Where Do I Find New Donors and Advocates That Look Like the Best Ones I Have?

Every group I talk to tells me, “I need to grow my donors and advocates through my digital program.” That’s almost always followed by:

“I just can’t cost effectively find people who look like my active people.”

The good news is you can find these new people through look-a-like targeting.

For those new to “look-a-like” targeting, the concept is pretty straightforward. You identify a group of people you already have in your database. Then you take that list of your people and provide it to a company that has lots and lots of data about lots and lots of people. That company uses their Big Data to figure out the defining characteristics of the people you have. Then, using the data profile they create, they’ll then identify people who "look like" that data profile and give you a custom audience to target.

At Causemo, we’ve built the ability to perform look-a-like modeling using third party partner’s data sets into our platform. As a result, we’ve got to have the best data partners we can find and provide that service as cost-effectively as we can for our customers.

As you would expect, that means we’re constantly scouring the commercial and nonprofit world for data providers who deliver high performing results for our customers' journeys.

What we’ve identified are four classes of data providers.

  1. Demographic profilers. These folks may have data at the discrete individual or at zip-code level. They’re finding look-a-likes using age, income, purchase patterns, self-reported interests, and the like. Modeling or appended data from this category tends to be less expensive, but also less predictive.
  2. Giving behavior scorers. This group uses data on giving histories of individuals to create scores for them.  This is pretty valuable information.  There’s a variety of scoring products and pricing levels. 
  3. Free Look-a-Like providers. Facebook is the most well-known version of this. Most ad platforms include some version of look-a-like targeting. When you give Facebook access to your people and engagement history, they’ll give you look-a-likes at no cost. You can upload and create “custom audiences” that they’ll use to find people that look like that “custom audience.” Organizations are finding that deploying ads against these audiences are effective, but often can’t scale. The price you pay – giving them your list and access to a very detailed history of your people.
  4. Fee-based “Big Data” modelers.  There’s an emerging class of cloud-based companies that have compiled massive databases of demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data.  These are the “hot new thing” to keep your eye on. These folks offer fee-based scoring of your existing people which can be very useful for optimizing segmentation and micro-targeting niche pockets of opportunity in your list. Then, they’ll go the next step: providing look-a-like lists of people you can procure, download and run journeys against.

Each category and provider deliver varying degrees of predictability for conversion performance. In our testing, we’re seeing the best performance comes from using a combination from each category.

How do you cost-effectively combine multiple data sources like these to create quality look-a-like segments?

For Causemo, it starts with having great data partners with reduced rate fees for our customers. We’ve used hooks to these partners to create an automated process that amplifies our customers' journey performance by taking high performing donors and supporter lists and:

  • Start with best modelers. We’ve found that the new generation of cloud-based “Big Data” modelers are building bigger and bigger data sets on people which result in continually improving look-a-like generation. We start here and acquire a look-a-like list.
  • Filter for quality donors. Then, we append giving behavior scores to the “good targets” to cull the list down to the “best targets.”
  • Load the “best targets” list and start their journey. We load that “best targets” list and run the Causemo Lead Generation, Donor Acquisition and Donor Conversion Journeys to engage these prospects.
  • Use “best targets” to find other targets. With the “best targets” list in hand, if we have the permissions to do so, we’ll push that group to the free look-a-like providers to create an additional group of new people to target. This increases the value from the paid investment through leveraging the free services to deliver a much bigger audience.

For organizations who want to grow through their digital channels look-a-like audience targeting is a “must use” approach. The good news is that Big Data solutions for finding and refining look-a-like audiences is one of the most innovative and fastest growing areas of cloud services. This is an area we at Causemo know is core to our success and something we keep on top of as the evolution occurs.

If you want to keep on top of this ever changing landscape, just sign up for our Causemo U email list where we send regular rundowns on what’s happening in the nonprofit technology space. Or, give us a call to talk about what’s working for our customers and what you can learn from it.

Learn more about how to reactivate your best supporters, "A More Effective Way to Reactivate Lapsed Donors."