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How do you calculate the ROI of your government online campaign?

Governments are often notorious for announcing campaigns and publishing press releases without optimizing content on their websites to enable visitors to find information to back up the campaign announcements.

So I was really pleased to read this great article by Augustine Fou at Clickz the other day called "How to use search to calculate the ROI of awareness advertising".

This article hit the nail on the head about what Government should be doing: ie.

  • make sure the website or content sections on websites are set up before releasing the press release. A classic Victorian Government example was the announcement of the Bushfire Royal Commission. Everyone wanted to read about the Royal Commission from the official source, yet it took a number of weeks for this to happen. When they did release the Royal Commission website, they appeared not to take out a Google AdWords campaign to support its release. As you can see from this screen shot, the ABC is really well optimised for bushfire royal commission, and the government is not.

Google search results for bushfire royal commission.

  • make sure you search engine optimise your website so that the specific information which is announced is easily linked to from the press release, so that the visitor can easily find the supporting information they are seeking – government should be a lot better at doing this than they are in reality (read my earlier article entitled: "How to increase traffic to Government websites with press releases");
  • ensure you are using an analytics package, such as Google Analytics (its free and fully integrated with Google AdWords!) to establish how successful or not the announcement, banner ad, search engine marketing and so forth, really is. Putting campaign tracking on your email newsletter links, or on links from press releases or ads you want to track will give you great information to analyse the return on your investment.

Hopefully this will change when one day governments take the web as seriously as they do their television, radio and print campaigns. Until then, how do you work out the return on investment for your government online campaign ……?