Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Libre Ads service. Click or tap a question to see its answer. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, contact us

Libre Ads FAQs

+ Do people really click on search ads?

Yes, clickthrough rates for our campaigns are typically between 5 and 10 percent. Being the top organic result is definitely more valuable, but for every 100 appearances in search results, you’ll see 5 to 10 new visitors. And unlike other marketing channels, you don’t pay anything unless someone clicks.

+ How do Google Ads work? Is it just the highest bidder?

Advertisers write an ad, then place a bid (usually $1-2) on a certain word or phrase (called a keyword). When the keyword is searched, Google looks at all the bids for that keyword and at the advertisers’ quality scores (1 to 10), based on relevance and trust. Google multiplies the bid by the quality score to get an Ad Rank for each ad. The Ad Rank determines who appears in search results and in what order. Because of the multiplication, a low-scoring advertiser would have to pay 10 times as much as a high-scoring advertiser for the same space!

+ What’s this Ad Grant program and how do I apply?

Google offers $10,000/month in advertising credit to qualifying nonprofits, including libraries, with a program called Ad Grants. You can use this credit to appear in local Google search results tens of thousands of times per month.

+ How do I apply for Google Ad Grants?

The application is an automated process. To complete it, you will need a verification code from TechSoup, a Google for Nonprofits account, and a specially configured Google AdWords account. Koios can manage the application process on your behalf.

+ How long does the application process take?

Once a qualifying organization applies, Google will respond in 1-2 weeks with a positive or negative decision. A negative decision will include instructions on how to fix your application and reapply. Libraries working with us typically receive a positive decision in 2 weeks.

+ How long does the grant last?

The Google Ad Grants program dates back to 2004 and shows no sign of being discontinued. As long as you follow their program guidelines, you can continue to receive the grant indefinitely.

+ What happens if we spend all the budget?

If you hit $10,000 in a given month, all of your campaigns will automatically pause until the following month. The library will not be charged for any overage or fees.

+ How much value does $10k/month in credit get me?

Paid search works on a pay-per-click model, meaning that you’ll only use your credit when someone clicks on one of your ads. We aim for an average cost-per-click of $1 and an average clickthrough rate of 5%.

Based on those numbers, you can receive 10,000 clicks and 250,000 views each month. Importantly, the targets are flexible: you can use these clicks to promote whichever resources you like and change them from month to month. They’ll also be seen not just by your patrons, but by anyone in the community who searches for a related term.

+ How would this work for materials?

To use Libre Ads for materials, you’ll first need landing pages for those materials. You can use an existing readers' advisory blog, or work with Koios to set up new landing pages for priority collections.

After this step, the Koios team will bid on Google search terms related to your materials including titles, authors, subjects, and series names. This way, when someone searches "hugo awards" your Hugo Award Winners list shows up first.

+ How would this work for programs?

First, Koios will check your online calendar to ensure that it meets Google’s best practices. If not, we’ll help you develop high-quality landing pages for your programs. Then, the Koios team will research search trends in your area and set up campaigns that match local Google searches to relevant programs. This way, when someone searches "computer classes" your program shows up first.

+ How would this work for databases?

Koios will check your website for high-quality, resource-specific landing pages. If you don’t have these yet, we’ll create a special area on your website and publish them for you. After that, the Koios team will research search trends in your area and set up campaigns that match local Google searches to relevant databases. This way, when someone searches "learn spanish" your language learning database shows up first

+ How would this work for (insert service not previously listed)?

You can also use Libre Ads to promote a service or offering that doesn’t fit into the categories above. The same principles apply: high-quality landing pages, local research, and tailored campaigns. Contact us to discuss your unique goals and priorities. We’ll be happy to develop a campaign just for you.

+ Where does my resident “go” when they click on one of these ads?

Ads point to a landing page on your domain, like examplelibrary.org/job-help. The Koios team will help you create effective landing pages based on digital marketing best practices.

+ When can I expect results?

Koios will spend 2-3 weeks setting up your campaigns and securing Google Ad Grants before submitting your ads to Google for final approval. After that, you should see your first clicks within 24 hours.

+ How can I tell what results come from search ads versus other marketing channels?

You can easily integrate your existing Google Analytics account with Google AdWords to see the amount of traffic coming from paid search and the specific pages your new visitors access. If you have goals set up in Analytics, you will also see conversion metrics from paid search.

+ How is this priced?

There is an annual management fee for Libre Ads, tiered by service population. Koios has volume discount agreements with certain consortia, including Califa and Amigos. Ask your consortium if you qualify for a discount.

+ Can I promote my resources in more than one language?

Yes. Campaigns in Spanish are free as long as you provide the translations. For languages other than Spanish or translations supplied by Koios, there may be an additional fee. Contact us for more details.

+ How long does it take to implement this? What do my staff have to do?

Koios starts every new engagement by consulting with you on your priorities, researching local search trends, and setting up tailored ad campaigns. During this 2-3 week period, we will also help you apply for Google Ad Grants. Your staff will be responsible for selecting your priority resources and helping the Koios team access certain systems like Google Analytics. Ongoing responsibilities for library staff are minimal.

+ What do you do to improve our performance over time?

Koios monitors your performance and works to get you more clicks within your budget. We make regular adjustments to ad copy, keywords, and landing pages and monitor the results to find winning improvements.

+ Can I try Libre Ads before I buy?

Koios frequently offers 90-day free trials in conjunction with major events like PLA, ALA and ALA Midwinter. We also have special year-round partnerships with consortia like Califa and Amigos. Contact us to see if you qualify for a current promotion.

+ My service area is complicated. How can you make sure only my service population is seeing my ads?

Google AdWords offers highly sophisticated location targeting options. Using these, Koios can define custom geographic areas down to individual municipalities and zip codes. One library we work with serves 15 municipalities and 10 additional postal service locations within the county, but does not serve 6 municipalities and 9 postal service locations. We set them up without any trouble.