Facebook advertising for arts organisations

Facebook advertising is a simple way to dip your organisation’s toes in the online advertising space. Organisations can either opt for cost-per-click (CPC) advertising or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) options for their Facebook ads. As a general rule, CPC based advertising on Facebook is the ‘least-risk’ option, with the maximum bid per click a safety net against running up CPM advertising with no guarantee of clicks.

Facebook offers both ‘Premium’ and ‘Marketplace’ ads, with Marketplace ads most commonly used, giving your organisation the opportunity to ‘self manage’ ads in much the same way as Google Adwords. Facebook’s premium advertising offers options such as ‘event’ ads that are ideal when looking to build audience numbers for an event (see example below) but require a Facebook account manager to place the ads in addition to a larger minimum ad commitment ($10k) to use this option.

Much like Google Adwords, Facebook ads are ranked on a number of factors, including ‘Maximum bid’ (either on a CPC or CPM basis) and ‘ad quality’ (Click through rate) determining whether your ads appear over your competitors’ ads.

Facebook has strict guidelines concerning what is and is not permitted in advertising on the site, in particular ‘illegal’ items such as guns and tobacco. For an arts organisation you are unlikely to run into problems with the guidelines, but they are worth examining to ensure your campaign complies and are ‘approved’ by Facebook’s advertising team (approvals can take 48 hours, but are usually less than 6 hours).

Examples of Facebook ads:

1) ‘Event’ premium ad, offering users who see the ad the opportunity to RSVP to your event, with Facebook users already RSVP’d increasing the ‘social peer pressure’ on the ad viewer to engage with your event.

2) Marketplace ads directing users off-Facebook to engage with your website. While directing people ‘off-Facebook’ leads to lower engagement (as most Facebook users prefer to stay within Facebook), this marketplace ad, because it is directing people to an ‘external URL’ lets the organisation use a custom headline (in this case ‘Win Kylie tickets!) as a strong call to action.

3) Marketplace ad with ‘Like’ option: This ad uses the ‘only show this ad to friends who like my page’ targeting option, with the ad-copy playing to that strength. The ad fails however by using an image that isn’t landscape in orientation, Facebook ad images need to be 110 x 80 pixels to best use the space available.Facebook advertising for arts organisations

Originally part of my blog series commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts.