Charities huge under-users of internet advertising, says nfpSynergy report

The sector spent only 2 per cent of its advertising budget in this medium in 2013, compared with 46 per cent across all sectors

Internet: 'under-used by charities'
Internet: 'under-used by charities'

Charities are massive under-users of the internet for advertising compared with other sectors, a report from the consultancy nfpSynergy has found.

In 2013 the charity sector spent only 2 per cent of its combined advertising budget of £394m on internet adverts, compared with 46 per cent across the advertising industry as a whole, according to the report, published today.

Ad Infinitum: Charity Advertising and Media Usage says that direct mail is still by far the voluntary sector’s most-used medium, meaning the sector is failing to exploit new technology to its potential.

The report, which was compiled using nfpSynergy’s own research and information from the data companies AC Nielsen and Statista, says that charities’ online advertising spend is rising only very slowly, up from 1 per cent of overall advertising spending in 2006. Charities were already behind the game then, when 17 per cent of cross-sector advertising spend went on the web, according to the report.

It says that charities spent a total of £394m on advertising in 2013, an increase on the previous year but still slightly below its 2011 peak of £400m.

National advertising spend was £14bn across all industries, with charities' 3 per cent share of the market remaining fairly consistent over the past eight years, the report says.

In 2013, charities spent 61 per cent of that £394m on direct mail, a proportion that has declined from three-quarters in 2006.

Meanwhile, spending on television advertising has consistently risen. Having occupied 8 per cent of budgets in 2006, it now accounts for 20p of each pound spent on adverts.

Other media, such as press (9 per cent of spend in 2013), radio (3 per cent) and outdoor (2 per cent), have maintained their stake in the overall advertising spend mix.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "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?"

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