How can we mitigate against the phase out of cookies and changes to iOS?

What is the issue? 

Earlier this year, Google announced that Chrome would no longer support third-party cookies from the start of 2024, and Apple has released the option for users to block identifiers for advertisers by default in iOS14. These issues are already having an impact on tracking and will lower return on advertising spend (ROAS) for non-profit organisations which are fundraising through digital channels once cookies disappear if mitigations aren’t put in place now.

This increases the need for organisations to maximise the way they store and tag CRM data to build as full a picture of current donors as possible to give the organisation more chance to be able to find people like them to recruit in the future. 

What are the possible mitigations currently in play? 

Technically, even if third party cookies are being removed, all major ad networks still use first party cookies – providing safer and more compliant visitor tracking. The knowledge of advertising audiences or visitors is not lost. In some cases, it can even be improved thanks to smarter AI resolution. In addition, the digital advertising industry is trying to minimise the impacts as it’s in our interests.

Solutions like Unified ID 2.0 attempt to replace third party cookies with an alternative identifier that’s tied to hashed and encrypted email addresses. This may or may not work, but many other solutions are vying for pole position currently. However, non-profit organisations aren’t in control of this, so it makes sense to proactively mitigate risks in case all of these proposed solutions fail. 

What can your organisation do? 

  • Build the current donor base as much as is possible, perhaps accepting a lower ROAS. 
  • Focus on regular givers will also help build a stronger, more resilient programme. 
  • The issue of tracking, due to Apple’s changes, is less of a fundamental problem as cookie switch off, as you still get the donations, you just can’t track them in Facebook. However, this has and will impact ROAS as it is no longer as easy to scale spend with incomplete data in Facebook Business Manager. The mitigation here is to learn what ROAS within Facebook means a good ROAS overall and build your own logic and tools to manage the scaling issue. 
  • Maximise the data you collect and store this in your CRM in a way that is actionable in improving your marketing efforts. This means developing your unique playbook for improving data capture, integration, analytics, and insights for targeting and offer personalization for conversion. 
  • Use techniques such as social listening to get a deeper understanding of what the sorts of people who are likely to support you are talking about and how you can make your messaging more relevant to where they are at that specific moment and what sorts of language they use.
  • Start to use AI, which has a crucial role to play at the point of transaction using factors such as time of day, location of visitor and any other information we are allowed to factor in to build logic in the giving experience to maximise revenue without the need for cookies.

Is Coronavirus stealing everyone’s attention?

With the Covid-19 crisis escalating worldwide, we thought it would be interesting to see whether the intense focus on this particular pandemic is affecting the attention that other global issues receive. What impact has it had on other charities, especially those that work in non health-related fields? Have people stopped talking about climate change, poverty and famine? Does anyone even remember the pre-Christmas wildfires in Australia, which seemed to be the only thing people were talking about online for weeks?

We plugged a host of keywords into a social listening tool to see what we could find out. Some interesting things emerged – some expected, some less so.

Coronavirus is the hot topic, but for how long?

Unsurprisingly, online chat about coronavirus has shot up since the end of February. At its peak, over 12-13 March, there were around 35 million mentions of it online. However, there has been a dip in the couple of days since. Will we get to a stage where people are bored of talking about it? All jokes will have been rinsed, all pictures of empty supermarket shelves and disinformation about people with coronavirus not being able to see the moon shared to the point of inanity.

Compare this to the 2019-20 wildfires in Australia, which killed 34 humans and an estimated one billion animals. The online chat hit a first peak in late August, with over two million mentions per day, and then a second peak in December with 1.5 million. In the last two months it has stayed steady at half a million mentions a day.

This has not had much impact on other disaster topics

More surprisingly, the new focus on coronavirus has not coincided with much of a dip in discussions about other global issues. People are still talking about climate change, refugees, poverty, and cancer. Mentions of these issues have only dipped by 2% since the end of February compared to the four months prior.

This has had an impact on large charities

While people are still talking about global issues more broadly, they are talking less about the large charities that tackle them. Chat about Greenpeace, Cancer Research UK, UNICEF, WWF and more has decreased by 28% since coronavirus started consuming all media output. Mentions of charity, fundraising, donations, and non-profits have also decreased by 11% since the end of February.

So to some extent, the intense focus on coronavirus has impacted on the attention that unrelated charities are receiving. It remains to be seen whether those charities notice a dip in income, although those that rely heavily on events or footfall in shops for their fundraising will almost certainly be the hardest hit.

For now, coronavirus is, of course, dominating global debate. How long that lasts for is unknown, but it is encouraging for engagers and fundraisers in non-profits around the world alike to see that other important global issues are not going unnoticed, at least for the timebeing. 

48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen

Following the success of our innovative and highly-rated hothouse session in Amsterdam last year, we are returning to the IFC in October with a masterclass running along the same lines.

Put simply, we are giving ourselves – and the delegates – 48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.

We’ll start off by sharing the creative principles and successful studies from causes that have engaged support and raised real money online. We’ll then hand over to the delegates to work in groups to create campaigns around a brief they help to create.

As well as the speakers’ expertise, delegates will have access to virtual support from THINK’s specialist digital designers, online influencer researchers and social media marketing experts – all working remotely to build the awesome digital campaigns.

Working as a group to tight timescales, delegates will also be exposed to some of the theory and practices of agile working that will give an insight into the culture required to be a successful digital team.

Finally, the groups will feed back on their work to see if we really have produced the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.

From this masterclass delegates will learn:

  • How to creatively build a digital campaign from scratch
  • How to work as a team in a very short time to agile working methodologies – so gaining insights into successful digital culture and working practices
  • How to plan a multi-faceted digitally-led campaign

If this all sounds good to you, then join us at IFC 2018!