Samaritans’ Christmas Donation Appeal delivers £84K

We partnered with Samaritans for a second year running to support their integrated Christmas appeal, 'Be Part of the Story.'


3 mins read

Sophie is part of the Samaritans' Christmas campaign, 'Be part of the story'

The outcomes

The brief

Every six seconds, Samaritans responds to a call for help; people turn to them every hour of every day. There are no exceptions at Christmas. The people who make contact are often struggling, feeling lonely or don’t know how to carry on living, and often these feelings get worse at this time of year. Samaritans rely on donations to keep their branches open and their helpline manned 24/7, 365 days of the year. This year's ‘Be Part of the Story’ campaign focused on those the organisation has helped and on its volunteers.

We wanted to build on the success of 2018 but push the potential of the campaign even further by expanding our reach to increase revenue and engagement. This is exactly what we achieved.

Our approach

We ran adverts on the Google and Bing Search networks but we also expanded our reach to Facebook following the success seen on this channel in other campaigns we have run for Samaritans.

On the Search networks, we targeted brand, non-brand and Christmas/charity-related searches. This was our warmest audience as we were reaching users who were actively showing relevant interest.

On Facebook, we targeted a variety of different users, including:

  • Users who had previously visited the website and viewed various content
  • Lookalike audiences of previous site visitors
  • Prospecting audiences based on Samaritans’ top-donor persona profiles

Keeping it fresh

We love testing new strategies and we also believe in continual iteration to keep on improving and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. This year we introduced:

  • Testing of various price points across Expanded Text Ads. We used Google Optimize to show personalised price points in the pre-populated donation box on the landing page. These price points matched those in the ads that the users clicked on. This strategy was used with the aim of increasing individual donation values (AOVs). The automatic price point was £5 - using this tool, we were able to display higher price points of £12, £20 and £24.
Samaritans google optimize
  • Responsive Search Ads - these ads were packed full of various headlines and description lines which Google and Bing dynamically tested before showing the top combinations. We used these alongside the Expanded Text Ads.
  • Making the most of raising brand awareness on Facebook. We targeted a range of audiences with the various price points and tested two images against each other.
  • Additionally, the new Samaritans website, proudly built by Torchbox and launched in March 2019, undoubtedly supported the improved conversion rates.

The results

Successfully driving revenue, reach and engagement.

  • The campaigns generated £84,375 in donation revenue, plus £6,680 of assisted revenue. This was more revenue than the total amount of online revenue recorded in December 2018 from all channels.
  • 32,014 clicks were made to the website at a click-through rate of 5%, suggesting users were keen to become engaged with the website.
  • The campaigns accounted for 23.5K new users to the website. When compared with the website average, the bounce rate was 15% lower and 13% more pages were visited per session.
  • ROI was 36% higher this year at £5.68 profit per pound spent on ads.
  • Google Optimize helped to drive higher average donation values. The £24 price point ads resulted in the highest AOV of £92, whilst the £5 price point ads had the lowest AOV of £42.

We have been working closely with Torchbox across the last year to optimise our PPC and Social acquisition activity. This Christmas campaign has been a testament to all that hard work as we delivered a digital marketing campaign that recruited 1,535 donations at a CPA of £8.23 and £84,375 worth of income. Everyone here at Samaritans is extremely pleased with how this campaign has performed and it sets a perfect example of what can be achieved, even with a small budget.

Carina Edwards Acquisition Manager, Samaritans

Looking ahead

Continued collaboration

2019 was a bumper year for Torchbox and Samaritans—we built and launched a new website and intranet that saw online donation revenue increase by 200% and our Spotify acquisition campaign was nominated for numerous industry awards throughout the year.

For 2020, the next key digital campaign will be the March 2020 Donation Appeal, which is currently being finalised, and we have a programme of digital activity planned for the whole year to build on our festive success. We love working with Samaritans and feel very honoured to ‘Be Part of the Story’ of their life-saving work.


Ali Vowles

Senior Digital Account Manager