More of our clients, and charities in general, are dipping their toes (or fully diving in!) to advertising on Facebook. Since we know that multi-channel messaging is the name of the game, Facebook offers a great opportunity to get your compelling content in front of donors and ultimately increase revenue.
If you read my email blog from a million years ago, you know that A/B testing is my jam. After all, what better way to find out what makes a particular donor group tick than to try a few options and see how your audience responds.
And just like testing in your e-appeals, you can also try out different tactics in your Facebook campaigns to determine what works – and more importantly, what doesn’t! – for your supporters.
To get you started, here are 5 ideas of tests you can try in your next campaign.
Do you keep an eye on what the folks at NextAfter are up to? If not, you really should! They do a ton of testing that data nerds like me just love. A number of their tests include variations in copy length to see what donors respond to. Many times, they’ve found that shorter isn’t always better when it comes to making your case in digital channels. So while Facebook will limit you to about 125 characters of visible ad text, that’s not to say you can’t test out some longer prose to see what your donors respond to. Longer text will get truncated, but if you’ve created interest in those first 125 characters, ad viewers are more likely to hit that “See more” link to hear what you have to say.
As a general rule, you want to be super clear in what it is you’re asking supporters to do. But depending on your ad campaign, that doesn’t always translate to using “Donate Now” as your call-to-action. If your messaging allows, see if any of the other CTA button text options will work and test a few options against one another! Want more monthly donors? Encourage people to “Sign Up.” Do donors receive something special with a gift over a certain amount? Invite them to “Get Offer.” As long as your action matches what it is you’re asking people to do, you might have a little room to play with your CTA.
If your call-to-action is Donate Now, as is the case for many revenue generation campaigns, it seems reasonable that someone clicking that would be ready to donate. But looking at page completion rates shows that’s certainly not always (or even usually) the case. In many cases, people still need to be convinced after they’ve clicked. Ideally, this is done with persuasive copyright on your donation page. But having been around the donation page block, I know not all platforms allow you to make edits like this easily (or in some cases, make any edits at all). If that’s the case for your donation page, a landing page that allows you some extra room to make that case might be a better option than sending people straight to a donation page.
“But Alison! Isn’t it best practice to remove unnecessary friction when it comes to making a gift by having as few clicks as possible?!”
Yes, it is. But if someone lands on your donation page still undecided and is immediately asked for their name and payment info, fewer clicks won’t matter.
Not convinced an extra step is the way to go? Me neither. So let’s (say it with me now) test it out!
This is often one of the best elements to test because it’s what people notice first. When someone is scrolling through their Newsfeed, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. That’s why powerful imagery is so important. But what do you do if you’ve got a bunch of great images to choose from? Pit them against each other in a head-to-head test and see what your supporters like best! Does your work focus on environmental advocacy? Test species vs. landscape photos. Are you a women’s shelter? Test images with an urgent, emotional pull vs. happy, hopeful faces. While you’re testing, it important to note that what works for one audience won’t necessarily work for another. So try a few different options with a few different audiences to find out what compels your supporters to give.
Another great way you can stand out among crowded Newsfeeds? Trying out different ad types. While I still see a lot of the standard single-image ads in my own feed, more and more charities are branching out to include video, GIF, and carousel, and slideshow ads in their mix. Our own testing with clients has often shown that video reigns supreme when tested against other types of ads, but I know many organizations just don’t have the resources to make these happen. That’s why I’m a big fan of slideshow ads – a super simple way to create video-like ads from single images. But as much as I love them personally, maybe moving images aren’t your audience’s thing. Maybe your supporters like a single image or carousel they can scroll through at their leisure. Testing different ad types will allow you to gain those insights and come up with a strategy for future campaigns that work with your organization’s human and financial resources.
As you can see, there are a number of different ways you can adjust and optimize your campaigns to find the best mix of messaging and creative for your particularly donor or prospect base. And when in doubt, test it out!