Topics: Facebook, Twitter, Advertising, Testing, Digital Acquisition

What Facebook’s Ability to Opt-Out of Political Ads Means for Campaigns

We are here to help you understand Facebook’s recent change to its advertising platform and how it impacts advocacy organizations and political campaigns. 

As you likely know, Twitter banned all political advertising on its platform this past November. Since then, many on the left – including Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden – have pressured Facebook to follow suit.

On Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided Facebook’s more measured response to calls to clamp down on political advertising. Zuckerberg announced that starting this week, Facebook and Instagram will allow users the ability to opt-out of political ads.

Facebook shared information about these changes in a post about its voting information effort.

The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) responded on Thursday, stating that, “Facebook is choosing to gag legitimate, fully disclosed campaign and policy advertising, while doing little to crack down on anonymous accounts devoted to spreading inflammatory and false information.”

The full text of the AAPC Statement on Facebook’s Political Ad Policy is available on its website.

Impact on Election 2020

We agree with the AAPC that Facebook’s decision undermines freedom of speech. However, Facebook’s refusal to join Twitter in banning all political advertising is welcome news. 
It is not clear what the full implications of these changes will be.  Opt-out rates will likely vary based on audience characteristics. Internally, Prosper Group monitors the delivery of persuasion, fundraising, and email acquisition ads.  With time the size of the impact on each ad type will be more clear. 

Here is what you need to know:

  • Facebook Advertising continues to be a valuable political advertising channel
  • Only paid content on Facebook and Instagram is impacted by opt-outs, NOT organic content
  • Users who opt-out do so for the entire category of social issues, elections, and politics
  • Those impacted are candidates, Super PACs, and organizations with “Paid for by” disclaimers
  • Opting-out is a multi-click process, completed separately on Facebook and Instagram

While some people will decide to opt-out of political ads, Facebook ads will remain a valuable tool for political organizations in 2020.

Being Prepared for Digital Change

Much like the political landscape, the digital landscape is ever-changing. Succeeding in digital requires adaptability and creativity. The Prosper Group proactively monitors, tests, and prepares for these digital changes to help our clients stay nimble and succeed.
The digital ecosystem is vast, with numerous channels for sharing stories, engage audiences, and driving advocacy. Of these, Facebook and Instagram represent only a single slice of the pie. 
Here are some of the techniques Prosper Group uses to maximize the digital impact for client and rapidly adapt to digital change:

  1. Audience-Based Targeting. We reach the right audiences using buying tools and advanced targeting technology.  Our technology stack allows us to key in on the audience over the advertising channel.
  2. Data-Driven Decision-Making. Using measurement tools, we track KPIs, including reach and ROI. This data informs placement decisions and helps us to optimize each client’s spending.
  3. Working Smarter, Not Harder. There are alternative ways to connect with audiences. For example, premium video inventory is not “skippable,” is engaging, and can include calls to action.  Different goals can demand different approaches, platforms, and tactics.
  4. Prospecting and Fundraising Testing. PG invests significant time, people, and resources in our digital fundraising practice.  Our test and measure approach to prospecting and fundraising pays off for clients. 

Prosper Group provides the expertise, people, and platforms along with industry best practices to ensure clients can communicate in meaningful and productive ways:

  1. Advertising Inventory. Our advertising stack, including Adobe Advertising Cloud, provides clients access to a vast library of digital inventory that includes search, pre-roll, display, OTT, and more.
  2. Email Deliverability. Often a challenge in politics, we have some of the best deliverability capabilities in the industry while providing accessibility to list rentals and revenue shares.
  3. SMS and MMS Messaging. Text messages provide unparalleled open rates at over 90 percent, creating opportunities to bring fundraising and voter contact programs to new heights.
  4. The PG Team. Our designers and creative types are here to help launch organic content and tap into your social supporters, amplifying your messaging. Investments in content creation can help amp up social engagement for your organization.

Continuous Digital Evolution

The role digital plays in advocacy and campaigns increases with every election cycle.  This trend will continue in 2020.  Decisions by social media conglomerates to limit the free expression of speech in our democracy through political advertising are disappointing. The reach of digital continues to evolve.  Prosper Group will be here to help clients connect with their audiences of supporters, donors, and voters through those changes.

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