Strategic Messaging + Optimizations Driving Year-End Success

Overview:

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure.

This year, Parkinson’s was aiming to increase year-end revenue from ads—while maintaining the same or higher return on ad spends year over year.

The Outcome

Drove a 4.07 ROAS with $365,654 in revenue and more donations than both 2019 and 2020 combined.

75%

increase in year-end ad revenue

37%

increase in year-end ROAS

54%

increase in year-end donations
The Challenge

Last year’s campaign was already a very successful year for our client, so driving growth in 2021 would be challenging. We knew achieving both Revenue and ROAS growth would be extremely difficult. As any advertising program scales, you typically can lose some efficiency, so we knew we would need to be very strategic this year. In order to achieve the same ROI as last year, we knew we needed to take what we learned from past campaigns, but also provide room for testing and adjustments to make sure we were using our budget as efficiently as possible.  

 

The Strategy

We carefully planned our media around key learnings from last year, while leaving room to pivot quickly and react to emerging trends.

Some optimizations we made based on 2020 results:

  • Based on 2020’s Paid Search success, we allocated significantly more budget to Google and Bing in 2021 and increased the number of keywords in the account. 
  • We planned for large daily budget increases on Giving Tuesday and the last two days of the year when donations typically increase. 
  • We prioritized retargeting audiences on Facebook, using ad set budgets to control spend.
  • We leveraged creative learnings from past campaigns to inform this year’s strategy.

 

Some quick pivots we made in 2021:

  • Early on Giving Tuesday it was clear that Paid Search was going to markedly outperform our expectations, so we quickly increased budgets to capitalize on high demand. Throughout the day, we continued to raise budgets as we saw both high donation volume and high efficiency.
  • As the campaign progressed, we also re-allocated budget across channels to maximize the best-performing (most notably, search and display)

 

By keeping a close watch on daily and channel performance, and reacting quickly, we were able to significantly exceed our client’s goals and increase revenue by 75% year over year – at 37% higher ROAS.

Implementation

Timely Campaign Messaging + Optimization

We planned campaigns around key moments (Giving Tuesday, end of year) to prioritize spend when conversions would be highest. 

Then, we made adjustments throughout the campaign to maximize revenue in key channels and on key days.

For example, Giving Tuesday was even stronger than we initially expected, so we stayed plugged in to make sure we allocated enough budget to maximize revenue on that day. We ended up spending 66% more than last year to drive 63% more revenue (only dropping ROAS by 2% year over year).

Strategic Optimization

We maximized delivery of Paid Search ads where donations and ROAS were highest—which resulted in moving budgets towards paid search. 

Additionally, due to success on paid search, continuously optimized keywords and increased budgets where we had seen success in the past.

Some of the best performing keywords were around non-branded keyword terms like “Parkinson’s charity”, “Parkinson’s donations” and “Parkinson’s research”. We had targeted these keywords to a small extent last year but really pushed on them this year due to strong results. 

We also leaned into competitor keywords after we had success with that tactic in 2020. Competitor keywords drove 794 donations and $141K in Revenue. Nonbrand keywords (e.g. “Parkinson’s charity”) drove 286 donations and $74.7k in Revenue.

Top keywords overall were:

  • [michael j fox foundation] – 130 donations, $32K revenue
  • [michael j fox parkinson disease foundation] – 53 donations, $26K revenue
  • “parkinson’s charity” – 23 donations, $22K revenue

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