Student Energy is a global not-for-profit that is creating the next generation of energy leaders who are committed to transitioning the world to a sustainable future. As a non-partisan organization, they aim to encourage students and young people to join in on the energy conversation because the world’s future depends on it. They present in-depth information in an interactive format that’s intuitive to navigate and easy to digest, in order to help students understand more about energy sources of all types, from fossil fuels to solar panels to nuclear power.
When Bluetrain originally met Student Energy’s co-founder, Sean Collins, Student Energy was a grassroots non-profit organization with great ideas but not much web traffic to show for them. They had recently set up a Google AdWords account, but it wasn’t performing as they would have liked, so they brought Bluetrain on board to help them rework their online presence.
The goal was to improve their website’s performance in three key areas:
- Total page views
- Average time spent on site
- Rates of interaction with site content (commenting, viewing videos, clicking on a link, etc.)
Because Student Energy is a content-driven organization, Bluetrain’s focus from the start was bringing more people to the website and encouraging them to interact with the content on a deeper level.
To measure this process, our first step was to perform an SEO audit on their website to identify any technical and best practice barriers. We then set up Google Analytics to track metrics on key performance indicators like video views, registrations, outbound link clicks, and form completions. We also performed on-page optimization across the whole site to rank better in Google searches.
Our goal was to help Student Energy fulfill their mission of educating students and young people around the world about energy by attracting the right types of visitors to their website through targeted pay-per-click search ads.
How did we do it?
The key to this campaign was maximizing the ad spend for the client’s Google Ad Grants account. Through Google Ad Grants, the client was receiving $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising dollars to use on pay-per-click search ads through Google AdWords but was having trouble getting enough ad clicks to hit the $10,000 target.
When we took over the account, we immediately maximized their ad spend, which meant bringing an average of 5,000 to 6,000 people to their website every month. In just 6 months, we were able to upgrade to Google Grantspro, which gives the client $40,000 in free ad spend every month.
How did we do that? By targeting carefully selected keywords, writing strong ad copy, and working to achieve a high Google Quality Score, we were able to meet the strict eligibility criteria required to move up to a Google Grantspro account. This meant spending every dollar of the $10,000 limit in two separate months and maintaining a click-through rate of 1% or higher over six months (our average was closer to 3.5%).
Since Student Energy is an interactive educational platform, we were focused on not only increasing pageviews but also reaching the types of people who would want to spend time engaging with the content.
- Based on 35,011 pageviews, we found that the average time spent on page was over 9 minutes.
- We also reached an 11.92% conversion rate for videos, which translated into 1,892 video views overall.
- In addition, we found that 14% of people who watched a video watched it at least 75% of the way through. This tells us that not only are our ads reaching a large number of people, but also that the people we’re reaching are the types of people who are eager to engage with the content Student Energy creates.
Beyond viewing videos, Student Energy was also looking to convert people in other ways, such as by filling out a form, subscribing to the email list, or clicking on an outbound link. We found that more than 24% of the people who came to the site completed at least one of these desired actions, based on 3,959 goal completions—that’s over 500% higher than the industry average of 4% for conversion rates.
more goal completions than industry standards
average time spent on page
unlocked in free monthly ad spend
As a result of Bluetrain’s efforts with Google Ad Grants and SEO, Student Energy now advertises in over 12 countries and brings an average of 18,000 people to the website every month. Once on the website, they are viewing 20,000 pages and watching 2,300+ videos every month.
Achieving these metrics is important for Student Energy in two ways: First, these numbers indicate that thousands of students and young people around the world are deepening their knowledge of energy systems and finding ways to get involved and have their voices heard. This is exactly what studentenergy.org was designed to do. Second, the high number of pageviews allows Student Energy to earn more grant money, as pageviews are the main online performance indicator that nonprofits use when applying for grants in Canada.
Bluetrain continues to manage Student Energy’s online advertising and SEO activities, and we continue to see growing numbers. We continue to expand Student Energy’s reach into more countries, and we are excited to continue working with a client that is so dedicated to making a difference in the world.