Five things we like about Fundraise Up
Fundraise Up is a digital fundraising platform that is designed to use AI to empower non-profit organisations. Recently, we worked with UNFPA to help them migrate their campaigns and donation processes over to Fundraise Up – our first time using the platform. So based on that experience, here are five things we like about Fundraise Up (and a couple of things we think could be better).
1. Checkout and Elements
Fundraise Up uses elements to offer a variety of tools to build your fundraising experience. These components are added to your page with just a simple line of code and can be easily customised to match the look and feel of your page. Elements include donation buttons and reminders, goal meters, image cards, top supporters, and peer-to-peer fundraising.
Fundraise Up’s most important element is Checkout – an embeddable form that works within your site. The component allows for an end-to-end donation process without the need to be redirected away to complete the donation.
This can be customised with a multitude of options such as donation amounts, monthly options, donation up-sells, and confirmation emails to create an experience unique to your appeal.
2. Payment Options
Fundraise Up offers a number of payment options to give donors flexibility in making a donation. The platform is an official partner of the payment gateway Stripe. This allows payments to be made using a variety of credit cards as well as services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Donors are also able to use PayPal and bank transfer.
The platform allows for all worldwide currencies to be used alongside these payment methods and harnesses geolocation to serve the relevant currency, donation amounts and payment methods based on the donor’s location.
Read more about Payment Options.
3. Machine Learning
Perhaps the most powerful feature of Fundraise Up is Machine learning. This uses an algorithm that analyses patterns in donor behaviour to determine the optimal donation amounts to use. This helps to ensure that the amounts don’t ask for too little (risk missing out on potential donations) or too much (risk losing the donation altogether).
The algorithm can analyse donor behaviour through data points such as location, device or previous donor history. From there, it can be grouped based on common behavioural traits and donation amounts can then be personalised. It helps to create a truly unique experience for each user.
Read more about Machine Learning.
4. Analytics and reporting
Fundraise Up also allows for data to be generated to give an overview of how campaigns are performing. These reports can be connected to third party analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook pixel with UTM tag support.
Data can also be filtered and exported so it can be used with a reporting tool of your choice. These reports can be scheduled to export at regular intervals and templates can be set so the same options do not need to be configured every time.
5. Security and Fraud Prevention
Perhaps the most important feature of all, Fundraise Up uses SSL and 256-bit encryption to securely handle donations without ever storing payment details. Personal data is also managed securely and the platform is regularly backed up to ensure nothing is lost.
Fundraise Up also uses Stripe Radar alongside many other industry standards to ensure Fraud prevention. Analysing user behaviour, reviewing failed transactions and putting measures in place to combat hackers helps to make a secure process.
There are many other things we like about Fundraise Up, including the design of the User Interface (UI). It is kept simple and helps to take the donor through every step of the donation process. It also offers peer-to-peer fundraising to super-charge your donation page and allow others to fundraise.
As the platform is designed to be flexible, it can sometimes cause limitations to be placed on areas such as content. This applies to the snippet of text alongside the donation form and the lack of descriptions for what a donation amount corresponds to. Finally, while content can be entered in different languages where editable, some elements are fixed to the process and so don’t work when translated.
Overall, Fundraise up is a really impressive fundraising platform that can easily be set up, is highly customisable, allows multiple payment gateways, harnesses machine learning, outputs useful data analytics, and provides industry leading security. It allows any non-profit website to quickly accept online donations without the need for extra development costs.
At THINK Digital, we work directly with clients to improve their online digital fundraising. We have recently worked with UNFPA to help them implement donation pages using Fundraise Up. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
Designing with accessibility in mind
To create more usable products we need to understand and care about user requirements that differ from or even conflict with our own. One of the most important aspects of this is designing for accessibility. This ensures our products work, not just for some, but for as many people as possible.
What is accessibility?
“Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.” – W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
It can be simply defined as “the ability to access”, but more specifically it is about ensuring that people can perceive, understand, operate, and interact with the web. When we talk about accessibility, we are talking about encompassing all disabilities that affect access online. This includes auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual.
When designing for accessibility, one concept is that of universal design. Where accessible design creates products that are usable by those with disabilities, universal design creates products for the widest possible audience, this includes, but isn’t limited to, people with a disability.
An example of this would be:
Adding a button to your site to increase the font size (making it accessible).
Making all the text bigger so more people are able to read it without needing to change the size (making it universal).
Who does accessibility impact?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability. This can range from everything from sight loss, hearing loss or dexterity issues to dyslexia, learning difficulties or colour blindness.
Accessibility isn’t just about people with disabilities. It can impact everyone.
We can all find ourselves in different circumstances that are situational or temporary that affect how we access the web.
Sometimes, non-disabled users will make use of accessibility features for convenience, without even realising it. For example, if you are on a train home and you have forgotten your headphones, you may watch a video on YouTube with captions on.
In this situation, your needs are the same as someone with an auditory disability.
Not all users may have a disability but they may use your website in the same way. Accessibility helps to improve the experience for everyone.
Why is accessibility important?
The main reason that accessibility is important is that it makes your website usable by as many people as possible. This not only helps maximise your target audience, but accessibility often improves overall usability. A positive user journey is good for the user and is more likely to lead to repeat visits.
There is also the legal side to consider. Through the UK’s Equality Act 2010, disabled people have the right to access everyday goods and services (for example websites). To comply with this law, reasonable adjustments must be made to accommodate these users. There are similar laws in different countries around the world.
Other benefits to accessibility include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Search Engines view websites similar to screen readers and poor accessibility standards can penalise a site from their rankings. Accessibility can also benefit those on mobile devices or smaller screens as well as slower internet connections.
How to improve accessibility?
There are many things that can be done to improve accessibility on your website, here are some of the most important that are quick and easy to implement:
Content and Language
Accessible content begins with well-structured copy. Clearly identifiable headings, short sentences and paragraphs make it easier to skim content and retain information. Separating out content such as lists or quotes from the rest of the copy helps to break up the page.
Language makes a huge difference to your content and striking the right tone with your users. Clear, simple and concise language makes for the most accessible text. Overusing technical jargon, acronyms, abbreviations or vague terms can be off-putting so try to avoid these where possible.
When the text colour is too close to the background colour it will be hard to read. Ensure the contrast is strong enough to read clearly, you can use bold text to help with this. For text over images, use gradients or overlays to help. Whatever the contrast, it is important to use a font size that will be readable across the page, ideally 16px or above.
Images and Video
Adding a text alternative for an image, which is used by screen readers or when an image doesn’t load, is essential. Make the text as descriptive as possible to help understand the context of the image. For video, make use of captions and subtitles for users to be able to clearly distinguish audio. Keep the captions short and don’t forget to include important audio cues.
Forms and error messages
Forms are the key elements on interactive sites but even the simplest form can be difficult for people with learning difficulties. Keep important information on the screen at all times to refer to when needed. Make use of icons to support colour on error messages to help draw attention to them quickly. Try to use human language like “Sorry, we couldn’t find the page you wanted” instead of “Error 404” as well.
These are just some of the things you can do to ensure your website is accessible to all users. There are many more that can be included such as keyboard functionality, reducing motion and avoiding/correcting mistakes through validation.
Who is responsible for accessibility?
“Accessibility is not the responsibility of one person. Everyone on your team is responsible for making your product accessible.” – Gov.uk
Everyone is responsible for accessibility at some level. It is a collective involvement throughout the whole organisation, from project managers to developers, who all have different roles when it comes to accessibility.
It is important to create a culture of accessibility and universal design so it is part of each project from the offset and not considered an afterthought or one person’s responsibility.
At THINK Digital, we are able to review, test and implement accessibility standards on your digital user experience. Recent clients include UNFPA, UNICEF, Oxfam, and the Swedish Red Cross. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
The value of user testing
When it comes to the design process, one area that can often be overlooked is testing, especially with real users. Time and budget constraints can be a factor, but as user testing can add invaluable insight into how people interact with your site, it is too important to avoid.
What is user testing?
User testing is any form of testing that includes the user in the design process. One common example of this is usability testing where participants are asked to complete specific tasks while being observed. This allows you to see how real users interact with your site and identify ways to improve the experience.
Why is it important?
Every time you include the user in the design process, you are able to understand more about the people who use your products and the way they interact with them. Observing a user complete a specific task, such as making a donation, will help you to learn if they can complete it successfully and how long it takes to do. You discover how satisfied the user is with the experience and if anything can be done to improve it.
For example, when we recently carried out some user testing for a client, we were interested to learn that users wanted a more personal connection to the cause. They wanted to see the impact a donation was making to those in need before donating themselves. It helped us to understand the ‘why’ behind the user’s decision making process and we were able to add relevant information to the page.
These learnings help you to shape the products you build and ensure they put usability at the forefront. By creating a positive user experience, you can help to improve engagement and conversions on your sites.
When should you do it?
Testing in any form should be included throughout the design process, but during the early stages it can help identify issues that would be expensive to fix later on. There is also value in testing during the final build stage as it can help to identify issues that might have been hard to replicate earlier on in the project.
Of course there is no bad time to run user testing. During a recent project, multiple changes were made to the point where the user experience no longer matched our original intentions. We went back to the drawing board and designed a new version that incorporated the updated requirements and put this through a round of usability testing. This helped us to iterate the process and release a version that offered a better user experience than the original concept.
How do I get started?
The best time to start is now. Any insight into how your users interact with your product will lead to a better user experience. As Christopher Murphy says in his post “A Comprehensive Guide To User Testing”:
“It’s far better to run some usability testing using what you have to hand than to run no usability testing at all.”
At THINK Digital, we are able to help support and implement user testing strategies to gain key insights in your digital user experience. Recent clients include UNFPA, UNICEF, Oxfam, and OCHA. If you would like to know more, please contact us.
Is Coronavirus stealing everyone’s attention?
With the Covid-19 crisis escalating worldwide, we thought it would be interesting to see whether the intense focus on this particular pandemic is affecting the attention that other global issues receive. What impact has it had on other charities, especially those that work in non health-related fields? Have people stopped talking about climate change, poverty and famine? Does anyone even remember the pre-Christmas wildfires in Australia, which seemed to be the only thing people were talking about online for weeks?
We plugged a host of keywords into a social listening tool to see what we could find out. Some interesting things emerged – some expected, some less so.
Coronavirus is the hot topic, but for how long?
Unsurprisingly, online chat about coronavirus has shot up since the end of February. At its peak, over 12-13 March, there were around 35 million mentions of it online. However, there has been a dip in the couple of days since. Will we get to a stage where people are bored of talking about it? All jokes will have been rinsed, all pictures of empty supermarket shelves and disinformation about people with coronavirus not being able to see the moon shared to the point of inanity.
Compare this to the 2019-20 wildfires in Australia, which killed 34 humans and an estimated one billion animals. The online chat hit a first peak in late August, with over two million mentions per day, and then a second peak in December with 1.5 million. In the last two months it has stayed steady at half a million mentions a day.
This has not had much impact on other disaster topics
More surprisingly, the new focus on coronavirus has not coincided with much of a dip in discussions about other global issues. People are still talking about climate change, refugees, poverty, and cancer. Mentions of these issues have only dipped by 2% since the end of February compared to the four months prior.
This has had an impact on large charities
While people are still talking about global issues more broadly, they are talking less about the large charities that tackle them. Chat about Greenpeace, Cancer Research UK, UNICEF, WWF and more has decreased by 28% since coronavirus started consuming all media output. Mentions of charity, fundraising, donations, and non-profits have also decreased by 11% since the end of February.
So to some extent, the intense focus on coronavirus has impacted on the attention that unrelated charities are receiving. It remains to be seen whether those charities notice a dip in income, although those that rely heavily on events or footfall in shops for their fundraising will almost certainly be the hardest hit.
For now, coronavirus is, of course, dominating global debate. How long that lasts for is unknown, but it is encouraging for engagers and fundraisers in non-profits around the world alike to see that other important global issues are not going unnoticed, at least for the timebeing.
European conference tour – what I learnt
Over the past two weeks, our CEO Jason Potts and I have been lucky enough to speak at three fundraising conferences in Europe and to attend sessions run by other fundraisers. While the locations (Austria, Slovakia and Holland) and themes of the conferences were different, I wanted to share some recurring trends.
i. There is no easy solution
A few times over the course of the conferences, I heard people say “I was hoping to come here and find the solution.” I pondered this for a while, before coming to the conclusion that there is no easy solution. How can there be one thing which every non-profit could implement which would work for them all? If fundraising was easy, would it still be the huge sector it is today, with thousands of people across the world working to raise funds for non-profits? Wouldn’t that easy solution have been rolled out and most of us have been made redundant? This takes me on to my second observation:
ii. People have a fear of interaction
The thought of sitting listening to someone talk to me for 1.5hrs or more fills me with dread. I would much rather be part of an interactive session where I can use my brain, work with my peers and learn by doing. It was therefore interesting to see that the majority of ‘workshops’ I attended were not in fact sessions where people were asked to ‘work’, but presentations from experts with a few moments of interaction during Q&As. This makes sense if what people are really looking for is an easy solution, and they want to come and listen to someone tell them how to do their job, but so much is then missed in terms of peer-to-peer interaction and learning.
iii. We’re still a very insular sector
At two of the conferences, there were no speakers from outside the sector. At the third, non-sector speakers made up perhaps 10% of the speaking roster. What is the sector’s fear of learning from other sectors, from being inspired by what’s possible when you have budget to spend and resources at your fingertips? No, we might not be able to then directly replicate what those in other sectors are doing, but we could at least be inspired by them.
iv. What goes around, comes around
In the same way that fashion comes around again and again, we shouldn’t be naive to think that old techniques can be pushed aside every time the next big thing comes along. However, we’re still seeing too much of those old methods at these conferences and not providing enough space for what’s new. Sessions entitled ‘What’s new, what’s working and what’s not’ don’t really seem to highlight the emerging trends. If we’re to catch up with the for profit sector, we need to think about leapfrogging what’s happening yesterday, today and tomorrow and look at what’s going to be happening next year.
I realise this post may be a little negative – this is not to say that I didn’t learn some amazing things and get to network with incredible fundraisers who are working tirelessly to do good, but I do think we need to start rethinking some of the ways that we engage at these conferences if we’re really going to accelerate our sector and look to learn all we can from what is happening in the wider world.
48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen
Following the success of our innovative and highly-rated hothouse session in Amsterdam last year, we are returning to the IFC in October with a masterclass running along the same lines.
Put simply, we are giving ourselves – and the delegates – 48 hours to build the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.
We’ll start off by sharing the creative principles and successful studies from causes that have engaged support and raised real money online. We’ll then hand over to the delegates to work in groups to create campaigns around a brief they help to create.
As well as the speakers’ expertise, delegates will have access to virtual support from THINK’s specialist digital designers, online influencer researchers and social media marketing experts – all working remotely to build the awesome digital campaigns.
Working as a group to tight timescales, delegates will also be exposed to some of the theory and practices of agile working that will give an insight into the culture required to be a successful digital team.
Finally, the groups will feed back on their work to see if we really have produced the most awesome digital campaign the world has ever seen.
From this masterclass delegates will learn:
- How to creatively build a digital campaign from scratch
- How to work as a team in a very short time to agile working methodologies – so gaining insights into successful digital culture and working practices
- How to plan a multi-faceted digitally-led campaign
If this all sounds good to you, then join us at IFC 2018!
Organisational health: are you getting your five a day?
Does anyone else struggle as much as I do to be healthy? To ensure you get those five a day in? To reduce sugar and fat intake, to drink enough water, do enough exercise, get enough sleep…and the list goes on. It can be hard to be healthy, right? We are constantly told that if we don’t do these things, our bodies could fail us, we could be faced with future issues, and worst case, lead us to an early demise.
The same applies to organisations.
Organisations need to be healthy, and if they aren’t, they can fail. Fail their customers, their employees and themselves. Organisations won’t struggle to succeed because their ideas are rubbish or they don’t have enough talented people, they’ll struggle because they aren’t healthy. They aren’t looking after themselves or their customers.
So what does being healthy actually mean?
I would describe a healthy organisation as one with an environment that is:
- …Free of internal politics
- …Has a low turnover of talent
- …Customer centric
- …Clear on their purpose
- …Not working in silos
- …Has an aligned leadership team
- …is transparent
So how do we, as organisations, ensure we are doing what we can to be as healthy as possible? So that we can serve our customers and strive for the purpose in which we established ourselves in the first place. Below I am going to outline what I believe the key ‘five a day’ are that all organisations should have that will help work towards achieving the aforementioned healthy environment.
Without purpose, we are merely performing seemingly meaningless tasks to no aim. And without purpose, how do we find motivation? Without motivation, how do we do a good job? And if we don’t do a good job, how does an organisation succeed? And so on…
Most senior leaders would say their organisation does have purpose, or perhaps you would call it your vision, and I would agree that they probably do. The key, however, is to ensure that purpose is felt by every single individual working within that organisation, from the CEO to the finance director to interns. Not only do organisations need to ensure purpose is known and felt, they have the responsibility to guide their teams to know how to act on it. How do they know if their day-to-day work is in line with that purpose?
2. Strategy and priorities
(OK, so this is two things but I needed to squeeze them in!)
Creating a strong and tangible strategy, and outlining the organisational priorities are how you guide your teams in knowing where they should focus. It is how they’re able to know how they play a part in contributing towards the purpose of the organisation. Again most organisations would say they have a strategy, but how transparent is that strategy? And how aligned is it to your purpose?
Your strategy should derive from your purpose, and your priorities should then derive from your strategy. Those prioritise should feed into every team for them to disseminate into objectives that can be measured and tied right back up to the organisation’s purpose.
So you’ve defined your purpose, strategy and priorities, but how do you know if you’re achieving/have achieved them? In my experience measurement can be overlooked. People talk about objectives and goals, but what are the hard measures to know if they have been achieved and more so, been successful.
4. Team Design
We know there are certain things teams need to be successful. A successful team doesn’t happen by chance, or we certainly shouldn’t leave it to chance to see whether they succeed or not. To help teams navigate through the 5 stages of team development (forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning), we need to help them define tools to equip them in being the best they can be.
Like organisations, teams need to define their own micro-operating system. How do they get work done together? What do they expect of one another? What tools and routines are needed to make work ‘work’ for them? What’s their priority? How will they be measured? All these need defining and acknowledged at a team level for them to be armed in dealing with life as a team.
Setting aside time when new teams are setup to work create their operating system, and having regular time together to check into as the team develops is invaluable, and should be prioritised equal to getting work done.
There is nothing more confusing than being told conflicting things in a given situation. Whether that be medical advice, car mechanic advice or what outfit looks best! I believe humans at their core crave simplicity and clarity and this transcends to the workplace too.
Leadership teams need to be aligned and consistent in their communication in the workplace. They also need to be aligned in their action. If leaders say one thing but do another, you can be sure that it’s the action that will be noticed more and replicated, especially if it’s at odds with what is being verbally communicated. Leaders need to practise what they preach.
Patrick Lencioni talks fantastically on organisational health as a whole in his book The Advantage, but specifically about the importance of a cohesive leadership team. Similarly to parenting advice, a cohesive, aligned ‘front’ leading the way ensures that there is clarity and consistency. As leaders, commit to backing one another up, even if you may disagree, disagree away from the front-line. Showing a lack of alignment at leadership level can cause employees to play leaders off one another – much like the split-up parent scenario – ‘but Mum said I could…’
Remove any cause for cracks to appear by sophisticating your leadership team decision making processes, and committing to living and breathing the decision made outside the boardroom, even if you were in opposition of the decision made.
So there’s a swift overview of my ‘five a day’ for keeping your organisation healthy. Hopefully they provide food for thought (no pun intended) and some ideas for where to focus if you feel your organisation could benefit from being a little healthier.
If you feel your organisation could benefit from being a little healthier, whether that be in helping a team/s to define their own operating system to work better together, or to work with a leadership team to help build trust and cohesiveness, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we could support through building a tailored plan of workshops and coaching programmes.
Facebook’s News Feed Announcement: What does it mean for generating engagement?
Facebook has been under fire from several directions recently. Most prominently, the probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US Presidential Election dragged Facebook into the mud through its dissemination of fake news and openness to advertising from all sorts of nefarious clients. Elsewhere, social media executives have been admitting that their services are designed to be addictive, and neither use them themselves nor allow their children to.
In response to this, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a widely-shared post stating how Facebook would be toning down the content from businesses and news organisations in favour of making personal and conversation-based content more visible. In other words, going back to what Facebook started out as – a social media platform.
This has raised some concerns in marketing circles. Will content reach and engagement be dragged down? Will businesses become more irrelevant on the platform? Where will all those deliciously high audience numbers go?
In many ways, however, the announcement just signifies more business-as-usual for Facebook.
- Firstly, Facebook relies on its customers. Its value of over $500 billion is dependent on continuing to attract advertising revenue from marketers hungry to get a bite of the two billion plus users currently on the platform. There is no way that the platform will neglect its business clients.
- Secondly, driving down reach rates for organisations’ organic posts is nothing new. Facebook has been doing it for years in an attempt to encourage businesses to spend more money on advertising.
What the announcement does reiterate, however, is that organisations need to be adaptable in the way they speak to customers. A few years ago Facebook was pushing video content as much as possible. Then came Live video. Now, it appears they want posts to encourage conversation. Therefore, adapting your marketing strategy to ensure you’re able to maximise Facebook’s focus is key to getting the best results.
Come and join us!
We’re looking for an experienced freelance digital project manager to help us on our mission to transform the world of non-profit digital engagement:
Role profile: Digital Project Manager
Contract type: Freelance
Contract length: Initially to end of 2018, with the possibility of this being extended
Hours: Ideally 1-2 days per week
Salary: Please submit day rate with application
Location: Home based
Accountable to: Strategy Director
About THINK Digital
THINK Digital helps to create and deliver transformational digital strategies and data-driven engagement campaigns for national and international non-profit causes. With a small core team and a wider team of experienced associates, we work in an agile, responsive and flexible way from across the UK and internationally in order to best meet our clients’ needs.
All of the team is home-based and work from both the UK and elsewhere. We have regular remote team meetings and face-to-face team meetings twice a year, usually in London or Bristol.
About the role
We are looking to take on a freelance Project Manager who can manage a large, year-long piece of work for an international client.
The role will involve being the main day-to-day contact person for the client and will involve managing the THINK team who work on the project.
Core deliverables over the course of the project include:
- Producing a global digital fundraising strategy
- Designing, building and hosting a global digital donation platform
- Developing and delivering three digital-only fundraising and engagement campaigns
- Building and managing an ongoing online donor engagement journey
As well as managing this project, there may be other projects which you would be asked to work on as well over the course of the year.
- Setting up projects, including briefing documents and timelines and agreeing these with the client
- Briefing in the internal project team, including task setting and deadlines
- Keeping the project running to time, ensuring that tasks are completed on time and to spec
- Ensuring that the internal team has the information required from the client
- Ensuring that the client knows of requirements from them and that these are gathered from the client and passed on to the internal team
- Liaising with the client to keep them updated on project progress
- Keeping the Strategy Director updated on project progress
- Producing reports on results, sharing these with the Strategy Director and the client
- Organising regular results calls with the client
- Feeding back to the internal team on amendments required
- At least two years’ experience of digital project management
- Experience of using project management tools, such as Basecamp and Leankit
- Ability to analyse data, especially in Google Analytics
- Experience of report writing
- Ability to manage a number of projects/tasks concurrently
- Ability to manage people and their time in order to deliver tasks to spec and on time
- Experience of liaising with clients in a timely and professional manner
- Proficient in use of Microsoft Office products
- Fluent in English
- Experience of working in/for the non-profit sector
- Knowledge of using Facebook Business Manager and mass marketing tools (ie Mailchimp)
- Experience of using CMS
- Educated to undergraduate level
Please send your CV and a covering letter, including your day rate, to Aroon Dougan (email@example.com) by 5pm UK time on Friday 26 January 2018. Please feel free to email Aroon beforehand if you have any questions.
Making sense of Facebook’s placement tool
One of the more neglected elements when setting up a Facebook Ad Set in Power Editor is the Placement function. When configuring an Ad Set, it is easy to keep checked the Automatic placements setting – after all, this is the easiest option to take. The Edit placements option carries the warning that it “may reduce the number of people you reach and may make it less likely that you’ll meet your goals”.
It is natural that Facebook would want you to use automatic placements – after all, this places your adverts in more places, such as Instagram and other sister platforms. However, while using automatic placements will usually increase your reach, it will also likely drive down your engagement rates and cost per click.
For instance, while Instagram advertising is becoming more common and therefore palatable to Insta platform users, it generally produces far lower engagement rates than Facebook advertising. Instagrammers aren’t used to clicking on images that direct them away from the app – it’s not what Instagram was built for.
The same is true for other placement options. Few people look at the desktop Right Column in Facebook, and even fewer click on the ads there. Messenger, also, is only just starting to host advertising, so users will be unfamiliar with being marketed to through there.
There isn’t enough shared data to conclude which placements work best, and it will vary from organisation to organisation, and creative to creative. Testing out different creatives in different placements is always recommended, but if you’re working with a tight budget and short timescale, the best option is to go for Facebook-only placements, and stick to the simple Feeds option – the most visible and engaging advertising spots out there.