How using the purchase conversion in Facebook instead of a name conversion goal impacts donor conversion. Experiment ID: #11653

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a Roman Catholic congregation of priests and brothers founded after the French Revolution by St. Eugene De Mazenod to work among the poor. Today there are nearly 4,000 missionaries working in more than 60 countries around the world.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 1/21/2019 - 2/4/2019

We have been running Facebook campaigns to acquire names and donors for the Missionary Oblates for the past two years. In this time, we have found that we are able to acquire names for the organization very effectively at a very low cost. That said, we haven’t been able to convert new names into donors as efficiently as we would hope. 

All of our Facebook campaigns have been optimized based on a custom conversion we’ve set up based on a person signing up for the particular content offer. This method has worked well to grow email files through paid media, but in recent months we’ve been testing a different kind of conversion goal within Facebook to see if we can not only acquire new names for the organization, but acquire new donors more effectively. Using the purchase conversion in Facebook optimizes the campaign for purchases/donors instead of new names. 

We rolled this purchase conversion out for the Missionary Oblates Lady of Lourdes acquisition campaign to see the impact on instant donor conversion. 

Research Question

Will the purchase conversion increase instant donor conversion?


C: Our Lady of Lourdes
T1: Our Lady of Lourdes - Purchase Optimization


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Our Lady of Lourdes 0.05%
T1: Our Lady of Lourdes - Purchase Optimization 0.13% 157.1% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 8,748 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 208,970, and the level of confidence is above 95% the experiment results are valid.

Flux Metrics Affected

The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:

    0% increase in traffic
× 157.1% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The purchase conversion helped increased instant donor conversion by 157%! This is a significant learning and shift in the way we will set up future acquisition campaigns. The purchase conversion allowed Facebook to optimize the campaign based on people who were making a donation. When someone would make a donation, it would tell Facebook to go find more people like the donor that just gave and target them. Because the purchase conversion optimized for purchasers/donors, instead of names, we did see a slight increase in the cost to acquire a name, but the benefit of increasing donations and revenue far exceeds that metric. 

Share this research with a colleague

Our mission is to help elevate the field of fundraising by openly sharing our research and inspiring a wider community of testing and optimization. If you have found our research to be helpful, insightful, or even just interesting—please share it with a fellow fundraiser.

Experiment Documented by...

Courtney Gaines

Courtney is the Senior Director of Optimization at NextAfter. If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.