Everyone hate ads, so what do WE do?

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Almost everyone I speak to, who are not marketers themselves, simply hate ads. They are in their way, they distract them and sometimes they are just an eyesore.
But somehow they still work. Well, sometimes they work. Well, most times they don’t work but we’re still fine with it.

Or else we wouldn’t be accepting 10-20% conversion rate as a good thing. for some methods, even 1% is adequate and enough to make a profit.
But if we post an appeal to 100 people and expect 1-10 to take action, this means that 90-99 people just thought we are annoying or simply ignored us.

So what can WE do about it?

Where did ads come from

Since the early 18th century, ads have evolved to become part of our lives.
There’s an ongoing arms race in the advertising industry that has been going on for decades now – We learn to ignore ads and advertisers find new ways to get our attention, which we learn to ignore, so they find new ways and so on.

As the need for raising funds grew in our sector, so did the use of varied advertising techniques borrowed from the business world.
Fundraising personnel (or sales/marketing personnel) are one of the first puzzle pieces charities seek out if they are looking to grow, and rightfully so.

Much like the business world, over time, some charities grew to become massive corporations with national or worldwide coverage and the ones that didn’t evolve or stayed stagnant usually perished or were destined to generating a small impact until they eventually perished.

This doesn’t mean that new businesses or charities can’t climb to the top with hard work, the right mindset, right message and the right tools. We are actually living in a very unique time in history where we can reach more people than we ever did before.

But people still hate ads.

Now, in our digital world, some ads are more welcomed than others.

For example, if you are looking for a product, service or organisation, you will probably jump on Google and just type in what you are looking for. Since the ads that will appear will be catered to your exact search. you might be OK with it and click on an ad that seems relevant.

Google has been working hard on increasing the clicks to their ads compared to the organic search and after years trying, it seems that this year they finally broke the 50% click ratio between organic search and paid ads. In 2014 the ratio was 20% clicked on ads compared to 80% ignoring ads and clicking on the organic search results instead.

What changed?

The relevance of the ads, the marketer’s understanding that the ads need to be tailor-made for the person watching and the technology that finally allows us to do that.

So Google are on their way to cracking this, but then, people will adapt once again and learn to ignore the new techniques.

The problem is people just hate ads.

So, as small to medium charities, without millions of pounds worth of ad spend on TV ads, London Underground campaigns and expensive marketing agencies, what can we do to get our message across?
Once again, we live in an incredible time – we can spread our message to thousands, millions or even billions of people using social tools that have connected humanity on a scale we never even thought possible. And this is just the beginning – in the upcoming years, we are going to see more and more ways to interact and connect with people in much easier ways.

The interesting thing is even with all this technology around us, the way we interact remained the same and we still don’t like ads.

So if ads are out of the picture, what other ways are there to influence people and get them to take action? something that has consistently worked across history to get people to listen and react?

Tell a story!

A well-told story appeals to our imagination, it captures our desires and illustrates a way for us to connect.
When the essence of our work as charity marketers is to create empathy, a good story will dramatically increase the chances of donations.

Now, to show you what I mean, let’s see how the big charities are using this:


Only 125 likes and 9 comments. Not so good considering this page has 1.5m followers.


6 times more likes and comments with loads of heartfelt reactions  – I would say 10 times the impact – though this is not a real metrics 🙂


121 likes and 4 comments, read the copy – this is a classic ad formatting.


20 times more likes and 12 times more comments.


This is a smaller charity but still we have 7 likes and 2 comments


25 times more likes and 5 times more comments.

So now what?

Now it’s time for you to take action within your charity and stop being lazy with the content you are creating, people take notice if you put in the effort to really get them to see your point.

If you feel that you don’t have the time to post long stories, simply post less – so instead of posting 10 boring posts just to say you did it, post 3 amazing posts that everyone wants to share around and talk about.

Before we close this off, there’s one more thing I want to remind you…

Likes are not a real goal

I already spoke about this a few times before but this one is easy to forget so let’s do a quick reminder.

While it’s great to get likes and comments, we want to get donations and having 100 likes per post with 0 donations it’s kind of a waste of time in my book.

I created this short training to show you how to leverage your likes into actual donors. This little recipe will start generating donations from your existing engagements on social media as early as today! So feel free to click here and learn more >> http://bit.ly/2MBhq6n

These 2 strategies together will create a fundamental change in your social activity, with no fancy technology and complex steps – Just good old common sense.

Vito Peleg - Digital Consultant for Charities

Vito Peleg – Digital Consultant for Charities

Please let me know how this exercise worked for you in the comments section below and if you this post resonated with you, let’s talk – I’m sure there’s plenty of other things I can do to help you scale your charity and increase your impact on your cause. Schedule your free strategy session with me here

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