Facebook users may not like viewing political ads, but in time, that could change with better-planned campaigns
Facebook and YouTube were the two most popular social networking platforms used for political campaign advertising during the congressional races of 2014. However, the efficient use of the videos was limited the reach of the candidates.
Digital ads come in several forms, and they can be easily found in search results, but the most attractive method of campaign advertising is the so-called pre-roll videos, according to Derek Willis of The New York Times. The fact that they are very much similar to television advertising and can produce that form easily makes them the most popular. For this reason, many candidates posted made-for-TV ads on their Facebook pages rather than tailoring them for the platform
“You’re going to see political ads that look different because they were made specifically for the Web,” Ben Coffey Clark, a partner at Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital consulting company told The NY Times.
In future campaigns, ads on Facebook won’t be forced on viewers. Rather, they will form part of the feed and will come with labeled ads “with a precious few seconds to grab your attention,” says the report.
Changes needed to make campaigns effective
Also the report says politicians will have to change their approach toward video campaigning by cutting down on other videos and postings.
“Their video content has to stand alone as interesting and provide some sort of value to the user,” said Shannon Lee, head of digital advertising at Precision Strategies, a consulting firm founded by former Obama campaign staffers. If such is not the case, then voters “will scroll right through,” resulting in lower engagement and thereby limited reach of the candidate, campaign or organization, Lee told The NY Times.
The majority of campaign ads take some time to convey the message; therefore, the new campaigns, instead of starting “with soft music and a rising sun” will carry titles encouraging users to keep watching the videos.
Facebook also provides a fund-raising platform that is less expensive and liked by political campaigns. However, it requires more time and effort for developing a large following. As per the records of the Federal Election Commission, during the past election cycle, Facebook directly sold ads to more than 500 candidates and committees.