Tim Pawlenty Testing Facebook's Sponsored Stories

Since former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced last Sunday that he was throwing his hat into the Republican presidential race, his digital media team has been testing a sponsored stories campaign on Facebook.

Since former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced last Sunday that he was throwing his hat into the Republican presidential race, his digital media team has been testing a sponsored stories campaign on GFacebook.

According to ClickZ, Engage, the digital firm representing Pawlenty’s campaign, has been working closely with Facebook on a variety of new ad formats.

Page post ads, one of a few variations of the sponsored stories units, automatically display the latest post made to a page. So, the ads pull in the latest status update made on the candidate’s page, and dynamically create ads featuring the post in copy. The ads entice users to hit like, which in turn notifies their friends of the liking action within their news feeds.

According to Engage, the sponsored stories ads give the candidate a prominent placement among news feed posts and when supporters click the like button, that action becomes part of their friends’ news feeds.

These ads are both relatively inexpensive and yield a generally higher engagement rate because its targeting people who are already engaged (but might be overwhelmed with updates on their news feed if they like a lot of pages).

TBG Digital says sponsored stories have a 46 percent higher click-through rate than other types of ads on the site.

Now the elusive question: Is there evidence that these ads were effective in the Pawlenty campaign’s first week? Engage is measuring the ads against engagement and action but so far it looks promising.

What do you think of political campaigns’ use of Facebook ads?