Charities could be missing opportunities to boost brand awareness by underinvesting in internet advertising.

According to a report by charity marketing consultancy nfpSynergy, a “small but significant” movement into internet advertising has been driven by heavy investment from several larger organisations.

For instance, Macmillan has increased its advertising spending from £0.65 million to £2.9 million in the last three years.

“From our research with the general public we can see that this has paid off, resulting in significantly increased awareness,” nfpSynergy said.

Figures from nfpSynergy showed that overall internet advertising spend almost doubled from £5.4 billion in 2012 to £10.3 billion in 2016 – when it accounted for almost half of advertising spending.

However, the consultancy said charities have not followed this trend, with just five per cent of their advertising expenditure going to online platforms in 2016.

“The ability to both reach out broadly, and target advertise through the internet at different cost levels, can provide an opportunity for large and small charities alike to reach existing and new audiences with their campaigns,” it observed.

The report pointed out that many charities choose not to invest heavily in internet advertising as they believe it does not engage with older audiences – a group that tends to donate the largest amounts and do so most regularly.

However, nfpSynergy insisted this is no longer the case, as older generations are becoming increasingly active both online and on social media.

“This trend can only be seen to increase as the never-ending cycle will bring more internet savvy generations into this age group,” it commented.

The organisation added that the internet is “no longer an exclusive place just for the young and tech-savvy” and can instead be a space to engage with people across society.

Ad Infinitum – How charity media expenditure patterns are changing nfpSynergy