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Why should a charity advertise online?

Wouldn’t we all love to have a huge advertising budget, endless amounts of time and an amazing team that are strategically planning fundraising campaigns.

Unfortunately, some charities I work with don’t have these resources. Instead they advertise in an ad hoc fashion – you do what you can, and really, something is better than nothing, right?

So often, this will lead to inconsistent messaging and branding. No longer top of mind when a certain problem is being discussed on the TV or an international incident arises around the world.

No cohesive advertising strategy can take away from the charity’s brand and dilute their message. People can become less interested or attentive, which will affect a charities online reputation and make it difficult to build relationships with the wider community or their target audience.

Remember, regular engagement with this audience can help manage and respond to any negative feedback or misconceptions.

Running ads this way will also lead to charities spending more money and fail to generate real results. In particular, tracking the return on investment (ROI) of ad hoc online advertising campaigns can be challenging, making it difficult to determine which campaigns or ads were successful and why.

Ultimately, charities that advertise in an ad hoc manner may find it difficult to compete with organisations that have a well planned and an ongoing advertising strategy. Building brand awareness and engagement often requires a sustained effort over time, and sporadic advertising may not be enough to accomplish this.

Consistency will help charities stay competitive.  

How often does your charity advertise online?

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Managing the Google Ads Grant in 2024

Managing a Google Ads grant in 2024 requires adherence to Google’s policies and best practices while effectively using the grant to achieve your charities goals. So often however charities accounts will be suspend and staff members are not sure how to get the most from the Google Ads grant.

Visit: https://www.google.com/nonprofits/

The Google Ad Grants are a great tool, a perfect introduction to Search Advertising however it does have it’s limitations. I have always recommend charities invest in a paid PPC account as well in order to achieve their goals.

Here are my top tips! And they are in no particular order..

Follow the structure

It’s important to understand how your account is structured and to follow it. Each account is composed of campaigns, ad groups and ads. Each campaign can be categorised around a goal like, “fundraising” or “recruitment”. Within those campaigns, you will create ad groups centred around specific keywords. Each ad group will contain multiple ads.

Remember, each campaign must have at least two ad groups and 2 ads per ad group.

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Use Google’s Smart bidding

Google smart bidding refers to bid strategies that use Google AI to better optimise ads. The main advantage for a Google Ad Grant account is that it allows you to bid more than US$2.00, which is usually the max when setting bids manually in a Google Grant Account.

These Smart Bidding strategies are for the following;

  1. Target CPA
  2. Target ROAS
  3. Maximise Conversions

Dynamic Search Ads

It can be difficult for charities to create ads for every relevant search. Dynamic Search Ads can help you! Here is a link to how to make them.

Dynamic Search Ads will automatically target keywords and create ads based on the content that is on your website. You can use your whole website or target specific pages. 

Sitelink Extensions

Google says, you must have a minimum of two sitelink extensions for every ad in your Google Ad Grant. These extensions direct the user to specific pages of your website. Beyond sitelink extensions, there are also call extensions, lead form extensions and callout extensions. While Google doesn’t require you to use other extensions, they ad very useful.

Set your daily budget to $329

I don’t see any reason why you should divide your budget. If you are, then perhaps you are running to many campaigns and you may need to prioritise the campaigns that are actually performing well for you.

Optimise your landing page

When someone clicks on your ad you are required to give them a good experience when they get to your landing page. It’s important your landing pages load fast, get to the point quickly with no distractions, compelling ad copy, have social proof and function great on mobile or desktop.

 Lastly, if would like help with your Google Ad Grant I do provide the following service

What other tips would you recommend?

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We’re seeking your feedback on Facebook Challenges in Ireland

Facebook Challenges first started in Ireland and the UK but in recent years many have not performed to the same levels as they did during the pandemic or earlier. The purpose of this survey is to understand what charities are seeing the best return and analyse in more details Facebook Challenges in 2023.

The information in this survey will be discussed at the next Charities Institute Ireland digital forum in May.

Please click on the link below to fill in this short survey.

https://forms.gle/4xwh6sF3xwwVYxUNA

Thank you,

Andrew Parle

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Leveraging Facebook Conversion API for Charities and Nonprofits
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Leveraging Facebook Conversion API for Charities and Nonprofits

Charities and nonprofits are continuously looking at ways to optimise their online presence and digital fundraising efforts. One powerful tool that can help is the Facebook Conversion API (CAPI).

Charities can use the Facebook Conversion API to send important data from their website straight to Facebook.

Client-side tracking:

Client-side tracking refers to the method of collecting and processing data on the client side, which means within the user’s browser or device.

When it comes to Facebook, client-side tracking is associated with the Facebook Pixel. The Facebook Pixel is a snippet of code provided by Facebook that advertisers embed on their websites. It allows Facebook to track users’ actions on the site after they click on a Facebook ad. When a user visits a website with the Facebook Pixel installed, the pixel code executes in the user’s browser.

The data collected by the Facebook Pixel is then sent back to Facebook’s servers, providing valuable insights for advertisers to measure.

However, In the last few years, the strength of the Facebook pixel has declined. Mainly due to iOS 14 privacy features, ad blockers and lots more, eventually most browsers will fully block third-party cookies making the Facebook pixel useless.

Server-side tracking:

Server-side tracking refers to a method of collecting and processing data on the server side rather than on the client side (user’s browser). Server-side tracking with the Facebook pixel, involves sending the data directly to Facebook servers from the web server hosting the website.

The Facebook CAPI will track conversions, optimize campaigns, and create custom audiences instead of relying solely on the Facebook Pixel within the user’s browser.

How to implement the Facebook Conversion API

Firstly, there are various ways to implement the CAPI, both free and paid. The key is to understand the method that best suits your needs.

While there is a WordPress CAPI plugin solution available, it’s worth noting that based on reviews, it has only received a 1-star rating. If you have used it, we would love to hear your feedback.

Our first recommendation is setting up Facebook CAPI via Google Tag Manager, which is certainly worth investigating and allows any kind of customisation. However, it does require a strong technical knowledge of Google Tag Manager.

Facebook, along with many experts, recommends configuring Facebook CAPI using Amazon web servers, but this option comes with an approximate cost of €100 per month.

Our top recommendation however is Stape. They offer two subscription plans, both of which come with a 7-day free trial for the Facebook CAPI.

  • Pay as You Go: $10/month or $100 annually for each Pixel.
  • Unlimited: $100/month or $1000 annually for an unlimited number of Pixels.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that Facebook’s platform is continuously evolving.

For the moment you do not need to set up the Facebook CAPI in order to advertise on Facebook. In fact, Facebook recommend that if you are spending more than €3000 per month, then the Facebook CAPI is the ideal solution for your charity.


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How charities can plan their online advertising budget for 2024
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How charities can plan their online advertising budget for 2024

For every charity or non-profit, planning your online advertising budget for 2024 involves thoughtful consideration of your financial goals, past performances, campaign planning and lots more. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help charities plan their online budget for the upcoming year.

  1. Firstly, asses the performance of your 2023 online advertising efforts. Drill into which campaign or Facebook Challenge worked well and why. Use this data as a starting point. Compare previous targets against the results and see how they performed in terms of return on investment (ROI)
  2. Define your advertising goals for 2024. Increase brand awareness, generate leads, boost the number of once off or regular donations – having clear goals will guide your budget allocation. Identify the online channels that align with your goals. For example, use the Google Ad Grant for the awareness goal.
  3. Allocate Budget. Decide on what percentage of your overall budget will go toward different campaigns or Facebook Challenges.
  4. Plan your campaigns. I personally think the beginning of a new year is a good time to start planning your campaigns. Whose story will you use, content, target audience, channels and more.
  5. Factor seasonality. What specific times during the year or certain days impact your advertising efforts. Plan for increased or decreased spending during peak seasons.
  6. Always allocate a certain percentage of your budget to testing. Ad creatives, formats, wording etc and how they resonate with your audience.
  7. Stay informed about online advertising trends. AI is an absolute game changer!  AI can now optimise your campaigns by adjusting your daily budget, bids and targeting. AI will personalise ads for each specific user based on their demographics. And AI can now automate a lot of the tasks you do when managing a paid advertising campaign. Understand the benefits and challenges of AI.
  8. Measure the ROI: Establish KPI’s for measuring the ROI. Track conversations, CPA, Opt-In’s, leads, donations and other relevant KPI’s to access how effective your advertising is.
  9. Set up GA4 correctly. Have you set up relevant conversion events in GA4? Do you understand how to asses them?
  10. Review your main donation page. Using best practices optimise your main donation page; review its design, giving process, can you track donations and can visitors view it on a mobile device.

Top Tip: When visitors process their donation ensure they receive a thank you page and not a thank you message. This will make your life alot easier especially when setting Facebook Conversion events or events in GA4.

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How charities create impact on social media in 2024
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How charities create impact on social media in 2024

As Facebook and Instagram increasingly integrate AI tools and AI recommendations, the importance of authenticity grows. Charities need to start thinking more like creators to stay relevant.

While collaborating with creators or influencers is appealing, some charities may not pursue this avenue. In such cases, it is advisable to designate someone from the existing team to take on the responsibility of creating digital content. Alternatively, if planning to hire a digital executive in 2024, prioritise individuals with a primary skill set in digital content creation.

Staying ahead of the curve is crucial, as platforms like Instagram emphasise features like reels, stories, short-form videos, and lots more.

It is noteworthy that the organic reach of link posts has been diminishing, with Meta shifting away from news content toward entertainment. Crafting content that is both educational and humorous, as well as inspirational, hopeful, and impactful, is recommended.

User-generated content (UGC) remains integral for fostering authenticity and expanding a charity’s influence and trustworthiness. Simply writing a blog post is insufficient; charities must master the art of storytelling.

Ignoring social media comments is no longer an option, and promptly responding to donors’ messages on messaging tools is essential.

In 2024, the strategy should not be to reach everyone. Instead, identify your charity’s supporters and actively engage with them. Embrace authenticity, innovation, and connect with your audience online.

Paid advertising continues to be crucial for charities. Since most online interactions begin with a search engine or on social media, it is important to have a plan in place to enhance the charity’s discoverability through Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Whether potential supporters are looking to donate, volunteer, or seek support, running paid ads is vital to capturing their attention.

Let me know your thoughts?

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