A year ago, the WMF Fundraising team ran an experiment showing donation
appeals on Facebook. While the experiment was valuable, we need more
experience and data to properly assess Facebook’s viability as a potential
revenue channel. This is important to us because leveraging Facebook’s
broad audience allows us to meet our users where they prefer to engage
Over the last few months, we have been working on content variations for a
new experiment, trying content more closely based on the messaging that
already performs well on Wikipedia. *I’m writing today to say we will be
launching our second Facebook ads experiment on Monday, June 18.*
We would like to note we are approaching this test with caution and are
making every effort to protect our donors’ information. We’ve been working
closely with the Foundation’s Legal team to re-review Facebook’s latest
policies and terms of service before a single ad is placed. We are not
uploading our donor lists to Facebook for any list matching or donor
suppression (meaning active Wikipedia donors may see these ads). All ads
will direct donors to the Foundation’s hosted donation pages, and we are
not sending Facebook any conversion metrics or personally identifiable
information on who donates from the ads we run.
The parameters for this experiment are very similar to those my colleague
Sam laid out in his email last year, which I am including below for
reference. The high level details are:
*WHEN:* Beginning Monday, June 18 - appx June 30
*WHO:* Facebook users in the US who speak English. We will do some more
specific demographic targeting based on age, education, and interests, but
are deliberately starting by casting a wide net for this experiment.
*COST: *We are committing $5,000 USD in a cost per click agreement. If this
experiment shows promising results, we may commit more funds to additional
Facebook advertising is not yet a fixture of our long-term fundraising
strategy; this is simply an experiment to help us gauge how valuable this
platform could be to us in the future. If we decide to more permanently
integrate Facebook into our budget and strategy, we will follow up.
If you have questions about this experiment, please don't hesitate to ask.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Samuel Patton <spatton(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 10:58 AM
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Fundraising pilot on Facebook
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <Wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
I'm writing to let you know about a project we're trying on the
Foundation's fundraising team. Thanks to all the help and advice we've
received from our colleagues in Communications, Legal, and Community
*I've posted this announcement as an update on Fundraising's Meta Page
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising/Updates>, and would be happy
to answer questions and keep the discussion up there.*
Over the next three weeks, the Advancement team will be conducting a small
fundraising pilot on Facebook and Instagram. This will involve sponsored
posts, served in English to people in the United States, that will direct
users to donate to the Foundation using our own donation processing pages.
Fundraising is always interested in exploring new ways to reach people who
find value in Wikipedia and are interested in supporting the Foundation’s
mission. Advertising across social networks is a proven and popular way for
nonprofits to find new supporters and build organizational awareness, and
we’re excited to dip our toes into this.
Like the many tests we run for Fundraising, this pilot will involve
experiments testing different imagery, copy, and calls to action. We hope
to answer the question: how well does our on-Wikipedia.org
perform when presented on another site? It will also examine how our
appeals perform across demographic and interest groups.
*Where will the ads appear?*
This pilot will use “sponsored posts,” which is what Facebook calls content
that appears in the news feed of Facebook users.
They will also appear on Instagram as “sponsored stories” that appear
within the flow of photo and video posts users scroll on that network.
(Instagram is a Facebook property.)
They will not appear as banners, pop-ups, or display ads that appear
alongside the news feed. This is a test in what is called “native”
advertising, meaning it uses the same content display area that users
expect from Facebook and Instagram.
*How will you target your ads?*
In addition to the broad parameters of language (English) and country
(U.S.), we have identified a few target audiences that might respond
particularly well to our appeals: educators, philanthropists, and frequent
consumers of news. We will build these audiences based off self reported
information about educational achievement, news readership, and
philanthropic interest. I've included details on each audience below. In
addition to these, we have discussed the value of comparing effectiveness
across other characteristics - age, gender, etc.
A large part of the value in running this experiment is to *learn* whether
there are any demographic differences in how people respond to our
messaging. If this experiment does give us compelling info about who is
more likely to donate, that is exciting! And we'll talk as a group about
what to do with that knowledge.
*Can users opt out?*
Of course. Users can hide individual ads if they are not of interest to
them. This is also something we can measure to better understand how to not
annoy or impose on social media users in future fundraising drives.
*Who is working on this?*
Fundraising is partnering with the social media folks in Communications to
run this test. The promotion and measurement of ads is being managed by a
small company called Middle Seat.
*Will you keep us in the loop?*
Absolutely. By July 15 we intend to share an overview of our testing so far.
Stay tuned for more updates!
*Possible target audiences:*
*STUDENTS & EDUCATORS*
*How likely to donate are current students and educators?*
Age: 18 - 65+
Target: Current students above high school level and educators based on
self-reported “job title”
*How likely to donate are Facebook users interested in both philanthropy
and donating to charitable causes?*
Age: 18 - 65+
Target: Facebook users with self-reported interests in philanthropy and
donating to charity
*How likely to donate are Facebook users whose behavior suggests they’re
daily news consumers?*
Age: 18 - 65+
Target: Facebook users with interests and behavior that suggests daily news
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/
New messages to: Wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
Senior Fundraising Email Manager
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!