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How to achieve digital ad success with any size budget

by | Jul 10, 2024

You may have heard that digital ads only get results if you have a big budget to spend on them. Maybe you’ve even been turned away by ad agencies that refuse to work with you because your budget is less than their minimum ad buy. You might think a digital PSA campaign is just out of reach for small- to medium-size nonprofit organizations.

We encourage you to think again.

As a PSA campaign manager for nonprofits with important messages to share, we’ve seen first-hand how ad buys can deliver positive results for our clients at any budget. Let’s clear up some common misconceptions and explore how you can use digital ads to get PSA results.

Why Digital PSA Distribution Is Different

Digital is different from broadcast PSAs in some key ways. Results tracking is more granular so you get a more detailed understanding of how your ad performed, but you have to pay for placement on digital channels.

The nature of digital advertising means companies don’t donate unsold ad time. Ad space is sold via systems that ensure every ad slot is instantly filled. So if you want to reach digital audiences, you’ll need to pay for the privilege. It helps to have an experienced distribution partner in your corner.

With digital ads, the results scale to match your budget. A $15,000 campaign certainly won’t deliver the same results as a $100,000 campaign. In most cases you’ll pay per impression – meaning that you’ll pay a set fee for each person who sees your message. However, if well-targeted, that smaller campaign can still make a big difference to the nonprofit.

At Connect360, we work with media outlets to maximize the return on investment for each client. That means we get to know your nonprofit and then carefully select platforms and audiences to meet your needs. Even when working with small budgets, we can often negotiate free impressions, adding value without adding cost.

How to Maximize PSA Results: Broadcast + Digital Ads

Highly targeted audiences are more likely to remember your message, click through to your website, and volunteer or donate. A digital campaign allows you to target specific groups or types of people. That ensures that your PSA reaches the people who most need to see it.

Because we’ve worked with nonprofits for decades, we know their needs and the needs of their audiences. Yet, we don’t assume every nonprofit is the same. We take the time to learn about your organization and its needs to develop a truly customized digital solution. By combining geolocation, behavioral, and demographic targeting, we can ensure that your message is seen or heard by the people most likely to need your message.

Often, the best way to maximize your PSA results is to use a combined digital and broadcast strategy. In this way, you get the broad coverage of broadcast augmented by the targeted results of digital.

For example, the Raynaud’s Association came to us because they wanted to drive more people to their “Are You Blue” quiz and information page as part of their yearly awareness campaign.

We geographically and demographically targeted an in-app mobile campaign timed to release in October, Raynaud’s awareness month. This highly targeted campaign helped the Raynaud’s association achieve a 2000% increase in landing page traffic. Targeting ensured that clicks came from people most likely to be affected by Raynaud’s, leading to a record number of weekly responses to their screening quiz and an 150% increase in overall website traffic.

A member of the association shared this feedback after their first highly successful digital effort: “This was our organization’s first use of in app mobile ads, and we were really pleased with the results compared to our previous year’s Raynaud’s Awareness Month Campaign.”

Digital Advantage: Detailed Results Tracking

One of the major benefits of digital campaigns is the ability to track conversions. With broadcast, you know when and where your message was shown, but it’s hard to tell what viewers did with that information.

With digital, you can see if someone clicked your message and ended up on your donation page. You know if they left your site without taking action, or if they skipped past your message.

This detailed results tracking means you can tell what’s working, and where you might want to invest more of your campaign’s dollars in the future. You can also retarget audiences, for example, by showing your message to someone who already saw your video on their CTV, which leads to much higher conversion rates on your website.

At Connect360, we don’t just report results. We also analyze them to constantly refine our strategy based on actual results. We continue to tweak and adjust throughout your campaign to deliver the best possible results at any budget.

Expert guidance to help you target your digital campaigns

Through industry expertise and absolute care for each nonprofit partner, we consistently deliver better than industry average results on digital ad campaigns. For example, we deliver video completion rates 8% above the industry average.

For example, a Google AdWords campaign we just completed for The American Podiatric Medical Association delivered a 14.75% click-through-rate, almost 11% above the industry average for these kinds of messages. The YouTube view through rate for the same campaign achieved more than 74% view through, compared to a 32% industry average!

These impressive results are possible because we take the time to understand and advise our clients. Rather than insisting on big budgets and long-term campaigns, we find digital solutions to fit your budget and goals.

Our digital experts can help you identify the best fit services for your goals and customize a campaign to meet them.

Digital services offered by Connect 360:

  • Connected TV (CTV) Streaming Ads: Peacock, Hulu, Amazon TV, ESPN, Disney
  • Audio Streaming: Pandora, Spotify, Audacy, iHeart Radio, Audio Podcasts
  • In-app mobile campaigns on popular cell phone and tablet apps
  • Location-based mobile marketing and geotargeting
  • Display Ads on news and other websites
  • Video Pre-roll on YouTube and other targeted websites
  • Digital Marketing targeting healthcare professionals

Real results from digital marketing for nonprofits

Whether you know exactly where you want to promote your PSA or need help getting started, our digital experts will guide you through the process. With industry expertise, better-than-average results, and a commitment to getting you all the free impressions we can, Connect360 is the digital ad distribution partner your message deserves. Contact us today to start maximizing your PSA results with digital advertising.

About the Author

Steve Edelman

Steve Edelman is a Partner and President of Connect360. He is a leading expert on the measurement, valuation, and financial reporting of Public Service Announcements by not-for-profit organizations. He is a CPA and has an extensive background in the application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to earned media valuations and in-kind donations nonprofits receive from broadcasting companies as part of their PSA campaigns. He is the author of numerous articles on the subject and has serves as a resource to nonprofit CFOs, their CPA firms, and professional publications.


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