Charities shun internet advertising to focus on direct mail

  • Charities spend the bulk of their budget on direct mail, with it representing over two thirds of their spending at an average of 69% since 2006. In 2013, charities spent £238.9m on direct mail (slide 16)
  • UK charities spend just 2% of their advertising budget on internet ads. That has barely risen since 2006, when it was 1% (slide 25)
  • In the rest of the advertising industry, internet advertising has constantly increased since 2010 to reach 46% (£14bn) in 2013. Back in 2006, it was 17% (£1.9bn) (slide 5)
  • Charity spending on TV was 7.8% in 2006 (£23.2m) and was 20% (£77.1m) in 2013 (slide 28)
  • Across the advertising industry, TV spending was £3.4bn in 2006 and £3.7bn in 2013 (slide 5)
  • 2.9% of the UK’s total advertising spending is by charities, a figure fairly constant for eight years (slide 10)
  • Charity spending on advertising was at its second highest ever level in 2013 at £394m (slide 16)

Charities are still not exploiting advances in technology and continue to spend the bulk of their advertising budget on direct mail, new research shows. ‘Ad Infinitum’, compiled by research consultancy nfpSynergy, also reveals that one in every £34 spent on advertising comes from charities and spending on TV continues to rise.

The briefing, published today, shows that charities spent £394m on advertising in 2013, nearly two thirds of which (61%) went on direct mail. Despite internet advertising being worth 46% of the total UK advertising market, charities continue to resist it. Internet ads represented just 2% of charities’ advertising spend last year, a figure that has barely risen from the 1% recorded in 2006.

TV spending is one of the few areas consistently rising in charity advertising. It now occupies 20% of the budget (77.1m), up from 7.8% (£23.2m) in 2006. It has traditionally occupied around 28% of overall spending in the UK market.

Other spending such as radio (3%), press (9%) and outdoor (2%) has barely changed for charities and door drops still are still way behind direct mail on just 2%. Charities also avoid the silver screen, with cinema always representing their lowest spend on advertising.

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

“Charities represent around 3% of the advertising market, which is a sobering reminder for those who want to use awareness advertising. What is also interesting is that although charities are increasing their spending on TV, they continue to resist internet advertising when it continues to boom in other sectors. Is this because charities are way behind in terms of technology? Or is internet advertising an extravagant use of money for few benefits and charities are just more frugal?”

Please see the attached briefing for more details.

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Ad Infinitum: charity advertising and media usage

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