Crisis Paid Social & Programmatic Case Study

Drum Digital Advertising Awards Winners

  CLIENT: Crisis

  MEDIA: Paid Social & Programmatic

  DATE: Oct-Dec 2019

Crisis Together We Will End Homelessness

Crisis is a national charity for homeless people, aiming to end homelessness for good. The charity helps people out of homelessness through education, employment, housing and well-being centres.


The iconic ‘Crisis at Christmas’ campaign has run since 1972 and helps Crisis provide warm meals, shelter, support and companionship, with the aim of helping homeless people take their first steps out of homelessness.


decrease in CPA

2018 vs 2019


increase in revenue

2018 vs 2019


increase in profit

2018 vs 2019


While Crisis’ campaign had seen massive growth in recent years under the leadership of Catalyst, its digital Christmas campaign needed to cut through in an increasingly crowded period in fundraising.


Crisis, Catalyst and upriseUP were keen to build on the success of the 2018 campaign, by increasing reach and costs. The charity wanted to achieve more ambitious targets while developing a robust and comprehensive testing model to evaluate the activity and be used as a template for any future activity.


We started with building in-depth supporter profiles from the data we had.


  • We started with building in-depth supporter profiles from the data we had.
  • Landing pages were improved to make the donation ask more effective.
  • Campaign Manager was used to understand audience touchpoints with different channels. And effective attribution models were then built.
  • Machine learning improved audience targeting and the creative selection against each audience.
  • Interactive campaigns such as ‘Twitter polls’ and ‘Instagram stories’ were developed to build engagement.
  • Remarketing was then effectively deployed to reinforce the ‘giving message’.
  • A sophisticated testing, (and subsequent reporting), model was utilised to extract key learnings.
  • 20% of spend was focussed on testing, fining new opportunities and vastly improving performance from previous campaigns.
  • Facebook activity was significantly increased as it performed highly against effective audiences.

The campaign was a huge success, delivering the objectives it set out to achieve, and helping Crisis to attain the highest number of online donations for their Christmas campaign to date.


As well as providing detailed analysis and learnings from our testing throughout the campaign, we were still able to achieve a significant increase in donations and revenue compared to the previous year.

YoY increase in Revenue – by Channel

Revenue improvement, 2018 vs 2019

We also achieved sizeable reductions in the cost per acquisition/donation across all channels, not only from 2017 to 2018 (when we started working on the campaign) but from 2018 to 2019.

YoY improvement in Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – by Channel

Improvement in Cost Per Acquisition graph
Crisis Testimonial by Adam Lawrence

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