5 Types of Digital Ads to Promote Your Nonprofit or Association

Today we’re talking about digital advertising, something we’re all familiar with, whether we use it ourselves or not. When you’re browsing the web or scrolling through social media, those ads you see on the side or in your feed seem pretty in line with your interests, don’t they? That’s because digital advertising uses targeting to look at a whole slew of data points and serve you the ads that are (supposedly) the best fit. 

While sometimes these ads can be overwhelming or annoying, they really do work when done right. Here, I’m sharing 5 types of digital ads that will help you to promote your organization and reach your goals.

Retargeting ads

Retargeting ads are ads that use your search history and online movements for remarketing brands or products you’ve recently searched. Some people think this is creepy, but I find it helpful (at least some of the time.) For example, if you visited a nonprofit’s donation page, clicked around, and then closed the window, you might start to see ads for that nonprofit as you continue to search the web. But here’s the proof in the pudding: retargeting ads increase conversion rates by over 40%! These types of ads keep your organization top of mind for potential donors and can be incredibly effective because they’re targeting someone that was already interested enough in your cause to visit your website. 

Social media ads

We know the power of social media, and the advertising arm of our favorite platforms is just another way to reach your audience where they already are. There are a few different types of social media ads—you can create a native ad for brand awareness or boost a post you’ve created to increase the impressions or clicks. If you’re looking to increase impressions on a post, boosting it will help you reach your target audience. However, native ads with built-in CTAs will help you convert.  Nearly 20% of donors worldwide have donated to causes on Facebook! Each type has isn’t own pros and cons, so it’s best to consider what your goal is and how you’re measuring it.

Search engine ads

Search engines like Google allow you to place ads based on targeted keywords—you’ve likely seen them at the top of your search results when you type in something mildly specific for FREE…like $10,000 a month free for 501c3s! (You can read more details on that program here.) So, if you’re a nonprofit that addresses homelessness in New York City, you can create an ad based on a string of keywords like ‘help homeless people NYC.’ And Google lets you go a step further and use your retargeting list in their ads. So, if someone has visited your donor page in the last 30 days, you can target them specifically on Google. 

Geo-specific ads

Ads targeting a smaller geographic area are perfect for local organizations looking to grow within their region. Or, you can use this type of ad to promote an in-person event that is happening in a city, even if your nonprofit operates nationwide. You can get as granular as a certain area of a city or a college campus or target an entire city or region—the specificity should be based on your desired outcome. For example, target the college area if you’re looking for college-aged volunteers.

Video ads 

Video content has emerged as having a higher engagement rate than written content, and the same holds true for video ads and written ads—video has a higher conversion rate. Some platforms, Instagram specifically, prioritize video content, so it should be built into your future budget to create content with awareness and conversion in mind. Video ads can be native and in-feed on social media platforms, or you can use YouTube to buy ads that play before or during video content.

As you consider what your future marketing budgets look like, do an analysis of how digital advertising can help you reach your goals. Then plan for the projected costs of creation and ad spend in your budget. You don’t need to start with all five types of ads, pick one or two that best fit your current or future strategy and go for it!