Yesterday we focused on Google AdWords advertising for political campaigns, which is more suited for medium to large local elections. Today, I’d like to talk about another form of online advertising that can be much more effective for candidates in smaller local elections: advertising with Facebook ads.
While Google AdWords allows you to specify what geographical areas you would like your ads to appear in, Facebook ads let you get even more specific regarding exactly who you wish to reach with your political campaign advertising. Because users give the social networking site so much information about themselves, you are actually able to specify in the Facebook ads interface what age group, sex, location and other variables that you want your ad audience to have.
This kind of ultra-targeted advertising is great for political campaigns and candidates, since it allows you to target specific likely voter groups with individual messages. You could, for example, create a Facebook ad that is targeted at younger voters, and then set it up so that it only shows for users who are in the age range of 18 to 34 years old.
Many local political campaign candidates have used Facebook ads to promote their fan pages or groups, and it usually results in some moderately successful results (don’t expect to get hundreds of followers out of it). Like Google AdWords, Facebook ads allow you to set a daily budget for how much you want to spend per click, and your ads will stop showing after you have reached that budget.
If you do have a Facebook fan page or group for your political campaign, I suggest you try Facebook ads out just so you can familiarize yourself with it, because it’s going to become a much more effective form of online advertising as time goes on.
One warning, though: Facebook ads tend to drive a lot less traffic than Google AdWords ads, and their click-through rate is pretty bad (clickthrough is the number of people who see your ads versus the number who actually click on it). If you are running as a candidate in a smaller local election and target only people in your city to see your Facebook ads, don’t be surprised if you only get a few clicks a week.
Still, it’s worth setting up a few Facebook ads, setting a small daily budget of a dollar or so, and checking your stats every now and then. Facebook is evolving quickly and is becoming more important to successful political campaigning every day, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable with the system. In the process, it will probably send you a few extra fans and supporters.