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Administrative Staff Reports

July 31, 2020

Overview

Communications efforts in July stabilized after June's website emergency, whichhampered regularly-scheduled efforts. The three main themes of our work this month centered around AmeriCorps program recruitment on social media, rebranding and website projects.

We ran three organic social media campaigns with the goals of increasing awareness of 1.) AmeriCorps opportunities in Maine, 2.) how National Service programs are responding to the pandemic and 3.) the Volunteer Maine brand. While it will take some time to measure the true success of these campaigns, the key reach and engagement metrics show positive growth.

This month's report also includes an update on the effectiveness of our public service announcement campaigns on broadcast television and radio. Continue reading to learn about the program and to view progress, to-date.

Some good news about the new website project (not to be confused with last month's emergency website unification): InforME, who created such websites as Maine.Gov and the Maine Department of Education website, has agreed to take on our project. So, at long last, the new website project is under way. Please stay tuned for future updates, but the current estimated timeline for completion is mid-September.

Finally, the communications team assisted the Executive Director in the creation of a 62-page document for Senator Susan Collins and her team, who held a virtual roundtable in July with Maine's National Service programs to learn about their service during COVID-19. The document, which can be viewed here, includes details on how AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs, plus Volunteer Generation Fund grantees, have pivoted to continue serving. Also included are some service success stories, put together by the programs. While this was an all-hands effort, taking the time to work on the document has actually sped up a couple of other projects in the queue. We now have up-to-date info to finish the publication of a stand-alone National Service program directory along with a bank of testimonials/success stories to build our media relations efforts off of.

In an effort to constantly improve reporting, please see the following attachment which visualizes the data utilized later in the report below. This page serves as an accessible version of the same information presented visually. Access the visual report here.

Please note: All metrics are compared to the previous month.

PSAs

Volunteer Maine participates in the Public Education Partnership, or PEP, which is "a unique partnership between state broadcast trade associations, the broadcast stations they represent, and the government and non-profit communities," according to the Maine Association of Broadcasters (MAB) website. In Maine, MAB is our partner in the distribution of announcements to broadcast stations and provides quarterly reports to participating agencies. The reporting focuses on air-time value, and success is measured by comparing the initial investment paid to MAB by the agency to the total airtime value.

Under the terms of the partnership, MAB guarantees a three-times airtime match value. So, if the initial investment by an agency is $30,000, MAB guarantees $90,000 of airtime. Not only does this provide Volunteer Maine with an affordable opportunity to share information across the state, the PSAs are also utilized to generate in-kind match funding for the Commission Support Grant.

Progress as of July 30

Due to the fact 2020 is an election year, the decision was made to participate in the program through July 30. With an initial investment of $40,000, MAB reports an airtime value of $144,391. Please note: A preliminary has been provided to Volunteer Maine and it is subject to revision based on late-arriving affidavits. Taking into consideration the 3x match, we are just over $5,000 away form earning a return on investment (calculation used: reported airtime value - initial investment / by 3). MAB will provide "make-good" airtime during the calendar year if our goal is not met.

Considerations

Some challenges so far:

  • The television portion of the agreement started Jan. 15 as opposed to radio, which started Jan. 1, as we awaited delivery of an updated AmeriCorps public service announcement.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, new PSAs had to be produced -- in-house by Volunteer Maine staff -- to focus on safe volunteerism practices and AmeriCorps Service during COVID-19.
  • Not all stations provide affidavits, even if required.

PSA highlights

  • WKIT (radio - Bangor market) leads the way when it comes to airing spots and airtime value. The estimated airtime value is $18,080, according to MAB. WKIT is owned by Maine author Stephen King and is a rock (music) format station with strong listenership, so our message is being shared with a wide audience.
  • The television side is lead by the stations owned by Gray Broadcasting in the Presque Isle market. This includes their main signal of Ch. 8, which airs CBS programing, and their Ch 8.2 digital over-the-air station, which airs Fox programing. The sister stations, WWPI 16 and WWPI DT 16.2, air NBC and CW programing, respectively. By itself, WAGM generated the most airtime value with $14,800. Collectively, the Gray-owned stations in Northern Maine generated a total of $36,900, according to MAB.
  • The Portland market (or DMA) is also represented in the top-three thanks to popular classic hits station Frank FM (WFNK). The station reported $10,976 in airtime value, according to MAB.
  • Main takeaway: Strong coverage in all three regions of the state, but work can be done in the Portland market to get to the airtime value generated by Gray's stations in the Presque Isle DMA.

Media coverage

All press release statistics sourced from Constant Contact monthly data.

July 2020 Change of Officer Press Release

  • Open rate: 27%
  • Clicks: 1
  • Click-through rate: 6%

Press placements

Please note: Release was distributed two days before the publishing of this report. Any coverage will be added as an addendum.

MaineServiceCommission.Gov website

Traffic

  • Views: 7,197 (+2.8%)
  • Unique views: 5,715 (+1.8%)
  • Bounce rate: 64.18% (2.2% increase) (please note: for bounce rate, decrease is positive and increase is negative)

Search results

  • Clicks to site: 433 (-12.9%)
  • Impressions: 22.6k (-3.8%)

Frequent search terms (by impressions)

  • "americorps" 541 (-33.3%)
  • "penquis" 385 (+38.5%)
  • "southern maine agency on aging" 365 (-17.6%)
  • " eastern area agency on aging " 361 (-2.4%)
  • "volunteer maine" 275 (-28.6%)

Device breakdown

  • Desktop: 72.23% (+0.12%)
  • Mobile: 24.69% (-4.34%)
  • Tablet: 3.08% (+64.71%)

Social Media engagement

Facebook (Volunteer Maine)

  • New fans: 17 (+88.9%)
  • Post likes: 124 (+44.2%)
  • Post comments: 1 (-80%)
  • Post shares: 43 (+30.3%)
  • Video views: 55 (-84%)
  • Engagement rate: 5% (+19.1%)
  • Total page reach: 7,930 (+0.2%)

Twitter

  • New followers: -4 (-75%)
  • Retweets: 28 (3.7%)
  • Likes: 49 (+25.76%)
  • Replies: 2 (-60%)
  • Link clicks: 39 (+2.63)
  • Engagement rate: 2.63% (+20%)

LinkedIn

  • New followers: 1 (-66.7%)
  • Likes: 10 (+13.16%)
  • Comments: 0 (+/-0)
  • Shares: 0 (+/-0)

Instagram

  • Total followers: 165 (+7.14%)
  • Impressions: 1,996 (+254.2%)
  • Reach: 1,218 (+179.4%)
  • Post likes: 179 (+203.4%)
  • Video views: 0 (-100%)
  • Comments: 4 (+300%)

YouTube

  • Views: 31 (-77.4%)
  • Minutes watched: 89 (-64.5%)
  • Average viewer duration: 173 seconds (+57.3%)

Email marketing

Overall

  • Open rate: 18% (+12.5%)
  • Click-through: 62 (+24%)
  • Click-through rate: 10% (+100%)

Campaign: July Newsletter

Please note: The newsletter was distributed one day before the publishing of this report. Updated statistics will be provided in the next report.

  • Open rate: 12%
  • Click-through: 16
  • Click-through rate: 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.