An Experiment with Facebook Advertising for Nonprofit Organizations
2/28 Update :: Facebook did not run the second ad. It was either a tech glitch, I did something wrong, or they just would not run the ad with $.28 per click bid (See 2/22 Update). I don’t know, but honestly, the first ad’s poor performance coupled with the second ad not running, I did not want to try a third ad. That’s the point where as a “consumer” I get frustrated, throw up my hands, and move on. View An Experiment with Facebook Advertising for Nonprofit Organizations :: The Results for a final analysis. The images below are for your reference:
Results from Ad 1: 21 Clicks, 139,541 Impressions, $30
Results from Ad 2: Facebook Didn’t Run the Ad
2/22 Update :: I have scheduled another ad to run for two days starting tomorrow for the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page. I am running the exact same ad as last week, except that I am only targeting college-educated women aged 30-40 to see if that changes the results. Last week was men and women of all educational backgrounds aged 30-40. Women make up 65% of my fan base and are 72% of the folks that interact on my page. Many are professionals. Additionally, some words of caution. I set up my second ad to run for two days at $10 a day, but after I submitted the ad it appeared as an indefinite ad with a max of $250 a day. That’s quite a tech glitch! Be sure to double-check your ad(s) and “Edit” quickly if you have to.
Also, the first ad I set up gave me a choice of price per-click or $.28 per click when using Impressions. When I created the second ad, there was no longer an option for Impressions and I had to choose $.67 per click. My guess is that number was based on what I paid per click for the first ad… which many have told me was way too much. Again, be careful. I had to go back after the ad was submitted and “Edit” and then re-submit a bid of $.28 cents.
Finally, I will post the results of the ad and the entire experience next week. Coincidently, I am running another simultaneous experiment on Facebook that is producing very impressive results. I have created a new Page that has accrued over 3,500 fans in 5 days… my first experience with a “viral” Facebook Page. Will share more next week.
2/21 Update :: After Day 3 of the ad, I closed it down rather than run the ad for another two days. It wasn’t producing results. For a three-day ad I got a grand total of 21 clicks and 139, 541 Impressions. It cost $30. Over those three days my fan base grew by 47. That’s average. The Page grows by 10-20 fans a day without advertising. There is no way to know if any of those 21 clicks were any of the 47 new fans. Also, of the five Status Updates that I sent last week, two showed up in the Newsfeed > Top News. One had eight Likes. One had nine Likes and two Comments. I do not think purchasing advertising improved the rate of Status Updates showing up in the News Feed > Top News. All Status Updates showed up in the News Feed > Top News.
2/16 Update :: Day 2 is now done. 73,439 Impressions. 11 Clicks. $15.73. My fan base has grown by 28 in the last two days, but no way to know if any of them came from the 11 clicks. I am not promoting this page right now… and seeing an average growth. My Status Update are not showing up in the News Feed > Top News. Going to tweak the ad for Thursday and Friday to see if it produces better results.
2/13 Update :: I have been monitoring Status Updates from numerous nonprofits on Facebook over the last few days, and what I think is happening is that all Status Updates from Facebook Fan Pages go into News Feed > Most Recent. That’s good. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday when I first wrote the post below. Facebook was having technical issues.
Status Updates that receive at least 2-4 or more Comments and Thumbs Up (not sure of the magic number) will then also show up in the News Feed > Top News. I am running an experiment next week to see if purchasing $50 in advertising from Facebook will get more of my Status Updates into the Top News feed as well. A small price to pay if it works. Facebook has been operating in the red for years and only became profitable in September 2009.
The Facebook of February 2010 is quite different from the Facebook of 2009 especially when it comes to Facebook Fan Pages. If you haven’t yet noticed, three very important changes have been made that significantly effect your organization’s Facebook community:
1) Status Updates are no longer guaranteed to get exposure in the News Feed.
There is a mysterious Facebook algorithm at play here and I just don’t know what it is, but I do know that with the launch of new Facebook design in early February 2010 the vast majority of Status Updates from Pages that I am a fan of are not showing up in the primary News Feed > Top News. More are seemingly showing up in the News Feed > Most Recent view, but definitely not all. I knew this change was coming and I had read that Status Updates that receive a lot of comments and thumbs up would at the very least show up in the News Feed > Most Recent, but that’s just not happening. I have always believed and voiced that 90% of the power of a Facebook Page is in the Status Updates, so having them not show up in News Feeds is a problem.
2) It is no longer obvious that fans have new Updates.
I can’t remember exactly when this change was made, but it was at least 6 months ago. When fans logged into Facebook in the upper right of their “Home” view they used to see alerts of “New Updates!”. Now the only way fans know if they have new Updates is if they go to their Inbox > Updates or if they click “Messages” on the left of the Home view (the later was just added February 2010). Coincidently, once this change was made, activity on the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page declined. I no longer saw surges in traffic (via Insights) on days that I sent Updates.
As of February 2 Updates had been relegated the realm of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. On that day I polled fans asking if they read Updates anymore, and the overwhelming response was no. BUT now that Facebook has added the “Messages” function in the upper left of the Home view, perhaps the usefulness of Updates with rise again? I’ll send an Update next week and let you know.
3) The Pages Filter on the Home view has been removed and replaced with Ads and Pages.
The new Facebook of February 2010 no longer has a “Pages” filter in the upper left of the Home view. It used to be a feed of Status Updates from Pages you were a fan of. It’s gone. Now if you click “More” just below this space a new “Ads and Pages” hub appears. You do not see Status Updates, but rather the Ads and Pages you are an admin for. Useful for Nonprofit Admins who manage many Pages and people who buy and manage Facebook ads, but there’s no way around it… less exposure of Status Updates on the Home view is just not good for most nonprofits.
Thus, a $50 experiment with Facebook Advertsing for Nonprofit Organizations.
Facebook is entering an era of profitability. They have built the largest online community the world has ever known over the last 5 years and now they are positioned to make some serious cash. You can’t blame them for it. It couldn’t be free forever. That’s business. But nonprofits have sent out millions of e-mails and Tweets over the last few years asking supporters to “Become a fan!” thus helping Facebook become the powerhouse that it is today. So, there is a reciprocal relationship here, or at least there should be (I think).
I have read rumors that purchasing advertising will help your nonprofit get more action in the News Feeds. That seems fair. I am willing to pay $50 or $100 in advertising to get increased exposure in the feeds, but not necessarily to secure more fans. If those new fans can’t see my Status Updates, well then quite honestly, what’s the point?
So, I have just purchased a Facebook Ad to promote the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page that is to run Monday, February 15th through Friday, February 19th. Together, we will watch to see if it increases my fan base and/or Status Update activity in the News Feeds. Below you can see the steps I took to create and pay for an ad:
- who live in the United States
- between the ages of 30 and 40 inclusive
- who graduated from college
- who are single, in a relationship, engaged or married
- who speak English (US)