Image text Building a Paid Media Strategy to Increase Nonprofit Brand Awareness

Building a Paid Media Strategy to Increase Nonprofit Brand Awareness

Paid media advertising is a great way to quickly and efficiently drive traffic to your site and drive conversions for your nonprofit. But, without a top-of-funnel strategy, like a brand awareness campaign, your paid media efforts could see diminishing returns and decreasing efficiency.


Many nonprofits are reluctant to allocate budget toward brand marketing efforts because the return on investment (ROI) can be hard to measure. However, you can easily justify the cost when you look at the many benefits of awareness campaigns.


Benefits of a Brand Awareness Strategy

Soften the Market

Increasing awareness, trust, and affinity for your brand among your target audience improves the performance of subsequent lead generation campaigns by helping to move users down the conversion funnel. Users familiar with your brand are more likely to engage with your ads and ultimately convert – whether that be accessing your services, making a donation, or joining in moving your mission forward. This leads to better efficiency and higher volume in your lead generation campaigns.


Build Remarketing Lists

Similarly, remarketing campaigns help encourage users to engage and convert. As new users find and visit your site, a cookie can be placed on their browser, giving you the opportunity to serve them ads with high-intent calls-to-action. This strategy allows you to show lower-funnel messaging to site visitors who are more likely to convert.


Better Learnings + Optimization

The more data you are able to collect, the smarter your strategy will be, and the better optimized the platform’s algorithms will be. Upper-funnel campaigns give you and the algorithms more insight into which audiences are more likely to engage with your nonprofit. These campaigns also provide an opportunity to test and optimize ad creative and messaging to better understand what resonates with your audience.


Improve Organic Performance

Awareness campaigns don’t just help your paid media efforts. They also help boost your organic performance. Users that see one of your ads are more likely to search for your nonprofit organically or even visit your website directly.


Planning a Strong Brand Awareness Strategy

Plan Ahead

Start thinking about your brand awareness campaign as soon as possible. In order to reap the benefit of softening the market, you’ll need this campaign running for months before your peak period or upcoming lead generation campaign. You’ll also need to factor in time to develop ad creative and messaging, create relevant accounts, and set up tracking prior to launch.


Be Thoughtful About Messaging

This campaign could be users’ first impression of your brand so make it a good one! Introduce your nonprofit and use this opportunity to advertise your unique selling proposition or, what makes you different from your competitors


Test and Refresh

Since brand campaigns can be long-term or even evergreen it’s important to routinely refresh ads. When users are repeatedly served the same ad their brains will start to automatically filter them out. This is referred to as “banner blindness”. By consistently reviewing KPIs you can learn what messaging and images resonate best with your audience and replace low-performing ads with fresh tests.


Setup Proper Tracking

Properly setting up tracking is the single most important thing you can do for, really any type of campaign, especially awareness campaigns. Without it, you will lose many of the benefits that come from these types of campaigns. Proper tracking will ensure you have the metrics you need to measure success and set KPI benchmarks. It will also allow you to tag users who’ve interacted with your ads and website so you can build remarketing audiences and lookalike lists.


How to Measure Campaign Effectiveness

The most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your campaign is to properly measure relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) like impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rate (CTR). To do this, you’ll want to set internal benchmarks based on the historical performance of your previous campaigns. This will give you a standard of performance to measure your future campaigns. 


Organic Lift

One indication of a successful brand awareness campaign is a lift in organic performance. Brand awareness campaigns often increase organic brand searches, direct traffic, and new users.


Ad Engagement

The more familiar your audience is with your brand, the more likely they are to engage with your ads. Keep an eye on your clickthrough rate, likes, and comments.


Brand Lift Study

Many platforms offer brand lift studies that measure the impact of your ads on your brand. They measure things like ad recall, brand awareness, and consideration.


Lead Generation Performance

Using the internal benchmarks you set, compare the performance of your next lead generation campaign with the last. You will likely see an increase in lead volume and conversion rates and a decrease in cost per lead.



When planning your next paid media campaign, consider a full-funnel approach. Create a strategy that fuels the funnel by increasing brand awareness, encourages consideration through retargeting, and converts users with high-intent messaging. The paid media experts at Media Cause will be happy to design a media plan to help your nonprofit achieve your goals.


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