Gift Giving on Facebook

Facebook ads can be used effectively to promote gift giving programs, such as the Adopt a Wild Animal program to send plush animals to loved ones, and drive immediate positive ROI for non-profits.


The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization working to protect our communities and the planet. Inspired by nature, the work of their 2.4 million members and supporters includes conservation efforts, wildlife protection, and advocating against fossil fuels and climate disruption.

Campaign Goals

Recruit 350 Facebook users to Adopt a Wild Animal

The Adopt a Wild Animal program is a program to send an adorable plush animal to a loved one while helping save animals in the wild. The campaign, run by the Sierra Club and digital agency M+R, worked to increase wildlife adoptions during the winter holiday season.


  1. Facebook ads drove more than 350 donations that will help protect forests, mountains, and oceans – and the endangered wildlife that call them home.
  2. They saw an immediate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of over 2x, making this a fantastically effective way to reach new and existing donors.


  1. Custom Audiences for Direct Mail Donors: Created content specifically for past Adopt a Wild Animal gift catalog donors and targeted them using custom audiences.
  2. Lookalike Ads: Growing the program means finding new donors. They used Facebook’s lookalike audiences to show ads to new audiences who were similar to previous purchasers.
  3. Retargeting Ads: Converted website visitor window shoppers into donors. They made sure to retarget all website visitors with ads to encourage supporters to come back and adopt their wild animal.
  4. Instagram: They ran ads on Instagram, testing both static content and a carousel that showcased five different animals.

Campaign Creative

The Sierra Club used creative that would grab the attention of donors, including the below.
  1. Vivid photos of the wild animals their donation would help protect.
  2. Images of the adorable plush that they or their loved one would receive.

Campaign Lessons

  1. Always test creative: M+R developed 12 different sets of creative so they could test different animals and images against each other and find what performs best for our audience. They found that the image of the plush animals outperformed the real live animals!
  2. Use results to optimize for better performance: Test different types of ads, such as carousel ads and Instagram ads. Don’t be afraid to turn them off partway through the campaign and focus on the other ads that are performing better.
  3. Capitalize on key dates: They used copy that highlighted the free shipping deadline, and planned ad budget around the biggest gift-giving days from previous years.

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