Facebook is allowing users to control how many ads they see that are political.
Starting today for some people and rolling out to everyone in the US over the next few weeks, people will be able to turn off all social issue, electoral or political ads from candidates, Super PACs or other organizations that have the “Paid for by” political disclaimer on them. You can do this on Facebook or Instagram directly from any political or social issue ad or through each platform’s ad settings. However, we know our system isn’t perfect. So if you’ve selected this preference and still see an ad that you think is political, please click the upper right corner of the ad and report it to us.
-Naomi Gleit, VP of Product Management and Social Impact
June 16th, 2020
So what are advertisers to do?
It’s obvious this news is welcome for a number of non-political Facebook users (do those exist anymore?), but this news coming directly from Facebook has shocked candidates and causes across the country. At first, it was our collective thought that the social media giant would make the process cumbersome. We’ve documented before how lucrative a vertical like politics is for them. But, according to them, you can opt out either within settings OR on the ads themselves to never see them again. See the video from them explaining the process:
Political advertisers, candidates, and causes need to begin an alternative strategy. The strength of Facebook ads versus other digital platforms is its ability to not only reach new audiences but drive conversions and build critical lists to leverage as election day draws closer. It was a tactic fully utilized by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign throughout 2015 and 2016. He valued the results so much, he made his digital director Brad Parscale his campaign manager for the 2020 re-election cycle.
It’s not just an echo chamber, per se. Your candidate or cause can reach people who care about, say, police reform – who might not have been sympathetic to YOUR candidate or cause in the first place. From that unique targeting, you can get a signup, get a donation, and build an evangelist digitally. Facebook’s ad feature, even as it became more cumbersome for advertisers, was a tried and true way of educating voters, converting voters, and creating an effective top-of-funnel advertising plan. This announcement changes that completely, giving users the power to change their preferences and block political content from their feeds.
Here are 3 things you can do to still reach new audiences and get engagement, even in this new landscape:
- Begin an organic growth strategy utilizing Facebook groups. Facebook’s intent is to minimize public interaction with strangers. We wrote up HOW to leverage Facebook groups here. We predicted Facebook’s total elimination of a public newsfeed here.
- Utilize Facebook attribution and cross-platform technology. You can continue to market to audiences who you’d normally target just on Facebook. Ensure your google display campaigns can hit the audience you want to – even if they’ve “opted out” of political facebook ads.
- Create content CATERED to your audience. Get hyper targeted in your advertising. Even though users can opt out of Facebook ads generally, you don’t want to be the ad that triggers them to do so. When you do run ads, make sure the MATTER and are AUTHENTIC to the user.
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