Samaritans

PPC Campaign Delivers £33K for Samaritans’ Christmas Appeal

Phil Mcminn
Phil McMinn

Director of Digital Marketing 1 Apr 2019 2 min read

Campaign Background

Christmas can be a difficult time for a lot of people—1 in 3 calls to Samaritans on Christmas Day are from people who feel lonely and isolated. This year, Samaritans ran a Christmas Emergency Appeal encouraging users to “give the gift of listening to help save lives”. Torchbox were asked to run the pay-per-click (PPC) component of the campaign, with the goal of delivering single and regular donations. Our work comprised of the following elements:

  • Text adverts on Google and Bing’s Search Networks
  • Display (banner) adverts, trafficked through Google Ads, and Display & Video 360 (DV360 - formerly DoubleClick)
  • Banner advert creation
  • Retargeting audience setup in Google Ads, Bing and DV360

How we did it

Planning for this campaign began several months in advance. We built sophisticated retargeting audiences (users who have previously engaged with the Samaritans website) across all of the channels Samaritans were going to be advertising on, including social channels. These retargeting lists, which can be used in advertising campaigns, take time to populate, and each platform has specific criteria around minimum user numbers and list membership duration. Our decision to build these early paid off: come campaign launch time we had 250,000 cookies available for use in our campaigns. We were also able to use these audiences to prevent ads being shown to website visitors who were looking for support and help.

For Display activity, we were able to show specific ads to this audience of “warm” users, while also targeting a colder audience via DV360’s suite of interest and demographic targeting. For Search ads, we adjusted our bids incrementally if users had previously been on www.samaritans.org in the last 7, 30, 90 or 180 days—the more recent the visit, the higher our bids were. This had a dramatic effect on the campaign: we saw conversion rates (the percentage of clicks that resulted in a donation) as high as 11% for some of these audiences, compared to an overall conversion rate of 2% for the whole campaign.

In 2017, equivalent Search activity was run via Samaritans Google Ad Grants account. However, having reviewed the impression share (how often ads showed where we were eligible to show) for that activity, we made the decision to run paid media spend instead to ensure our ads showed as often as possible. It was the right decision: our impression share rose to 98% on brand terms (compared to 47% when activity ran through Google Ad Grants).

The results

Our PPC activity generated the following results:

PPC_V1-01.jpg
Using our PPC activity to increase revenue for Samaritans

Our Search activity ran on Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Bing. In line with sector trends we’ve seen with our other PPC campaign results, this campaign delivered a significantly better ROI from Bing ads compared to Google—£7.67 of profit per pound spent compared to £5.92 profit from Google Ads. This reiterates the value of Bing in the charity sector.

2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Torchbox and Samaritans. With a Spotify audio campaign under our belts (shortlisted for a Digiday Award for Social Good), a new Torchbox-built website launched in March 2019, and continued paid social and PPC activity underway, we’re looking forward to supporting Samaritans and the amazing, life-saving work they do all day, every day.

Phil Mcminn
Phil McMinn

Director of Digital Marketing 1 Apr 2019 2 min read

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