Why Use Facebook Ads?
Small ad spends on Facebook can have big results! The cost to boost a Facebook post depends on how many people you want to reach. Spending a small amount—even just $10—may help you connect with a new donor or helpful resource. Even if you can only allocate an annual budget of $500 to digital advertising, Facebook is a great launch pad for your efforts.
Not only is Facebook easy to use, it’s highly economical. Thanks to complete control over your ad spend, you can expand or reduce your investments depending upon your specific campaign objectives. It’s not a complex marketing tool and it can be used by charities of all sizes.
You may choose to spend a small amount to boost your posts for even a single day. Some organizations boost Facebook posts on a regular schedule (monthly, weekly, daily, etc.) while other organizations boost posts that relate to their current needs or campaigns, ad hoc.
Target the Right Audience and Test Your Ads
You can use Facebook’s Custom Audiences tool to target a specific set of Facebook users and direct your posts at them. By narrowing down the target audience your money will be spent more wisely and ensure that your message reaches the right people. Don’t let the cost for advertising on Facebook mislead you: Facebook targeting capabilities are highly sophisticated, allowing you to target by age, gender, location, and a growing array of interests, including everything from animals to volunteering.
Newer, more advanced yet still easy to use features include the ability to upload email addresses of your constituents and use Custom Audiences to target your Facebook ads specifically to them. If you’ve recently joined Facebook and you’d like to inform your supporters of this exciting news, this is an easy way to do it! Someone who is already involved with your organization is very likely to “Like” your page if they see it in their News Feed. Targeting your existing supporters is also a great way to increase your fundraising results. Even supporters with the best intentions to make that year-end gift often need multiple reminders before doing so. Facebook is a great way to remind and inspire that gift in a less intrusive way. But don’t stop at your existing supporters.
When looking for new supporters, targeting Friends of Followers is the place to start. When people see that a friend follows your organization, it calls attention and gives credibility to your ad. That said, if you advertise a lot or your have a small Fan base, in addition to defining Custom Audience you’ll want to try Facebook’s “look alike” feature. If you’ve already uploaded your list of supporters to Facebook, you can create a “look alike” list that can yield big results in just a few clicks.
It’s good practice to test and optimize your ads. Consider creating a few versions of the same ad and test them against each other to see which one results in the highest levels of engagement. This may sound complicated but it doesn’t have to be! We recommend you start out by testing one parameter at a time, such as an image, copy or headline. With Facebook’s ad reporting tools, you can see which ads are performing best before you choose to invest a larger amount.
CPM, CPC, CTA—It’s Easier Than You Think!
Facebook offers two options when it comes to paying for ads: Cost per Mile (CPM) and Cost per Click (CPC). Choosing Cost per Mile means you’ll pay an amount for every 1,000 user impressions while Cost per Click means you’ll pay an amount for every click on the ad. If you are aiming to bring about awareness for your cause, CPM can be used to increase the visibility of your page. If you’re trying to increase followers for your Facebook page or increase donations, CPC is usually the preferred method.
Let’s discuss the difference between these two methods a bit further. Using CPM, you can place your brand, logo or post in front of a large number of people. You can think of this as the first step in bringing audiences into your “world”. With CPC, you’ll only pay for actual clicks on advertisements and posts that lead back to your website, donation system, etc. Unlike CPM, which is designed to disperse your brand to a wide audience, CPC is a much more “active” step which measures actual engagement with links, buttons, etc.
Speaking of buttons, a Call to Action (CTA) is a button on an ad that prompts people to click in order to complete an action such as “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” and “Watch Video.” It can link to any destination on or off Facebook. If you’re sending people to a destination off Facebook, ensure the content aligns well with the ad campaign’s goals, and is not just your generic homepage.
Choose the Right Ad for Maximum Results Facebook is very flexible, offering an array of paid advertising options so you can choose the one that best meets your particular advertising goals. To begin, let’s first understand what you can advertise on Facebook, as Facebook advertisements can be used in many ways to promote your cause.
Here are some of the most commonly used advertisements by charities:
- Promote to Website: This option directs your advertisements to your website directly. This is ideal when you have a well-designed, content-rich website that will encourage new audiences to support your cause. If you have a stronger daily presence and richer content on Facebook than on your website, then you can promote your page through the Ads instead (see below).
- Boosts to Page Posts: Boosts to your Facebook posts encourage viewers to click on the content found in the post, indirectly leading them to your page or the content shared. By promoting your post as an advertisement, you can increase the number of views of your content, such as a fundraiser or interesting story shared on your page.
You have the option to promote your content to your followers and their friends, which functions a type of built-in referral opportunity: friends of your followers will see that your page is liked by people connected to them and this could pique their interest.
- Promote Your Page for Likes: By promoting your Facebook page, you can increase your likes and connect with more individuals who are the right match for your goals and interests. You can choose the audience you would like to promote your page to, making your page visible as a “Suggested Page” for people to “Like” and follow. However, simply collecting followers on Facebook should not be your sole objective. A fun, targeted campaign once or twice a year which promotes follower engagement and raises the visibility of your brand can be money well spent!
As part of your overall Facebook strategy, you should also focus on engagement and other creative ways to make an ad campaign work for you. Here are a few other ideas for getting started:
- Video Views: Facebook prioritizes video content on News Feeds due to the fact that video has become one of the most often-engaged media sources. Facebook has optimized the user experience by auto-playing videos without sound. If you have nice video content that tells your story or shares something interesting about your organization, go ahead and feature it in an ad so it gets more views.
- Lead Ads: When you’re looking to acquire new donors, it’s important to take baby steps. This is particularly true when it comes to nurturing prospects towards their first donation or gift. Facebook’s lead ads can help with this. One of the most effective strategies to gain new supporters is to get them on your email list first so you can personalize messages and help them learn more about your impact in the community. The lead ad option lets you include a button within a post that prompts people to fill out a short contact form to sign up for your charity newsletter. You can customize the questions in your lead ad form and download your leads directly from Facebook.
- Event Responses: Increase attendance at your charity events by creating advertisements inviting people to join your fundraiser or gala dinner. These event-specific advertisements feature a “Join” button for your viewers.
Event advertising tip: If you’re selling event tickets on your website, link the advertisement to your online ticket sales page. Or, if you’re promoting a public event such as a street festival and want people to visit you, event responses can be useful.
- Product Catalog Promotion: If you are ready to get fairly sophisticated and incorporate attractive imagery into your Facebook platform, Facebook’s Product Catalogue Promotion advertisement helps you showcase multiple products in a single post. As an example, let’s take a look at CanadaHelps. Some charities that use CanadaHelps have created a virtual gift catalogue landing page (e.g., donate to buy a goat) and each virtual gift goes to a customized donation page powered by CanadaHelps for that gift. With time and planning, your charity may be able to leverage this option to grow your revenue more than you thought possible.
Ready to learn more? Register for the Online Donor Acquisition and Retention course from CanadaHelps here. Full participation in the CanadaHelps Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course is applicable for 3 points in Category 1.B – Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or re-certification. Learn more about the Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course from CanadaHelps here.