Facebook Ads for Fun (not Profit)

A month or so ago, a volunteer Facebook Page admin & I decided to play around with some Facebook ads for our Page. He had done the research on the ins-and-outs of successful ads, and since the cost was mere change, we decided to spend $25 in the name of experimentation.

We used GoogleDocs to collaborate to draft up some ads, pick target audiences, determine run times, and choose our daily and overall ad spending caps. Ads can be targeted by age, location (even city), education, interests, etc. For example, Facebook could tell us that in our targeted area, there were 81,000+ users who listed some variation of hostel or travel in their interests, so we knew that to be our potential market going in.

Facebook Ad Test
62 viewers went to the trouble of clicking on our 2 ads. Facebook reports a huge number of ‘impressions’ or times the ad appeared on pages–like 172,000 for our two ads, targeted to ‘travelers’ over 5 days.

But do you ever even look at the ads?? I mentally block them out. And I assume you do, too, which is why purchasing Facebook ads is a questionable tactic. Only .03% of our impressions were ever clicked.

Perhaps that was because we way under-bid the suggested ‘price per click’–we picked $0.43. Currently going at $0.70-0.90, our averages turned out to be $0.35-0.41 cents per click. But hey, this was an experiment, right?!

Our ad readers had listed their interests as: traveling (18 clickers), reading, (17), music (14; hmmm…this one is interesting), travel (11) and photography (10). 50% of viewers were women…60% of viewers were women under age 44. As targeted, most viewers were from Colorado, Nebraska & Utah.

Oh, yeah, I also spent a crazy amount of time tracking down coupon codes for free ads, searching for ‘free facebook ads’, none of which ever worked, but by the time I got to the ad set-up stage to try out the codes, I was already time-invested and committed to clicking a few more buttons to start the ads.

I’ll admit, I’m often wow-ed by numbers, though, that I later can’t explain or make sense of.

What I do know is that I spent a grand total of $24.89. We had better success with a slightly higher rate per click, and on the ad that ran over the weekend.

From “Pimp my Nonprofit….”, “Facebook knows an extraordinary amount about its users and can provide very targeted ads, which is pretty frightening” (agreed!), but could be effective for the right market, say–reaching students interested in internships. The time in analyzing such ads is similar to analyzing a GoogleAdWords campaign–without knowing much about these, either analysis seems like another great internship opportunity, to me.

Facebook ads for fun…. And measuring sector interest. And adding a few (but not your most loyal, perhaps) fans–like direct mail solicitation for Facebook. And to understand the strategy behind the machine.

Some others’ notes on the subject:
• General business strategy thoughts from Forrester Research’s Jeremiah Owyang
• Kivi Leroux Miller’s EcoScribe Communications Online Marketing for Nonprofits

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Facebook Ads for Fun (not Profit)

  1. This is such a great post! I would love see a screen shot of your actual ad, and then a PPC “expert” critique it. That might be an interesting insight. I do believe, however, that most people aren’t interested in commerce (of any type, even the nonprofit type) on Facebook. Now. And I agree that ad blindness probably plays into this experiment as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. It’s definitely set my mind thinking about nonprofit ads for Facebook and best practices!

    • heidical

      Deb, thanks for dropping by! Glad it was useful.
      For future reference–something to find out is how to OBTAIN a screen shot of your ad. To place an ad, you fill in an online form and upload a photo file. I forget if your actual ad is show to you before you run it, but unless you’re in the demographic you’ve selected for your ad and you happen to see it on your FB page, that is the only way you’ll see it.

      Now here’s something I don’t know–what does PPC stand for?

  2. Heidi- Good point about not being able to see the Facebook ad before it runs, and that only the target demographic audience will see it in the end. How frustrating and ultimately (I think) a big mistake on Facebook’s end that you don’t get a sample copy. PPC stands for “pay per click,” typically in reference to creating Google adwords (ads) where the sponsor “pays per click-through” from the ad to the sponsor’s website. A PPC “expert” or a Search Engine Optimization firm will often customize Google adwords campaigns for customers – helping them craft the best ad and choose the right Google keywords for the ad.

    Let me know if you ever do it again – I’d love to feature it on my blog as well!

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