Over the last couple of months, Anera has given its ad campaign a makeover. Christina Schnoor has worked as Director of Digital Fundraising at Anera in Washington D.C. for almost a year, and her leadership has already left a significant mark. Anera has been active for 50 years, empowering refugees and others caught in conflicts in the Middle East. Thanks to a revamped Google Ad Grant campaign and a markedly successful paid ad campaign on Facebook, Anera is reaching more and more donors.
When Schnoor began her position at Anera, the organization’s Google Grant was clearly in need of attention and management. Some of their Google ads were being rejected on account of not meeting certain requirements. When Google installed changes to its grant policy at the beginning of the 2018 to require a five percent click-through rate (CTR), Anera’s account was temporarily disabled due to not making the mark.
“We don’t have a huge communications team, so we wear a lot of different hats,” says Schnoor. It was for this reason she reached out to a couple of agencies to produce Anera’s Facebook and Google ads.
The company that manages Anera’s Google Grant is a Premier Google Partner, and within a month of revamping the ad campaign, Anera’s Grant ads were back up and running. Because the ads were optimized, overall impressions and clicks increased, which helped Anera get its CTR back up to 6.89%. Schnoor largely attributes this success to the agency’s efforts to update and optimize the ads.
“I think when people are googling certain keywords, we’re starting to pop up more in the search results,” says Schnoor.
Anera’s most impressive marketing success, however, has perhaps been its email acquisition campaign promoted on Facebook, which began in early April with the assistance of another outside marketing agency. Schnoor undertook the task of running reports, identifying people on their list who didn’t open Anera’s emails, and removing the dead weight. The next step was to build the audience up again with active, interested constituents.
With this in mind, Anera began posting paid ads on Facebook that invite potential donors to add their name and email in support of specific issues. After they submit their contact information, they are invited to take a survey. The survey identifies potential donors’ interests, from supporting refugees to empowering women in Palestine, which helps Anera to better target the issues about which its audience is passionate. Also, Anera uses this information to decide which issue their next campaign should undertake. Causes related to fresh water, for example, have recently been popular among survey-takers. For that reason, one of Anera’s upcoming campaigns will be focused on water.
At the end of each survey is a prompt to donate, which has seen a significant response. Just since the beginning of the campaign two and a half months ago, Anera has seen over 200 new donors from the prompt at the end of these surveys alone. The cost of acquiring a new email subscriber through the Facebook campaign began around two dollars, but is now nearing five. The investment has proven worthwhile: as of last week, Anera has acquired just over 10,000 new names for their email list through the Facebook ad campaign alone.
Schnoor’s advice to nonprofits struggling with an unsuccessful paid ad campaign is to optimize the ads and keep them relevant, and to discern the appropriate amount of money to spend. For a smaller organization such as Anera, such constant management of ad performance may not be feasible within its own communications department alone. Realizing this is what convinced Schnoor to reach out to the experts.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small,” says Schnoor. “If you’re not looking at it every day, it’s going to fall by the wayside.”