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INN Days 2018: A Peek Inside the ProPublica Year-end Playbook

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ProPublica’s Digital Campaign: CYE 2017

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INN Days 2018: A Peek Inside the ProPublica Year-end Playbook

  1. 1. ProPublica 2018 A Peek Inside the ProPublica Year-end Playbook ProPublica’s Digital Campaign: CYE 2017
  2. 2. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 What makes December so special? ● ⅓ of all annual giving occurs in December ● 10%+ occurs during the last three days ● ProPublica: 32% of our total revenue from low-dollar donors came in December
  3. 3. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Timing: #GivingNewsDay → New Year’s Eve Why start on, and participate in, #GivingTuesday? ● Literally the earliest date to begin year-end messaging ● Great excuse to spend an entire day with “closing” messaging ● You can take advantage of a few unique opportunities ○ Join up with a local arm for combined messaging ○ Partner with another company/organization and share publicity (like a local corporation or News Match)
  4. 4. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Timeline
  5. 5. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Detailed Timeline (Link here) Due date Task Notes 8/31/2018 Secure a partner / apply for a matching grant 8/31/2018 Sign up for #GivingTuesday, download and review their materials Download and review their materials 9/7/2018 Arrange for swag or giveaway If you'd like to do either, these need more lead time 10/5/2018 Create a marketing calendar Figure out which channels you can use to promote your campaign, and lay them all out in date format 10/12/2018 Meet with a designer / copywriter Organize how each asset will be created, reviewed and published 10/19/2018 Create copy for emails At least the first email, to nail down exact phrases and keywords, etc. 10/26/2018 Create copy for promotional assets Web ads, newsletter ads, FB ads, etc. 11/9/2018 Design & finalize promotional assets 11/16/2018 Create audience groups for email And possibly to load into Facebook as a custom audience 11/14/2018 Adjust email copy for each audience group "Join us" vs "Renew your gift" vs "Rejoin us as a monthly donor," etc. 11/20/2018 Create emails inside your EMS 11/20/2018 Create Facebook Ads These can (and should) be done in advance, in case Facebook decides to review your ad before publishing (at most, this takes a day, but they're busy at this time, too!) 11/20/2018 Schedule for publishing your digital assets Sometimes these can be scheduled, other times you simply have to set reminders to remember to do it at the right moment
  6. 6. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Planning: July - September Secure a partner, if you can ● News Match (or a local partner match) ● Giveaway Sign up for #GivingTuesday ● Combined messaging / goal ● Review their materials ● Take advantage of the logo
  7. 7. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Planning: October Create Marketing Calendar ● Message: Year-end giving ● What channels can you use? ● Which audiences? ● What dates do you want to push this message?
  8. 8. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Promotional Channels ● Direct email & social media -- what else? ○ Any available space on your website, this is the time to use it ■ Rotation or remnant ads from your ad network ■ Temporary takeover of a content block ■ Temporary hello bar, lightbox pop up, etc. ○ Find space in any email newsletter that will go out during the campaign ○ Many of these can (and should) use the same assets ■ For ProPublica, a standard 250x300px ad size works in three different places (ad network, email newsletter, Twitter)
  9. 9. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Day Date Promotional Channels Email: Direct message Email: Newsletter ads Web: Pencil bar Web: House Ads Social Media Tuesday 28-Nov x2 x x x x Tuesday 12-Dec x Thursday 14-Dec x Monday 18-Dec x x x x Wednesday 20-Dec x x x x Wednesday 27-Dec x x x x Friday 29-Dec x x x x x Saturday 30-Dec x x x x Sunday 31-Dec x2 x x x ProPublica’s Marketing Calendar - CYE 2017
  10. 10. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Audiences Segment as much as you can, within reason ● Target the people who already love your org ○ Newsletter subscribers, social media fans, etc. ● Adjust email copy for each audience ○ “Join us” vs “Renew your gift” ○ Have multiple emails or use variables in your EMS ○ Direct high-level renewers towards a higher gift string ● Upload custom audiences to Facebook ○ Particularly handy to target newsletter subscribers on another channel (Facebook) ○ (Make sure your privacy policy reflects this) ● For assets like house ads -- don’t worry about segmenting ○ Simply speak directly to those who love your org
  11. 11. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 ProPublica’s ad schedule & copy Day Date Digital Channels Email: Daily newsletter ads (90x90) Web: House Ads (350x250) Web: Pencil bar (top) Copy Only Tuesday 12/26 A New Year’s resolution you can do early Donate to ProPublica Help ProPublica meet our 2017 fundraising goal by making your tax-deductible donation right now. Deadline: Sunday!Wednesday 12/27 Thursday 12/28 Check off this New Year’s resolution right now Donate to ProPublica Help ProPublica meet our 2017 fundraising goal by making your tax-deductible donation right now. Deadline: Sunday! Friday 12/29 Saturday 12/30 Deadline: tomorrow Make your tax-deductible donation to ProPublica Sunday 12/31 Deadline: midnight Make your tax-deductible donation to ProPublica Deadline: Midnight! Make your tax-deductible donation to ProPublica right now.
  12. 12. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Social Media Whichever social media channels you post your content, post your fundraising messages there, too ● Fans and followers are likely core, they’ve chosen to see what you’re up to on these channels ● There’s probably some overlap with your newsletter audience, which is good, the more times anyone sees your message, the better ● Follow your own social media team’s best practices (including tone) ○ ProPublica does a mix of ads and native on Facebook, to not compete with content posts ○ We do not do the same with Twitter
  13. 13. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Social Media: Facebook ● We focused on #GivingNewsDay ● Ad featured News Match until 11am (when we hit the match), then just on #GivingNewsDay ● Earned: 40 donations (ROI: $19) ● More important: reach: 12K ○ We want to show our message in as many places as we can ● Best practices ○ Choose multiple images and rotate them ○ Be clear and concise, use keywords ○ Target: traffic to your donation form ○ Audience: site visitors, email subscribers, etc. ● Plan your budget & audience goals simultaneously ○ How much you spend directly corresponds to how many people will see your ad (we average $5 for 1,000 impressions; national is $7)
  14. 14. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Social Media: Twitter ● Less strict on frequency ○ We Tweeted about #GivingNewsDay over a dozen times ● Slightly more casual in copy ○ “Live feed” leaves lots of room for urgency ● Don’t forget to include images here, too
  15. 15. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Day Date Promotional Channels Email: Direct message Email: Newsletter ads Web: Pencil bar Web: House Ads Social Media Tuesday 28-Nov x2 x x x x Tuesday 12-Dec x Thursday 14-Dec x Monday 18-Dec x x x x Wednesday 20-Dec x x x x Wednesday 27-Dec x x x x Friday 29-Dec x x x x x Saturday 30-Dec x x x x Sunday 31-Dec x2 x x x Email Solicitations: The most important channel
  16. 16. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Emails generate spikes in giving
  17. 17. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Two emails in one day? Yes. ● Competition is very high on #GivingNewsDay & New Year’s Eve ○ Sending two emails increases the chance that a person will see just one of them ● If you can, run a timestamp of gifts from last year (or the last day of any big campaign) ○ If your donation data doesn’t provide a time stamp to the minute, you can find this through Google Analytics ■ View “behavior” traffic to the donation form thank-you page URL ■ Choose a “secondary dimension” by “time,” then by “hour” ○ Send out your two emails just before your two biggest bumps - enhance already present behaviors
  18. 18. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Google analytics: Donations from 2016 NYE told us to send out an email at 10am and 4pm
  19. 19. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Google analytics: Donations 2016 & 2017
  20. 20. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Campaign Flow
  21. 21. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Campaign Flow Powerful way to build momentum ● Start with a splash ○ Pre-promote? Maybe. ■ Seed it with pledges from core donors ■ Talk about an upcoming incentive for the donor ■ ProPublica has not yet ever pre-promoted a campaign ● Allow for a lull in the middle, and keep making your case ○ Campaign should start with ⅓ of your whole; middle should raise another ⅓; and the last two days should raise the final ⅓ ● End with a lot of close messages (and half your donors)
  22. 22. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Email Copy: Case Logical arguments: seeds for your whole campaign (except the end) State these points as facts. You want the reader to simply nod along in agreement, and agree that, in theory, your organization should be supported by individuals. ● Hit at least one of the four main arguments ○ You find value in our work ■ You read us all the time, we are indispensable, our stories stick with you, etc. ○ You support things that you value ■ We are independent media, we are worldly, our niche is something you identify with, etc. ○ We need money ■ Journalism is expensive, etc. ○ We need it to come from you ■ We are funded by people like you, etc.
  23. 23. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Email Copy: Close Emotional arguments: Persuasion triggers These are the tactics that turn motivation into action -- what actually gets the reader to pull their wallet out of their pocket. ● Persuasion triggers should especially saturate your campaign during your final two days, as urgency builds to a peak ○ Deadline: Only one day left (or) only 100 more people until we hit our goal ○ Match: Double the power of your gift ○ Swag: There’s something in it for you, too ( and scarcity) ○ Social proof: hundreds of people have done it, now it’s your turn
  24. 24. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Email Design ● Design best practices ○ Responsive ○ Clear CTAs ○ Bold your links ■ Carefully consider what you link ○ Be aware that user largely skims emails (make them skimmable) ○ Basically, remove any hurdles
  25. 25. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Email results ● ProPublica sent out eleven emails over nine days targeting up to five separate segments (48 messages) ● Average open rate: 21% ○ Average number of opens per user: 3 (mode: 1) ● Average opt-out rate: .14% ● Average spam complaint: .01% ● Average audience size: 34,000 individuals ● Total gifts received: 2,660 ○ Another 2,400 individuals received emails from us, but donated through our home page ○ In total, 71% of total donations received in December
  26. 26. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 CYE 2017 Campaign Results ● Just over ⅓ of our total low-dollar revenue for the year ● Gift sources: Email (70%), home page (20%), other (10%) ● 55% were renewers; 45% were new donors ● Overwhelmingly one-time donors ○ Common for year-end (as is a higher average gift) ● #GivingNewsDay -- 15% of CYE’s total gifts ● New Year’s Eve -- 23% of CYE’s total gifts
  27. 27. ProPublica 2018ProPublica 2018 Questions?

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