In the world of marketing, Good-Loop has found a unique niche. The advertising firm designs ads that earn money for charities every time someone watches the spot. Since launching in 2016, Good-Loop has helped raise more than $7 million for charities by working with brands that include Bounty and Pantene. Because people can click the ads away, founder and CEO Amy Williams says the challenge is to “break through the noise and create advertising that is truly interesting.” 

You can hear more from Williams in our video below or read the lightly-edited transcript.


Amy Williams
Good-Loop is a purpose-powered advertising platform. We help brands do good, profitably at scale. I started Good-Loop six and a half years ago. I was working in advertising, I was working at Ogilvy, and I loved it. I love advertising, I find it such a creative and interesting industry. I remember I was working on a brief it was for a fabric conditioner, ao it was very glamorous. I was a product that used one less bucket of water to rinse, the product was called One Rinse. So I was sat late at night with the planner, doing some back of the fact packet maths. We were thinking, one less bucket of water, per family. Maybe they’re going to do three loads of laundry a week, and use it this many days in a week and this many weeks in the year and this products is going out in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines. Suddenly, the amount of water that this one product was gonna save was just more water than I’ll use in my whole life. I think there were lots of little moments that made me want to run my own business and do my own thing. But that definitely was the moment that I decided I wanted to dedicate my career to helping big global businesses make tiny little changes that have ripples throughout the world.

Today Good-Loop is a team of 50 people. We have offices in Scotland, London, and New York. We work with some of the biggest brands in the world. How it works is super simple. Basically. Let’s say you’re on The New York Times, and you’re going to watch a video. Good-Loop will appear in the pre-roll before that video. So it’s skippable, you don’t have to watch, we will never force a view. But if you choose to give that advertiser a little bit of your precious time and attention, then you unlock a donation funded by that brand. So you the user get to do good for free just by giving a bit of your attention. And for the advertiser, you get increases in engagement, but also higher ad recall, is more memorable, right? Because you get to, you get to choose a charity, you get to get that dopamine hit, you get to do a little bit of good.

We recently did a really lovely campaign with Bounty. Obviously their platform is all around sort of less mess, more trees and sort of celebrating the sustainability that’s baked into the product and the brand. We had a fantastic piece of creative that was wrapped in our interactive ad format. When you watch the ad actually unlocked a donation to fund the Nature Conservancy, a charity that is a huge partner of the Bounty team and a charity that that’s really proud to be a part of this campaign. So because of that sort of really ethical incentive, the Bounty team saw a fantastic uplift in completed view rates, which of course is brilliant, because you want to get consumers engaging in that content and really earning some of their time. We also saw uplifts in consideration versus the competitor set, which I think is a lovely illustration of how sustainability is key to differentiation and category. Nicest of all, we planted tens of 1000s of trees across the United States that exists today because of that campaign. That’s a really lovely result.

So to date, we have raised just over $7 million for amazing charities around the world. It really is such a broad range. We’ve funded turtle nesting mapping projects, human rights campaigns and everything in between. Remember, that’s media dollars, that’s not CSR budgets, that’s money that would have otherwise gone to Google or Facebook or the same old players. But instead, we’re using media money to drive engagement to earn attention and in exchange make these amazing donations. I think that transparency about how much we raise and how the money flows, I think is a really, really important part of the business overall. Transparency is kind of rare in our industry. It’s so important for an advertiser to have visibility over how the money is being spent, and how much of the dollars are actually ending up with the publishers and ending up going through the system. So we really operate a radical transparency framework. We also are a B Corp. So that means that you as a board member and as an owner of the company, if Good-Loop were a regular business, then my only legal responsibility would be to make money for my shareholders. But because we’re a B Corp, we’ve actually changed our articles of association. So that I legally am entitled to make this visions that sacrifice profit in the interest of purpose. I know that the positioning of good growth and making sure that you don’t sacrifice profit and purpose and the two can work together. I know that that’s a really big part of the P&G business. And it’s something I really believe in. But there are moments where I need to be able to be empowered as a leader to make those decisions. And that transparency I have with my team and with my customers is really important. So it’s something that we’re proud of.

It’s amazing that we’ve raised a lot of money for charity, it gets me out of bed in the morning. But at the end of the day, we’re a business. And so Good-Loop is a profit making company. Every brand we work with is a profit making company. And we have business results that we need to deliver against. So it’s really important when I’m working with my salespeople, when I’m talking to our clients, when we’re going out to market, we have to focus on how we deliver ROI. So from a business perspective, the way that Good-Loop works is we charge on a cost per success model. So if you skip the ad, if you don’t swipe up, if you don’t engage, if you don’t scan, whatever it is whatever the engagement metric is, if you choose not to give that advertiser your time, you don’t pay a cent. But when consumers lean in, and they choose to give that time or attention, then they unlock the donation and we charge the advertiser. So we charge on a cost per success model. And really, the way we make money is that we increase the success of the inventory, we increase the value of the inventory we buy. That arbitrage between the CPM and the CPCV or whatever the buying model is, that’s how we can afford to make the donation.

From an advertiser’s perspective, we give 50% of every dollar to a good cause, which is of course money that is working media. That’s money that you need to spend wisely. But when you consider that every consumer knows the value of their time, we’re increasingly aware of our value as consumers, especially online. It isn’t just a donation, it is also how you earn the right to a consumers’ eyeballs, and how you break through the noise and create advertising that is truly interesting.

We’ve done quite a bit of research into how the consumer reacts to the ads. One thing we’ve really found is the power of a countdown. We all love a countdown timer. It’s something inherent in human nature, there’s a curiosity of what will happen at the end. So in many of our ad units we’ll have a countdown mechanic, often very close to the skip button. So it’s really clear that if you don’t press skip, and you get to the end of the countdown, then you’re going to unlock some reward. The other thing that we find really interesting is the charity choice. So often will feature a couple of different causes. We ran a campaign with Pantene in the UK. All the money went to Gendered Intelligence, which is this fantastic charity that support trans and gender non-binary people in the beauty industry. But the consumer got to choose which project Pantene funded, whether it was their work in schools and youth programs, or their helpline or their counseling and therapy sessions. So the consumer was very involved and interactive in that experience. That gives us really interesting insight. So we worked with a brand recently. They featured three charities, one of which was the WWF, the World Wildlife Foundation, not the wrestling. We found that the WWF got over 70% of the consumer vote. So it was a really interesting piece of feedback and insight to the brand about which charity is resonating most with their target audience. So there’s some really nice interactivity and insight that you can get from how consumers respond to the advertising.

I’ve kind of watched purpose evolve. In 2014 there were these early studies that suggested sustainable brands, and were also faster growing, and that brands had started dipping their toe. And then there’s “Throw like a girl,” these really iconic purpose moments. Now today, it’s grown arms and legs. There are so many different ways advertisers have to show up in society. I think thinking of consumers as citizens and thinking of our responsibility, and our citizenship as brands is a really helpful way of framing it. So Good-Loops vision is to be the one stop shop for brands to show up in the world responsibly. That is their sustainability, their net zero targets. They’re the funding of climate journalism, they’re planting trees, all of the work they’re doing to protect and preserve the planet. It’s their DNI initiatives. Every big business has to be taking this seriously, both internally, but also externally, how you talk to consumers, how you represent those consumers. I love the Widen The Screen initiative and some of the work that you’re doing to lean in here. How can we make sure we’re funding those publishers? How can we make sure we’re funding those communities?

Then the final pillar is the social impact piece. What are the causes that are really specifically aligned to our brands and our businesses? Whether it’s Pampers, supporting the National Diaper Bank Network, there’s so many lovely ways that brands can shape a tiny piece of the world, their corner of the world and make it better. So I want Good-Loop to be the platform that helps them plan, execute and measure their social responsibility and advertising.