How we got fostering and adoption enquiries for Barnardo’s

The challenge

We had been working with Barnardo’s to promote their fostering and adoption services, which sought people interested in fostering or adopting a child to get in touch.

They wanted to raise awareness about their services and, as a charity, differentiate themselves from agencies that profited from placements. 

Our key objective was to get leads to fill in the enquiry form and initiate the 12-18 month approval process.

People interested in fostering and adoption are all at different stages of readiness, from awareness, consideration and conversion. Our campaigns gave people the appropriate information for the stage they were at.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, things shifted drastically. Traditional methods of reaching out to potential parents, such as events and leafleting, were no longer possible. 

This meant a big increase in competition as many fostering and adoption agencies moved their campaigns online and started bidding aggressively. This meant an enquiry’s cost per acquisition (CPA) shot up. 

There was an increased number of children in need of foster care. After losing their jobs, more people also saw fostering as a viable source of income. 

What we did

To adapt, we reevaluated our strategy: 

  • Because of the increased competition, we weighted the budget on the later conversion stage, bypassing the earlier awareness stages.
  • Based on insights from qualitative and quantitative feedback, we tested changes to the ad copy to include information successful parents found useful but that had never been included in the ad copy before. 
  • We optimised our bidding strategy response to the changed market and encouraged them to invest more ad budget
  • We helped them segment landing pages and streamlined the enquiry sign-up process to ensure a higher percentage of potential parents completed the enquiry. 

We trained the regional teams, to whom our leads were being sent, on how search advertising works. This enabled them to understand our approach and encouraged them to share information about specific events that had search volume. That allowed us to create targeted ad campaigns with underspent promotional budgets from these teams.

What we achieved 

Our Google Ads campaigns became the number one source of leads for Barnardo’s fostering and adoption services. 

The leads generated through our campaigns were of high quality, indicating the success of our targeting efforts. 

This was true even after restrictions eased and people’s behaviour returned to normal. 

Despite the huge challenges of the pandemic and increased competition, our strategic adjustments, collaboration with regional teams, and optimisation generated new leads. 

Most importantly, we’re proud that these campaigns created new families.

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