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DKMS optimizes online campaigns and donor registration funnels with GDPR-compliant analytics

DKMS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer. Their mission is finding donors for patients in need of bone marrow and stem cell transplants, and giving them a second chance at life.

DKMS currently employs over 1,000 people in Germany, the US, Poland, the UK, Chile, South Africa, and India. To date, the organization has arranged transplants for 100,000 people and registered over 11 million lifesavers.

Digital marketing departments around the world contribute greatly to these results. They promote and educate on the DKMS mission through various campaigns and make sure that donations are spent on the initiatives that bring the best outcomes.


DKMS needed GDPR-compliant analytics to support its new global website project

In the spring of 2021, DKMS conducted a global relaunch of its websites. The project consisted of many steps and involved a thorough GDPR compliance audit of their web analytics platform – Google Analytics. DKMS wanted to make sure they collected data respectfully and stored information from all entities under European privacy jurisdiction.

The audit revealed that the platform didn’t provide a sufficient level of data protection.

It became pretty clear at that time that we needed to step away from Google Analytics, because of GDPR and the invalidation of the Privacy Shield framework. We realized we had to replace it with a European, privacy-compliant platform and implement a consent manager to respect the rights of our visitors.

Kay Beutling
Digital Project Manager at DKMS

DKMS and the digital agency AsUnique started looking for a European alternative to Google Analytics. The list of the requirements, however, was not limited to compliance. As digital channels play a crucial role in fulfilling the organization’s mission, the new analytics platform had to support two important use cases:

  • DKMS planned to introduce an improved application form on all seven websites, which would allow the organization to properly verify prospective donors from the very start. Analytics software had to help them optimize the registration process and prevent drop-offs.
  • DKMS wanted to measure and optimize the results of their online campaigns in a way that didn’t involve noncompliant third-party scripts.

Together with AdUnique DKMS shortlisted three privacy-compliant analytics products – Matomo, eTracker, and Piwik PRO. In the end, the organization chose Piwik PRO. It offered customer care for all time zones in which DKMS operates, along with all required features and friendly pricing.

The general feel of the platform quickly convinced us to use Piwik PRO. After some demo sessions, we got really comfortable with the platform. It was similar to what we’ve known from Google Analytics and, as we looked deeper, we discovered everything we were looking for – in-depth UTM tracking, an easy-to-use Tag Manager, Consent Manager, and all the types of reports we needed. We knew we would be able to introduce Piwik PRO in all our entities without any big issues.

Kay Beutling
Digital Project Manager at DKMS

Streamlining donor registrations with advanced funnel reporting

Product implementation went smoothly. The key item on the list was setting up the right tracking for the forms gathering the registration information of bone marrow and stem cell donors.

Since the forms were designed as a single-page application and consisted of multiple fields, they called for a custom approach. Advanced funnel reporting based on information retrieved from the data layer proved to be the best method.

We had a lot of support from Piwik PRO. They were very helpful during the set-up and very proactive in finding solutions for us, which was very valuable at this stage. It’s a good sign that once all our implementation is done, we barely even need to use the customer support anymore.

Kay Beutling
Digital Project Manager at DKMS

To ensure the consistency of data across all entities, the same set-up was applied on every website, with minor differences resulting from regional legal requirements. This allowed DKMS teams to analyze user behavior inside each form, as well as to easily compare conversion rates region to region.

One of the first insights DKMS obtained with Piwik PRO Analytics Suite was related to the form on the US website.

As volunteers for medical procedures in the US must be over 18 and under 55, the form had to verify the age of the potential donors. DKMS soon realized that visitors weren’t keen on sharing this information – this step contributed to the most drop-offs in the registration funnel.

DKMS decided to test if rewording the question would help them achieve better results. It did. The change led to a 3% overall increase in conversion rate on the US website.

Optimizing online campaigns thanks to privacy-friendly analytics

A crucial part of the digital marketing team’s work is also keeping tabs on the performance of online campaigns. The most important are the ones that promote donor registrations. DKMS monitors how many people click on their ads, visit their websites, and fill out the key forms. They examine bounce rates and conversion rates to optimize campaigns towards their goals.

As a non-profit organization, DKMS wants to make sure they spend money on the right initiatives. They ensure that by doing a lot of testing and optimization of their online campaigns – trying and evaluating different ad formats, messaging, assets, and publishers.

All this needs to be done with full respect for GDPR. To meet their legal obligations, the Piwik PRO implementation team made sure that the set-up for campaign tracking meets the highest data protection standards.

We’re impressed that using Piwik PRO allows us to be this compliant, because we take data privacy very seriously. We don’t have pixels for external ad platforms due to GDPR. Instead, we use quite advanced tracking with UTMs and our own campaign identifiers. This lets us see which visuals for our campaigns work best.

Agnieszka Zielonka
Digital Marketing Leader at DKMS Poland

Besides promoting direct onsite registration of donors, DKMS digital teams also run campaigns concerning donor drives. The digital teams help connect potential initiators of the drives with local teams that support the organization of such events.

Moreover, DKMS tracks different types of fundraising campaigns, including local initiatives such as the 1% annual tax donation in Poland. To assess performance in this field, the Polish digital marketing team uses Piwik PRO Analytics Suite to collect data on micro conversions such as:

  • Downloads of the campaign brochure
  • Clicks on links to external pages dedicated to tax donations
  • Number of visitors who copied the national court register (KRS) number of DKMS from their website

This allows them to analyze how online activities impact the number of people who dedicate 1% of their tax to DKMS.

Into an even more data-driven future

DKMS is very satisfied with the analytics capabilities and support provided by Piwik PRO. Thanks to the Consent Manager, they collect personal data only on visitors who give their permission. In other cases, they gather anonymous data that can’t be linked to an individual user, but which still provides valuable insights about sessions and conversions.

I would recommend Piwik PRO if you want to be compliant, especially because of the quick and easy implementation. Even if you have a more advanced website, you’ll get all the help you need to get started. Product documentation is also really detailed. I was always able to find answers to my questions.

Kay Beutling
Digital Project Manager at DKMS

As a data-driven public benefit organization on a mission to continually optimize their results, DKMS is going to employ even more advanced reporting in the coming months. This includes deep scroll tracking that will help DKMS optimize the content of their educational articles and place CTAs for registration in the right places. They also plan to implement more detailed forms for money donations and analyze them with the same kind of custom reports they use for donor applications.

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