I can still hear the gasp that accompanied Facebook’s recent Newsfeed change, which saw the platform prioritise content from individuals over posts from brands. Whether it has directly affected fundraisers like you yet or not, one thing is certain: the days of organic reach on Facebook are numbered, so finding unique ways to tell your story on this platform must be part of your digital mix…
Luckily, Facebook has a secret weapon up its sleeve that could reap enormous rewards for a charity’s paid social activity. Facebook’s Instant Experience (formerly known as Facebook Canvas ads) is, in my opinion, the most immersive digital experience there is currently on any - yes any - social platform (although things change so quickly in digital that they could be old news by the time I’ve written this).
What is Facebook’s Instant Experience?
If you’re not sure what a Facebook Instant Experience is, think of it like interactive direct mail. Like DM, it has an outer envelope (in the form of a Facebook ‘launch’ post that appears on a prospect’s Newsfeed) and the contents sit inside (or behind this). Once clicked (opened), the contents launches and the fun begins.
Instant Experience transforms your mobile screen (they are mobile-only) into a full-screen, fully-actionable interactive experience. You can click buttons, watch video, scroll through pictures, shop, locate suppliers, tap-to-zoom – it’s a virtual cornucopia of digital interaction. You can even tilt your phone to ‘look around’ an image for a panoramic experience.
Best of all, Instant Experience ads are incredibly customisable: the interactive elements can be arranged in any way you want, so you can tell a unique story about your cause like never before on a digital platform.
You can see how Campfire Marketing worked with Centrepoint to create their latest Instant Experience here.
How should you use Instant Experience ads?
Instant Experience ads can be effective for nearly every goal you can think of: brand building, lead generation and driving conversions. When Instant Experience was first released in Feb 2016 Facebook reported higher CTRs, improved ad-recall and higher user engagement. Fast forward to today and, according to Facebook, the number of campaigns using the format has more than doubled in the last year.
Another exciting solution that Instant Experience opens up for fundraisers is that it can act as an alternative to a traditional landing page. Landing pages can come with many challenges – they can be difficult to create quickly for a campaign, especially within a charity’s CMS system, and a slow load time can often cause mobile users to give up and go elsewhere.
Using an Instant Experience as a landing page means you’ve nearly got an end-to-end customer journey inside Facebook – almost eliminating the chance of losing a prospect as they click from an ad onto a landing page.
What’s more, Instant Experiences come with fantastic and personalised metrics within Ads Manager (the dashboard that you create campaigns within), not to mention the fact that this type of ad can be paused and rearranged to optimise performance.
My top 5 Instant Experience tips
From my (creative) perspective, the opportunities Instant Experiences open up for more interesting, engaging, emotional, unexpected (and dare I say it award-winning) fundraising creative is enormous. If you’re keen to add Instant Experiences to your next digital campaign, and join the growing curve, here are some tips to bear in mind based on our experience creating them for our clients:
1) As always, start with strategy. Get clear on what you want from the ad before you start and how it fits into your journey planning and sales funnel. Instant Experiences are a powerful tool when placed within a smart plan – and a specific goal will also help drive more effective, single-minded creative.
2) Schedule enough time for creative and testing. Because of the almost limitless ways to customise an Instant Experience, it’s essential that you allow enough time for your creative to be developed. You’ll need to plan and curate a slick customer journey, not just stitch together content from other places in your campaign. Also, it’s important to ‘test’ the Instant Experience via Facebook Ads Manager to see if the creative is unfolding in the most effective way.
3) Think in stories. The long-form ad space you get with Instant Experience is perfect for telling stories – and stories are, I believe, the only way to connect with people’s hearts and minds with authenticity and emotion.
4) A great opening. Like any story, you need a good opening. The first component you use in your Instant Experience must be attention grabbing – remember, mobile users won’t see your content in its entirety; they’ll see it one piece at a time as they scroll. So, start with the big guns; this will determine whether they carry on to see the rest or not.
5) Mix it up! The best Instant Experiences are just that: an experience. So be playful with your components. Keep the viewer excited about what comes next; keep them guessing how the story will unfold. Feed their curiosity and you’re sure to be onto a winner.
Claire Robinson is Digital Creative Director at Campfire Marketing