Facebook Advertising Matters For Political Fundraising

It is 18 long – and short – months before the next major election. And while it’s too early to predict the winners (though many will try between now and then), one thing we know for sure is that having a sufficient war chest is imperative to campaign success.

In anticipation of the growing demand to solicit funds from constituents, Facebook conducted research in the November mid-term elections to see if Facebook advertising would encourage people to make political contributions. And, indeed, the results were favorable. 

The experiment was conducted on the campaigns of Michelle Nunn from Georgia and Mark Udall of Colorado. And in each case, their Facebook advertising campaign was credited with providing at least a 200% ROI on the cost of the ads. Specifically, people who saw Udall’s ad gave $47.87 on average, compared to $42.70 for people who did not see them. Nunn’s campaign saw similar results. 

Implications for 2016

New spending records continue to be set across political campaigns, a trend expected to continue into the 2016 cycle and beyond. And, with it, politicians will need to find new ways to reach constituents to solicit funds. Facebook advertising will prove necessary and here’s why:

  • The importance of digital campaigning will continue to grow. Americans spend nearly five hours every day online, more than half, 2.7 hours, of which is spent with social media. Forty-two percent of Americans have a Facebook account, compared to only 19% who are on the second-largest social media network, Twitter. Facebook is still the king of social media.
  • Facebook has rich ad targeting options which are ideal for candidates. From geo-targeting to custom and look-alike audiences, Facebook makes it easy for campaigns to target and reach their constituent base. 
  • Facebook advertising is an ideal part of a multi-channel approach to soliciting political contributions. As was found in the Facebook research, political advertisements for contributions were believed to have a multiplicative impact on other outreach efforts, having a “spillover effect in other fundraising channels,” according to David Karpf, assistant professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. Tying together, for example, a Facebook advertisement for donations with an email campaign to the same custom list, could have significant impact in increasing the amount a constituent is willing to give. 
  • Sage campaigns will experiment and put money behind only those ads that drive a high percentage of users to complete a “Donate” action and/or send their email address to the campaign for additional marketing. 

While Facebook advertising has proven to drive impact as seen in the 2014 mid-term elections, 2016 will be the year when digital campaigns come together with Facebook advertising to move the needle on donations. At the end of the day, every campaign needs money to be successful and Facebook has the reach, targeting and amplifying effects needed to help campaigns make a meaningful impact. The trick will be to use it smartly, balancing specific requests with other campaign pushes to ensure that campaign managers keep their audience excited and engaged over the duration of what is sure to be both a long and short 18 months.

Next story loading loading..