These digital marketing trends were picked up by M+R Benchmarks in a large study that involved more than 187 organizations, providing us with invaluable insight into what is shaping nonprofit marketing and fundraising strategies today.
Nonprofits invest more in online advertising
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted fundraising professionals to accelerate the digitalization of their strategies. No longer able to organize in-person events, nonprofits had to find other ways to engage their supporters and seek out potential donors. This includes online advertising, a tool in which nonprofits invested 19% more in 2021 than in 2020.
Compared to direct mail, digital advertising on social media or on search engines is often a faster and cheaper way to promote a specific brand or campaign to a large number of people. This, coupled with the almost endless audience targeting possibilities, makes online advertising very popular and profitable.
Search ads get the best return
Reading that nonprofits invest more in online advertising, you will no doubt be tempted to do the same. But, before you start spending, you should know that fundraising results vary depending on the type of advertising.
Of course, the ideal strategy consists of combining advertising on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) with advertising on search engines, including search ads and display ads. Search ads appear to users who are looking for information directly related to your work or mission, while display ads are paid placements that appear based on various targeting parameters.
Using all these channels at once will help reach more donors. However, for small organizations with a limited budget, it is best to focus on one or two types of advertising. You must consider the habits of the audience you want to target, but it’s also helpful to look at the average costs and returns on investment in the industry.
In 2021, return on ad spend (ROAS) was highest for search ads ($3.72). For display and social media ads, ROAS was $0.59 and $0.57, respectively. Facebook ads, in particular, are becoming more expensive
Email marketing: we can’t trust open rates
In 2021, the average open rate across all nonprofit email marketing (appeals, cultivations) was 22%. This is a 16% jump from the previous year, while most other key performance indicators declined. Click-through rates for fundraising emails decreased by 7%, and the average email response rate was down 11%.
So, what happened?
In the fall of 2021, Apple implemented new privacy protections for people using iOS devices like iPhones. With this update, iOS automatically loads images in email messages that are used to track opens, including before an email recipient opens the message. As a result, the open rate increases, but not the response rate.
There might be other factors that could explain the odd increase in open rates in 2021, but Apple’s update does play a role, which is why we don’t recommend relying on open rate anymore to analyze email performance. Instead, nonprofits should focus on the click-through rate and the response rate.
Mobile-friendly websites generate more revenue
In 2022, you already know that your website is essential for brand-awareness and the overall growth of your organization. It is an easily accessible showcase for your nonprofit, where your prospects can learn more about the organization before converting into donors.
What’s new is that the majority (54%) of nonprofit website traffic comes from users on mobile devices, with 46% of traffic from users on desktop or laptop devices. Unfortunately, most nonprofits haven’t adapted their websites to this trend yet. How do we know? Well:
- Users on desktop/laptop devices still make up most donation transactions (65%) and revenue (76%).
- The average gift made on a desktop/laptop device was $75; for mobile users, the average gift was $46.
This trend can perhaps be explained by the fact that computer users are often older and more prone to give. Additionally, as the result of people staying home more during the past two years, they used their computers more. However, we know that people of all ages are now increasingly comfortable with mobile devices and therefore it is crucial to make websites compatible with mobile browsing – especially when it comes to the donation page. Read our tips to optimize giving by improving your donation platform.
Digital marketing changes quickly, and it can be hard to keep up with the best practices. At Faircom New York, we can help you! You can contact us at any time to learn more.