What’s new? That’s the question on everyone’s mind, right?
We live in a media world of constant churn. We’re always looking for the next big thing. Think about how fast a new TV show, Twitter meme or TikTok dance becomes popular, only to quickly move to the trash heap of public interest.
So it should come as little surprise that so many people are now wanting to declare Facebook “dead” as they turn their attention to TikTok and search for what’s next in digital media. But make no mistake: Despite all the recent challenges surrounding Facebook, it is still a very effective channel for nonprofit fundraising.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the following:
- All the news around what has been happening in the Meta realm
- How these changes have affected nonprofit fundraising
- Whether nonprofits should turn to other social channels
What’s going on with Facebook?
Roughly a year ago, Apple made a bold move in data privacy. In its iOS 14 update, the tech giant made all apps on iPhones and iPads ask users for permission to track them across third-party apps and websites.
This sent a ripple effect through the advertising world as Apple users overwhelmingly elected to not allow apps to track them.
Facebook was hit the hardest. Practically overnight, Facebook lost the ability to provide demographic information about users to advertisers. And advertisers could no longer easily track conversions from Facebook to their website.
In its recent earnings call last month, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) declared that Apple’s privacy changes had resulted in a $10 billion loss in revenue. Facebook also saw its first quarterly decline in active users, which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg attributed to the increasing competition for attention from other social media apps, like TikTok.
News of the loss of ad revenue and users sent Meta shares plummeting to a $200 billion loss in market value.
How has nonprofit fundraising been affected?
We mostly covered this in a previous blog post last August, but it’s important to say it again: Facebook still delivers when it comes to donations.
Nonprofits should still continue to invest with confidence in Facebook advertising as a key element of their digital media budget (in addition to display and paid search).
Third-party tracking and targeting are more limited, but we’ve been shouting from the rooftops about the importance of first-party data. You have a wealth of information in your own database that can be used effectively in advertising.
We can’t reach people in the exact same way as before (e.g., specific interest targeting), but we can target them in other manners. So if anyone is telling you that Facebook can no longer reach donors because of limitations to targeting, they simply may not know how to operate effectively on the platform.
Tracking is also more limited, but it’s now on par with other advertising platforms like TV, out-of-home, print, etc. Advertisers were simply lucky that, for a time, attribution was much easier in digital media.
Among our clients, we have kept Facebook advertising as a healthy piece of a well-rounded media approach. And their digital fundraising revenue has continued to grow steadily, despite these changes.
Should nonprofits turn to other social channels?
Yes and no.
It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs into one basket. Diversification is a healthy practice for any organization, and expanding into more channels is a good thing.
TikTok, for example, has seen an explosion of growth, with users averaging 46 minutes per day watching 15-second videos on the app. Compare that to the Facebook user average of 38 minutes per day, and you see why Zuckerberg is concerned.
It’s worth jumping into TikTok if:
- You have the time and tools to make videos
- You’re able to post frequently
- You’re looking to expand brand awareness
We’ve even written about some fun ways that nonprofits are getting involved on TikTok.
Just don’t look to TikTok for fundraising. It’s not where donors are, and it’s not a good platform for giving.
Likewise, LinkedIn for Nonprofits is a good place to begin building awareness with corporate and major donors. But with the average user spending just 17 minutes per month on the platform, it’s not a viable channel for mass-market fundraising.
Facebook may seem boring and old school. And it’s not the hot “new” platform that’s grabbing everyone’s attention. And it’s seen a decline in users. And it lost billions of dollars. And it has limitations to tracking and targeting. And people generally don’t like the company.
But Facebook is still getting the job done when it comes to fundraising.
Don’t get caught in the hype about what you read online. Explore the new options out there and keep an eye on them, but stay the course in your media budget toward Facebook.