digital fundraising tools swim22

Creating a community of fundraisers for Swim22

Campaign: Content and experience management, Integration and bespoke development | Experience: Engagement and acquisition

Swim22 is the virtual channel-swimming challenge from Diabetes UK in which participants raise funds by clocking up 22 miles – the breadth of the English Channel – in their local pool between February and May. By creating a real sense of community among participants, in conjunction with a fun, gamified digital experience, and precision-targeted digital advertising to encourage sign ups, the charity has already raised over £350,000 in 2018.

Manifesto originally built the Swim 22 digital platform in 2015 (which went on to win a commendation at the 2015 DADI Awards). It integrates with both Active Network – the activity and participant management software – and JustGiving – the online fundraising software – so that Diabetes UK can easily manage the event, and so that participants can easily track their progress and set up their online fundraising. Participants gain achievement badges, unlocked at crucial stages (first distance entered, half way mark etc), adding a layer of gamification to keep participants engaged with the platform and more likely to complete the challenge.


Since then the campaign website has seen iterative improvements to enhance both user and content admin experience. Updates to the 2018 campaign site, built in Drupal 7, included the following:

• User search function to allow easier management of accounts for content admin

• New fundraising badges (in addition to the activity badges)

• Leaderboard can now be sorted by fundraising amount as well as distance travelled

• Search by name function for users to track their friends’ progress

• Bonus milestones/badges to keep participants engaged after reaching their original fitness and fundraising goals.


Smashing sign-up goals with a precision-targeted acquisition campaign

The acquisition campaign for swim 22 in 2018 used targeted Facebook newsfeed ads, carousel ads, and short video ads, in conjunction with PPC search marketing across AdWords and Bing, as well as Display marketing to drive sign ups to the virtual event. The campaign used slightly less media spend than in 2017.

Results overview:

• 4,600 registrations, 2.7x the number in 2017

• 3,063 estimated sign-ups attributed to advertising



What we did

We used highly targeted digital advertising to drive traffic to the Swim 22 pages and boost registrations. Though we used multiple Facebook ad formats, video ads were the most successful. Video proved to be best at converting visitors into form starts.

To reach as many people as possible, we used Facebook’s precise targeting tools, as well as Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. By adding remarketing into the mix, we helped to drive conversions from those who had shown initial interest from any marketing channel. This also allowed us to use Swim 22 advocates as a channel to further our message, by asking them to include their own friends.

PPC Search marketing was used to capture audiences actively searching for swimming challenges. By marketing brand keywords and intelligently segmented sub-groups of people looking for similar activities, we were able to serve relevant text ads that converted at a rate of 7.8%

With the demographics of most Bing searchers closely matching Diabetes UK’s highly converting audiences, we tested using this channel alongside Google AdWords. Whilst volumes were very low, Bing produced the lowest cost per conversion of any channel, 27% lower than Google AdWords, and 69% lower than Facebook.

What we achieved

By combining attention-grabbing visual adverts on Facebook, and well-segmented and monitored search campaigns on Google and Bing, with robust audience-building and dynamic retargeting between October 2017 and March 2018, the campaign achieved:

•  A conversion rate of over 6% from ad traffic

•  Over 51,000 website visits, resulting in over 3,000 registrations

The acquisition campaign smashed sign-up goals in comparison to 2017:

• 2017 – 1,900 registrations

• 2018 – 4600 registrations

Fundraising at the time of writing currently stands at £350,000 for Swim 22, 2018.


We used remarketing to re-engage users who had already visited the Swim 22 pages, but not started the registration form.

According to fitness guides Runtastic, 40% of participants drop a fitness course shortly after it begins if they attend on their own. But if they workout with a friend, the dropout rate decreases to 6%. As such, we encouraged people to share the Swim 22 message with friends by social tagging, to foster the idea of fundraising together.

Compared to other advertising, the remarketing encouraged the following social interactions:

• 10x higher rate of comments

• 8x more likely to be shared

• 6x more people liking the Diabetes UK Facebook page

What this means for your project

As a full-service digital agency we can handle each step of your digital campaign, from designing customer journeys and acquisition strategies through to digital design, build and content creation. We’ll work with you to fully understand your audiences and business goals so that you can harness the latest tools and techniques in digital advertising to ensure you achieve the maximum ROI from your campaign.




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