Update 2.02.2011 – Some good comments were posted by Jeff Quandt. I followed-up on the comments and added some more info about keywords I used with the Google ad. Check out the comments at the end of the post!
For almost two years, I’ve been running advertisements on Facebook for various events that we have at Christ Community Church. I initiated running ads on Facebook because it was becoming apparent that our target audience was not only on Facebook, but spending more time on the site than they were Google.
The first set of returns we saw from running Facebook ads was great. A lot more impressions than what we were getting on Google, and much cheaper.
I’m often asked by people, especially staff from other churches, the results I see with doing Facebook and Google ads. I thought I’d expound on some of the returns I’ve seen with doing these ads. So, I’m going to use a recently finished ad campaign we did on Facebook and Google and show you the results. The campaign ran the week of January 16, 2011. It was to promote an appearance by author and speaker Lee Strobel.
Now, it should also be noted that we ran a thirty second radio ad on two Christian radio stations. The reach of the ad was small compared with the online ads, though.
I allocated 75% of the budget for Facebook ads. The rest, 25%, went to Google AdWords. The reach of the ads was 50 miles within Omaha, Nebraska. On Facebook, it would target everyone. On Google, I had 90 different terms for keywords.
Here are the ads:
Facebook – 3,060,029
Google – 130,036
Total – 3,190,065
Facebook – 1,008
Google – 167
Total – 1,175
75% of the budget went to Facebook, but Facebook received 96% of the impressions and 86% of the clicks.
Some might say that is skewed since so much of the budget went to Facebook. True, but if your target audience is spending more time on Facebook than other site, wouldn’t you focus your ad dollars there? What are some indicators that have us targeting Facebook besides the known Facebook usage stats? CCC has over 1,400 fans of its Facebook Page. Whenever a post goes up from our CCC Facebook Page, it generates close to 2,500 impressions.
I had set up a Facebook Event page for the Lee Strobel event, so when people clicked on the Facebook ad they’d go to the event page. On the event page, people could see past messages from Lee, the animation promos for the message, and post comments. I was able to answer some questions and add additional comments.
What can be tricky is getting people to RSVP. I’ve heard people complain about Facebook Events because it underestimates the RSVP’s. Well, I don’t look at the RSVP list as the definitive indicator for turnout, but it is an indicator. For the people and culture at CCC, I know if there are over 100 people saying they will attend then attendance will be great. The Lee Strobel event had 137 people saying they were going to attend. We expected a good turnout.
Another indicator was traffic to the website. Because of info we needed on the Facebook ad for the event, I wasn’t able to add the web address on it. I normally like to add it at the bottom of the ad. It was on the Facebook Event page, though. The Google ad did have the web address on it, and when you clicked on the add it took you to the CCC website. The main page of the site had info on Lee Strobel.
The week the ads ran, we saw a 50% increase in website users, visits and pageviews.
Back to Google AdWords. One thing that’s nice is being able to adapt the campaign in the midst of it. I was adding search terms/keywords throughout the week that I thought people in Omaha would be searching for throughout the day. So, while I put in keywords that related to the Lee Strobel event, I also put in keywords that would draw traffic to the ad. Here are some of the unconventional keywords I used, out of the 90 search terms I had, that were effective in promoting the ad.
- Omaha weather
- Omaha school
- school cancellations
- Omaha cancellations
- Omaha snow
- Omaha recall
- Forward Omaha
- mayor recall
- NFL playoffs
- Taylor Martinez
- Ameer Abdullah
- Bubba Starling
- Shawn Watson
- Bo Pelini
I didn’t start the campaign with some of these keywords, but I added them throughout. If you’re a college football fan, you know it’s the peak time with recruiting. It’s why I added keywords for Ameer Abdullah and Bubba Starling. Ameer committed to the Huskers during that week, and I added him the next day to the campaign. He was a keyword for three days, but ended up being a top return with the keywords.
That week there was a lot of winter weather. It’s why I had a lot of weather related terms. The number one keyword for clicks was “Jesus”, but number two was “Omaha weather”. “Omaha weather” was the number one keyword for impressions.
Also, there was the political climate going on in Omaha that week with the mayoral recall election. I didn’t want it to look like the church endorsed a position on the recall. I also knew that people would be doing a lot of searches related to the mayoral recall election. I wanted people on both sides of the mayor recall issue to come hear Lee Strobel speak. It’s why I added keywords for both positions of the recall, and also keywords for voting, registration and more. Those terms received high amounts of impressions and clicks.
Is it ridiculous to have an ad come up with some of these keywords? Yes, but you need to know your people, your culture, your target audience, and adapt your campaign to fit it.
Turnout for the event was solid. Considering the night before the event Omaha received seven inches of snow, I was amazed that attendance was almost at a normal Sunday level.* A number of people said the reason they did make it in to church was due to Lee speaking.
*At the last second, I ended up live blogging/tweeting the event so people could follow along even if they couldn’t make it in to church. From the feedback I heard, I was surprised by how many people followed along to the live blogging/tweeting of the event. It was encouraging to hear, and I’m planning on doing it again in the future.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, just let me know or comment on the post. There are many other variables that affect the effectiveness of a campaign that I didn’t address here. If you have questions about any of those other factors, please ask.