This Tracking Pixel Lets Advertisers Use Their Media To Support Charitable Causes

Philanthropy is making its way onto the media plan.

On Tuesday, Givsly, a B2B marketing platform that helps brands and agencies make a social impact with their demand and lead generation efforts, launched an advertising solution in beta that translates ad engagement into charitable donations.

Givsly was founded in 2019 by Chad Hickey, who also serves as the company’s CEO, following executive stints at location analytics provider Placed and location data platform GroundTruth.

“We’ve seen a fundamental shift, especially over the past 12 months, of people and companies looking beyond once-a-year volunteer days, of companies wanting to honor and respect the Black and queer communities all year long, not just in February and June,” Hickey said. “It’s, like, how do we do this 24/7, 365.”

Givsly’s advisory board is chock-full of ad tech and agency notables, including former iProspect CEO and current Brainlabs US CEO Jeremy Cornfeldt; Travis Freeman, head of paid and owned media at Inspire Brands; Publicis COO Chris Boothe; Amy Armstrong, director of global customer development for Amazon Ads; and former 360i, Electronic Arts and m/SIX executive Belinda Smith, who recently founded The Second Arrow, a talent and culture consultancy focused on industry-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Give to get

The original idea behind Givsly is to supply marketers with tools to do good by doing well, and in many cases agency and advertising executives now have ESG (environmental, social and governance) commitments along with the mandate to generate business results.

For example, a company could incentivize people to fill out a survey, attend a webinar or swing by a conference booth in exchange for the business contributing to charity through a dedicated donation link.

Givsly has direct partnerships with more than 300 charitable organizations, including charity: water, the American Cancer Society, DonorsChoose, Center for Reproductive Rights, (RED), Black Girls Code and World Central Kitchen.

The new advertising solution, called Good Advertising, is a pixel that can be appended to an existing creative, including video, CTV, social or rich media display formats.

The pixel tracks ad engagement and pings an API that triggers a donation every time someone takes a desired action, whether that’s clicking on an ad, watching a video or scanning a QR code.

“It’s a way to break through the digital noise,” Hickey said. “Brands can also increase the performance of their advertising while showcasing their values, which we know is becoming more and more important to consumers.”

 In early tests, brands with the Good Advertising tag on their campaigns saw between 20% and 50% higher clickthrough rates, on average.

Teads, Undertone, the in-app advertising platform MobileFuse and mobile ad platform Big Happy are the first ad tech companies to sign on for the beta phase, which will run through the end of Q3. Maybelline New York is one of the first advertisers that will test the idea.

Although Givsly supports nonprofit organizations, it’s not itself a nonprofit.

Givsly charges advertisers a small tech fee which gets added to the CPM or CPC of the media buy. Although the exact amount of the fee varies depending on the campaign, roughly half goes to the nonprofit and half goes to Givsly.

Unlike other engage-to-donate sustainability startups like Good-Loop, for example, Givsly isn’t building its own network of publishers. Advertisers plan and target their media buys as normal, but the presence of a Givsly pixel automatically diverts some of that money to a nonprofit.

“The best way to think of us is as a facilitator,” Hickey said. 

Good deal

IPG-owned media agency UM Worldwide is getting ready to test Good Advertising this quarter.

The model is appealing because “every client we talk to wants to give back and do more,” said Joshua Lowcock, global chief media officer at UM, which worked with Givsly on the solution.

“At the same time, brands also want to drive better media performance,” he said. “We’ve done studies that show brands get better performance and increase purchase intent when they tell consumers that they can support a cause by engaging or interacting with an ad.”

People are also more likely to engage with media if it allows them to have a direct impact as opposed to run-of-the-mill public service announcements – you know the ones, with somber piano music in the background and taglines like, “Don’t worry, we’re here for you,” and “We’re all in this together.” (Saw a lot of that at the start of the pandemic.)

“But if giving back becomes part of the operating environment, something a brand does every day and you can see them giving back, that’s really good,” Lowcock said. “But what’s better is if it’s repeatable, which is the beauty here.”

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