$300 Spent to Reach 100,000 Facebook Followers in 30 Days

I’ve been running an experiment for more than a month now, and I wanted to share my initial results. The goal was simple: Reach all, or most, of my Facebook followers with a single ad. I spent $300 to reach the first 100,000 Facebook followers in 30 days.

Let me walk through how this campaign was set up, my expectations, and what actually happened during those first 30 days. Then I’ll also summarize what’s happened since then (the test remains ongoing) and how we can apply what’s been learned.

The Test

I created a campaign using the Reach objective.

Reach Campaign

While my goal is to reach everyone, I don’t care that much whether everyone actually sees or pays attention to the ad. I’m going to make my attempt, and if you see it, you see it. If you don’t, no big deal.

As such, I used a frequency cap of 1 in 90 days.

Frequency Cap

While this doesn’t guarantee I won’t reach people more than once, Facebook will attempt to cap frequency at one impression in 90 days. My overall average frequency is 1.13, so Facebook is keeping close to that promise.

Of course, I’m targeting my Facebook followers. This audience is now targeted using a Page Engagement Custom Audience.

Target Facebook Page Followers

I’m targeting worldwide country targeting.

Worldwide Country Targeting

This may seem reckless on the surface, but it’s all part of the test. You’ll recall that I have a frequency cap of 1 in 90 days, so Facebook won’t be able to spend all of my money on countries that are the cheapest to reach.

I decided to go with most, but not all, placements.

Facebook ad placements

I removed Audience Network placements due to prior bad experiences. I would eventually remove in-article placements since I was getting reports of people seeing my ads multiple times there. I didn’t want that to happen, so I just removed the placement entirely.

I used a $10 per day budget.

Facebook Ads Budget

When I did this, I didn’t give it much thought. But, if I were to do it again, I’d likely use $20 — or increase the number of days in my frequency capping settings. I’ll explain why later.

The ad itself is nothing special. If I were to do it all over again, I’d probably do it differently. But it’s a simple image and text.

Facebook Ads Test

Buried under the “See More,” I explain exactly what I’m doing with the ad.

My Expectations

I have about 196,000 Facebook followers. Of those 196,000, about 32% come from one of the United States (20.7%), United Kingdom (5.0%), Australia (3.5%), and Canada (2.9%).

As we know, these are four of the most expensive — if not the most expensive — countries to reach. My assumption was that I’d first reach everyone within the least expensive countries. The low-hanging fruit for a Reach campaign.

My hypothesis was that I would reach few, if any, people in those four countries initially. I may need to exhaust other countries first — at least those that are cheapest to reach.

So, I expected to reach a lot of people early, due to low CPMs. And I assumed the number of people I reached would steadily drop while the CPM costs increased over time.

The First 30 Days

My expectations weren’t all that far off. The first day was almost everything I had expected. The CPM was an insanely low $.56. I reached more than 17,000 people on that first day. But, what I didn’t really expect was that I was able to reach some people within those expensive four countries.

Of course, that number was very low on Day 1 (6). But it increased quickly from there.

Here’s a chart laying out the total number of people reached (in 10,000s) compared to the CPM by day during the first 30 days.

Here’s another way of looking at the number of people reached by day during the first 10 days (CPM in parentheses):

  • 17,636 ($0.56)
  • 10,620 ($0.88)
  • 7,553 ($1.22)
  • 6,045 ($1.53)
  • 4,634 ($1.95)
  • 3,764 ($2.40)
  • 3,621 ($2.55)
  • 3,776 ($2.49)
  • 3,742 ($2.39)
  • 3,346 ($2.63)

As you can see, it was a sharp difference in number of people reached and CPM during the first few days. But, then it started stablizing. The CPM would stay consistent from day to day, trending upward, but it wouldn’t always increase.

I would reach 1,588 followers on the 30th day, when CPM was $6.21. On that day, 46% of the people I reached were from the US (400), UK (135), Australia (87), and Canada (82).

I also reached my 100,000th follower on that 30th day, which created this nice, round, stopping point. It took me 30 days to reach 100,000 of my followers while spending $10 per day — $300 in all.

What Has Happened Since

As I write this post, everything has continued as expected. The CPM continues to rise (it’s now consistently over $10 per day), which means the number of followers I’m reaching every day continues to drop (now consistently under 1,000 per day).

Through Day 46, I have now reached over 116,000 of my followers. These days, more than half of those I reach are from the four most expensive countries.

The Final Stretch

We’re in a weird place because it’s also the holidays. Will CPMs come down a little in January and February? If not, I can expect those costs to only increase, leading to reaching fewer and fewer of my followers every day.

I mentioned earlier that I’m regretting not either using a higher daily budget or extending the frequency cap to something like 1 in 120 days. The reason is that I do not expect to get close to the full 196,000 by the 90th day. Once we get to Day 91, of course, the frequency cap would allow Facebook to reach people again who were reached on Day 1.

That said, I think it’s reasonable to expect that I’ll be able to reach about 150,000 of my followers with this test. It’s been fun seeing the responses from people when I reach them, usually sharing the country they’re from.

What Can We Do With This?

Ultimately, the question is “Why?” Why would I do this? What’s the point? What can we learn from it? How can we apply what we learn from it?

One of the things I’ve always struggled with is how I deal with my audience that doesn’t live in one of the four core countries. While people in those countries make up more than half of my paying customers, how can I pay attention to the rest?

The challenge is that with most campaigns, I can’t go worldwide. When I do that, Facebook will ONLY focus on the countries other than those core four. And I don’t want that either.

This is where Reach campaigns with frequency capping can be useful. I can target everyone within an audience but use frequency capping to make sure that Facebook doesn’t zero in on certain countries. I know that the cost will increase, constrained by the frequency cap.

Let me provide a way I plan to use this…

Let’s say that there’s a product or opt-in that will remain relevant three or six months from now. I want to reach all of my followers with it. I don’t care if I reach them today or three months from now. I don’t care whether I hit them over and over with it. I just want to reach them at least once.

See it as that one email you get in a drip campaign. Your subscriber may not open that email. But you sent it. And you won’t keep sending it over and over.

This could technically be something that repeats itself. Again, it’s an evergreen promotion. Maybe next time I use a $20 daily budget and run an ad promoting my Power Hitters Club – Elite community. I keep the frequency cap at 1 in 90 days. After 90 days, it will repeat.

That means that the campaign itself would cost $1,800. A PHC – Elite membership is $147 per month. If the campaign resulted in a single new member who spent the entire year in the community, I would nearly break even. Two and it’s a profit.

I could do the same with targeting my email list. And really, you don’t have to go worldwide as I have. But you can and still expect to reach people in the more expensive countries.

Your Turn

What do you think of this approach? How might you apply it?

Let me know in the comments below!