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How much does a digital campaign cost?

By Harry Robbins, 01 Oct 2019

Some years ago I wrote a blog about how much a website costs (TL;DR it’s £0-£20bn). Recently a lot of people have been asking me how much a digital campaign website costs. This is what I’ve been telling them:

< £10k – Simple campaign tool

The Unison housing rip-off tool that we made cost less that £10k to develop, design and build. The tool is pretty simple – it uses average house price data and a model for how much people save to calculate how long it will take for you to buy a house near you. It’s cheap because there’s only one user journey, no data is saved and the actions are really simple (e.g. the “email your MP” action is just a “mailto:” link).

~ £10k-£20k – Simple campaign-focused website

The Labour Unions website that we recently launched for the trade union liaison office is a simple WordPress site that integrates with Action Network to make a campaign action centre from labour/trade union activists. It’s cheap because it doesn’t involve any custom tools. The main cost was in getting the design, brand and messaging right which we did with the fabulous Small Axe co-op.

~ £20k-£30k – Data-driven custom mapping tool

The Council Sell-Off investigation tool that we made for Bureau Local allowed a network of hundreds of local journalists to investigate what council sell-offs mean in their area. This resulted in scores of stories in the local and national press that were released in a co-ordinated press campaign. The main costs were in defining what the tool would do/look like and processing/cleaning the data.

~ £30k-£40k – Action centre with maps and MP pledge tracking 

The Plastic Free Rivers campaign we built for Greenpeace focused on getting campaign sign-ups and emails to MPs, encouraging them to pledge to support the campaign (161 have pledged so far). As I found out from the fundraiser that called me when I signed up, Greenpeace spent a significant amount of money following up with the people who signed up to the campaign and expected to raise a significant amount this and other campaigns. Part of the costs were due to changes after we’d already started building features.

> £50k – Complex multi-mode campaign site

The National Education Unions‘s election spending was higher than UKIP’s and the Greens’ according to the BBC but they also changed 750,000 votes and cost May her majority. The main cost has been developing the site over time – we did a lot of features for the election (e.g. MP pledge tracker, party pledge leaderboard) and have done a lot of work on researching, testing and refining the data and functionality. The majority of the spend has been on campaigning support and advertising (e.g. targeting on Facebook/Twitter). Again we worked with the awesome Small Axe co-op who managed the advertising and organising around the country.

We took a different approach for a fast turnaround project for the UK Student Climate Network in which we built them a custom social media dashboard, replaced their website, integrated Action Network and AirTable to allow them to get sign-ups and volunteers in a more organised and effective way, built a strike map and created a gamified sign-up/sharing journey to help mobilise their most activated supporters.

 

Photo by Chris Slupski on Unsplash