Driving donations with a new paid media strategy for MS Society

Employing Facebook's two-phase engagement and conversion strategy with Google's Performance Max, optimised ad spend and increased revenue.

MS Society

2 mins read

White balloon with MS Society logo

The outcomes

The brief

Engaging new audiences

MS Society approached us with a brief to run a fundraising campaign using paid ads on Facebook. This was one of their priority campaigns for the year, and the main objective of it was to raise funds for MS research. As a secondary objective, MS Society wanted to engage new audiences and encourage them to become supporters.

With additional social and digital activity running alongside the campaign, it was important for the ads to have an integrated look and feel that reinstated the message to their audience.

The challenge

The results came. But first, there were a few challenges to consider.

In the context of changes in IOS14 tracking data and the removal of sensitive audiences on Facebook, we needed to consider a fresh approach to audience targeting. One that moved away from the shrinking pool of engaged audiences, and started to build up a new audience from wider groups.

So, we began to engineer a two-phase campaign that looked firstly at how we could engage new audiences and build on the existing awareness of MS Society, before running more direct ads as part of a secondary wave of activity.

The strategy

Eye-catching creatives and audience participation

During our initial kick-off meetings, the MS Society highlighted an interesting creative piece that showed a lab-grown oligodendrocyte under the microscope - the protective coating around the nerves. This included eye-catching visuals such as photos and a short video.

Pairing these visuals with questions, we encouraged the audience to engage by asking if they knew what the imagery showed. Once the audience had contributed their guesses or engaged through Facebook reactions, we could retarget them with the more vital ask for donations and yield the best possible ROI.

In addition to a new approach to Facebook ads, our team devised a PPC strategy that tested Google’s relatively new campaign type, Performance Max. This allowed us to run ads across Google inventory on YouTube, Display, Maps, Discover, and Gmail. This approach was extremely successful, generating even more donations than Facebook.

Two screenshots showing Facebook ad creatives

Despite seeing Performance Max working well for other clients, we were still surprised by the incredible results! It was great that the client was open to new ideas and flexible about trying something new. The collaborative process allowed us to monitor ad performance and make iterations throughout.

Marnie Winter-Burke Senior Account Manager, Torchbox

The results

Reducing ad spend while increasing revenue

Splitting the budget between an engagement and a conversion phase on Facebook, and using the remaining budget on Google’s Performance Max campaigns was key to the success of this campaign. Torchbox’s work reduced ad spend while increasing revenue. Our results included:

  • 3% reduction in paid ad spend across all channels
  • 11% reduction in cost-per-acquisition (CPA).
  • 3% increase in overall revenue despite a lower average gift (-4%).
  • 1.2% increase in conversion rate

Trying new approaches is really important for us to drive forward our digital fundraising acquisition activity. It's great to see new formats like Performance Max and our new two step engagement approach on Facebook work so well.

Jo Hodge Individual Giving Manager, MS Society


Marnie Winter-Burke

Senior Account Manager