Facebook is “Onside”: Activating local event marketing power.

[definition, rugby] Onside: players who are onside take an active part in playing the game.

A local rugby league in Jefferson City, MO asked me to help them spread the word about a free rugby summer camp, so I took to Facebook to dig up a narrow audience and see what kind of local event marketing power Facebook had to offer.

Image Is Everything

A good image makes content better! So my first step was to search “girls rugby” on reddit for an eye-catching image. I wasn’t prepared for what I’d find (girls + mud + wrestling for a ball… you can imagine what I found). None of that was appropriate for advertising for a high school girls’ rugby camp!

I quickly took my search to Pinterest – wonderfully wholesome Pinterest! I found a few fun images, but what really caught my eye was an image that said “Yes. I like football. No I am not a dude.”

So I used that for some inspiration and made this.


Defining your Audience

The event was an invite to local high school girls, so I selected the 25-mile radius around the city and added a few surrounding towns. I then created several ads narrowing even further in to the local audience by adding interests

I spent about 5 minutes creating a post engagement ad and came up with these audiences:

  • Ages 13-19, females. For a potential audience of 2,800 people.
  • Parents of children ages 13-19. For a potential audience of 3,000 people.
  • Interests: high school sports, soccer, rugby league. For a potential audience of 3,200 people.

The rugby page had 287 fans when the post went live, but only 22 of those fans were from the immediate Jefferson City area – the remainder were from St. Louis and Kansas City, about 2 hours away in either direction. Without Facebook ad targeting, it would’ve been very difficult to spread the word within the Jefferson City community.

The results are in and this single post reached 15x as many people as it could have if had only reached existing fans of the page! Not only did we reach more folks, but they were the right audience for the event.


Overall, 4,198 people saw the ad and 71 of them engaged (1.69%). What I like most about the Post Details view is the ability to analyze the ripple effect of engagement that happens on the post and the secondary engagement. In this case, there were more Shares “On Shares” than “On Post,” meaning more users shared their friend’s status than the page post itself. Yes, it’s a very small sample and not statistically relevant – but interesting none the less!

That’s where testing and measuring comes in. If you can spot repeated trends, even among small sample sizes, then you’ve gained insight into your audience.

What are some of your favorite Facebook ad stats and how do you use them to improve fan engagement?



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