Facebook ads for MOTU?

// July 4th, 2012 // Free Software

MOTU Outreach

During the last Ubuntu Developer Summit, developer and contributor outreach was a topic that came up in a wide variety of sessions. In one of the sessions where we discussed the future of MOTU (the Ubuntu Masters of the Universe team), Evan Broder suggested that we try channels that might not necessarily be the usual geeky channels, like just taking $25 and buying some Facebook ads.

I’ve never bought any Facebook ads before and thought I’d give it a shot. I didn’t have time to prepare a nice campaign, or a nice landing page or anything fancy, but instead of putting it off until I can I decided to just run with it and see what happens.

I merely created an ad that said “Want to improve Ubuntu? Join the  Ubuntu Masters of the Universe team and help fix bug and upload packages!”. It linked back the the Ubuntu MOTU wiki page, which isn’t exactly glamorous, but it contains a lot of useful information on how to get involved.

Impressions and Clicks

Facebook lets you choose which targets you want to focus on. It even suggested a few, I mostly stuck with the defaults that it suggested and tweaked a little. This ended up being the targets:

This advert targets 129,520 users:

  • who live in one of the countries: United States or United Kingdom
  • who like ubuntu, linux or #OMG! Ubuntu!
  • who speak English (UK) or English (US)
  • who are in the category Science/Technology or the category Computer Programming
The ad was displayed a total of 20 661 times. That’s what Facebook considers it’s “outreach”. So out of the 129 520 users who were targeted, it was displayed for 20 661 of them.  59 people clicked on the link (that’s about as far as you can get with $25).

Did it work?

Well, did it get more people interested in contributing to Ubuntu? I have no idea. This experiment was mostly to see what $25 gets you in ads. Evan said he’s still up for contributing $25 for something like that, so perhaps we’ll do another round and make it more campaign like and more targeted. I’m actually somewhat dissapointed with the stats that Facebook provides. I was hoping for something more like Google Analytics where you could see where your visitors are from, which language they speak and which interest lead them to the ad. Maybe we’ll just try out Google ads next.

I actually think that it’s easy enough to target people via social networks like Google+. There are so many geeky people on there and from what I’ve seen, people are quite eager to share information that’s put together well and worth while sharing. It’s probably possible to put together a really good, effective campaign without even spending any money on it.

Any thoughts? Please share!

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6 Responses to “Facebook ads for MOTU?”

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  2. John Kim says:

    Facebook is not really useful in reaching out despite the sheer numbers of people that use it. I’m a high school student myself, and many of my friends obviously enjoy promoting their own statuses and interests than commit themselves to a greater cause. Or should I say, in Los angeles, there aren’t many aspiring programmers.

    Rather, gplus is the better option. The community is more varied and interesting. Google ads is also great, as Google analytics is very versatile.

  3. Facebook Ads and Google Adwords are by far the worst CPC on the net…. If you really want to leverage your money and get a better bang consider StumbleUpon Ads or a Reddit Ad on /r/Linux.

    I bet you will get far more for $25 ;) notably last time I did a StumbleUpon ad it was for $50 and I got 12,000+ clicks :)

  4. Have you tought of advertising on the StackExchange network (StackOverflow and others)?

  5. jonathan says:

    Thanks fall all your comments, will certainly take it into consideration!

  6. wulfsdad says:

    Rather than pay for advertising, which many people ignore as a rule of thumb, the best way to spread the word by Facebook is for individual people to post about it on their wall. I’ve personally gotten at least 3 people to use Ubuntu that way.

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