If the social media marketing firm TargetedSocial is right, video-based Facebook advertising is the next innovation in political communications and will be key to the 2012 elections, from the presidential race to local campaigns.
The firm launched a new tool for candidates this week called Socialitical, which they say, “provides a highly targeted vehicle for politicians, campaign managers and lobbyists to identify, reach, and activate potential voters through social media channels such as Facebook.”
The non-partisan firm can already count two presidential campaigns as clients, as well as a political action committee and a national issues-based initiaitive.
In a news release, Socialitical’s managing partner Cory Gottlieb said, “The technology we’ve developed provides an active and effective solution for candidates, parties, and causes to reach these audiences at a hyper-local level in a meaningful way.”
Gottlieb is using his decades of ad experience to develop Socialitical’s political offerings. While he admits in an interview that Facebook ads will never replace television ads, he says the social network offers three advantages to advertisers:
- First, the domestic reach of Facebook–at 155 million U.S. users — hasn’t been seen before in a single destination resource.
- Second, candidates can target like-minded individuals with messages.
- And finally, Facebook analytics enables campaigns to determine exactly who the ads are resonating with.
Video is key to the proprietary platform, and Socialitical has devised three-ways that videos can be presented on Facebook. Gottlieb adds that the interaction rate — users who like, comment or share a Socialitical video on Facebook — is 20 percent, a rate that’s unheard of in the ad industry.
So can businesses learn from the way politicians use Facebook? Gottlieb believes that campaigns are using the best practices of major brands and taking it to a whole new level this election cycle.
The social listening software that’s core to Socialitical monitors the Facebook conversations taking place around a candidate or issue and enables campaigns to change their messaging accordingly. It’s also a feature that companies can eventually use to enhance their brands online.
Socialitical can’t confirm its client base, but there is evidence that campaigns are using Facebook to tweak its messaging. A Newt Gingrich campaign official recently told Politico that, “Every time we use ‘bold Reagan conservative’ on Facebook, we get enormous feedback.”
Gottlieb says his firm is planning to add new features for campaigns later this year. One idea involves an application that will pull cookie data and cross-reference the information with local voter registration rolls, which would help campaigns re-target Facebook ads. It’s also a feature that Gottlieb believes consumer brands could eventually use in their Facebook ad campaigns.
Political ads on Facebook is a trend that’s here to stay and video is a natural extension. Campaigns are already producing videos to announce their candidacy or use in fundraising appeals. Members of Congress and even the president are using Facebook videos to rally support around an issue or piece of legislation. And the microtargeting capability of Facebook offers a distinct advantage over television ads.
Readers, do you pay attention to political ads on Facebook?