The Surprising Benefits of Purchasing a Facebook Ad

In November 2012, our department conducted Ritenour School District’s annual community survey.

We conduct a community survey on a semi-annual basis. During the years when we don’t conduct a survey, we use other data collection initiatives, like focus groups or community forums. Because the cost is dramatically lower, we decided to use an online survey last fall as opposed to the traditional telephone survey.

Our department developed a strategic communications plan that used our website, rapid telephone system, email and postcards backpacked home with students to promote the survey to our community.  We also asked staff members, friends and business partners to share the information with their Facebook friends as well.

Our entire budget this year was $40 for promotion of the survey. We poured it all into Facebook ads. We took advantage of Facebook’s targeting advertising feature that allows the user to select a specific group of people based on many categories. In this case, we chose individuals who were not associated with the Ritenour School District, but lived within specific zip codes within our area.

The ads ran for a seven-day period while the survey was open. Our goal was to get more of our community members who do not have children in school to participate in the survey.

According to the statistics downloaded from Facebook, the results were outstanding. We were amazed by the number of people who viewed our post:

  • Our weekly total reach was 7,563. Normally it is 2,500 – 3,000.
  • We received a total of 100 new likes on our page in one week. The only other time we see a spike like that is following a snow day.
  • Most importantly, we received nearly 1,000 responses for our survey – including more than 400 non-parent community members we targeted through the ad.

By no means am I an advocate for purchasing or “boosting” your regular posts on Facebook. I notice on a regular basis (and it makes me sad) that our posts are only reaching a few hundred people because Facebook wants you pay to promote your posts.

But in this case, purchasing an ad was very beneficial, which is why I am so excited to share this information. If you are looking to drive traffic to a certain page or conduct an online survey, this might be the right tool for you.

Happy posting!

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6 Replies to “The Surprising Benefits of Purchasing a Facebook Ad”

  1. Great post. Question: Do you know how many of those 400 community members who took the survey came to you directly from the FB ad?

    1. Thanks so much! We can’t put a number directly to the community members taking the survey. At the same time we purchased the Facebook ad, we also sent an email blast to our community list and local elected officials, so it is impossible to tell if they came from the survey or email. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  2. A couple of logistical questions … Do you have to use your personal credit/debit card to purchase the ads? If so, does Facebook give you any kind of receipt for the purchase?

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