A new platform is making a play to allow campaigns and issue groups to raise money from online videos as they’re viewed by potential donors and supporters.
Total-Apps this week unveiled Video Checkout, a service it’s hoping will allow the merchant payment processor entrée into the campaign market. The service lets a user embed a video on its Facebook page or tweet out a link to its page where the video is hosted. As the video plays, viewers can fill out a donation form, and the donor’s data is then exportable.
Unlike other processors, donors can make their contribution without leaving Facebook. Moreover, it works on mobile or desktop browsers, which is a strong selling feature. Facebook reported last quarter that 844 million of its daily active users came from mobile devices. That comes as the social media company is reportedly favoring video uploaded to its native player in its newsfeed algorithm.
Total-Apps, meanwhile, is touting its service as way for campaigns to make an emotional appeal and ask for a donation simultaneously. “This [donation] form is as close as you can get to a call to action,” said Russell Droullard, the Southern California-based company’s marketing director. “There is nothing on Facebook like this.”
Supporters of a candidate or cause can embed the video in their own newsfeeds or use the embed code to post it on a blog or another site. “A good strategy here is to hit the newsfeed with some type of content every day,” said Droullard. For a video’s length, he added, “I would not go over 90 seconds.”
Brian Ross Adams, a Democratic digital consultant, said keeping the donors on Facebook while they contribute is key.
“If they can figure out how to take donations and not leave the social universe, that’s a big breakthrough,” he said. “People want to stay on a page when they’re engaged in social media. It may increase the donation rate.”
On the other side of the aisle, some consultants aren’t convinced the offering will convert more online donors. “Historically donations via Facebook are terrible — especially for a Republican,” argued Austin James, digital director for CMDI, a Republican finance services platform.
The pricing is another factor. Video Checkout for Facebook is free for 60 days, including free processing on up to $10,000 in donations a month. After the trial period ends, the service is $49.95 a month with a surcharge of 13.49 percent plus 35 cents per transaction at its base rate. That fee is significantly higher than some other platforms working in the campaign space. For instance, Click & Pledge charges a monthly fee of $25 and 5.5 percent plus 35 cents per transaction.
Droullard noted that clients can consolidate their donation processing with the company, which will help reduce the cost because its fees scale down based on increasing sales volume.
If campaigns and issue groups use the service, they’ll see “dramatic increases in their fundraising results,” according to Droullard, who underscored the company’s 60 days of free trial service, including free processing fees.