5 Things We've Learned About Recruiting Blood Donors On Facebook

Recruiting blood donors on Facebook is a key part of many blood centers' marketing mix. With 1 billion daily active users, it's likely the best place to attract, engage, and convert a broad range or precisely targeted donors.  

We've partnered with several blood centers to launch new Facebook campaigns with the goal of recruiting more blood donors in a way that's less intrusive than telerecruitment calls and at a lower cost per acquisition. This journey has been one of great learning and we want to share it with you. 

Here are five of the most important things we've learned about recruiting blood donors through paid Facebook campaigns:

1) Targeting the right audience can make or break your campaign

Facebook gives you so many targeting options that it can be a bit overwhelming determining where to start. Should you target individuals within 5 miles of your donor center that voted in the last election? How about the people that already interact with your Facebook page? Or what about your previous donors that have opted out of being telerecruited? 

The targeting possibilities on Facebook are endless. You can choose any combination of attributes, retarget to people who have interacted with your page or website, or even upload a donor file and very precisely target your best. 

After working with several blood centers across many campaigns, we've found that many of the targeting options mentioned above have worked very well to recruit blood donors, but it takes weeks, if not months, to truly start to understand and optimize the best performing audiences.

However, there are several factors that will clue you into poor performing audiences - high cost per result, low click-through rate, low conversion rate, and low relevancy score, especially if the same ads are performing well with other audiences. 

2) Everyone thinks they know which copy and creative will perform best

Everyone thinks they are an expert in the copy and creative department. We've had long discussions about which ads are going to perform best in a campaign, and even succumbed to betting a few steak dinners on the outcomes because we just knew we were right. I've executed many Facebook campaigns on behalf of our clients and only guessed what the best performing ad would be on a few occasions. 

Well, the truth is that no one is an expert on copy or creative except for the donors reacting to it.  And no audience is the same. One blood center's donors will prefer a video that pulls at their altruistic heartstrings while another's donors will only engage with an image that offers a free burger coupon in exchange for their donation. 

Instead of trying to be an expert, test many different types and combinations of copy and creative and let the results determine the best performing ads. 

3) Your landing page is just as important as your Facebook ad

Are you experiencing a great click-through rate on your Facebook ads but low conversion rate for blood donation appointments on your landing page? This is a common problem for blood centers that are just getting into the paid Facebook campaign game. 

We like to use landing page software that helps us better understand donor behavior and which page elements to A/B test in order to optimize the page for conversions. This kind of technology can help significantly increase the results of a Facebook campaign but first requires very intentional testing to get there.

4) Proper campaign analysis is key

While Facebook does a great job at helping to optimize campaigns, proper analysis of ongoing results will help.  Good analysis starts by understanding which metrics tell you most about the performance of your campaigns.  While everyone likes to talk about click-through rates and return on ad spend, it is important to understand what these metrics are actually telling you, how they are related to each other and to other metrics that are not so “popular”.  Every metric Facebook provides is there for a reason, so take the time to understand what that metric is telling you and you will begin to have a more comprehensive understanding of your campaign performance. 

Also, remember that campaigns are dynamic and so is performance over time.  Learning to watch metrics over the life of the campaign and understanding how the change over time is what is at the heart of good campaign analysis. 

It is also important to have an idea of what you think your metric levels will be BEFORE testing.  This will force you to spend a little time thinking through your audience, your ads, your spend and of course conversion.   Anyone can look at a report and see answers, but a good analyst can tell a story about what is happening and therefore be in a better position to make adjustments or recommend subsequent testing.

5) You should always be testing something

Test. Test. And test again.

You can see that a recurring theme in the four learnings above is that testing is key to effectively using Facebook to recruit blood donors. You should be testing something during every campaign:

  • Targeting
  • Ad copy
  • Ad creative
  • Landing page elements
  • Budget
  • Time of day
  • An unlimited list - test everything!

Just remember - never test more than one element at a time so that you can be sure of what is driving the increase or decrease in your campaign results.

What have you learned from recruiting blood donors on Facebook?