Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! From Candidates to Companies: How Facebook is Changing the Game

As election season draws closer, candidates are eagerly throwing their hats into the ring in hopes of gaining early momentum and public confidence. Evident in the last national election cycle, social media plays a key role in political campaigns now. As more people spend more time on social networking sites and less time in front of traditional media, candidates are being forced to use new tactics to reach their constituents. This year, a new service from Facebook is changing the political game once again, and this change has an important implication for brands as well.
Bloomberg Businessweek recently spotlighted Michele Bachmann’s campaign as one of the first to take advantage of Facebook’s just-released advertising tools that the company is currently marketing to politicians. Rather than targeting ads based solely on demographic information, the new software allows candidates to tap into the mass amounts of information that Facebook regularly collects about its users including likes, interests, status updates and more. Using this information, campaigns are able to create ads tailored to very narrow and specific audiences, sometimes as small as a few dozen people. While the technology is still relatively new and solid metric results are yet to be seen, Bachmann’s campaign claims that “a significant portion of the people who pushed her over the top in Iowa…came as a result of the ad campaign.”
Facebook emphasizes that the purpose of the super targeted ads is not to simply increase the number of likes – it is to increase engagement with constituents.

“What I push with folks is that, while the fan count matters, how many people are interacting with it really matters. How many people are liking it, commenting on it, sharing it with their friends,” says Facebook’s Katie Harbath.

In politics, this means getting people to go vote and campaign for a candidate. However, measuring and monetizing the effect of these campaigns on true engagement is something no one can truly do yet. There is currently no way to know for sure whether these ads resulted in Bachmann’s Iowa win or whether they ignite any more engagement than Facebook Ads targeted solely on demographics.
But the ideas this new kind of advertising raises is important for brands to take note of because, most likely, Facebook will offer this technology to advertisers outside the political realm in the future. Namely, think about the following things.

  • Do you know your customers well enough to target just a few dozen of them based on common interest?
  • Do you have the time and skill to create effective ads for each niche of your target (a Bachmann campaign staffer said he designed more than 1,000 ads during a 45 day time period)?
  • Do you know what the next step of engagement is beyond a “like” that you want to see from your customers?
  • What can you be doing now to move beyond a simple like into true engagement?