Facebook Ads for Races

Facebook Ad OptionsIf you have not experimented with Facebook Ads for your race, you are probably missing an opportunity to expand your race. As you can see on the right, Facebook is offering a variety of options for advertising, which can be confusing. Facebook is also making moves that limit the reach of normal posts to as low as 1% (meaning as few as 100 people would see a post from a page with 10,000 Likes).

Last week we reviewed Facebook Offers for Races as a very effective way to encourage people to sign up for your race. With Facebook offers, you create a limited time coupon in RunSignUp and then put that coupon in a Facebook Offer. This appears in the Facebook Feed of people who “Like” your page and their friends. The results were impressive for our 1,200 person race with 38 registrations over a day and a half.

Facebook Race AdWith Facebook Ads, you can target an audience (for example Facebook users who have been classified as having an interest in running who also live in the 10 zipcodes around your race) beyond the network of people who “Like” your Facebook race page. Ads look something like the experimental one we did on the right. The downside is that there is not a strong “call to action” like the Facebook Offer (although we did opt for the “Sign Up” option).

RunSignUp allows you to tightly integrate and track your Facebook ads and their conversion. The screen shot below shows the results of our Facebook Ad experiment on our 1,200 person race. Note the 3 conversions were reported because of the integration with RunSignUp (we include a Facebook “tracking pixel” on the confirmation page so Facebook knows that someone actually registered and paid).

Facebook Ad ROI SummaryIn this example, we ran the ad for 4 days and spent $10 per day for a total of $40. 6,800 people saw the ad and we got 3 registrations.  We had 106 clicks on the ad to the race webpage, and we increased our Page Likes by 13.

Facebook Ad TypeHow to Set up a Facebook Ad for your Race
Here are the steps to take for setting up your ad, although you can get some excellent instructions on the Facebook Ads page as well.

First, go to Create an Ad and you will see the screen on the right. Since we are looking to get people to our race website (not just to our Facebook Page), we select the option for “Website Conversions” and then the specific type of “Registrations”.

Facebook ConversionsNext, Facebook will offer you a way to track the conversions. This screen contains the critical information that you will enter into RunSignUp to track the conversions. In RunSignUp, you will go to the Conversion page to set this up as shown below:


RunSignUp Conversion Code Setup



The key parameters are the fb_param.pixel_id, the fb_param.value, and the fb_param.currency.  Don’t let the computer code scare you – all you need to do is cut and paste a couple of numbers from Facebook into RunSignUp (the red circles in the diagram above). Once you click Save in RunSignUp, anyone registering in RunSignUp who originated from the Facebook Ad will result in a “conversion” being recorded in Facebook.

Creating your Facebook Race AdOnce you have set this up, you will verify the tracking code. Then you will be presented with a page to set up your Facebook Ad. We created two versions, and the second one got much better traction due to the colors and larger photo.

Make sure you select the “Sign Up” call to action (it really fits in well with the RunSignUp name!).

Target RunnersTarget Runners
The next thing you will do is select a target market. In addition to selecting a town or multiple tows around where your race is, you can select interests. There are a couple of potentials that you will find in the options. For example you will see Marathons and Running.  To get to Running, follow the drop downs shown in the example on the right.

Select PaymentPricing
Now you can select the bidding and pricing method. Facebook is not as specific as Google Adwords in their pricing and bidding tools, so it is a bit of a leap of faith. We think bidding for conversions is probably the best, but you should experiment by creating an ad campaign, running it for a few days and Automated Biddingthen change some of the settings to see what works best for your race.

Your ad is now all set to go!

Facebook is certainly one of the ways to grow your race, although it is only one piece. Facebook is the referring source for about 11% of all registrations that occur on RunSignUp. Natural sharing by runners who sign up for your race will certainly drive some traffic, but Facebook Advertising can be a nice boost and is worth experimenting with at least!

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