Today’s POLC panel about Online Politics at the State Level aimed to be practical and specific, which is why we packed it with people who’ve actually run for office. One takeaway: targeting Facebook users via advertising is easier than I expected, even for local candidates. Republican Patrick Mara, who defeated a 16-year incumbent in a DC city council primary last year (he lost in the general), got excellent results from aiming ads at Facebook users based on information they specified in their profiles.
For instance, Patrick was in favor of allowing gay marriage, so he pushed information about his stance out to DC Facebook users who’d listed their sexual orientation as gay. If Facebookers had kids, he targeted them with ads about the school system, and if they were Republicans, he hit them with information about taxes, school vouchers and similar conservative favorites. Very clever! And apparently quite cheap for the results — Patrick found Facebook advertising to be a great way to recruit volunteers. Future local campaigns, take notice.