Paid Social: Blowing Up The Basics

August 4, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

When it comes to social network advertising, Facebook and Instagram are leading the pack, accounting for 68 percent of social network revenue in 2016 (a whopping $22 billion). But social marketing is always in flux, so it’s vital that fundraisers engage strategically and dynamically.

At the 2017 Bridge To Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference, Ashley Reed, director of social media at agency BKV, Madeline Ruffin-Thomas, Non-Profit Group account director at BKV and Robert Field, director of digital marketing at March of Dimes, discussed how to effectively implement Facebook’s plethora of targeting options and ad types, as well as tips to use organic social insights and social listening to fuel your non-profit’s paid social strategy.

    Here are some of their key takeaways for optimizing paid Facebook and Instagram to maximize revenue.

  • Paid Facebook is a crucial channel and should be included in any digital media strategy. With Facebook accounting for 52% if US time spent on social networks, it’s an ideal place to reach your current and potential donors.
  • Facebook and Instagram’s granular targeting capabilities, including the ability to tap into your first party data, advanced tracking and attribution methods and mobile-first ad formats have led to Facebook’s dominance.
  • As organic reach can be as low as 2 percent or less of total fans, it’s necessary to use paid to ensure fans see your content.
  • Fundraisers should test activating all placements within advertising campaigns, including Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network, as this allows Facebook to optimize spend and delivery towards the most efficient placement. This can increase your campaign efficiency as Facebook can find audiences that are likely to respond in the desired way.
  • Take a two-pronged approach to Facebook advertising by investing in both your tried and true direct response (donation driving) campaigns and brand awareness, in order to reach and engage prospecting audiences, warming them up to your organization before hitting them with a hard ask such as a donation or event sign up.
  • Facebook’s Reach and Frequency buying model offers the opportunity to set the desired reach and frequency, but also the order in which people see your ads, providing the perfect avenue for sequential messaging from a brand awareness to direct response campaign. Additionally, non-profits can create custom audiences to target users who have engaged with a previous brand awareness campaign and retarget these users with a direct response campaign.
  • Leverage organic social insights to refine your paid social content strategy. This includes analyzing what organic content performs best on Facebook and Instagram with your current fans and testing similar creative within paid campaigns for prospecting audiences.
  • Social listening is another important tactic that can be used to improve your paid social campaigns. Listening can help inform audience targeting, by understanding the demographics and location of users talking about your non-profit, competitors, or your cause as a whole. Listening can also provide insights into donor preferences, interests, discussion patterns, trending content and social influencers, which can enhance your paid social creative strategy.
  • Proper measurement and tracking is key to successful Facebook advertising, and it all starts with the Facebook pixel. The first step is ensuring the universal pixel is properly installed on your website; then, you should create several custom conversion events to track important on-site actions such as macro-conversions (donations, sign ups, etc.) and micro-conversions (blog post visits, newsletter sign ups, etc).

Take advantage of the multitude of custom audiences that can be built from the Facebook pixel, such as retargeting website visitors who have not donated recently, or building prospecting targets of users who look similar to your current donors. Typically, BKV sees custom audiences as our top performers.