Google Grants for Non-Profits
An interview with Jeremy Brieske
For podcast release Monday, August 27, 2012
KENNEALLY: Too good to be true. That’s what you’re bound to think when you hear that $10,000 a month in free online advertising is available to any and every qualifying non-profit within the sound of my voice. OK, just the US. But trust me on this one. If you’re among the growing number of publishing houses operating as non-profits, you need to pay close attention. The bounty for non-profits to promote their missions and initiatives comes from a little company in Mountain View, California, one with a $200 billion-plus market cap.
Welcome, everyone, to Copyright Clearance Center’s podcast series. My name is Christopher Kenneally, host of Beyond the Book. And joining me today from Denver, Colorado is the CEO and founder of Drive Channel Creative, with the details on a program called Google Grants. Jeremy Brieske, welcome to Beyond the Book.
BRIESKE: Hi, Chris. Thanks for the invitation.
KENNEALLY: Well, we’re glad to have you join us. We should tell people that before founding Drive Channel Creative in 2006, Jeremy Brieske worked in the musical instruments industry from the time he was a teenager. As a brand manager for Fender Musical Instruments, he helped develop and bring to market such products as the co-branded Fender Meguiar’s Care Products, the industry’s highest quality instrument care products, the Fender Blender custom reissue Octave Fuzz pedal, and the patented DPT-100 detachable pedal tuner.
As a drummer, he’s played in many bands and recorded three albums, including one for the group Still House Burning. And Jeremy Brieske, first question to ask is, would you, by any chance, be related to Jeremy Brieske of Burst Marketing?
BRIESKE: That would be one and the same.
KENNEALLY: Well, listen, because I am sure all of our listeners have heard the name countless times. We always say at the end, we give you a little bit of a name check there at the end, and tell people that you are the engineer for the Beyond the Book podcast series, and it’s always been a pleasure working with you, Jeremy. But you do have this other life you lead.
You are, as we said, the founder and CEO of Drive Channel Creative, a company that does a lot for businesses in the Colorado area and around the country, for online and otherwise. And you’ve recently given a talk about the Google Grants program, one that is, I think, of interest to all kinds of non-profits. But here at Beyond the Book, we’re concerned with the publishing industry, and as we recently did a program with Red Hen Press from Los Angeles, one of the many leading non-profit publishers out there, we thought this was something of interest to our audience as well. So really, we thank you very much, Jeremy Brieske, for stepping up from behind the board there and coming over to the microphone side of things, to tell us about this important program.
It’s called Google Grants, but go ahead and give us the details.
BRIESKE: Sure. It’s actually, a really amazing and generous program that Google offers to non-profits, and it’s part of their Google AdWords program, which, when you’re – when you go to Google and you’re searching on a term, AdWords are those paid ads up at the top or in the right sidebar that someone has paid to insert there, and it’s called pay-per-click advertising. So the company who is placing those ads will only pay for the ad if someone clicks on it and goes to their website, and then, hopefully, makes a purchase or signs up for their e-mail list, or does some sort of action like that.
And the way that Google Grants works is that each month, Google gives these qualifying non-profits $10,000 per month in an advertising grant, and it’s something where it’s not a grant competition, you’re not going against other non-profits to get into this program. Really, if you’re a qualifying non-profit, then you get in, and there’s really no expiration date.
And it’s actually amazing, because $10,000 a month – so that’s $120,000 per year in free advertising that they’re giving you, which for most non-profits, that’s more than their advertising budget at all, and actually have a bumped up program called GrantsPro, where if your Google Grants accounts has reached $9,500 in ad spends during any two months in the last 12 months, they’ll actually bump you up to $40,000 a month in free ads, so $480,000 per year potential free advertising with this program.
KENNEALLY: Well, you know, it’s astounding to think about, and of course, in the online world, $10,000 a month goes a long way.
BRIESKE: It really does. And these ads are actually maxed out at $1.00 per click, which we can get into a little bit more later. But basically, what that equates to, if you’re maxing out this program, is a potential of at least 10,000 new visitors to your site every month.
KENNEALLY: Right. And you know, this Google Grants program is part of a larger effort that Google offers for non-profits, that includes many of its other products, and I suppose we should explain to people where this fits into that.
BRIESKE: Sure. Google Grants is part of the Google for Non-Profits program, and there are four products in there. This is a free program for non-profits. Again, you just have to apply and qualify for it. And you get Google Apps for Non-Profits, which is basically souped up versions of Google Docs, GMail and Google Calendar, that your team can all use. YouTube for Non-Profits, so they give you a custom YouTube channel, and a special Donation button, which is embedded within the video player, which is a great thing. Google Earth Outreach, which, if you’ve used Google Earth, you know you can explore the four corners of the earth. And with this program, you can overlay your projects on top of this map. So, a non-profit like Charity Water, for example, might use this to show where all of the water wells that they’ve drilled in Africa are, and you can drill down on their and view photos and things like that. And then, Google Grants is the fourth product in the Google for Non-Profits.
KENNEALLY: Well, you know, Google – we said at the beginning, Jeremy, they’ve got a market cap of $200 billion at last look on the Dow Jones average. And so, I suppose we would think they could afford to do this. But they can afford to give this away, because, really, frankly, the average spend, the average ad spend among non-profits participating in this is – is what?
BRIESKE: It’s only $300 a month.
KENNEALLY: So you could spend up to $10k, but most non-profits spend only $300 a month?
BRIESKE: That’s the average, and – you know, and there are a few reasons for that, I think. It is a bit complicated, and frankly, it’s intimidating, especially to a lot of non-profits who may not live online, like some other companies and some other industries do. And an example of this that I like to give is, imagine Time Magazine were to come to your non-profit and say, hey, a full page ad in our magazine costs $10,000 a month, and we’d like to give you one for free.
So, you could have an executive director who really has no marketing savvy at all, but they’re going to get that done. They’re going to call a meeting, and they’re going to say, hey, Rachel the Receptionist, you took a graphic design class in high school, right? Well, we’ll watch the phones for you – fire up the Mac in the corner, I’ll give some copy to you, and spend the afternoon creating this ad. And then, at the end of the day, you might not have a good ad, but you’ve created one, and you’ve spent this $10,000 in one shot. Right? I mean, it’s like, if I give you a $10,000 gift certificate to a car dealership, you can spend it real quick, but if you’re going into a bookstore or a dollar store, and you have to spend these in very small increments, it takes a lot of work, and it’s tough to do.
So, right, I think a lot of organizations sign up and never really put the effort into setting up the program the right way, or tend to get frustrated, and they – again, the average spend is only $300 a month.
KENNEALLY: Well, you know, Jeremy, Google certainly is being generous with this offer, but they’re not just giving away the store here. They’re making a very open offering, but they’re making it something you have to work for, you have to figure out how to make it work for you. And I guess we need you to explain that.
BRIESKE: Exactly. Like we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s a $1.00 cap on these ads. So, what happens is, Google AdWords works as an auction. So if you’re bidding on a very popular keyword like, best fiction book, or 50 Shades of Grey, that might cost $5.00 every time someone clicks on your ad to go to your website. What Google is saying, the most we’re going to let you spend is $1.00. And so, if you do bid $1.00 on best fiction books, if your ad shows at all, it’s going to be on page 5 of the Google search results, and no one ever makes it to page 5, so your ad is never really going to be clicked on.
So what you need to do is, find a long tail term, as they like to say, so maybe you’ll create an ad for mystery books set on Nantucket. That’s not an ad with a lot of competition, but, if someone is searching on that, and as a publisher, you have a book that’s a mystery book set on Nantucket, it’s actually better for you anyway, because someone is going to click through on that ad, they’re going to find exactly what they want, which is your book, and then hopefully, they’re going to make the purchase.
So, basically, what Google is doing is saying, we want to give you all this money, but we’re not going to take it away from the revenue that we would already generate.
KENNEALLY: Well, certainly, that makes sense. And I guess, one way of looking at it, Jeremy, is, we’re looking here, not for kind of a shotgun spray of pellets, but a kind of a – a sniper’s bullet. You know, you’ve really got to hit the target. But if you do, you’ve really made a score, because, as you say, someone looking for a very specific offering is more likely to click, and more likely to do the activity you want them to do, than somebody who is very vaguely looking for some kind of summer reading.
BRIESKE: Right, and this is the way that you should do it anyway. You have to think about it. Even if you are spending actual money on this, why would you want to spend $5.00 on a click for a general thing that may possibly turn into a purchase, when you can spend $1.00 and find the person who exactly is looking for what you have? So really, it’s a strategy that you should be using if you are a regular publisher, and are paying that actual $1.00 per click for AdWords anyway.
KENNEALLY: Right. So how do you begin to recognize a keyword’s popularity? And let me just clarify something. We use the term keyword, but you’ve been using phrases. So, a keyword can be a single word like copyright or podcast, but it could also be a certain phrase that people are Googling?
BRIESKE: Sure. A key phrase would just be more than one word strung together. And not to get too deep into the weeds, but you’ll also want to make sure that if you are using key phrases, you’re doing things in the right way. So let’s say you’re a non-profit that is a bear sanctuary. Right? And you don’t want to show up in searches for people who are searching on teddy bears, or Bad News Bears, because that has nothing to do with your non-profit.
So, what you’d want to do is, you can actually get in there and say, we want our ads to show to people who are searching on bears, unless the word teddy or the words Bad News are there. Then we don’t want people to see these.
So there a few ways that you can start building your campaign. And really, the first thing that you can do is just get people in your office together and say, if you were searching for the types of products that we have, what would you search on? And you can put a list together like that.
And then, Google offers a free keyword tool, where you can take that list, you can enter it in, and Google will tell you, OK, every month, there are this many searches on this key term or phrase, and then, this is how much we estimate you’ll be paying per click, and then these are a bunch of other phrases too, that are related, that you might want to take a look at.
KENNEALLY: Right. And to stick with my little metaphor, then, you’re not just shooting in the dark. You can really do a lot to illuminate the situation and begin to see very clearly how you can get to your target.
BRIESKE: Exactly. But the nice thing about this program is, it is kind of free money, right? Even if you plan a ton when you set up this program, it’s going to be really, really tough for you to spend that $10,000 in the first month. You’re always going to be refining things to get that ad spend. So since you’re not actually paying $10,000 that first month, you can afford to sort of throw some things at the wall, see what sticks, and then each month or each week, refine the ads that you’re sending out there.
KENNEALLY: So I guess the point there is, there’s a real value in experimenting. You shouldn’t sort of feel restricted if that brainstorming session with the editorial group comes up with 15 words – try all 15.
BRIESKE: Absolutely. And really, more than that. I mean, you can have an unlimited number of ads, and you want to make sure that when your ad comes up in Google search results, it is exactly what the person is searching for. So, if that means that you’re spending an entire day creating 100 variations of ads on a kind of similar key phrase, it’s definitely worth your time. Because what you always what you want to do is make sure that, at every step in the way here, you’re giving the user exactly what they’re expecting.
So, if someone searches on this term, non-fiction book, you want the headline of your ad to say, non-fiction book. So they say, oh, that’s exactly what I was searching for. And then they click on it, and you know, you don’t want to send them to the home page of your website, which might have fiction books, and non-fiction books, and all these other things. You want to have a specific landing page on your website that, again, relates to that search term. So, at every step of the way, the user is finding exactly what they think they’re going to find. So there is a lot of setup, and a lot of science to it, as well.
KENNEALLY: Well, we are talking today with Jeremy Brieske, CEO and founder of Drive Channel Creative in Denver, Colorado, otherwise known as Jeremy Brieske who does the engineering for the Beyond the Book podcast series. And we’re telling people about the Google Grants program, of great interest to non-profits, particularly non-profit publishing houses. And Jeremy, you’ve been talking about the value of experimentation and all of that, and it’s kind of knowing where your targets are.
I suppose another way to look at this, particularly for the publishing houses, it goes well beyond trying to sell books. What are some of the things that non-profits can do with these ads?
BRIESKE: Sure, absolutely. If you’re a non-profit that uses a lot of volunteers, you could place an ad looking for volunteers, or looking for donations, or possibly looking for writers or contributors. And it’s actually a good point to bring up, because one of the rules of this program is that you can’t create ads that their sole purpose is revenue generating, if you will. So in the ad, there has to be some sort of a reference to non-profit, or to the funds going 100% towards your mission. So you can look at a lot of other things other than just selling books for these ads.
KENNEALLY: Right. Well, in the course of Beyond the Book, we’ve had people on our program from, as I mentioned, several non-profit publishing houses. In one particular instance, Mockingbird Publishing. Actually, Gordon was selling books but raising money for a cause as part of that process. So this is the kind of thing that would be just right for Google Grants, it would seem.
BRIESKE: Absolutely. Because if you were to create a Google AdWords program for donations, there’s a lot of math that’s going to have to go behind that, saying, OK, it costs us $2.00 for every person who clicks, and for every person who clicks, only one in 500 donates, and our average donation is only $30, so we’re actually losing money on it. Where if you’re using the Google Grants program, again, you’re like, well, this is sort of free money. So the donations that we get out of it, we’re still going to be in the black.
KENNEALLY: Right. Jeremy, finally – and again, I turn to you often as my Web expert for all sorts of things. You helped put together the Beyond the Book series for a number of years now, and set up our Facebook page, among other things. Can you help people distinguish the – you know, in the online world, between Google and what it does for a company, and the way that Facebook operates? They’re two very different operations, but they’re often spoken of in the same breath, and maybe it’s important to kind of keep them separate in people’s minds.
BRIESKE: Right. In terms of ads, they are really the two main ways the organizations are going to place ads and try to find people, but the way they target people is completely different. And it really has to – it really goes deep into the business models of the two companies, and how they work. And that Facebook knows so much personal information about you, because you give it to them, that they can target you in a different way.
So if you’re placing an ad on Facebook, you might say, I only want this ad to show to 30 to 50 year old women who are college graduates, live in Boston, and are somehow a fan of 50 Shades of Grey. Right? Because Facebook knows all this about you, because you’ve told them how – what your birthday is, you told them what college you went to, you told them what zip code you live in. And somewhere along the line, you wrote on your wall about 50 Shades of Grey, so they can totally target you like that, where Google doesn’t know these things.
But, Google knows when you’re ready to make a purchase, or at least, when you’re researching something. So again, if someone is searching on best new literary fiction books, chances are, they’re sort of in that mindset where they want to make a purchase, so you can feed your ad to them right at that point, or at least, when they’re like, ah, I’d really like to buy a new book.
KENNEALLY: Right. So I guess it’s a question of, sort of making the most of the opportunity, and that’s what you help us do, Jeremy Brieske, CEO and founder of Drive Channel Creative in Denver, and otherwise known as our engineer, Jeremy Brieske of Burst Marketing. And Jeremy, how can people find out more about Drive Channel, and maybe contact you if they have a question about what you’ve been telling us about Google Grants?
BRIESKE: We’re at Drivechannelcreative.com, and feel free to e-mail me. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
KENNEALLY: All right. Well, Jeremy Brieske, thank you so much for joining us today on Beyond the Book.
BRIESKE: It’s been a pleasure.
KENNEALLY: Beyond the Book is produced by Copyright Clearance Center, a global rights broker for the world’s most sought-after materials, including millions of books and e-books, journals, newspapers, magazines and blogs, as well as, now, images, movies and television shows. You can follow Beyond the Book on Twitter, like Beyond the Book on Facebook, and subscribe to the free podcast series on iTunes, or at our website, Copyright.com/beyondthebook.
Our engineer is Jeremy Brieske of Burst Marketing, and he’s our special guest today. My name is Christopher Kenneally. For all of us at Copyright Clearance Center, thanks for listening to Beyond the Book.