BBC Children in Need

Increasing awareness of the BBC’s fundraising campaign to drive users to sign-up for BBC Children in Need fundraising packs, products and donations.

BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million for disabled children and young people in the UK.

Initial Brief

BBC Children in Need is the BBC’s UK corporate charity, providing grants to projects across the United Kingdom that focus on disadvantaged children and young people. Fast Web Media was tasked with running digital adverts using images and videos provided for the BBC’s Children in Need campaign ‘Do Your Thing’. The campaign ran in November 2016 with the aim of raising brand awareness and driving users to the site to sign up for fundraising packs, donate online and buy Pudsey merchandise.


The objective was to raise brand awareness at the beginning of the month to drive users to the site to sign up for fundraising packs to fundraise for BBC Children in Need prior to the appeal night. Users were also encouraged to buy PudseyVR Viewers and Pudsey Ears from the merchandise pages. During the second week, the donations campaign went live to encourage people to donate online as the live appeal show drew closer. To achieve these objectives, ads were shown within Google’s search results as well as targeted at users across social media with video and image ads across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

Pay Per Click

A campaign was set up per objective; a campaign for fundraising, a donations campaign, and a campaign for brand awareness. Within each campaign, targeted keywords and phrases were used to reach Google users in the UK, serving highly relevant ads to drive them to the site and encourage fundraising pack downloads, donations and increase sales for Pudsey merchandise without directly sending them to the shop. Each campaign adopted an aggressive bidding strategy to ensure the ads remained in the top positions in the search engine results pages. As Google recently announced that more searches now come from mobile, an aggressive bidding strategy was added with a bid increase of 30% for users who carried out searches on mobile devices.

All three campaigns served ads throughout the day and night until enough search data was generated to create ad scheduling to deliver ads at peak times of the day and week. Bid adjustments were set to increase by 30% at peak performance times to remain competitive when the extra search volume traffic increased. Sitelinks were added to the brand awareness campaign to promote the important pages on the site i.e. the fundraising hub and the donations page.

Facebook & Instagram

The highest budget was allocated to Facebook and Instagram to support the fundraising and donation creatives the BBC wanted to promote and test. Users are more likely to be engaged on these platforms due to nature of the campaign (where they are encouraged to get involved in several ways to raise money for a good cause), so placing more budget across these platforms just made sense. Two campaigns were set up for fundraising and split into week one and week two for the different types of creatives to drive fundraising pack orders and downloads. Ads were shown to people using several targeting options such as age, gender, location, language, interests and behaviours, education, relationship, parenting etc.

Facebook ads were served on all devices in newsfeeds and within the right-hand column. Facebook ads also featured on instant articles within the audience network on mobile apps and sites. Instagram ads featured within home feeds on mobile devices. Ads were automatically set to show where they were likely to perform the best. All ads drove users to the BBC Children in Need site to drive fundraising packs, encourage donations and generate Pudsey merchandise sales.


Using Twitter’s Promoted Tweets feature, a campaign was set up for fundraising and a campaign for donations, using several targeting options such as keywords, Twitter Handles, TV audience targeting, TV genres and people who watch BBC Children in Need. Any targeting that received a low click through rate was removed to allow for the better performing options to generate more clicks.


A campaign was set up for fundraising, PudseyVR Viewers and Pudsey Ears. The main objective of using YouTube ads was to generate campaign awareness. All video ads featured a call to action overlay to encourage users to order a fundraising pack, or buy Pudsey merchandise. A variety of targeting options were used to deliver ads to a broad reach of people such as age, interests and keywords.

To optimise, campaign exclusions were added to prevent the ads being shown on sites with adult content and any content that had not been rated. Exclusions were also added to children’s videos that the ads featured on as it is common for children to watch videos on their parents’ mobile phones. Any targeting options that were not performing well were paused to improve the view rate percentage.


Overall the campaign was very successful in driving visitors to the Children in Need site with a total number of 126,000 visits in November via Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter and the Display Network. The estimated total number of visits to the site was set at 18,076 and the final number of visits was 463% higher. Through optimisation, the cost per click was reduced from £1.56 to £0.21.

Pay Per Click (PPC) was the overall best performing channel, driving the highest number of visits to the CiN site with 60,627.

  • The overall cost per visit was the most cost effective at £0.09.
  • PPC was also the channel to generate the most fundraising pack sign ups and online donations with 96% of all actions taken.
  • The PPC ads received the highest click through rate of 22.36% due to the targeted keywords and ads.

Social Success

  • Facebook and Instagram were the best performing channel to raise awareness with 4,092,343 people viewing a CIN ad, as well as generating the most link clicks with 63,447.
  • The YouTube ads generated 431,266 impressions overall with 120,268 video views at a view rate of 22.01%.
  • Twitter ad spend only made up 2% of overall spend as the Promoted Tweets went live close to the appeal night and reached 70,947 people with 2.72% of users clicking through to the site.
To get into the Pudsey spirit, Fast Web Media raised over £1,000 for BBC Children in Need by cycling the length of Britain.

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