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Creative Charity Fundraising Social Media

Diabetes UK: Swim 22 campaign makes a splash with Manifesto

May 29, 2018 | 4 min read

When charity Diabetes UK wanted to grow its annual Swim 22 campaign, it turned to digital agency Manifesto to boost its acquisition and remarketing strategy…


Swim22 is the virtual channel-swimming challenge from Diabetes UK in which participants clock up 22 miles – the breadth of the English Channel – in their local pool between February and May to raise vital funds for Diabetes UK and to help support people affected by diabetes.

Manifesto originally built the Swim 22 digital platform in 2015. Its current iteration 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 participants can easily track their progress and set up 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.

Diabetes UK tasked Manifesto with refreshing the participant acquisition strategy of this year’s Swim 22 challenge.

Swin 22 digtal ads


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 resulting in 4,600 registrations (2.7 times the number in 2017), and 3063 estimated sign-ups attributed directly to advertising.

Digital ads encouraging sign ups


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

To reach as many people as possible, Manifesto used Facebook’s precise targeting tools, as well as custom audiences and lookalike audiences. By adding re-marketing into the mix, it helped drive conversions from those who had shown initial interest from any marketing channel.

Pay-per-click 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, Manifesto 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 audiences, we tested using this channel alongside Google AdWords. While volumes were very low, Bing produced the lowest cost per conversion of any channel, 27% lower than Google AdWords, and 69% lower than Facebook.

Facebook ads


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 with over 51,000 website visits, resulting in over 3,000 registrations.

Compared to other advertising, the remarketing activity greatly boosted social engagement. Ads of this type were ten times more likely to be commented on, were eight times more likely to be shared and resulted in six times more people liking the Diabetes UK Facebook page.

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.

This case was brought to you by Manifesto

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