as they would appreciate you delivered an answer and then return for more later. However, if you want to take advantage of that content, include calls to action or other related content.


In the end, we want to point out that these high and low metrics are not equivalent to failure. Be weary of looking at just one metric at a time and always pay attention to context.

For help on setting up your Google Analytics, receiving a monthly report or simply understanding what you see, contact our team of experts at ArcStone.

4 fundraising metrics to start prioritizing (and 4 to stop worrying about) [Infographic]

Fundraising can be all-consuming for your nonprofit. Yes, it’s all about the cause, but we also know how much of a nonprofit’s day-to-day functioning revolves around a budget.

A common temptation is to put all your energy to continue to grow this budget, but a wise guy once said, “you are what you measure.” When it comes to fundraising, measurement matters.

Knowing this, a recent email subject line caught my attention, “Fundraising Metrics You Should Care About.” It made me pause, as it seems like there’s sometimes too many numbers to track – could we be overlooking some of them?

The headline was from Brady at re:charity. His post featured four metrics nonprofits often waste their time on and then four that are often neglected. If you take the latter four and really study them, this could have a great impact on your nonprofit long term.

We decided to take this post and illustrate the points through an infographic. See the full infographic by clicking on the preview below – Fundraising Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Care More About:

Google for Nonprofits – Free tools your nonprofit shouldn’t miss

google-for-nonprofits

It can be thrilling to click through on all the “2017 predictions” or “what to do this New Year” headlines, but hold off for a minute! Before you do so, did you take a look at what Google has offered your nonprofit? Google just took a step back to recap 3 ways they sought to help nonprofits in 2016, which could show you free tools of which your nonprofit has yet to take advantage.

First, a compliment from Google:

2016 was a year where you continued your work to change the world; to bring the world a little closer to finding common ground amongst peace, progress, and innovation.

Now, to the free tools your nonprofit may have missed –

1. “Introducing new donation tool on YouTube benefiting nonprofits

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Google’s new donation tool, donation cards. Image source: Google blog

In short, Google points out how almost one-third of all internet users are on YouTube. That’s why Google’s nonprofit-exclusive tool “donation cards” have tremendous potential.

Basically, donation cards allow you to donate directly from your YouTube video to your organization. Also, with zero processing fees (it’s on Google).

Similarly awesome, other YouTube channels can use their video to raise money and directly donate to a nonprofit of their choice. And that nonprofit would receive 100% of the money donated.

Find out more in this video by Google:

Get started with donation cards:

It doesn’t stop there. They also get your nonprofit started with an outreach toolkit. If you know of a YouTube channel that would be willing to support your nonprofit, point them to this help page for using and managing donation cards.

2. From LA to Tokyo: YouTube Spaces opens production studios to nonprofits free of charge

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YouTube Spaces. Image source: Google blog

Google recognizes that though YouTube is an incredibly powerful tool for nonprofits, many nonprofits don’t have the resources to create a high quality video. Now, YouTube for Nonprofits is providing state-of-the-art production spaces all around the world for FREE to qualitifying nonprofits, called YouTube Spaces. Beyond that, they created a community that will help nonprofits learn the necessary skills for using this equipment – YouTube Creator Academy.

Learn about the deets and qualifications here »

3. “Unlocking your nonprofit’s data insights: Linking Ad Grants and Google Analytics”

Many nonprofits miss out on what might be the best free resource from Google: Google Ad Grants. Read more about getting your $10,000 from Google with our experts here before you learn what more this free money can do below.

If you are using your Google Ad Grant, you may have ran into a common predicament: How can you determine if your Ad Grant is causing increased conversions and actions vs. if it’s something else?

Well for starters, you can watch a three minute video.

The link between Google Analytics & AdWords will help you:

  • “Track website performance data
  • Import Goals & Transactions into AdWords
  • View website engagement data in AdWords
  • Create remarketing lists
  • View AdWords data in Google Analytics account”

Learn more about how this works in Google’s post »

4. “Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online”

In 2016, Google for Nonprofits partnered with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share 4 tips for keeping your nonprofit safe and secure online. Rather than just providing you with a ton of free resources (which is pretty amazing in itself) they tell you how to use them in a secure manner.

There tips in a nutshell?

1. Secure your passwords

2. Take the security checkup

3. Understand privacy settings

4. Switch between personal and business accounts


Now continue on with your work to change the world! Just be sure to get your much-deserved free help from your Google friends.

4 steps to a healthier nonprofit development strategy for 2017 [Infographic]

After all your hard work before and during Giving Season, you deserve your holidays to be relaxing. You also deserve a 2017 full of more nonprofit development success. Don’t pour the eggnog just yet: Use this time, where you’re most aware of your nonprofit’s success and struggle, to jumpstart your 2017 with a healthy marketing strategy. Let’s look at four steps from ArcStone’s digital strategist, Jenna, in the infographic below:

[View full version by clicking on image below]

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Online Engagement Measurement for nonprofits – An offer to help you understand your site data

google-analytics-reports-for-nonprofits

I have a nonprofit site… But now what?

What’s driving donations and what isn’t? Why do some volunteers signup through your online form while others do not? Is your message getting across to the right audience? Does your nonprofit website even show up in search results?

These are the questions most nonprofits ask and most don’t have the time to seek out answers for each time they need them.

Imagine opening up a digital dashboard and seeing the numbers you need to know right away. Maybe you’d want to know exactly how many visitors filled out your volunteer form that week compared to last, where they came from or why they left the form page. You’d know where to put your marketing budget, what efforts are working and what isn’t, and would have a better understanding of who is on your site in the first place.

We all know data such as Google Analytics is pretty central to digital marketing these days. We also all know how overwhelming it can be when first opening up a report and not having a plan of action for where to look. All the numbers could be useful to know, but only if you have time to analyze what they mean and then the time to apply them to your digital strategy.

In the end, the power of Google Analytics falls flat as you don’t end up informing many of your decisions with real data.

We want to make your digital marketing decisions easier, backed up by Google Analytics data

We have an offer going to set your Google Analytics account up for long-term benefits.

With this offer we will:

  • Review your Google Analytics account and customize what you view when you open it up
  • Build a report tailored to your strategy, automatically sending a weekly or monthly email update straight to your inbox (to use at your next Board meeting or in your yearly report)
  • Track your most important “Goals” to help you study the performance of your website and measure what strategies are working and what could be improved

Fill out this form to get in touch with our digital strategist, Jenna.

The benefits of having these reports set up for your nonprofit’s Google Analytics include:

  • A clearer understanding of your donors, volunteers and general site user’s
  • A starting point for any of your future site updates, forms, calls to action and landing pages
  • Better metrics for calculating the financial benefit of your website
  • Easy to share reports for your Board of Directors, staff and donors

Example nonprofit Google Analytics custom report: 

nonprofit-google-analytics-setup

 

Ready to take advantage of your Google Analytics insight?

Sign up for the offer and start the new year off strong (and the many new years to come)»!

7 instances when it may be okay to DIY your nonprofit digital marketing

nonprofit-marketing-tools

The Atlantic recently posted a daunting article, “The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.” As if nonprofit marketers weren’t already stretching their tight budgets enough, the article indicates this may get worse.

Due to a new law going into effect in December, “millions of employees who make less than [$47,476] will be guaranteed overtime… when they work more than 40 hours a week” (The Atlantic). This sounds like a positive benefit to many, but for some, it could have negative consequences.

Since many nonprofit workers fall into this category, it could be less affordable for nonprofits to have a sufficient number of employees. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group stated, “[T]o cover higher staffing costs forced upon us under the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work—all while the well-funded special interests that we’re up against will simply spend more.”

Whether or not you share this worry, it’s always good to know which tools you have in your back pocket to help with nonprofit marketing efficiency. We don’t often recommend DIY-ing your way through the digital sphere, but there are some instances when we think you just need a little boost to be able to take care of a digital task. Here are tools and tricks we’ve worked with in the past to help clients maximize their budget.

7 digital marketing instances where you might get away with DIY-ing

1. Google Analytics Go-To’s

If you simply want to know the basics of what’s going on your site – i.e. site traffic, referrals, popular pages, etc. – this blog can help you know where to look when you open your account. It probably won’t replace an agency or knowledgable staff member, but it can help you manage some of the day-to-day metrics and stay on top of your Analytics game without being certified.

2. Marketing Automation Software

A great way to see results with your digital marketing is through automating some of what you do. This post walks through how Hubspot has helped ArcStone organize and optimize blog content, promote on social media, manage email marketing, easily update our website, keep track of leads and sales, and keep most of our marketing content in one hub. We talk about how this could apply to a nonprofit as well. If you are running low on staff members, having a strong CRM is crucial to tracking volunteers, donors and your web content.

3. Email Marketing Software

In this post we visually mapped out some of our top pics for email marketing – Mailchimp, Contant Contact and Emma.  Rather than spending hours each day tracking down donors and responding to individual emails, using a email marketing software service can automate much of this process. Even the free accounts will help you manage your email newsletter subscribers, send out special offers to people who downloaded your content, or send out a reminder to those who registered for an event.

4. Social Media Tricks

Keeping track of your social publishing calendar can be a huge time sucker. It’s also been said that giving your social media responsibilities over to an intern can have negative effects, as they don’t know your organization and industry well enough. This post walks through each social media account that your nonprofit likely uses and how to optimize a post on each. Or review this podcast and exercise to learn about how to narrow down your social media focus to those platforms that really count.

5. Content Management Tools

If you simply need a free (or cheap) option to help you manage both blog content and social publishing, this post can help you select a great content management tool – check out what we think of Trello, Coschedule and Buffer.

6. Design Tool – Canva

We definitely don’t recommend handling all your own design work yourself. However, there are a few pieces of your digital content that you can probably create within Canva. This post points to how the Spina Bifida Association used their free tools well in email marketing and on social media to promote a conference.

7. Additional Tech Tools

If you’ve already invested your full budget into tech tools and need a few options that are more affordable, these five tools could cover the rest of your bases. There are a few tools we can recommend for site design, donations and other digital needs. Take a look at what we think of Squarespace, Upwork, Clickbooth, Searchmetrics, and Paypal.


If you need any further recommendations or would like to outsource any work to a professional, get in touch with our digital strategists at ArcStone. We do free website audits to assess your situation and help you prioritize your goals.

Setting up Google Analytics Goals

Over the past year I’ve received Phil Frost’s newsletter, recommended to me by a coworker. These weekly emails are full of detailed steps for optimizing your content and understanding the digital marketing sphere – all for free. He’s founder and COO of Main Street ROI, a digital marketing agency in New York City. The weekly emails he sends out display his expertise in digital marketing and sales. If you take a look at his education and background, you’ll be as eager to hear his advice as I am. 

He has given us permission to share a copy of his email below. It’s regarding Google Analytics Goals, as applied to small businesses, but it fits the needs of nonprofit marketers as well. Setting up goals allows you to gain more insight within Analytics, helping you more diligently track website performance with donors, volunteers and other users. 

Be sure to sign up for Phil’s newsletter yourself, or even attend his free training sessions!


Main Street Marketing Tips – 8.15.16

Today’s article is all about Google Analytics Goals (aka conversion tracking).  Without conversion tracking, it’s simply impossible to be successful with digital marketing so make sure you have the correct Goals set up in your Analytics account.

And in today’s Check This Out, register for Thursday’s LIVE Google Analytics training…

Don’t Miss Out!

There’s still time to register for our upcoming LIVE Google Analytics training…

Introduction to Google Analytics

Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 12pm – 1:30pm Eastern time

Click here to learn more and register

7 Google Analytics Goals to Create for Your Small Business

Have you ever considered what a visitor’s experience is like when they’re on your website? Are they engaged in your content, or do they leave without clicking to a new page? Are they reading your blog posts or moving on quickly? Which of your marketing channels are resulting in more leads or sales?

Using Google Analytics Goals will give you the answers to these important questions.

Without answering these questions, your marketing efforts are doomed to underperform. It’s not enough for shoppers to visit your business online; the whole point of “all this digital marketing stuff” is bringing in visitors who convert into customers.

You need to see whether you’re accomplishing your various Goals – and if you’re not, where your sales funnel is breaking down – in order to get the most return on your investment.

In this article, you will learn about seven Goals that are commonly used across a wide range of small business websites.

But first, we’ll review the types of Goals available in Google Analytics.

google-analytics-goals-setup-for-nonprofits

Types of Goals

You’ll be able to create all kinds of Goals once you install Google Analytics on your website. However, all the Goals you’ll create will fall under one of four categories:

1. Destination Goals are met when a specific page of your website is viewed. We’ll talk more about these in the next section.

2. Duration Goals reveal whether visitors are staying on your website for as long as you’d like. This type of Goal isn’t as vital for many small businesses, and the Goal’s methodology is lacking in some ways. Still, some businesses will find this type useful.

3. Event Goals keep track of when visitors perform specific actions throughout your site. Like Destination Goals, this Goal type is also highly useful for most small businesses.

4. Page/Screens per Session Goals show how many pages of your site people visit before leaving. You can set a target number of screen views to count as a conversion.

That’s simple enough, right? Now let’s move on to the most valuable goals…

Top 7 MVGs (Most Valuable Goals)

In no specific order, here are seven popular Goals that can enhance your Analytics data:

1. Page Views: Are visitors engaged in your site, or do they not find your content interesting? Set a Goal for page views and see whether visitors who land in different sections of your website behave differently. The data can reveal the need for more compelling content or perhaps even a landing page overhaul.

2. Account Creations: Do visitors need to create accounts on your website in order to place orders or request services? If so, then you’ll want as much data as possible regarding who follows through with this process. Create a Goal funnel encompassing each page of your account creation process. (You’ll see where to do this when setting a destination Goal.) If people are bailing out of the process before finishing, you’ll see it in the data and know what needs to be fixed.

3. Order Confirmation: You should always show visitors a confirmation or “thank you” page when they complete a purchase or place an order on your site. Create a Goal to keep track of these transactions to learn how your website is directly impacting your bottom line.

4. Quote and Information Requests: Your website might urge people to request a free quote or information packet. You can gauge the effectiveness of this call to action by creating a Goal funnel and by tracking form submissions. If your business offers quotes and information regarding various services, you can see which services attract the most interest.

5. Shopping Cart Funnels: Are willing buyers bailing out of your shopping cart process because it’s too cumbersome? Or perhaps you’re losing customers when they’re asked to provide a specific piece of information? Create a Goal funnel for your shopping cart pages to make sure you’re not losing customers during checkout.

6. Clicks to Call or Email : If your website encourages prospects to call or email, then make sure you’re tracking both using an Event Goal.  That way whenever prospects click to call on their mobile device or click to send you an email, you’ll see those actions in your Analytics reports.

7. Offline Ad Conversions: Many small businesses pay for advertising on TV, radio, magazines or the local newspaper. Create unique landing pages for your offline ads with simple URLs to display with your ad copy. Then, create a Goal funnel to track those offline ad conversions. You’ll quickly learn whether your traditional advertisements are generating leads and sales on your website.

Analytics Is Worthless Without Goals

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can take your digital marketing to the next level. But you need to incorporate Goals for Analytics to be effective.

The seven Goals we highlighted are relevant for a wide range of small businesses. However, the possibilities are endless when considering how Goals could help you improve your marketing. You’ll find some Goals to be more relevant to your business than others.

Subscribe to Marketing ROI’s newsletter here!

How are visitors using your nonprofit’s website? Gain insights with the User Explorer Report in Google Analytics

google-analytics-user-explorer-report

People are confusing: Why we behave the way we do can be totally unpredictable. However, there are often patterns in our behavior to be found, especially when it comes to using a website – you just have to know where to look. Enter: Google Analytics, and more specifically, the User Explorer Report.

In order for you nonprofit to really take advantage of its website, you have to be sure to know what’s working for your audience and what isn’t. Sometimes looking at overviews isn’t insightful enough for that. Luckily, Google Analytics came up with the User Explorer Report so you can see exactly how an individual user flows through your site, draw comparisons and be more aware of what your users want.

Step 1: Go to the Audience tab and click on “User Explorer”

google-analytics-user-explorer

Step 2: Review overall users

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Those long strands of numbers are actually just visitors to your site. Each visitor gets a number when they first land on your site, and Google Analytics then keeps track of their subsequent visits. Visitor number one in the example above visited 9 times, stayed on for a little over 3 minutes on average, and had a low bounce rate of 22%.

Step 3: Study each user to get a deeper understanding of their behavior

google-analytics-user-explorer

The dashboard for each user shows factors like when they first found your site, how long they stay on pages and what device they typically use.

Step 4: Draw conclusions about your users

Ask questions like:

  1. When do users typically leave a site?
  2. Which types of users end up filling out the contact us forms or taking some sort of action on the site?
  3. On the main User Explorer screen, study groups/segments of users. How do users usually behave if they are primarily a desktop user vs. primarily a mobile user? How do people use the site differently if they come in via organic traffic vs. direct or social?

If you want to get a better understanding of your Google Analytics account, consult our Google Analytics Resource Center or contact us at ArcStone to set up a meeting.

How to Set Up a Nonprofit Google AdWords Campaign – with Best Practices in Mind

nonprofit-google-adwords-campaign

You just won $10,000 a month.

That’ll get any nonprofit marketers attention, right?

If you haven’t received your $10,000 a month from Google Ad Grants for nonprofits, read this NOW to learn more about why AdWords is so helpful to nonprofits and to see if you qualify.

If you know you qualify for you $10,000 grant, but you’re struggling to set up a successful first Google AdWords campaign, the time is now. Follow our lead to increase your website traffic and conversions through quality Google Ads.

1. Strategize:

a) Determine your goal

Your ad should be created with a specific goal in mind. Rather than simply trying to drive traffic to your site, choose a landing page, donation page, or event to promote. Seeing as Google is flooded with traffic daily, you have to really hone in on your audience and how you will draw them in. AdWords works best with specifics: drawing in the right people at the right time. This will also help you with your keyword selection in the next step.

Example: Say your nonprofit helps to provide medical services in Nigeria. You want people to find your website and inquire about how this works. Your goal is for volunteers to fill out the Contact Us form on your volunteer landing page.

b) Decide on your target audience

Once you’ve established your goal, take time to really flush out who you’re targeting. In most cases, the more specific you can get the better. Read through our audience persona guide if you want help determining your audience.

nonprofit-audience-personas-for-google-adwords

Some qualities to pay attention to as you study may include:

– age                       – job                         – geographic region

– digital habits (where they go online & when)

– their story or incentive for seeking your nonprofit’s services

– a description of what might compel them to click on your ad (their call to action)

Example: Luke is a recent college grad (22 years old) from the University of MN and doesn’t quite know what to do before med school. He’d like to volunteer and feel like he’s really contributing to something. He’s heard of several services that set you up with a volunteer program in Africa, but he can’t tell which one will work for him. Most days, he goes online later in the evening, after dinner. He uses Google and LinkedIn when looking for career-oriented opportunities. 

c) Hone in on your keywords

The success of your ad depends largely on this piece of the puzzle. Luckily, now that you know who you’re targeting and for what, you’ve already narrowed down your options. Once you have this, there are several tools to help you determine your key phrase:

Keyword Planner: The Google AdWords tool can help you find phrases people search, as well as how much it costs your AdWords account to use each keyword phrase

Buzzsumo: This site will show you what is trending around your key phrase. If you type in your subject matter, it will show you other online content that is receiving attention. You can take this and study what language they use to help you understand what works.

google-adwords-keyword-planning

Semrush: This tool is insightful for understanding the volume of searches surrounding a key phrase. It will help you know how often your phrase might be searched or how you can reword your phrase in order to match it with what searchers are actually typing.

semrush-keyword-planning-for-adwords

Google Search: Type in various searches to Google, first studying auto-fill to determine common searches. Then study the actual search results to see how your competitors are coming up. You can see in the example below the first couple search results are ranking through AdWords.

studying-keywords-adwords-for-nonprofits

Example: With Luke in mind, we will try to think like he would. What would he type into Google Search and how would he phrase it? Think through this while you perform a competitive analysis of keywords.

2. Know your limitations

a) There is a monthly budget of $10,000 or $329 per day.

Knowing this, you’ll really want to study how your campaign is performing as you go. For example, you’ll want to set your ad to show up at the right time of day so you don’t run out of budget too early, before your audience is even online, but you won’t be able to tell this until you see how it performs.

 b) The maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limit is $2.00.

This means that for more competitive keywords, you probably won’t show up since you can’t bid more than other organizations. Find more specific keywords for which others aren’t competing as much. If you have a key phrase you want to be sure to rank for, but it will cost you more than $2.00 CPC, consider investing some of your nonprofit budget for that campaign.

c) Ads run only on keyword-targeted campaigns

This means you cannot specify based on location, language, device or audience targeting within your account settings. Use the strategizing you did to inform your keyword selection.

d) Ads will only appear on the Google Search results pages and only text ads are eligible

This means display, video & remarketing campaigns are not part of the program at this time. Use this to your benefit by really focusing on how text ads work specifically. If you think display, video and remarketing is essential to your nonprofit, consider investing to run those campaigns as paid ads.

3. Set up your Ad

a) Create your headline

You’ll want an Ad that calls users to action. Incorporate the key phrase you came up with earlier and be specific regarding what you’re asking them to do. Note the tight character limit.

writing-headline-google-adwords-for-nonprofits

b) Write your Ad text

Get as specific as you can within the character limit. Use action-oriented verbiage.

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c) Review!!

Check in as often as you can manage. You’ll want to a/b test your ads, specify negative keywords and target more audiences. Contact ArcStone for a free AdWords audit or help setting up your account.

Doing More with Google Analytics for Nonprofits

As our marketing manager, Joli, phrased it, “I’ve come across many a Google Analytics account that’s just been created, installed then let go.”

The reason this is problematic for nonprofit marketing analytics comes down to this: it’s a free resource, with so many insights, but it just goes to waste. If you waste the knowledge within Google Analytics, you spend time producing content and making website decisions without reason. You make guesses about your audience without actually knowing what they want and how they use your site.

We can do better. Here’s how.

doing-more-with-google-analytics-for-nonprofits

*If you haven’t yet set up your account, start with “A Setup Guide” and get a general overview in “Get Tracking with the Right Metrics.”

Step 1. Ask questions:

Think about who is coming to your site. Ask yourself, “Why are they coming here in the first place?” You want to know where they’re coming from and what helped them decide to click through to your site.

Then consider what your nonprofit sees as successful goals and metrics. “How many visitors should we have?” “What do we hope the site visitor will do?”

Step 2. Go old school, write it out:

Write out your top 3 to 4 audiences and include why each of them may be coming to your site. If they’ve never been on your site and are looking for volunteer opportunities, maybe they want to learn more about your organization. If they’ve donated before, maybe they want to log into an account or review an in-depth blog about your latest project. If they’re in need of your services, maybe all they need is to know you care and they want the easiest way to get in touch.

Step 3. Set up goals within Google Analytics:

From the example above we could form goals such as…

  • Visit 4 pages+ OR spend 3 minutes+ on the site
  • Click the donate now call to action button
  • Submit the volunteer “request more info” form
  • Contact your organization for more info
  • Watch your latest event video

Once you have these goals planned out, set them up within Analytics. Learn how here. Pay close attention to numbers like Conversion Rate, as they’re your most tangible evidence that your site is leading to action.

Step 4. Track your site’s searches:

If your nonprofit site has a search bar, which most do, wouldn’t it be mighty insightful if you knew what users were looking for?

It takes a moment to set up, but we’ll walk you through it…

  • Enter a search term in your site’s search bar.
  • Look at the URL bar. You should see something similar to: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?s=termyousearched or http://www.yourwebsite.com/search.php?search_query=termyousearched
  • All sites are different, but there should at least be the equals sign (“=”) which indicates your query parameter is right before that. In the first example your query parameter signified as “s” and in the second it is “search_query”
  • Once you’ve found this, go into the Admin tab in Analytics, click “View Settings” in the right-side column, switch “site search tracking” to ON, and enter the query parameter into this box.
  • When you want to review search term data, go into your Google Analytics under the Behavior section and click on Site Search.

Step 5. Set up Filters:

To see the most accurate data in your Google Analytics account, you’ll want to remove the traffic coming from your own office.

To set this up…

  • Click on Filters in the right-side column
  • Click the Add Filter button
  • Set the dropdown option to > “Exclude” > “traffic from the IP address” > “that are equal to” and then your IP address
  • Find your IP address by searching in Google, “What is my IP address” – Google will know what IP address you use based on where you are
  • Copy & paste this into the IP address box and click save

If you need more help with your nonprofit’s Analytics account, call us up and talk to our marketing manager Joli or download the ebook she helped to publish, “Google Analytics Guide.”

Google-analytics-set-up-guide