Originally posted by AFP Toronto.
Many nonprofit organizations are closely measuring online activity across their websites and donation forms… And with good reason! Tools like Google Analytics can be more useful than user surveys when we want accurate information about what our donors and supporters are really doing online.
When diving into your own numbers, have you noticed the difference between web traffic from laptops or PCs, and mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets? At FrontStream, we track fundraising activity for millions of visitors to charity and nonprofit donation pages every year. We’ve noticed that for most organizations, the peak time of day for online donations is between 9am – 11am.
What’s driving this pattern? A few things! Donors are responding to email solicitations in their inboxes and logging onto social sites like Facebook at the start of the day; often while at work. It makes sense that charities and nonprofits would see a spike in donations during this period.
Did you know that your mobile audience behaves much differently?
Mobile web usage actually ramps up after work or school! Your supporters are primarily using smartphones and tablets at home while watching TV, listening to music, reading emails or browsing social networks. We’ve discovered that the most popular time for mobile web donations is between 8pm – 10pm. The trends we’re seeing in the charitable sector mirror similar ones in industry. Chitika’s research on internet traffic patterns for North America indicates that mobile traffic peaks “during the evenings after work”, with a secondary rise during “commuting hours”. This insight is really valuable for your organization’s communications strategy! Here’s where your team has the potential to speak to a “second audience” of mobile supporters – an audience that is increasingly using smartphones and tablets in their leisure time. If your donors and community members didn’t have a chance to see your social media posts, blog updates or emails during the day, you can still reach them when they leave their computers and laptops to browse on smartphones and tablets in their free time.
How can you reach out to your second, mobile audience?
Here’s some ideas to try!
Social: Schedule social media updates on platforms like Twitter or Facebook for the early evenings. You might find that you are able to boost your engagement metrics when you post outside of your traditional working hours. Remember that the majority of Facebook AND Twitter’s users are now accessing these networks through mobile devices, so every piece of content you post should be accessible to mobile visitors – especially your donation forms! We also know that mobile social network users are more active on these platforms than non-mobile users. Weekends are another great time to try sharing content on social networks. It’s true that there are less people browsing on the weekends, but as fewer people are posting, your organization’s messaging has the opportunity to stand out.
Email: You already know that all emails from your organization should be mobile-optimized, but have you tested sending solicitations, petitions or enewsletters after work instead of early morning or during the day? Research shows that at least half of emails are now opened on mobile devices and conversion rates for evening emails can be impressive. Remember that many mobile users are reading email while watching TV or movies at home. This is the “second screen” activity that is such a buzzword with marketers lately! Think about what kinds of engaging subject lines, content and multimedia pieces you can push out in a test segment that would capture the interest of somebody whose attention might be divided.
Devices: Does your organization have a mobile app for news, advocacy or fundraising? Try “push notifications” later in the day to give your supporters important updates when you know they are more likely to be using their devices. When we polled users of mobile fundraising apps built for charities on our system, we asked them where they used the app to raise money for a good cause. The majority of those users responded: “At home”. Similarly, if you are running an SMS-based campaign, experiment with the time of day you send texts to your supporters.
Advertising: Many charitable organizations regularly run online or social advertising campaigns. Think about appropriately matching your ad’s call-to-action to the right demographic for your campaign. For instance, if you’re doing a workplace engagement push, or reaching out to urban professionals for donations, consider a desktop campaign during the day. If recruiting youth volunteers for an event, or selling gifts for the holidays, try targeting mobile audiences during their commuting and leisure hours. Don’t forget to record the results of your experiments. The wonderful thing about web, social and mobile activity is how measurable it is! When you start to examine your own numbers, you can prove when donors visit you, where they’re coming from, and how they’re accessing your content.