Medway Council’s Facebook Ad Campaign

Medway Council Facebook Recycling CampaignMedway council are spending their council tax payers money to encourage me to recycle by advertising on Facebook.

I have seen the ad on the left several times over the past few days linking to the recycling section of the council website.

Why?  I don’t live in or anywhere near Medway.  Facebook profiles contain lots of demographic information to which advertising campaigns can easily be targeted so the fact that it is showing to me seems unforgivable.  I did once visit Chatham Docks though and watched as the Tour de France passed through!

The houses are pretty affordable though and Ebbsfleet International to St Pancras is a 20 minute train journey. I’ll remember that.

Medway to Birmingham Map

6 Replies to “Medway Council’s Facebook Ad Campaign”

  1. Hi Philip,

    I look after the Communications and Marketing team at Medway Council – so this is one of our campaigns.

    The campaign is set up on Facebook to geotarget users within certain demographic criteria within a small (less than 20km) radius of Rochester – so there will be some wastage as we can’t target people exactly within the council area, but we can get pretty close.

    But that doesn’t explain why you’re seeing the campaign – we’re making some enquiries with Facebook to try to work out why. In our experience the geotargetting on Facebook ads is usually pretty good, but obviously not in your case.

    Glad you came to Medway to see the Tour de France – I watched it from just along the road from where you were – and it was a great day to enjoy a world class sporting event in Medway.


  2. Thanks for the information Simon.

    I’ve generally found Facebook ad targeting to be pretty good and for most campaigns any mistakes wouldn’t be apparent but the the Medway campaign stuck in my mind because it had a clear target location.

    You found this blog post pretty quickly so I guess you’re on the ball on the social media side and will get it sorted!

  3. We’ve been doing some digging this evening on exactly how FB’s geotargetting works – as I’d thought it’s a mix of location information entered by users (which I’m assuming you don’t have as Medway or a place in Medway in your profile) and the user’s IP address.

    IP targetting alone isn’t always accurate – the best estimates are 50-80% accurate at city level ( For example I’m near Whitstable in Kent, but my IP address is showing up on the web as Warrington, presumably because of the location of my broadband ISP.

    The data we get back from clickthroughs on our FB campaigns is very comprehensive and shows a very good clickthrough rate and ROI compared to other marketing channels we can use, particularly for younger demographic groups, even despite some of the unavoidable geotargetting inaccuracies.

  4. Whitstable – Warrington is a pretty major discrepancy!

    Not sure how it is tracking me as in Medway. Am not using a proxy – looked up my IP address using a few websites and all traced me back to Birmingham.

    My profile information is “Current location: Birmingham, United Kingdom Hometown: Watford, United Kingdom” and I don’t remember ever mentioning Medway on Facebook. I would have presumed that user given data would have overridden the IP tracing though that could be of less use if accessing using a mobile device.

    That said I just had a quick browse around FB and haven’t seen the Medway Council ad recently.

    You talk about the success of the campaigns – I imagined part of the reason for advertising on FB was to reach a younger demographic. I was particularly impressed earlier in the year when I heard about, and later saw, a special campaign that the Electoral Commission were running targeting first time voters.

    I presume leaflets have been dropped to all homes in the area so a supplementary Facebook campaign appears to be a very cheap addition and may capture people who have ignored/forgotten more traditional advertising. Seems a wise move but I initially feared that the spend would be significantly increased by a badly targeted campaign (obviously given your clarifications this is not the case on your behalf at least!).

    In this case the campaign appears to be to raise awareness of the Medway changes so I presume a ROI figure would somehow have to be calculated by assigning a value to the act of making a single person aware, since there are no real calls to action on the landing page that could otherwise measure success.

    An off-point but Medway’s recycling collections are much better than what we have here, green and general waste are the only things that seem to be collected down our street despite students putting out bags of glass/plastics. No idea how Birmingham City Council are going to reach their recycling targets.

  5. Thanks for that extra information Philip. We’re investigating this further but the campaign is definitely set up to target people within a small radius of Rochester.

    The Facebook adverts are part of a wider campaign targetting all residents to inform them about improvements to recycling services in Medway. The campaign has included a leaflet that has been delivered to every home in Medway and on-street roadshows at busy town centre locations in Medway. We evaluate all our marketing to make sure that we know what it is achieving – in this campaign we will measure it initially by researching how well informed people are about the recycling service.

    Our research earlier this year showed that the 18-34yr old age group was less well informed about our recycling services than older residents. It also showed us that 73% of 18-34yr olds in Medway use Facebook regularly, so Facebook is a good place for us to try to reach those people.

    It’s also worth noting that the total spend on Facebook advertising across the recycling campaign is £140 to target those 73% of 18-34yr olds about changes to an important council service. That’s less than half the price of one small advert in a local newspaper.

  6. Thanks for the insight Simon! Seems to be a very cost effective medium, good luck with the campaign.

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