facebook ads case study early retirement on web


Unless you’re a TD or you saw one of our ads, the odds are you would have no idea about the titanic shift that took place in Irish pension legislation in June 2016. Let’s face it, pensions are something you don’t generally think about until you’re ready to retire. Read this Facebook ads case study to find out how we were successful in driving leads for one Irish pension firm.

facebook ads case study Early Retirement crew

When we were approached by pension fund advisors, Early Retirement.ie, a financial management company who are one of the first to offer these new pension fund opportunities to clients, we were faced with a genuine challenge.

How do you sell a product that the customer doesn’t realise they need and – barring a few financial experts – doesn’t know is even possible?


Solution: Facebook Ads

The key difference between Google and Facebook ads is that on Google people know what they are looking for.  On Facebook, we know who we are looking for!

Facebook is the perfect place to reach people when you know your demographic, and for Early Retirement.ie, this was nice and clear as the ability to cash up to 25% of your pension early is only available if you are aged 50 or older.  So we set about targeting aged 49 up. Think 49-54 year old couples dual screening on their couch of a Friday night watching The Late Late Show. One eye on Facebook, one eye on Ryan Tubridy. Then our ad pops up. (Pictured: Ed O’Neil from Modern Family)

facebook ads case study key demographicWe did a little testing for Instagram too, but this audience is firmly in the Facebook corner.

We started off by targeting broadly to discover who responds best to our ad creative. And as usual, we got creative with the creative!  We began by testing a mix of video ads versus carousel versus plain image and text. After just a few days, it became apparent that video ads were winning, by a long shot! In terms of price, engagement and reach.


And that men were slightly more interested than women. (But not by much)


Take a look at this stunning little ad we put together for this project:

Notice how the focus is on clear, simple detail on what the new pension changes meant and how the average pension holder might benefit.  

There were also some Facebook ad experiments that didn’t exactly thrive. Lead gen ads did not perform well for this group. I think this is probably because, as an older audience, they are a little more mistrustful of Facebook than their younger peers.

By this stage, our client was delighted with us.  Sending us messages like:

I know I owe you a blog post to add to the site, but the phone has been ringing non stop and I haven’t been able to get to it.

They were also very good at keeping us informed about how well the leads we were generating were converting:

I’m just on the way back from a meeting in Waterford with a couple who found us on Facebook. They are really pleased and said this service has come to them just at the right time.

So we challenged ourselves to do more…

With the general video view ads performing well (managed to maintain views at 1 cent per view), we turned our attention to targeting a very specific type of audience, deferred pensioners of defined benefit schemes. At this time, there was a lot of news in the media about high profile Irish pension schemes in trouble and at the risk of closing down. Schemes such as Independent News & Media, AIB, Bank of Ireland. We turned our attention to reaching these people through clever targeting.

facebook ads case study early retirement on facebook


Let’s Not Overlook Google

While we weren’t directly targeting organic search, I’m delighted to say that Early Retirement is appearing on page 2 for certain broad keyword searches. This is behind large media outlets, pension forums, and the Revenue itself!

facebook ads case study early retirement on google

The Google ads campaign worked very well. The ad reach was smaller, but it was a much more focused group that converted better on the site.

facebook ads case study google analytics

And so, after a little while, Facebook and Google played well together. The Google remarketing ads served to hoover up leads generated by the people who had been targeted through the Facebook video ads.

Facebook Ads Case Study Results?

So far the results have been pretty great. Our client has been converting as many as three new clients per week. Given that pensions are a high-workload high-yield type of business, a single transaction can be quite valuable. To be closing three new cases a week is a tidy result.

What’s The Takeaway?

  • Never underestimate the power of video ads compared to images.  Video rules the social media world.
  • Give the audience some credit. It doesn’t matter if your product isn’t exciting. A patient, frank sales approach can sell even the unsexiest product – even on a Friday night!
  • Approach your ads systematically. Don’t be afraid to experiment, hypothesise, and experiment again. The only bad experiment is the one you didn’t learn from.
  • And of course, whoever your audience is, they’re probably on Facebook!  2017 is only going to see Facebook dominate the social media spaces even more.

If you haven’t already got it, and you know you need to learn more about making Facebook ads work for you and your business, why not sign up for our online social media training course?  It’s got great training videos on Facebook ads, social media customer service, email automations, and more. And of course, there’s a free option. Everything you need to win at social media in 2017.  Find out more here.

Let’s Leave The Last Word To The Client




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Working with Brightspark was and continues to be an absolute pleasure. Maryrose is able to breakdown the reasons why we proceed on a certain course and the results have been phenomenal. The return for the time and resources invested makes working with Brightspark a no brainer.

Johnny Mulholland, Early Retirement.ie