The Biggest Mistake We See Museums Making on Facebook Ads

Museum Resources
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Museum Resources March 04, 2019 Featured Image

Has your museum spent hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on Facebook ads that seem to have very little return-on-investment?

If so, don’t worry! You are NOT alone.

We see museums spend money on unsuccessful Facebook ads all the time. And it’s not their fault!

Facebook makes it easy to spend money on Facebook ads. All you have to do is hit that little boost button, drop in some money, choose who you want to target, and voila! You’re running a Facebook ad.

Unfortunately, we see many museums wasting money on Facebook ads by using ineffective ad targeting. Instead of making detailed, targeted audiences, many places waste money by delivering ads to people on Facebook who won’t care too much about the content.

The most effective way to make Facebook ads work for you is by creating audiences of people that are primed to visit your museum. While it may seem difficult to do this, it’s really quite easy! In this article, I’ll breakdown the three types of audiences you should be creating for your museum.

#1: Retargeting Audiences

Retargeting audiences are also known as warm audiences. These audiences are “warm” because they’ve already interacted with your museum somewhere online (or offline) before.

Here are examples of warm audiences:

  • Your email list: You can upload the emails you collect on your website or at events to Facebook and then retarget those people. This audience type is great because it’s people who have already indicated they want to hear from you.
  • People who have visited your website: You can install the Facebook pixel on your website to track everyone who visits. You can create an audience from people who have interacted with your site.
  • People who have engaged with your Facebook page: You can also create an audience based on people who have engaged with your content on Facebook (or Instagram). You set parameters (e.g., everyone who’s engaged with your page on Facebook in the last 30 days) and the audiences automatically refresh.

Warm audiences are often the most successful for targeting people with ads. If you have a new event or want to sell tickets to something special, your warm audiences are the most likely to be customers… because they’re already your customers!

#2: Lookalike Audiences

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Facebook collects a lot of data from its customers. (Just kidding, I’m sure you’ve heard this.)

While that may be problematic as a private citizen, it’s great as an organization trying to run ads, because it means you use Facebook’s data to create optimized audiences of people you haven’t interacted with before.

Here’s how it works:

Take a warm audience that you’ve made, e.g., your Facebook engaged audience. Next, create a lookalike audience based on that Facebook engaged audience. Facebook will go out and find all the people who look like your Facebook engaged audience, but aren’t in that audience already. They’ll be in similar demographics, have similar interests, etc.

Basically, Facebook is doing the work of finding your ideal customer for you!

How great is that?

#3: Interest-Based Audiences

The final audiences we create are interest-based audiences. Often, these are the most expensive and perform the worst, because they’re the least refined. That being said, there’s still a lot of power in creating interest-based audiences.

Here’s how to make them work for you:

  • Create a list of all the interests that your ideal customer has. For instance, if you’re a New York museum, you extrapolate that your ideal customer likes the Met on Facebook.
  • Set up solid geotargeting. Don’t waste money marketing to people who live far away from your museum, especially if you’re promoting your specific event. Use a tight geographic radius.

These cold audiences can be really successful if you do the work to narrow them down as much as possible.

If your Facebook ads aren’t working, check out your audiences.

If you’ve been spending money on Facebook ads but haven’t seen a huge return on investment, your audiences might be to blame.

Try building out these three types of audiences before you spend money on your next round of ads.

What else would you like to learn about Facebook ads? Tell us in the comments.

written with 💖 by Hayley Milliman

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