How optimizing for a “Donate” event in Facebook affects instant donor conversion Experiment ID: #13130

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: 2/11/2019 - 3/4/2019

The Missionary Oblates previously validated an experiment that increased donor conversion for their content offer by optimizing for the native Facebook event “Purchase” rather than a custom conversion, or course signup. In test #10687, optimizing for purchase targeting led to a 284% increase in donors from the Lenten Prayers offer. This confirmed our hypothesis that Facebook shows ads to more donor-motivated people when optimizing for purchases. It allows them to pull in additional purchase data from Facebook instead of relying primarily on data that we give to them (for example, a list of prospects or a lookalike audience).

In this test, we utilized the native event on Facebook labeled “Donate”, to test if the same approach would increase donations even further knowing that Facebook was likely pulling in nonprofit or donor data as well as purchase data.

All other campaign elements remained the same.

Research Question

Does optimizing for the “Donate” event in Facebook increase instant donor conversion more than optimizing for a “Purchase” event?


C: Purchase Optimization
T1: "Donate" Optimization


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Purchase Optimization 0.17%
T1: "Donate" Optimization 0.24% 39.3% 99.2%

This experiment has a required sample size of 33,843 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 128,692, 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
× 39.3% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

Optimizing for a donation in Facebook rather than a purchase increased instant donor conversion by 39%. This confirms our hypothesis that Facebook is using different criteria to optimize for a donation, potentially including nonprofit or philanthropic data in addition to demographic or purchase information, therefore providing an even more donor-motivated audience for our ads. This concept should continue to be tested in order to continue confirming this concept.

Experiment Documented by...

Allison Jones

Allison is an Optimization Associate 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.