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Business Development

Optimizing Facebook Ads

The prevailing wisdom for any crowdsourcing campaign like Kickstart is to start the campaign with a well-developed potential backer list. (This recommendation is also #6 on this list of tips for optimizing a KS campaign.) Often that list will begin with family and friends. My family and friends are followed by fellow researchers: other scientists who are familiar with The Doughnut Economy.

To reach a wider audience of people interested in climate change I’ll publish Facebook ads that are geared towards a specific custom audience: an audience that prioritizes the environment.

Criteria Selection

FB makes it easy because there are many criteria available when narrowing an audience for a FB ad. Here are a few basic choices:

  • location
  • age
  • gender
  • languages

The remaining criteria are quite detailed and are divided into three categories:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviours

To reach people that are concerned with the environment, I selected traits within the interest category. One of the sub categories is “Hobbies and Activities,” and within that subcategory is “Political and Social Issues.” In that sub-subcategory, I made three selections:

  • Environmentalism
  • Sustainability,
  • Community Issues

In other words, anyone who has any one of these three criteria is eligible to by exposed to by FB ad. Community Issues was selected because a component of Habitable Earth is a social foundation: providing enough food, housing, and equality for every person. There’s more features to the social foundation than those three, but I needed to keep a straight forward tile matching game from getting overly complicated.

I wanted environmentally minded people who were comfortable signing up for campaign notifications and who were experienced buying products online. There’s not a direct way to filter for those traits, but there are a couple of indirect ways.

People who are comfortable pledging a KS campaign are more likely to be using a smart phone, and smart phone users tend not to use 2G or 3G. So I select for 4G or wifi. Internet savvy users will also make a selection for their internet browser. In other words they’re not going to use Internet Explorer (IE), which comes pre-installed. So I select for every other web browser besides IE. Deselecting 2G and 3G filters out less savvy phone users, and deselecting IE filters out less savvy computer users.

The last Behaviour to filter for is “Engaged Shoppers” which is found in the subcategory called “Purchase Behaviour.”

The remaining detailed selection is Demographics. I made an Education Level choice. To cover all the possibilities with at least “Some college,” I sselected seven education level choices ranging from “In College” to “Doctorate Degree.”

Optimal Target Audience Size

Somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people is the best target audience size. Fewer than that and you start making FB show your ad to people who do not entirely match the criteria. Above that range and you need to run the ad for a longer time to reach the people who are a good match for that set of criteria.

You really want to use FB ads to grab the best matches by staying in this target size. In this range of audience sizes, FB can reach the best candidates quickly.

Global Reach

With a target size between 500,000 and 1,000,000 I have 8 audiences in Europe, 9 in the US, and 2 in Canada. Since the French Canada was less than 500,000, I’ll combine it with another French speaking geographic area.

Central and South America were divided into 7 audiences. These were all Spanish speaking audiences. I included five US states on the southern US border with a Spanish filter: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texan, and Florida. I also need to divide Mexico into three audiences, one of which was Mexico City.

India was also covered by three regions; four more for S.E Asia, another one for Australia and New Zealand, and another for East Asia.

When considering Africa and the Middle East, I only included countries where at least 90% of the population has access to electricity: north of the Sahara, S. Africa, and a few on the western shore.

These 36 geographical regions all had the same audience details. Oddly, board games, as a hobby, was never a consideration. Environment first, and internet savvy second. Then narrow the geographical region to a properly sized audience. It remains to be seen how this strategy will unfold.

What was your strategy for doing FB ads?

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