Boost a charitable donation with attention!

Thomas Z. Ramsøy

July 17, 2021

One of the more honorable ways to do marketing is to do it for the sake of good. But how well do charitable donation ads fare? Do they generate attention to the areas they should? As it turns out, charities need help to boost brand attention.

Charities are highly dependent on receiving donations, and besides direct pleas for charitable donations, they are also dependent on successful ad campaigns. So the obvious question is: how well do these ads fare on attention?

A critical part for an ad to succeed is to gain attention to some specific critical components. Besides getting attention in the first place, ads need to draw viewers' eyes to the text if they are to get their message across, and to the brand to successfully connect the narrative to the brand.

Rarely, ads for charity are what's called "call to action" ads, which are designed to have the viewer act right away. Instead, charity ads tend to work on so-called "brand building" that both create general brand awareness and hopefully lead to some specific associations.

World Wildlife Foundation

The Salvation Army

UNHCR

United Way

Rotary

Feeding America

Feeding America

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders

Amnesty International

American Red Cross

AARP

To test the relative success of charitable donations ads on attention to message and brand, we ran a couple of handful of the most recent international charity ads. The examples above show which ads we tested.

We then analyzed the ads with Predict and drew Areas Of Interest (AOIs) for elements such as the brand, main text, person, illustration, etc. We then extracted these data and analyzed the data to find the best and worst performers. Read on to see what we found!

Charity ads perform poorly

The overall finding was that charity ads did not produce any strong attention response across the different ads and AOIs. Looking at the distribution of scores (see figure below) we can see that the majority of ads scored lower than 25% on attention. This suggests that most ads fail to generate much attention.

This histogram represents the distribution of attention scores for the charity ads suggests that they do not perform very well on average. There is an over-representation of low-performing ads with attention below 25%, and only a few ads show a high score above 75%.

Are any AOIs performing better or worse than others?

To answer this question, we looked for differences between the AOIs. Here, we found a highly significant difference (F = 22.1, p<0.0001). Here, the brand scored by far the lowest on attention, while illustrations scored the highest. This is also shown by the figure below:

When we look at different Areas of Interest (AOIs) we can see that brand is generally scoring very poorly. This suggests that charity ads fail to make viewers see what the name of the charity is. The boxplot shows the median score (line), 50% interquartile range (box), and whiskers denote the minimum and maximum quartile. Dots represent outliers.

And the winner is...the least bad performer

We then looked at the difference in attention score for two main AOIs: brand and main text.

Every single ad performed abysmally on brand attention. Not a single ad received more than 10% brand attention. These results suggest that brand attention is highly likely to fail for these ads.

Let's have a look at their Predict performances:

WWF

United Way

UNHCR

Salvation Army

Rotary

Feeding America

Feeding America

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders

Amnesty International

American Red Cross

AARP

When we looked at the main text performance, things definitely looked better: attention goes way beyond 25%, and the top scorer was above 75%! That is an amazing result for attention. This can also be seen in the figure below (bottom part). These results suggest that most ads will succeed in being read and understood.

When looking at critical AOIs, we see that general performance to the brand logo is extremely low (top). The "winner" is the one that performs the least bad. For text attention (bottom), we see a very different pattern. Here, some ads score a high amount of attention, suggesting that they will be read and understood.

Charity ads need brand attention

Taken together, the results are pretty stunning: brand attention is as good as non-existing. There's work to be done. For charity ads to work, there absolutely needs to be a connection between the ad narrative and the brand. If the brand is not seen, viewers are likely to miss who is behind the ad. The moment of brand building is gone!

But not everything is lost. As we can see here, our readily available online tool clearly shows how a simple analysis can point to problems. When they are pointed to, they can be fixed! It's actually as simple as that.

So what's next, charitable NGO? Reach out to us for a free demo on how we can help you draw more attention to your brand with Predict.

Boost a charitable donation with attention!

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