Student Energy is a global not-for-profit creating the next generation of energy leaders committed to transitioning the world to a sustainable future. As a non-partisan organization, their goal is to encourage students and young people to join in 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 it. They had recently set up a Google AdWords account, but it wasn’t performing the way they wanted it to, so they brought in Bluetrain to help them rework their online presence. The goal was to improve their website’s performance in three key areas:
- Total pageviews
- Average time spent on site
- Rates of interaction with site content (commenting, video views, link clicks)
Working with Bluetrain is one of the best decisions our organization has made. The entire team is incredibly competent, and they work hard to learn about your brand and subject matter in order to help you make the most effective decisions. We never feel like we have to double-check their work, and that provides an incredible peace of mind when it comes to something as important as building our brand online. Student Energy does a significant amount of work with digital content, and thanks to Bluetrain we’ve seen traffic on our website and youtube channel skyrocket.
As a global organization, we have worked with contractors around the world, and I can easily say Bluetrain is one of the best. We really can’t recommend them enough!
Because Student Energy is a content-driven organization, Bluetrain’s focus from the start was on 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 a 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 show better in Google searches. Lastly, we built over twenty search advertising campaigns in a Google Ad Grants account with a few thousand highly targeted keyword phrases.
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.
So, 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 they were having trouble getting enough ad clicks to hit the $10,000 target.
When Bluetrain took over the account in October 2015, we immediately maximized their ad spend – this meant bringing an average of 5,000 to 6,000 people to their website every month. By May 2016, we were able to upgrade to Google Grantspro, which gives the client $40,000 in free ad spend every month.
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 within seven months of beginning the ad campaign. 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. So for example, in June 2016, 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 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 is also looking for people to get involved in other ways such as 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.
video views a month
average video conversion rate
As a result of Bluetrain’s efforts with Google Ad Grants and SEO, Student Energy is now advertising in over 12 countries and bringing an average of 18,000 people to the website every month. These people are viewing 20,000 pages and watching 2,300+ videos every month.
Achieving these metrics is important for Student Energy:
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, which 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 is the main online performance indicator that nonprofits use when applying for grants in Canada.
The Long Game
Bluetrain continues to manage Student Energy’s online advertising activities, and we continue to see growing numbers. We are now working 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.