Starlight Children’s Foundation: Using Paid Search & Social to Amplify Emergency COVID-19 Appeal


Starlight Children’s Foundation is a national children’s charity which helps preserve childhood throughout serious illness, especially for those spending lengthy periods in hospital, through wish granting, play and distraction services, and Starlight Escapes.

The Challenge

Starlight launched an urgent COVID-19 appeal and needed to increase donation volume beyond their usual donors and email recipients. Having not run any large-scale Paid activity in the past, they came to The Market to drive a cross-channel awareness campaign, and to drive donations profitably at scale.

The Solution

The Market’s approach needed to be structured in a way that would allow for effective awareness, whilst also pushing users down the conversion funnel to drive donations to the COVID-19 Relief landing page. The biggest challenge here was how to determine which users were likely to donate, and the most cost-effective ways to get in front of them, whilst ensuring we drove a positive ROI amongst the other notable charities who were running similar appeals.

We decided on a two-pronged approach, using both Paid Social and Paid Search to drive conversions, and used GDN to drive broader awareness across affinity and in-market audiences. Assets were limited to a main video and static images, which we promoted across the Feed placements across Facebook & Instagram. We also utilised the same creatives across GDN for thematic consistency. We had identified four core audiences; General Charity Donors, Children’s Charity Donors, High Net Worth Individuals and Lookalikes (1-2%).

As a charity, Starlight are also able to take advantage of Google Grants Charity scheme. We used this to run all our Brand activity, since intent here was strong and would not be impacted by the limitations which are applied to Grants accounts. Alongside this, we ran Generic and GDN activity from a standard Google Ads account to rank more competitively and drive more clicks and donations through these searches. 


CPA 31% below target

ROI of 2.9 

6 million impressions

25,000 clicks

The results were impressive; in four weeks the campaign delivered 51% more revenue in cash donations through digital than had been forecast for the entire year. The approach we put together, in tandem with our testing methodology drove excellent performance, setting the foundation for future appeals alongside Starlight.

Leveraging the power of Paid Social to generate awareness amongst ‘conscious consumers’ for an iconic lighting brand
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