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Discussion: Who's using Facebook ads for events?

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 20, 2018 10:11 PM # 
Hello O-friends,

John Godino here with the Columbia River Orienteering Club in Portland Oregon. I’m wondering if any other clubs are using Facebook advertising to get more people to visit their website and attend events.

My club (CROC) has started doing this in 2018, with pretty good results. I am curious if other clubs are doing it, what your results have been, what demographics are you targeting, and in general looking for people to trade ideas and best practices with.

For any club who is considering doing this who would like a tutorial or overview from me, I'm considering making a YouTube video showing how to set up a Facebook ad for an orienteering event. Based on general interest level, I'm willing to do this, please let me know here if you'd like to see something like this and I can put it together.

The thing about Facebook advertising for orienteering events that’s powerful is that you can show your ad to a specific geographic area and people with precise interests. Such as, “only show my Facebook ad to people within a 30 mile radius of the event, and only show the ad to people who are interested in running or hiking, and are between ages of 25 and 50”. Or, to simplify it, you can only show the ad to people who have already liked your FB page.
You can also spend very modest amounts of money on and add to see if it works, as little as a few dollars a day for a week or so.

Anyway, if you're using this and having success, let me know. If you're not using it and want to learn how, let me know that too and maybe I will put together a short YouTube video.

Oct 20, 2018 11:57 PM # 
I have tried it, with unknown success at this point. I'd be very interested in a YouTube video about how to best do it.
Oct 21, 2018 2:02 AM # 
I'm very interested but not sure whether it is out of curiosity or of an expectation that we could increase our event registrations.
Naturally when we post information about our events we get invitations from Facebook to boost the post for only $7. One extra person would pay the cost. But so far I've resisted the temptation.
By the way, I, splitting my year between eastern Canada and Florida, do get posts about CROC events. I don't know whether that is part of your boosting or not.
Thank you for offering your advice.
Oct 21, 2018 2:02 AM # 
Mr Wonderful:
SMOC uses a mix of ads to promote the club and events. We have more fans than our standard attendance as a result of the club promotion campaign (haven't checked, we are/were America's Favorite Orienteering Club), and FB's serve rate is garbage, so we mostly pay to let our own audience know events exist. I occasionally target a wider audience. I figure the bang for buck is pretty easy - if I spend $40 and 4 people show up, that's about all I need to count it as victory. I suspect it's higher. I've provided stats before on not necessarily event-specific advertising but FB advertising in general, could be dug up.

The biggest challenge in being analytical is I have been way to lazy to try to extract out the other factors that influence attendance for a particular event - for example, we are having a terrible rash of awful weather. We lose a big % for any kind of rain, esp. cold rain, and that's fallen on a suspicious number of events. I haven't found a way to advertise around that, and if we had a string of nice weather I think I'd finally be happy with the numbers.
Oct 21, 2018 7:54 PM # 
You may want to pay this facebook group a visit and then possibly this club for examples of the publicity in action
Oct 22, 2018 1:18 PM # 
I used a Facebook event notice for DVOA's Green Lane, a local meet. I used a single "boost" which was very cheap. We had really good attendance despite a bus breakdown which meant 50 pre-registered kids did not turn up (actually 10 managed to get rides from parents). Registration was so busy we did not ask how folks heard about us, but next time I will put that question on the sign up. My general impression was that there were new faces. Other factors were some pent-up demand and fabulous weather. I think you have to be very consistent with advertising, not post events too soon or too late, and use a good graphic. Don't make the text too long. Send readers to your club website for more details. And please like us on Facebook if you are on there.
Oct 22, 2018 8:58 PM # 
I believe Quantico has a very active Facebook promotion spearheaded by Kathleen and Greg Lennon.
Oct 22, 2018 9:15 PM # 
There is an admin group-
Oct 22, 2018 9:24 PM # 
Ralph, thanks for those UK club links.
Yep the tricky part is quantifying how well your ad is actually doing. It'd be GREAT if the O-USA registration software had a way to enter a discount code. That way folks getting a FB discount of say $5 could preregister, get $5 off, and you the ad manager could instantly see the return on the ad. That's how online retail works.
Oct 29, 2018 10:37 AM # 
I designed 10 FB ads for 10 different events over a 2-year period, using a different photo each time and mixing up the targeted interest groups and varying the spending amounts from $5 to $20. Unfortunately, the first ad brought us one person and the next nine brought us zero, so I gave up.

This discussion thread is closed.