An Experimental Study on Social Media Advertising for Charity*
Purpose: Nowadays, more and more charity organizations attempt to use advertainment through social media to increase their appeal, attract supporters and gather more online donations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of such advertisements through the Facebook social media tool to specific target groups in order to assist charities to choose the most profitable target groups to aim to and design accordingly their digital strategy. Design/Methodology/Approach: Within the framework of this objective, an experimental investigation was performed. A well-known Greek charity was selected to be examined and in cooperation with this charity, several experimental Facebook advertisements/campaigns were chosen to be performed. Each experiment/campaign was aiming to a different target group in order to identify both the behaviour of each group and also the most profitable groups. Findings: Based on the outcome of each campaign, various results were found regarding the profile of the supporters of the charity that responded to the campaigns. These results are presented in the paper and they identify the response rate of the Facebook users to the advertisement based a) on various of their characteristics such as their age, sex, use of device, whether they are “Facebook friends” with the charity or not, etc. and also b) the characteristics of the advertisement (e.g. image or video). In the study, the Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) was used as marketing metric. Practical Implications: Conclusions are drawn and presented, regarding the best target groups that a charity can aim to. Future work is also proposed in the paper, to assist the further investigation on how charities can use Internet to their advantage and establish a successful and effective digital strategy. Originality/Value: The main contribution of this study is to outline the profile of donors and the variables that contribute to a successful online charity advertising campaign through a social media tool.