Here We Go Again: More Facebook Marketing Changes (and They’re Great)
Let’s be clear, anyone who tells you that Facebook marketing and fundraising is easy and not complicated does not actually know how to do Facebook marketing and fundraising. The “technical” aspects are easy (i.e., setting up an ad), but the strategy and analytics are not for the lightweights.
What makes it more exciting? Just like Google, Facebook constantly is rolling out new rules. Sometimes the rules are actually not exciting because they force marketers to change their strategies. But sometimes they can represent fantastic opportunities if you know how to take advantage of them.
I’ve put together a summary of the latest changes.
• The 20 Percent Rule
Were you getting tired of being told your ad had too much text? Well, the good news is that Facebook changed the 20 percent text rule. The bad news is that things are now more vague. The only way to deal with this is test, test, test—but only knowledge can come from this, and I consider that great news.
With the previous rules, we all could imagine a grid that Facebook used to estimate how much of the ad real estate the words took up. If you had more than 20 percent, then your ad was not approved. Well, now there is no 20 percent limit, but if your ad has a “lot” of text, Facebook indicates it will hurt your ad’s chances of reaching the most optimal audience. And, not only will it not reach as many people, it will cost more to serve it.
The challenge is that now, instead of an “approved” or “disapproved” rating, you will receive an “OK,” “High,” “Medium” or “Low” rating. Basically, zero text is going to get rated as OK, and if you were following the 20 percent rule really well before, your ad will get a rating of Low (i.e., low text), which is still good. But, anything other than OK and Low can be challenging to understand and could hurt your performance.
Wondering how to deal with this situation? To play it safe, act like the 20 percent rule is still in place and limit your text. This typically will ensure your program continues as it has been. But where this may be good for your marketing is that now you can have really short text but make it bigger. Think of a much larger call to action. This may or may not work, though. You can make your text longer than your normal 20 percent guideline because now you can, but this may or may not improve performance.
As with everything in direct marketing, you’ve got to test. Stick with the old 20 percent rule for your control, then push the limit to see what happens.
One of the largest misconceptions about Facebook (and most social media, actually) is that it should not be treated like direct marketing. Wrong. It is direct marketing on a fast-paced moving sidewalk that can change from one hour to the next. There is complex segmentation (see later bullets), performance metrics that shift rapidly and a cost structure that continually is shifting.
Think you can put something up and “let it run”? Wrong. Think you don’t have to worry about creating the most specific, targeted segmentation for your various ads? Wrong. This leads me to my next point.
• Segmentation, Custom Audiences
If you love data, this is going to make you really happy. Facebook allows you to create custom audiences. Sometimes this involves uploading a list of your constituents to look for matches, or people who are from a similar demographic profile.
If that wasn’t fun enough, you can now dive deeper into your website visitors. When you place a Facebook pixel on your own website, you can capture information on website visitors. This allows you actually to market to those people on Facebook.
With the new Facebook website pixel, you can choose to segment people by how recently they visited your website, how frequently they visit your website and even what their actions were on your website (made a donation, signed up for an e-newsletter, registered for an event, etc.).
Yes, for the direct marketers reading this, this does sound a lot like a version of RFM in the more traditional channels. Why is this such a great thing? Because you can serve different ads on Facebook to these different “RFA” segments (the “A” stands for action—yes, I just made that up). People who look like they are more loyal (have visited frequently or taken multiple actions) could be served up a more aggressive fundraising ad (more direct text and/or higher gift asks), and those who look like they are not completely committed to your brand and may just be “browsing” can have a different advertising track all together.
If your mind is not totally blown yet, how about the fact that you now can market to people based on specific sections they visit on your website and even the amount of time they have spent on your website?
Let me wrap up by saying that, clearly, I’m excited about this and how it can help my clients. If you are not excited about this, perhaps you should call me—Facebook is like a giant theme park, and without insider tips and tricks you’ll miss the best rides (and always be in long lines) and never get the pay-off from that expensive park ticket.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.