Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Facebook Horribly Messes with Non Profits Use of Their Site.

This is an excellent post you will find on the NonProfit Tech 2.0 Blog.

I encourage you to keep an eye on the results of this test throughout next week. This could be a real disappointment for nonprofits, even those that have employed an excellent engagement strategy might find themselves severely limited in their ability to engage or communicate.

An Experiment with Facebook Advertising for Nonprofit Organizations
2010 February 9
tags: Facebook, ROI (Return on Investment)
by nonprofitorgs

The Facebook of February 2010 is quite different from the Facebook of 2009 especially when it comes to Facebook Fan Pages. If you haven’t yet noticed, three very important changes have been made that significantly effect your organization’s Facebook community:

1) Status Updates are no longer guaranteed to get exposure in the News Feed.

There is a mysterious Facebook algorithm at play here and I just don’t know what it is, but I do know that with the launch of new Facebook design in early February 2010 the vast majority of Status Updates from Pages that I am a fan of are not showing up in the primary News Feed > Top News. More are seemingly showing up in the News Feed > Most Recent view, but definitely not all. I knew this change was coming and I had read that Status Updates that receive a lot of comments and thumbs up would at the very least show up in the News Feed > Most Recent, but that’s just not happening. I have always believed and voiced that 90% of the power of a Facebook Page is in the Status Updates, so having them not show up in News Feeds is a problem.

2) It is no longer obvious that fans have new Updates.

I can’t remember exactly when this change was made, but it was at least 6 months ago. When fans logged into Facebook in the upper right of their “Home” view they used to see alerts of “New Updates!”. Now the only way fans know if they have new Updates is if they go to their Inbox > Updates or if they click “Messages” on the left of the Home view (the later was just added February 2010). Coincidently, once this change was made, activity on the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page declined. I no longer saw surges in traffic (via Insights) on days that I sent Updates.

As of February 2 Updates had been relegated the realm of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. On that day I polled fans asking if they read Updates anymore, and the overwhelming response was no. BUT now that Facebook has added the “Messages” function in the upper left of the Home view, perhaps the usefulness of Updates with rise again? I’ll send an Update next week and let you know. :)

3) The Pages Filter on the Home view has been removed and replaced with Ads and Pages.

The new Facebook of February 2010 no longer has a “Pages” filter in the upper left of the Home view. It used to be a feed of Status Updates from Pages you were a fan of. It’s gone. Now if you click “More” just below this space a new “Ads and Pages” hub appears. You do not see Status Updates, but rather the Ads and Pages you are an admin for. Useful for Nonprofit Admins who manage many Pages and people who buy and manage Facebook ads, but there’s no way around it… less exposure of Status Updates on the Home view is just not good for most nonprofits.

Thus, a $50 experiment with Facebook Advertsing for Nonprofit Organizations.

Facebook is entering an era of profitability. They have built the largest online community the world has ever known over the last 5 years and now they are positioned to make some serious cash. You can’t blame them for it. It couldn’t be free forever. That’s business. But nonprofits have sent out millions of e-mails and Tweets over the last few years asking supporters to “Become a fan!” thus helping Facebook become the powerhouse that it is today. So, there is a reciprocal relationship here, or at least there should be (I think).

I have read rumors that purchasing advertising will help your nonprofit get more action in the News Feeds. That seems fair. I am willing to pay $50 or $100 in advertising to get increased exposure in the feeds, but not necessarily to secure more fans. If those new fans can’t see my Status Updates, well then quite honestly, what’s the point?
So, I have just purchased a Facebook Ad to promote the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page that is to run Monday, February 15th through Friday, February 19th. Together, we will watch to see if it increases my fan base and/or Status Update activity in the News Feeds. Below you can see the steps I took to create and pay for an ad:

1) Step 1 :: Design Your Ad

Step 2 :: Target Your Ad

My ad will target people:

* who live in the United States
* between the ages of 30 and 40 inclusive
* who graduated from college
* who are single, in a relationship, engaged or married
* who speak English (US)

Facebook let me know there are 6,892,600 people that fit that description.

Step 3 :: Campaigns and Pricing

I chose to max my ad at $10 a day. For that price I could get up 17 clicks a day, or 36,000 impressions a day. The later sounded much more impressive so I went with Pay for Impressions. The ad will run for 5 days maxing at $50 starting next Monday, February 15.

Step 4 :: Review and Pay for Ad

Step 5 :: Ads and Pages Admin

As mentioned above, there is a new “Ads and Pages” option on the left side of your Home view under “More.” When the ad goes live next Monday I’ll start seeing some activity and be sure to share screenshots with you the following week. But again, this experiment is not about how many new fans an ad can generate for the Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page, but rather if it helps the Status Updates of the NPO Page get more News Feed action. I hope so!

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