Using Facebook for Consumer Insights and Awareness

Connecting with financially vulnerable people is critical to our success. With the growth of social media, Commonwealth recently tested Facebook ads as an easy, and potentially cost-effective, way to raise awareness and hear from financially vulnerable people. We piloted this tool with two different projects – Tax Time Savings Bonds and Minimum Wage Hikes.

Savings Bonds

For many financially vulnerable people, a tax refund is a once-a-year opportunity to jumpstart or build on a savings habit. This tax season, Commonwealth tested promotion of tax-time savings bonds through Facebook ads as a tool to raise awareness about bonds and learn about what messaging about them resonates for audiences on social media.

We tested two different messages with three different audiences. One message centered on the accessibility (with a minimum of just a $50 purchase) and competitive return (current 2.58% interest rate) of bonds. This ad was shown to two different audiences: 1) users that Facebook determined were “primarily cash users” as a proxy for un- and underbanked populations, and 2) a “lookalike” audience tailored based on characteristics of past bond buyers. The second message was targeted at just one audience—parents—and centered on the giftability of bonds and the fact that they can support a loved one’s future. Users who clicked the ads were taken to a landing page with more information about tax-time savings bonds on our tax-time savings campaign website,

The ads ran for 5 days during the middle of tax season and reached a total audience of over 43,000 people at a cost of under $400. Here are a few insights we gained from this test:

  • The ads with messages centered on the accessibility and return of savings bonds outperformed the giftability message in terms of number of clicks and cost per click.
  • Those who clicked on the accessibility and return ads also viewed more content on, averaging 1.77 pages per session compared to 1.24 for the parent audience.
  • Facebook ads can drive traffic: they accounted for over 12% of all visits to and over 16% of all new users during the ad period.

Minimum Wage Hikes

As cities, states, and companies across the country raise their workers’ wages, we are trying to understand what workers plan to do with these raises and how we can better frame this moment as an opportunity to build their financial security. We ran a variety of ads targeting workers of companies that have announced wage hikes.

We first tested 2 different images to see which resonated more – the first showed workers in an office setting, and the second showed grocery store workers in a store aisle. The latter resulted in almost double the number of link clicks. The message stayed consistent between the two – workers across the country are getting a raise, and if you’re included, we want to hear about your experience.

We then ran 2 ads with the same messaging and included a chance to win  a $50 Amazon gift card. One featured the more popular image from the previous campaign, and one featured an Amazon logo to emphasize the gift card. The ads ran for 18 days and reached 42,510 people at a cost of nearly $750. Some insights include:

  • Despite a similar reach, the cost ended up significantly higher than that of the Savings Bonds ad. This is likely due to more limited and difficult targeting.
  • 119 respondents completed the survey, resulting in a cost of about $6.30 per response.
  • Conversion rates between the ads for these two projects are likely so different due to the larger ask for this ad (filling out a survey) compared to the Savings Bond ad (clicking a link).

The results of these tests of Facebook ads makes us believe that it might be a new tool that Commonwealth could use to connect with financially vulnerable people.

start the Conversation