With the first primary elections for the 2012 presidential race less than a year away, full-service Facebook agency Social Code is already researching how Facebook advertising can affect actionable results in key demographic markets. At least, when used correctly.
The study specifically targeted voters in New Hampshire and Iowa, where the first primaries will take place. In these states, 69 percent of the population uses Facebook. Voters were shown an advertisement pairing one of the seven leading declared or prospective Republican candidates with one of five common Republican messages, with the option to like the advertisement.
Among the contenders, Sarah Palin received the highest number of likes with both New Hampshire and Iowa Voters, regardless of the message with which her moniker was paired.
According to Social Code’s press release, “Palin has obvious appeal for this upcoming election.”
When asked if Palin’s popularity in the study may have something to do with her team’s social media efforts, Social Code General Manager Laura Graham O’Shaughnessy acknowledges, “her celebrity and aggressive social media efforts may contribute.”
The strongest message among voters was a “straight-ahead anti-Obama message,” followed closely by a an anti-ObamaCare message. Messages about values and national security ranked last among voters in both states.
Small differences between demographics are easily noted in this kind of research. The study “brings to life how New Hampshire differs from Iowa,” Social Code said in the release. Iowa residents respond very well to anti-ObamaCare messages, but the message “fails to resonate clearly” in New Hampshire.
Regardless of the findings, Social Code’s study is ground-breaking to the way we evaluate a candidate’s influence and campaign strategy. Facebook gives a direct link to voters, targetable by age, gender, location and even relationship status. Political advertisements can be tested and then unleashed upon very specific demographic groups.
O’Shaughnessy is excited about the impact of the study: “We are using advanced methodology to produce amazing results. Our clients are floored by the results and what Facebook can do.”
Readers, how do you think the 2012 election will be influenced by social media? And will the next generation of first-time voters be more likely to do their civic duty after seeing political ads specificall targeted to them on Facebook?