How effective can targeted Facebook Ads be? #DigitalLab

How effective can targeted Facebook Ads be? #DigitalLab


Juan Reino, Marketing and Events Coordinator, Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM) explores the effectiveness of Facebook Ads. Part of his Fellowship at Digital Lab. 

On Saturday 17th October, Oxford Contemporary Music decided to go back to live events for the first time after the pandemic put everything on hold. Due to measures against Covid 19 we had only a small number (36) of “in-person” tickets available, that were sold out shortly after going on sale. This is not a surprise if we take into account three factors:

  1. live events are scarce in the current climate and people are eager to go “back to normal” as much as possible,
  2. the venue (Oxford’s ancient woodland Wytham Woods),
  3. the two great acts Rachel Dadd and Jas Kayser.     

Given the difficulty to make the event available to a wider audience, we decided to do something we haven’t done before: livestreaming. During lockdown we experimented with live concerts on ZOOM and collaboration with other organisations. However, this time we were doing it big: two livestreamed events on youtube with high quality video and audio.   

Suddenly a new possibility opened up, because we were able to reach a bigger audience; from Oxford to the whole UK, and (potentially) the whole world. When I was talking about this with my Digital Lab’s mentor Ron Evans, we quickly agreed that targeted Facebook outreach was the way to go. However, Ron proposed a different strategy to the usual approach...  

Rather than regular Facebook Ads (which Ron compared to cold calls), we had the idea of forming a mini-network of event promoters targeting people who have liked the page. From different parts of the country, these organisers would cross-market each others' streaming events via boosted posts with tracking links. This way we could ensure that we were showing the ad to people who were genuinely interested in live music and had proactively chosen to see this type of posts on their feeds. Including tracking links would allow us to measure how successful the campaign was and compare it against the data from more “traditional” Facebook Ads. 

This sounded like a great idea and I decided to make it the first experiment of my Digital Lab’s fellowship. I did a bit of research and decided to start by emailing three organisations I knew were doing livestreamed events and would potentially be interested in being part of this. Out of the three I only received one response to say that they were maxed out with their own planning at the moment and they would not be able to get involved.  

At first I was disappointed to see that an idea with such great potential and benefits for everyone involved was being ignored. Livestreaming is bound to be an area of growth in the current cultural climate and organisations will need to reach new audiences in order to stay relevant. If we are all aiming for a global audience, why not partner up and collaborate? 

This blog post doesn’t solve the question proposed in the title. If something, it makes it broader: how do I get someone to partner up with us to work out how accurate targeted Facebook ads can be? After a conversation with Ron I realised that in order to get someone to listen, I needed to be able to offer a valuable proposition. 

I don’t consider this to be a failed experiment, at least not just yet. I still believe in the potential of a network of Livestream music event promoters. The next step now is to work out how to offer value to fellow promoters... 

Juan Reino, Marketing and Events Coordinator, Oxford Contemporary Music

Juan Reino is a Marketing and Events Coordinator at Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM). His job is to get people excited about the things he’s excited about. He is also passionate about graphic design, obsolete technology and everything digital. 
Juan's educational background includes an MA in Art Galleries and Museum Studies from The University of Manchester and a BA in Art History from The University of Salamanca. 

Resource type: Articles | Published: 2021