Samaritan: Beacons of Hope


Campaign Summary

Samaritan discussed its campaign to drive awareness of and financial support for its campaign against homelessness.


Objective and Context:

The Samaritan app reveals the story of homelessness among us and provides "Samaritans" with the opportunity to give in response to critical needs such as educational resources, food, and shelter with the ultimate goal of helping homeless individuals land a sustainable job and get off the streets.

Samaritan set out in its campaign with two objectives. First and foremost, it wanted to build awareness around what Samaritan is and how it is alleviating homelessness in Seattle. Ultimately it wanted to drive downloads of the Samaritan app. Among those who did download the app, Samaritan wanted to drive active use and donations.

To be successful, Samaritan needed to inspire users to learn more about what Samaritan was and how its work was changing lives.

To measure the success of its campaign, Samaritan measured click-through rate (CTR) calculated as a percentage, which allowed Samaritan to look at which strategies, ad sizes, device types, and zip codes performed best in driving engagement and awareness to the Samaritan website and/or its app in the Apple and Google Play stores. Second, Samaritan looked at the actual installs of the app and measured the cost per action. Lastly, the organization looked at users who not only downloaded the app, but also made a donation.

Target Audience:

There were three strategies used to curate the audiences for the campaign. For the first audience, Samaritan utilized a proprietary CRM tool that took first-party location and bid request data and matched that against exact locations in Seattle where there were homeless camps. Samaritan followed this same process on certain days at various locations where it was participating in events to promote its work in the community.

For the second audience, Samaritan capitalized on third-party data of users who made charitable donations, did philanthropic work, or participated in events promoting the end of homelessness, and of people who commuted to and from downtown Seattle.

For the third audience, Samaritan built a content-based site list of premium websites such as the Seattle Times, The Stranger, Seattle PI, Komo News, and KUOW Public Radio and tapped into keywords that showed up on apps and websites such as "homeless," "unsheltered," "non-profits," and "encampments."

Creative Strategy:

Samaritan created 320x50, 300x250, 320x480, and 728x90 static ads, plus a 30-second video. The organization curated two static creatives per ad size to A/B test based on KPIs, each creative having separate images, tag lines, and calls to action. Samaritan targeted and attributed these ads against smartphone, tablet, desktop, portable media player, connected TV, and car browsers via a third-party cross-device output graph. This approach allowed the organization to attribute associated devices to the same user, such as an install from a smartphone after seeing an ad from desktop.

This cross-device solution worked seamlessly with Samaritan's three audiences. The organization was able to tap into third-party data, utilize first-party proprietary location data, and target people on highly visible channels such as the Seattle Times and other news sites.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The use of the agency Gimbal's advertising platform in conjunction with a third-party cross-device graph and a DSP ensured a seamless execution for the campaign. Because the campaign KPIs involved downloading an app and taking action once in-app, Samaritan served 60 percent of the campaign on mobile. The overall budget set for this first campaign by the agency was $5,000 (pro bono), with the majority allocated to mobile and the remainder allocated to desktop and other device avenues such as connected TVs and in-car. Overall, the mobile spend performed best in regard to lower-funnel KPIs, which speaks more to impact and ROI, and the desktop spends performed better in higher-funnel KPIs around brand awareness.

Mobile Execution:

Mobile advertising was a critical component of this campaign. Because the Samaritan app is only available on Android and iOS devices, the organization targeted those operating systems exclusively and created unique ad groups per ad size to garner the best CTR on Android to the Google Play Store and on iOS to the iTunes store.

Additionally, Samaritan ran multiple ad sizes to fulfill multiple portions of mobile device types, such as tablets, smartphones, and portable media players. The 320x50 ad size mainly ran as a banner in-app at the top or bottom of the screen, the 300x250 ran in mobile web containers, the 320x480 took up the whole screen on a smartphone in an app, and the 728x90 ran as a banner on tablet at the top or bottom of the screen. Lastly, video creative ran on all smartphone device types and in-app or on mobile web.

By utilizing all of these ad sizes across mobile, Samaritan was able to serve ads across all different formats and hit unique people while also limiting frequency to two devices of the same person per 48 hours. On mobile, the organization also targeted exact locations (latitude and longitude) with a radius, utilizing first-party location data. Mobile targeting allowed Samaritan the ability to granularly target devices around homeless camps to gather device IDs and serve ads to people who were walking by or through there in hopes of getting them to click the ad, download the app, and contribute to a cause that was top of mind.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign exceeded the objectives and goals set forth at the beginning of the campaign.

The campaign ran from March 1 to May 31, 2019. In March and April, Samaritan focused on brand awareness and user acquisition. During that time, the campaign drove 515,870 impressions and 4,850 clicks, with a CTR of 0.94 percent. The videos that the organization ran were 30 seconds long and had an average video completion rate of 64.37 percent, which meant that two out of every three people finished the 30-second-long clips (not just non-skippable inventory across all formats).

Moving down the funnel, Samaritan garnered 1,218 installs (on average, 406 per month) over the three-month campaign, which was a 220 percent increase in comparison to Samaritan's six-month average prior to the campaign. For the month of May, the organization shifted its focus to donations and user engagement in the app. As a result, it saw an increase in the number of donations, going from 318 in February to 464 in May.

Categories: Social Impact/Not For Profit | Industries: Nonprofits & Government | Objectives: Social Impact/Not For Profit | Awards: NA Gold Winner