3 Powerful Ways for Nonprofits to Target Facebook Ads

Photo by Coletivo Mambembe
01.09.2013By

Photo by Coletivo Mambembe

During a few recent webinars I’ve conducted, I’ve asked participants if they’ve used Facebook ads to promote their cause.

On average, about 70% say they haven’t!

When I dug a little further, I discovered that what’s prevented many folks from trying Facebook ads are mistaken beliefs around three areas:

  1. Cost of Ads: Many orgs I’ve spoken to believe that Facebook ads are prohibitively expensive, which is not the case. The cost of ads depend on who’s being targeted, but–if targeted wisely and tested in short runs– they are more affordable than you’d expect.
  2. Current Reach: Many orgs wonder why they should buy ads, when they’ve already got a few thousand Facebook fans that see their content. I remind them that only a small fraction of fans actually see their content, which they can see in their Facebook Page Insights.
  3. Limited Targeting: Many orgs believe that the only things you can target on Facebook are age, location, marital status and a few other items. They don’t realize how you can target people based on the social graph, pages they’ve liked, and even their birthday!

Targeting is what makes Facebook ads different from any other type of online ad. Below are just three powerfully creative ways you can target Facebook ads.

Targeting by Birthday


Facebook lets you create ads that target users who have a birthday coming up in the next week. This allows you to connect with Facebook users in a highly personal manner!

You can refine this by targeting ONLY current donors on their birthday (more on that below).

Read this article to learn how to target Facebook users on their birthday.

Targeting Custom Audiences

Imagine being able to reach lapsed donors on Facebook, or target Page posts for a project funded by that donor segment!

Facebook’s “custom audiences” feature allows you to find donors and email subscribers among Facebook users. This video explains exactly how to import your email lists into your Facebook ads account.

The real benefit of this type of targeting is that it allows you to extend your donor/supporter relationships more effectively on Facebook.

Here are some possible use scenarios:

  • Reach lapsed donors with messaging that recaptures their interest in your cause.
  • Boost activity around an advocacy campaign by targeting people who’ve signed similar petitions in the past. This allows you to use email marketing and the newsfeed, which will mutually reinforce both messages.
  • Acquire new Facebook fans by getting your top donors to talk about you more. Their friends have similar values and would be more likely to support your org than many of your current Facebook fans.
  • Turn first time SMS donors into Facebook Page fans. People who donate by SMS often do so because they see an ad on TV or in a magazine.
  • Target donor segments with project-specific content. For example, a donor who funds a mobile clinic for an animal shelter would see messaging for related projects.

Targeting Fans of Other Pages

Targeting is all about knowing your people. Knowing what other causes they support and knowing what activities they like.

Precise Interests is an option for Facebook Ads that allow you to target the activities and interest users have expressed in their profile. This includes Facebook Pages they’ve liked and Groups they’ve joined!

As you type in the name of “competing” nonprofits, Facebook will suggest similar interests and Pages that you can add to your targeting criteria (as shown above).

Does this help make Facebook Ads less intimidating? Would you consider advertising on Facebook for your organization?

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    I like the information shared by you and i will be keeping the various in my mind while working on my facebook page. I pushed a lot of efforts in driving traffic of other pages to my own but in vain. Now, i will be using the strategies shared by you.

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    Thanks for sharing such an useful information that i have been looking for very long time. I am going to use it to boost up my Facebook fan page.