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Administrative Staff Reports

December 30, 2019

Overview

Communications efforts in the month of December largely centered on two big picture initiatives. The first being the production of public service announcements for 2020. This year, extra work was required due to the need to update the inventory of PSAs to be compliant with the new Volunteer Maine brand.

The second major initiative was preparing the communications and outreach plan for 2020. Efforts to help Maine AmeriCorps program members with their recruitment efforts continued in December by scheduling face-to-face conversations to learn about each program's individual needs.

Finally, efforts to expand awareness to those in the education field were helped by attending the Educate Maine annual symposium at the beginning of the month.

As we near the end of the 2019 calendar year, public relations efforts to earn traditional media placements were reduced to focus on planning and PSAs. Please see below for details and specifics on specific areas and initiatives. A glossary of terms has been provided at the bottom of this report.

Website

Overview: Search impressions are up from the previous month by roughly 2,000 while actual clicks to the site via Google search were down by 40 from November. This month, "AmeriCorps Maine" was the most utilized search term by visitors from Google. A month ago, "Maine Commission for Community Service" was the most-used term. The decline is a positive indicator in the success of our rebrand efforts, however the term "Volunteer Maine" is the fifth most-frequent search term for the second month in a row, which can support the need to increase outreach and awareness efforts. It should be noted that search stats will paint a clearer picture after the website merger of maineservicecommission.gov and VolunteerMaine.org is completed later on this year.

Traffic:

  • Views: 2,870
  • Unique views: 2,165
  • Bounce rate: 60.51%

Search results:

  • Clicks to site: 342
  • Impressions: 26.3K

Frequent search terms:

  • "americorps maine" 47 clicks, 109 impressions
  • "maine commission for community service" 22 clicks, 38 impressions
  • "maine americorps" 7 clicks, 36 impressions
  • "foster grandparent program maine" 7 clicks, 14 impressions
  • "volunteer maine" 4 clicks, 187

Device breakdown:

  • Desktop: 230 clicks, 18,739 impressions
  • Mobile: 100 clicks, 7,116 impressions
  • Tablet: 12 clicks, 477 impressions

Social media engagement

Overview: The statistics in this category speak to organic posting, or posts that were not infused with advertising dollars (please see separate category for that info). Overall organic efforts will stabilize in frequency as the year goes on and the new communications plan is implemented. One item of note from Facebook: posts that included photos of member service in-action as well as profile stories on individuals did best this month, with the top three posts registering high-to-very-high engagement rates.

Facebook:

  • New fans: 2
  • Post likes: 77
  • Post comments: 0
  • Post shares: 11
  • Video views: 14
  • Link clicks: 86
  • Page reach: Average of 102 people per/post

Top posts (based off engagement rate):

  • Alumni challenge coin request post: 7%
  • Photos from LearningWorks visit: 5%
  • Story written by Commissioner Julia Fiori's story on her relationship with her aunt, Gov. Mills: 5%

Twitter:

  • New followers: -5
  • Retweets: 8
  • Likes: 25
  • Replies: 0
  • Link clicks: 3
  • Engagement rate: 1.8%

LinkedIn

  • New followers: 0
  • Likes: 0
  • Comments: 0
  • Shares: 1

Social media advertising

Facebook

Overview: The numbers provided below are a snapshot of all combined initiatives, which largely focused on “Heartbeat of Home” album promotion for the holidays. A couple of extra days of the November AmeriCorps recruitment campaign bled over into the month. Overall, the cost/per/click is high, but the engagement rate is good. What this says is people are interested in our content, but we can do a better job to target engaged users.

  • Reach: 42,040 people
  • Likes: 79
  • Comments: 2
  • Shares: 9
  • Clicks: 47
  • Cost/per click: $5.44
  • Engagement rate: 3.75%

Additional advertising initiatives

Update: Maine Principals' Association Print Program AmeriCorps/AmeriCorps NCCC Advertisement

Goal: The goal of the campaign is to create awareness among graduating seniors or their family members about AmeriCorps service opportunities in the State of Maine as well as "gap year" opportunities with the AmeriCorps NCCC program. The print ad included a QR code which allows those interested to scan the code with their smartphone and be taken directly to an info page on the Volunteer Maine business site. Between events in football, cheerleading and basketball, the ad will be printed in 8,750 programs, according to the MPA's advertising partner Alliance Sports Marketing.

Numbers: In total, there have only two reported QR code scans since the MPA Football tournament in November. The next time the advertisement will run is during the 2020 MPA Basketball tournaments, Feb. 11-first week of March (specific dates for state championships TBD). Before the tournament, staff will review the ad to see how it can be improved.

Email marketing

Campaign: Heartbeat of Home #GivingTuesday

  • Open rate: 13.9%
  • Click-through: 17
  • Click-through rate: 4.5%

Campaign: Happy Holidays E-Card

  • Open rate: 17.8%
  • Click-through: 17
  • Click-through rate: 3.6%

Glossary of terms:

  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. This helps us determine how many engaged/interested visitors visit the site in a given period.
  • Clicks to site/link clicks: The physical action of clicking a link. This helps us measure the effectiveness of our messaging and ability to create calls to action.
  • Click-through number: The number of unique individuals who clicked a link inside of an email. This helps us measure the effectiveness of our calls to action.
  • Click-through rate: This is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. This helps us measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns. For 2020, the average open rate is 2.6%, according to digital marketing platform Campaign Monitor.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): CPC refers to the actual price you pay for each click in your pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaigns. This helps us measure ROI on advertising, gain a better understanding of our target audiences, and the effectiveness of our messaging.
  • Engagement rate: A metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. This helps us determine how many individuals interact with the content, and gain a better understanding of our target audiences. Industry standards state the following: (courtesy of Scrunch.com)
    • Less than 1% = low engagement rate
    • Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
    • Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
    • Above 6% = very high engagement rate
  • Frequent search terms: The most utilized search terms that individuals use on Google to access the website. This gives us a better idea of how people get to our website and what topics matter most to them.
  • Impressions: When an advertisement or any other form of digital media appears on a user's screen. This is not an action-based statistic, but gives us an idea of how many users potentially saw the piece of content. This metric helps us track brand awareness efforts.
  • New fans/followers: The number of new individuals that choose to follow a social media profile, such as Facebook and Twitter. This helps us measure brand awareness and the effectiveness of our messaging.
  • Open rate: This is an indication of how many people "view" or "open" the email. This helps us measure the effectiveness of our messaging and email content. For 2020, the average open rate is 17.8%, according to Campaign Monitor.
  • Reach: The total number of different people or households exposed, at least once, to a given piece of content or webpage during a given period. Much like impression, this is a number that informs us how many people have been exposed to the piece of content. This metric helps us track brand awareness efforts and the effectiveness of our content.
  • Post comments/replies: The number of individuals who take action by commenting or replying on a piece of content. This helps us measure the strength of our content and get a better idea of the number of followers who are engaged/interested in our message.
  • Post likes: The number of individuals who take action by liking or reacting to a post. This helps us measure the strength of our content and the effectiveness of our messaging.
  • Post shares/retweets: The number of individuals who take action by sharing a post with their personal network. This helps us measure the strength of our content and get a better idea of the number of followers who are engaged/interested in our message.
  • Unique views: How many different people visited a given webpage. Slightly different than views, this helps us track the number of individual users (or sessions) that visited the website/webpage in a given period.
  • Video views: The number of individuals who viewed one of our videos. When talking about Facebook, the statistic is based on three-second views, which gives us an idea of how successful we are at capturing a user's attention. This stat also helps us measure the strength of the video both from a production and messaging standpoint.
  • Views: How many times a given webpage has been visited. This helps us track the effectiveness of our search visibility and the impact of our content.