FaceBook advertising debrief

FaceBookThe ad ran for 4 days in total, resulting in a credit card charge of US$20 and a doubling of the number of fans for the Society of Australian Genealogists page on Facebook.

Now all I need to do is to give them something to look at every few days! Volunteers gratefully accepted.

Adventures in FaceBook advertising

FaceBookI serve on the Council of the Society of Australian Genealogists and one of the issues we are facing, as do all similar societies, is how to attract new members in the digital age.

I created a page on FaceBook a few months ago for the Society which you can see here. I created a group first, not realising that a page would be better. As of last night the group had 76 members and the page had 40 fans.

Not going to save the Society that way, am I!

Last night I bit the bullet and experimented with ads for the Society page. I have targeted it at people in Australia of any age and any gender, resulting in a target of about 200,000 people. I used the keywords “genealogy”, “family history”, and “research”. I left the default amount for cost per click and changed the maximum per day to $5, down from $25.

The results are encouraging, but it is an expensive way to advertise for a NFP (Not For Profit) to sustain, especially if the costs are being borne, as currently, by a volunteer, ie, me. I can afford $5 per day for a couple of days, but not as an ongoing campaign, and neither can the Society.

Here are the results so far:

Results of SAG ad campaign as at 10:20am

Results of SAG ad campaign as at 10:20am

In the 14 hours since the campaign started we have increased the number of fans by two as the result of 10 clicks on the ad (if I am reading the results correctly) for a cost of USD3.91.

Of course, new fans of the FaceBook page doesn’t translate to new members of the Society, and it is just as likely that the two new fans are current members of the Society who hadn’t known we had a presence in FaceBook.

I will leave it running a bit longer, and then I will change the parameters to target older people, who are statistically more likely to be interested in family history. Of course, I have a weekend coming up tonight which may change the results.

Stay tuned!

A day in my life at the Society of Australian Genealogists

I spent most of the day today at the Society of Australian Genealogists at Richmond Villa in Kent Street Sydney. Here is my day:

10:25 am Arrived a little early, not too early, for a seminar. The seminar was given by Angela Phippen on demolished houses on the Parramatta River (or within view of it). Angela was the previous librarian at SAG and gave an excellent, well-researched talk. As always. She works for Ryde Council now, and we miss her.

11:30 am Morning tea – spoke to Ralph, the archivist, about transport to his house for 6 archive boxes of material that had been donated to SAG but is not really suitable for a genealogy society. Ralph had found a home for it and needed a lift. He lives near me and I had the car so I said yes.

Also saw Alison, IT Committee member and legendary Primary Records Indexing Project Manager, but didn’t get a chance to talk to her. Talked to a couple of members.

12:30 Lunch. Ate the sandwiches I brought from home (unusually well organised today) and watered the poor suffering climbing plants in the sandstone planter boxes on the verandah of Richmond Villa. The poor things are struggling to make the heritage building look authentic.

1:10 pm Loaded Ralph’s boxes into the car. 

1:15 pm Julie the Member Services Officer had been trying to talk to me all morning about a couple of issues, especially:

  1. The description of the seminar I’m going to give on Facebook for family historians so she can put it in the activities list for the next issue of Descent, the Society’s journal
  2. The possibility of a New Zealand Research Group and a member who wants to give a lecture but needs some support.

1:35 pm Afternoon seminar on English and Welsh Probate. I was late. Sorry Jeremy. Wrote a description for my seminar on Facebook for family historians.

2:40 pm Afternoon tea (late). Indulged myself with two chocolate biscuits and typed out my Facebook seminar description for Julie. Discussed various topics with Julie about the education program with Julie. 

3:10 pm or so Tried to unobtrusively sneak back into the seminar room for the rest of Jeremy’s Wills talk. Counted the participants – full house.

3:30 pm Collected Ralph and drove him home. Ralph is a treasure, he pointed out places of historical interest all the way home. Roads surveyed in the early 1809; river crossings; land that used to belong to early landholders; land that used to belong to ancestors of Council members; areas where current staff and Council members live. 

4:10 pm or so Delivered Ralph to his house and got a grand tour. Ralph collects bits of historical metal – tools, convict apparatus, books, kitchenware, antique beads (the beads don’t take up so much room as the other stuff). He is a natural historian. Scraped the car on his driveway.

Today was a rare day in that I didn’t do anything to the computers or visit the research library, which is a few blocks further up Kent Street. Perhaps I’ll describe one of those days another time.