Winners Of The 2020 AMI Award For Acquisition Marketing (NSW)
Winners Of The 2020 AMI Award For Acquisition Marketing (NSW)

Winners Of The 2020 AMI Award For Acquisition Marketing (NSW)

We’re excited to announce that Reef Digital and our amazing client, ChildFund Australia, were the winners of the 2020 AMI award for Acquisition Marketing (NSW).

This award recognises the performance and creative thinking that led to a successful customer acquisition marketing campaign.

To sum things up…

ChildFund Australia is an independent and non-religious international development organisation that works to reduce poverty for children in many of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.

For almost two years, Reef Digital Agency has been helping ChildFund Australia develop their omni-channel digital marketing strategy, based on our proprietary Customer Conversion Journey methodology.

Their main objective was to drive growth and develop a competitive advantage online in their sector.

Last year (2019), Reef had the honour of being chosen by ChildFund Australia to develop their omni-channel digital marketing strategy for their ChildFund Pass It Back program.

It’s an innovative and award-winning ‘sport for development program’, which is also in partnership with World Rugby and Asia Rugby.

The campaign commenced on the 3/09/2019, which was 20 days prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It then ran until one week after the final on the 10/11/2019.

The main messaging of the digital marketing campaign was:

“We believe in the power of sport to change children’s lives.”

The Issue

Objectives & KPIS

  • Raise the awareness of the ChildFund Pass It Back program
  • Use audience research to identify new target segments and drive engaged traffic to the website during the campaign period
  • 100% traffic increase compared to the previous period of the Rugby World Cup
  • Generate donations through the ChildFund Pass it Back website

The ChildFund Pass It Back website had only been running for a year with content and SEO optimisation prior to the Rugby World Cup.

Performance activity only commenced in September 2019, which meant there was very little historical data we could use to inform our campaign.

The main challenge was to identify and define our audiences for the Rugby World Cup.

Although we’d been working with ChildFund for some time, the audiences for this campaign were very different to those of other campaigns.

Adding to this was the complexity of the Rugby World Cup being a global event, to be held over a short timeline.

We knew the key to the success of our strategy was how effective we were at identifying, reaching and engaging these audiences.

We wanted to provide a real, impactful experience to capture their attention and start the process of discovery, interest, conversion and loyalty.

The Solution

Define Our Audience

First, we focused on the partnership between ChildFund and Reef by leveraging their defined audience segments and database.

We first identified the highest intent and most valuable audiences.

To identify this segment, we reviewed analytics data in conjunction with CRM data. The purpose was to identify and reach loyal donors, of both ChildFund Australia and ChildFund Pass It Back (previous year) and work our way outwards.

The second step was to understand the Rugby World Cup audiences.

This was important as we wanted to identify both the regular rugby community and audiences specific to the Rugby World Cup.

We leaned on our dedicated Google Partner Team to support our own research and insights and we looked at current trends with the Rugby World Cup in terms of cross-channel activity (e.g. search trends).

In addition to search and channel trends, we wanted to learn about interests and behaviour.

We also wanted to see who was traveling to Japan and if they were Rugby fans. Despite one or two gaps in the data, the research helped us to better understand our target audience.

This flowed into social advertising, where further analysis using audience insights tools and targeting options, helped to provide a greater understanding of our audiences and how to segment them according to their interests and behaviour.

Omni-Channel Strategy

The initial research informed the channel selection and helped us plan for each phase of the Customer Conversion Journey.

The channels we used were Google Display, Google Search, YouTube, Bing Search, Facebook and Instagram.

Google Display:

Traditionally a low intent channel, Display activity was important for driving awareness and more specifically, growing retargeting lists.

Two campaigns were set up, targeting different audiences: prospecting and remarketing:

1. Prospecting Campaign

Audience Mapping:

  • Custom Intent Audiences
  • Customer Match Audiences (audience lists)
  • Similar Audiences to past donors
  • People planning to travel to Japan for the World Cup (From Australia or New Zealand)
  • Expat living in Japan
  • Keyword targeting
  • Content related to the Rugby World Cup
  • Specific placements (news websites, Rugby World Cup website)
  • Demographics


Due to the options available with creative in Display, we maximised the opportunities by changing the banners for different phases.

Starting with the discovery phase, the ads aimed to tease the event and share the message of ChildFund Pass It Back.

We proposed banners using the main message of ChildFund Pass It Back and implemented a countdown in the banners until the opening ceremony.

Following this, the banners were switched with new creatives using a different message until the week prior to the final match.

For the final, a third wave of banners were proposed, including again a countdown, and a final message to drive further action from audiences.

2. Remarketing Campaign

Banners were created by ChildFund in line with the design advertised in the stadiums, to remarket to audiences who had already interacted with the website.

Targeting for each country:

  • People who have interacted with the ChildFund Pass It Back website
  • People who have interacted with the ChildFund Pass It Back YouTube channel


We ran three different campaigns using three different key formats, according to each stage:

Campaign 1: Discovery & announce the event

Bumper Ads were chosen for this, which are 6 second videos designed for discovery and awareness, to tease the audiences with the campaign and amplify the message.

The ad was an adaptation of a full video (made by ChildFund) for the Rugby World Cup. Reef used the video to create the Bumper Ads in the right format for YouTube.

Targeting used: Affinity, In-Market Audiences, Custom Intent, Remarketing and Similar Audiences.

Campaign 2: Amplify the message and tell the story

At the same time as the Bumper Ads, we ran the entire video with the In-Stream formats, to reach incremental traffic, but also to maximise discovery and awareness.

This video ad explained the link with ChildFund Pass It Back and the Rugby World Cup. As per the initial research, we knew that 57% of prospects making a donation had watched a YouTube video prior.

Campaign 3: Encourage donations

We used the True View For Action formats, a 15 second, non-skippable video format, using a call-to-action button to encourage our users to donate. The targeting for this campaign centred around our remarketing lists generated by the prospecting/engagement campaigns.

Google Paid Search & Bing Search:

As a premium intent channel, this channel was key to driving acquisition and direct interaction, following the discovery and awareness generated from the Display and YouTube campaigns.

We created specific campaigns based on targeted keyword lists for each country. According to best practices, we designed relevant ads with specific extensions, making sure it was highly relevant to the audience.

For each important rugby match, an automated rule was set up to increase the budget a day prior. One day following, this was also done to make sure our impression share was maximised for these key moments.

Facebook & Instagram:

Social was also key to the Customer Conversion Journey, as it is one of the most important touch points.

In terms of formats, the channel was offering new opportunities for creating a strong connection with our prospects, using specific formats and messaging.

Several campaigns were pushed with different phases.

Awareness & Prospecting

Using several different images, with a defined message, this campaign aimed to raise awareness around the Rugby World Cup.

Formats used & ad sets:

  • Classic image format, including an attached Instant Experience ad for the mobile version. This was designed to increase the customer experience, once they had interacted with our ad.
  • Classic video format + Instant Experience. The Instant Experience was key in terms of connecting with our audiences and allowing them to engage with ChildFund Pass It Back.


  • Facebook and Instagram audiences based on their interactions, like hobbies, interests etc
  • Demographics – expat in Japan, geo, age
  • Custom Audiences – people who have engaged with ChildFund Pass It Back, online or offline
  • Lookalike audiences – audiences similar to remarketing audiences

Remarketing campaign:

  • People who have opened the Instant Experience ad from the discovery campaign
  • People who have interacted with the website
  • People who have engaged with ChildFund’s social pages in the past 30 days.

The Result

After the first month of activation, we could already see the impact of the strategy, with +185% increase of users on the website in September compared to the previous month.

This indicated that we were reaching the right people at the right time with the right message as the +189% of new users visiting the website, lead to a +257% increase in conversions for the month.

Thanks to this early success, our remarketing lists were growing daily, but we had to continually monitor the new data received and use it to inform the optimisation of the strategy.

This was to ensure we continued to reach new, engaged audiences and drive top of funnel traffic (who were converting at a later stage), while creating a real, impactful experience with ChildFund Pass It Back until the end of the Rugby World Cup (so audiences were primed for more response driven messaging as the campaign progressed).

The strategy had to be well structured cross channel, with each channel playing an important role.

The Display activation was critical in fuelling later acquisition.

From the start of the campaign until the last day, Display represented the first touchpoint for 46% of web traffic.

Also critical to the success of the campaign, were the creatives that ran throughout the World Cup timeline, especially as this was the first point of interaction for a large percentage of the audience.

The creative and message had to quickly grab their attention and bring them into our funnel.

As mentioned previously, we feel it was the audience centric approach to this campaign and getting this right at outset, that resulted in the success we experienced.

Google’s platform played an important role as we could leverage our data cross channel between Display, YouTube and Paid Search. This created several opportunities:

  • Connect and engage a targeted audience by combining your own data with insights from Google’s Agency Partner Team
  • Build broad audiences around consumer trends and passions by using signals from across the Google network
  • Capture attention during the purchase decision by reaching people actively searching for our program
  • Use our client’s CRM audience data to identify high value audience segments, maintaining the existing connection with loyal donors and personalising ads for this audience.
  • Using this data to inform new prospecting audiences and to create similar audiences to the high value existing audience so as to maximise the chances of higher acquisition rates.

The ChildFund Pass it Back campaign, from the 3rd of September until the 10th of November compared to the previous year, recorded a total of +306% users visiting the website, +310% of new users, leading to +657% transactions.

In terms of engagement and visit quality, the average pages per sessions increased by 60% while the bounce rate decreased by 97% which, coupled with the acquisition numbers, indicated that we were targeting the right audiences with the right messaging at the right time as they moved through our Customer Conversion Journey.

Additional Benefits Of The Campaign

The complexity of the campaign, the short timeline, lack of historical data and new, unknown audiences we had to identify, forced us to think creatively and commercially when putting together the strategy.

Our relationship with the client was strengthened and we enjoyed collaborating to make smart use of the shared data and resources we each had available.

By thinking out of the box, being true to our core value of ‘Test & Learn’, trying new things, taking calculated risks and seeing new opportunities, we developed skills and learnings that will stay with us and the client as we move into the future.

The strong relationship between ChildFund Australia and Reef Digital was clearly one of the main reasons we’ve been able to succeed with this campaign, but it also created new and improved ways of working together, creating a complete synergy between both parties to lead this campaign to success.

We were able to see this benefit immediately during the research phase, working together to collectively brainstorm and come up with creative solutions to reach and engage our clearly defined audiences and facilitate the path to conversion.

This campaign and audience activation will not only generate results during the World Cup. We will (and have) seen the benefits of our efforts long term and for the wider ChildFund brand.

The goal was to increase the awareness around the program and increase the acquisition, but also to grow and retain the audience and remarketing lists as well as to maintain the audience engagement long after the World Cup and throughout the year ahead.

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