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Political campaign ads: Facebook

If you are in the business of getting elected you will be aware that digital campaigning is the fastest and most efficient way to succeed. From phone banking to mobile canvassing to political campaign ads, all campaigning is now touched with digital elements.

If you are hoping word of mouth will drive your campaign you may need to think again! The power of word of mouth now resides on social media. The Facebooks, the Twitter accounts, the Instagrams; it is these tools that can propel you into the consciousness of your voters and in this post, we will attempt to guide you in one area of that effort.

Digital advertising isn’t a new phenomenon at this stage but it does keep evolving and this post is designed to introduce you to the current Ad Manager on Facebook. Advertising through Facebook is one of the easiest and proven platforms when it comes to promoting content online.

Why Facebook?

Firstly, think about where people do most of their reading nowadays? Yup, you got it, Facebook. You have to put yourself at the forefront of what is going on. If potential voters are on Facebook, why not go out and get their attention?

Secondly, it is immediate and reactive. Campaigning is all about getting out in front of your opposition and if you need to react quickly to things happening in a campaign this is the best way to do that.

This all sounds great, but how much do I spend?

Nobody can really answer this question for you. Figure out what your advertising budget is and work from there. When you set up an ad campaign you can set a limit on your budget so you never run over. Now it is up to you to get the most from that budget.

When advertising on Facebook you can choose between two cost models:

  • CPC: Cost per click
  • CPM: Cost per thousand impressions

CPC simply means that you pay when someone clicks on the ad while CPM means that you pay for each 1,000 people who have seen it. Both cost models use a bidding system – an auction – and the cost depends on what other advertisers are willing to pay for clicks or impressions from the same demographic.

In areas where there are a lot of advertisers competing for the same demographic, which is defined by your targeting preferences such as country, gender, age, interests etc., the costs are higher and vice versa.

As always, when it comes to Facebook advertising, you’ll see best results by testing both models and choose the one that meets your business objectives, but generally, CPC gives a higher click through rate (CTR) whereas CPM generates fewer but cheaper clicks.

Whatever you spend on Facebook advertising, the most important thing is that you know exactly what you’re getting out of it. Even though social media is a cheap, powerful and essential business channel, it can typically be difficult to measure ROI for the time and resource invested into maintaining a strong profile and community. However, with Facebook advertising, you can clearly see what you have spent and what results it has provided.

I only want a specific group of people to see my advertisements?

So you want to send an advertisement to a certain audience? No problem, Facebook ads are targeted to people's demographics and interests, not what they have been searching for. This makes the ability to target people all the more impressive. So if you are working on a campaign or with a political party, you might consider targeting audience members with interests in the ‘GOP’, ‘political campaigns’, ‘Hillary Clinton’. Or if you want to specifically target demographics like job title ‘Teacher’, you can do that too.

If you want to focus your advertisements in a particular area, you can specifically target the geographical region in which you operate, whether it’s a country, city, village or even postcode region.

With so many targeting options and combinations available, you can ensure that your budget is only spent on the most relevant audience, meaning you can get value out of even the smallest spend.

Technical bit

Log into your Facebook account

If you don’t already have one set up, it’s essential that you do and all you need is an email address. Check out this link to get started https://www.facebook.com/

Create ads

After logging into your page, go to the main navigation tab and click on the drop down menu where you will then see Create Ads. Click on this.

You are now in Ads Manager. Decide what your campaign is going to be and choose a marketing objective

As you can see we have chosen Auction and wish to send more people to the Ecanvasser website.

Enter the Campaign name : Sample Ad 1

Target the ad

Choosing the audience is important - you can create a custom list if you have access to facebook profiles or target people based on specific tags.
For this example, I have uploaded a list of political candidates in Ireland that I wish to target. You can also filter by age. As our group is very niche, our audience is small but that is acceptable, depending on what you want to achieve.

Where do you want your ads to be seen

For placements, I would advise all the following.

Set pricing and schedule

Depending on your budget, you can choose a daily amount to spend.
Another important step here is Optimization for Ad Delivery: As you can see we chose Link clicks, this delivers our ad to the right people and helps us get the most clicks to our website.

However, we also have two other options

  • Impressions: deliver your ads to people as many times as possible.
  • Daily Unique Reach: deliver your ads to people once a day.

Design the ad

You can then insert the text you want to accompany your ad below and see a preview to ensure you are satisfied.

Place your order and your ad will go live.

Monitor the ad

After a day or two, you may want to check in and see how your ad is going. You then return to Ads Manager and click on the drop down.

You will then see all your current ads that are running on facebook.

As you can see from our account below, we are running an ad in the US targeting US based campaigns. It has had 188 clicks with a post reach of 3,025 and each time someone click on the link we are charged $0.24

We hope this overview can get you advertising with Facebook quickly. It may not be perfect and, like with all advertising, it does not have the perfect reach to your audience or perfect reporting. That said, it is the simplest advertising option and a very effective way to reach segments of your voters either by interest, demographic or geographic profile.

If you would like to learn more about digital campaigning and building on your online advertising with face-to-face outreach then click the button below.

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