Dublin City University Business School has joined forces with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) to help ten Irish charities maximise their digital marketing capacity.
Over 40 students from DCU’s Masters in Digital Marketing class are working, over a three-month period, to help charities get the best from their Google Ad Grant.
This Google-sponsored fund is worth up to $10,000 of in-kind advertising every month, which can ultimately help to recruit more volunteers, attract donations and share their story with audiences all over the globe.
Charities who fundraise or sell anything from tickets to second-hand clothes impressive with concrete results to their bottom line.
A post-campaign analysis shows that students working on The National Council for the Blind of Ireland brought five times more donors to their site than the previous campaign. Ads placed have been seen over eighty thousand times, bringing nearly five and a half thousand new visitors to the site.
Elsewhere, students working on the Arthritis Ireland campaign have brought 18% more visitors to the website than the previous while students working on The Disability Federation of Ireland have raised the click-through rate by 14%. This will help ensure DFI meets the new 5% minimum CTR requirement for a charity account to remain active.
To put this in context, internationally the average grantee only uses about $330 per month out of the $10,000 that Google offers.
According to Theo Lynn, Professor of Digital Business and Director of Industry Engagement at DCU’S Business School: “This is a win-win for all concerned. Students get real world experience by having the opportunity to deliver campaigns for clients. Also, with the introduction of new Google regulations, the support comes at a good time for charities.
“We have a digital research unit at DCU that monitors the student’s performance and we have high expectations of them. The scheme is every bit as demanding than those they will face when they graduate. For example, I expect to see 80-90% utilisation of the Google grants across these accounts.”
Other selected charities include: Arthritis Ireland; National Women’s Council of Ireland; Acquired Brain Injury Ireland; Post-Polio Survivors Ireland; Alcohol Forum; Graphic Studio Dublin; Ability West.
Google has given grant recipients two months from the start of the year to increase their CTR or click-through-rate from 1% to 5% or lose the grant.
DFI’s Communications Manager, Clare Cronin adds: “Most Irish charities are tiny by international standards and are not well placed to hire and pay for the sort of highly skilled help that would allow them to maximise their Google Grants.
“It’s a horrid irony that we have free advertising, but we frequently don’t have the skilled staff to use it. Google’s new regulations put it up to charities to use it or lose it”.
“We (DFI) feel that Google Grant is an investment that can and will pay off for charities. Because the user-interface is complex it’s often ignored in favour of promotion on social media with much more uncertain returns”, said Clare Cronin.
Prof Lynn said: “This is hopefully the start of a programme which will ultimately support many more charities. As we approach the end of this academic year we’ll do some training to allow them to manage their own accounts over the summer. We’re also looking at ways in which we can offer help in areas such as Search Engine Optimisation and social media management.”