How a charity can harness the power of paid Facebook ads 3 months ago

Paid Facebook ads are a relatively modern marketing tool that can add an extra dimension to a multi-layered fundraising strategy.

In June 2016, Facebook changed its algorithm making it harder for business and charity posts to achieve visibility organically.

The result was that the reach of business posts dropped significantly leaving many resigned to the fact that Facebook was no longer useful as a free marketing tool.

For those who didn’t give up there and then; enter paid Facebook ads!

As organic reach went down, paid ads went through the roof as those who knew the power of Facebook weren’t yet prepared to lose the benefits of a once-thriving platform.

Over time, but particularly within the past two years, paid Facebook ads have evolved into a complex strategy that for some, is a full-time job.

Whether you’re already paying for Facebook ads or you’re considering foraying into the world of paid Facebook ads, here are our top tips to make sure that you meet your responsibility to your donors and every dollar is well spent.

Install the Facebook pixel on your website

The Facebook pixel is a free tool which allows specific Facebook targeting of internet browsers who have viewed a website. 

Is Big Brother watching? Maybe.

Is that a bad thing for charities which rely on fundraising for income? Definitely not.

Don’t even consider Facebook ads without installing the pixel on your site.

Data available from the pixel can make or break a paid ad campaign and without it, you’re letting warm leads fall into social media oblivion.

Know your ideal donor

Paid Facebook ads allow you to target an audience by age, interests, occupation, location, employment status, gender and more.

Before you spend a cent, have a clear donor avatar to refer to so you can get as specific as possible with a selected audience.

There’s little point paying to show your ad to men if the campaign is designed to appeal to women, and vice versa. Every view of your ad costs money, so get as specific as you can with your targeting.

Know your end goal

The only way to analyse the success of a Facebook paid ad campaign is to define clearly measurable goals from the outset. That means getting down to the numbers.

Consider:

  • Are you trying to reach a financial goal for a campaign? If so, how much?
  • Are you promoting a special event? If so, how many attendees?
  • Are you creating brand awareness? If so, how is this measured?
  • Are you trying to encourage sign-ups to a newslist? If so, how many?

You get the picture!

Choosing a post and randomly allocating budget to ads without a measurable outcome of the campaign’s success is another waste of donor’s money. Get specific!

Create your ad

The ad should be short, sharp and pack an emotional punch.

As with all fundraising campaigns, test, test and test again to see which style of paid ad generates the most success.

Always make sure the following are included in paid ads:

  • Links to your website or donate page
  • Engaging imagery
  • Clear and concise call to action
  • Short, sharp and emotive copy

Choose the ad placement

You choose where to place the ad, and again, this involves knowing your donors and your goals.

Are they mobile users, or desktop users?

Do you want them to donate or sign up?

Mobile placement is great for brand awareness whereas desktop newsfeed is better for taking donations. You may need a layered approach to choose both.

The ad placement is more strategic than just looking good and needs to be considered as part of the overall objectives of your paid ads campaign.

Use analytical data

As with any modern approach to fundraising, the key to a successful Facebook ad campaign is in the data.

Facebook wants you to keep spending money on ads, so the analytics are precise to help tailor future campaigns that lead to your success.

The valuable information provided will help you re-create campaigns that work, move away from those which don’t and create re-targeting campaigns to strengthen relationships with your audience.

A Facebook paid ads campaign is only as successful as your ability to read the data.

With a strategic approach to data analysis, Facebook is a valuable source of getting your message in front of donors who are ready to give at the time they see your ad.

Integrate Facebook data with SupporterHub data regarding website views and actions, and you’re well on your way to building a database of donors you can start to steward through the giving pyramid. 

Paid Facebook ads are continually evolving in line with Facebook’s developing business model, so it’s always worth seeking the advice of an expert. To discuss data analysis and how SupporterHub can integrate with Facebook, contact us today.