Youth Villages: Foster/Adoption

Company Bio

Youth Villages is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families live successfully. For over 35 years, Youth Villages has worked to radically improve the lives of children across the country through an array of program models and services built around preserving and restoring families.


  • Industry: Non-profit
  • Location: Memphis, TN 

Awards & Mentions

  • 2022 MarCom Platinum Awards


The Ask

ESM was tasked with developing an omni-channel advertising strategy to reach potential foster and adoptive parents and encourage them to inquire with Youth Villages. 

With the main objectives to generate exposure and increase inquiries, we were able to develop a media strategy that is hyper-local, hyper targeted, and aimed at driving qualified reach.   

The Challenge

The primary challenge of this campaign was to move users through the funnel and generate inquiries for potential families or individuals interested in fostering or adoption, that then results into  an action being made. Therefore, our media mix was strategically chosen with layering channels to reach people at every stage of the funnel including:

  • Awareness to generate exposure among potentially interested users
  • Engagement/consideration to boost general inquiries, drive site traffic and generate social media conversations
  • Conversion to drive qualified foster care and adoption form submits on the campaign landing page

Why it Worked

The Approach

With our knowledge of Youth Villages’ mission and the required foster parent qualifications, we developed a strategic plan that highlighted the key audiences, geographic focal points, and media channels that can work cohesively to drive the highest impact.

The initial recommendation included 3 budget tiers, all of which capture users at the various stages of the conversion funnel. As the budget tier increased in value, additional channels were added to the campaign media mix in order to generate incremental reach.

The Solution

After defining our audience profile in our target markets  to be primarily females, skewing heavy between the ages of 25-54, who adopted easily to new technology and were very active on their mobile devices, we were able to choose media channels to best reach them at every stage of the funnel. 

This initiative was broken down into two campaigns, that would run simultaneously, with different messaging and creative, and a slightly different channel mix. 

  1. Foster campaign: SEM, digital display, pre-roll video, YouTube, CTV, Podcast, and Facebook and Instagram
  2. Adoption campaign: SEM, YouTube, CTV, and Facebook and Instagram 


Campaign Results

This was an 8-month initiative that ran from November of 2021 to June of 2022. 

By using a combination of Display, Video, and Audio tactics, we were able to cast a wide net reaching relevant users while simultaneously creating brand awareness (video/audio tactics) and high click and engagement rates (digital display and FB/IG).  The results of high impression totals, click-through rates, completion rates, and social media engagements prove that the audiences we reached were interested in the content our ads were showing. 

Due to the media and organizational success driven by this campaign, this program was renewed for relaunch for Youth Village’s 2023 fiscal year.








Video Completions


Social Media Post Engagements


Leads Generated

Additional Work 

At the start of 2022, we were tasked with launching media campaigns to support Youth Village’s engagement efforts with their Foster and Adoption programs, in Memphis and other surrounding communities of Tennessee. We were also given the opportunity to attend and lead focus groups with the YV recruitment team and the social service workers, who interact with and work closely with children and families across the country, as well as with their marketing team which operates out of Youth Villages Tennessee headquarters. This collaboration opportunity provided ESM with a space to guide the marketing strategies with the people on the ground,  inciting change daily. The time spent supporting these focus groups provided us with recommendations on how to:

  • Connect with families online through strategic marketing – inclusive of  generating a strong social media presence, developing engaging and informative content, and using their online platforms to tell the stories of existing foster families and adoptive parents and children.
  • Tell stories that resonate with each of their unique communities, most of which include minority families, underserved youth, and poverty stricken areas.

ESM understands that human services agencies provide crucial support to vulnerable populations. Our work with Youth Villages reflects the care, understanding, and compassion with which we approach our work on behalf of our human services clients.