While a multi-touch approach is advisable for any serious campaign, the increasing quality of targeting strategies available through Facebook make it a no-brainer for a good portion of your advertising dollars. Smart campaigns can get ad impressions and 3-second video views for just pennies each.
Basic Facebook targeting allows you to zoom down to the city level, or to pick out zips in a political district, and you can layer in interest targets such as politically active, or “very liberal.” You can also focus ads by age and gender, honing in, for example, on older women who are more likely to take action, give, and vote.
As a campaign gets into gear, I also like to hone in Facebook targeting further based on what I know about my voters. I start with a voter file and contact lists, and use Accurate Append to supplement my contacts with mobile phone and email appends. Now I can reach voters by email, with phone calls and texts, through VoterCircle, and through custom audience matching within Facebook Ad Manager. (Facebook audience matching requires email or phone number.)
Here are five strategies that data savvy campaigns can take advantage of to boost success with Facebook advertising:
Reinforce Your VoterCircle campaign
Create a custom audience of all of the people on your VoterCircle outreach lists. While you’re emailing them and onboarding them at volunteer events, use Facebook to encourage them to sign up and use VoterCircle to spread the word about your campaign.
Add a Field “Touch”
While you’re canvassing with VoterCircle, phone banks, and door to door, use a Facebook audience identical to your target universe and give those folks your campaign’s talking points and list of key endorsers right in their News Feed.
Urge Supporters to Take Action
Advanced users can add the Facebook Pixel to the “thank you” page of a volunteer signup or action survey, optimizing your ad campaign for conversions. Use your ads to get folks to opt-in to creating their own VoterCircle and to getting more involved with the campaign.
Reach “Hard to Get” Voters
Create a custom audience of the voters you just haven’t been able to contact. Facebook will tell you whether they are seeing your ads.
After mail voting begins and through Election Day, use data of all your “yes” responses from VoterCircle and other contacts to push your voters to the polls. You could advertise a poll lookup, and ask voters to comment “yes” and share the post after they vote, pushing it into their friends’ feeds.
Facebook ads create new dimensions for messaging and audience targeting; using them armed with your contact and supporter data should be a no-brainer.
Adriel Hampton runs a marketing agency in San Francisco and the web product ActionSites. Previously, he co-founded and served as president of Pinpoint Predictive, a programmatic advertising targeting company, and was an early member of the Los Angeles software company NationBuilder. In 2009, Adriel became the first person to launch a Congressional candidacy via Twitter. He’s an advisory to VoterCircle and Legination, and serves on the executive boards of the SF Berniecrats and Open Supporter Data Interface.