Jeff Vreeland

What Does Facebook’s Timeline Mean For Political Campaigns?

posted by Jeff Vreeland on September 23, 2011

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg revealed a monumental shift in the way Facebook will be used by its (now over 800 million) users at their annual developer conference in San Francisco. The new feature is named Timeline.

The platform will allow users to create a new lifestream on Facebook dating back to the day they were born. They can highlight important events, activities, and of course continue to post their daily check-ins and food consumptions. Another release is an expansion to Facebook’s open graph. This will allow connections to be made on anything. For example, “Vincent watched the Presidential Debate” or “Wesley attended Pub Politics.” No longer are we held captive by just liking something, but now you are able to “connect anything, anywhere.” The shift for Facebook is one that will continue to their dominance as a communications platform for the next few years while at the same time giving me yet something else I need to explain to my Mom how to use.

What does it mean thought for us in the political arena? With the expansion of the open graph we are now able to provide more targeted advertising to users across Facebook. If we take our previous example used earlier, Governor Perry’s campaign in Texas can target more deeply those who attended or watched the presidential debate last night from Orlando (like Vincent did). Previously, the advertising team for Governor Perry would only be able to target those who showed interest in politics or even liked a political page they had targeted. The ability to now shape a very targeted message to a vert targeted set of people just became much easier. We are receiving more data about users that gives us the ability to shape messages that connect with people on a much more personal level. InsideFacebook.Com lets us know that we are going to have to be patient on getting this data though, as its going to be slow to roll out.

At first, only music, video, and readable content will feature these new feedback buttons, but Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions David Fischer tell us the site is considering releasing more, including a “Want” button for products. Soon developers will be also be able to create their own feedback buttons. This could bring these new ad targeting opportunities to more industries such as ecommerce, consumer packaged good brands, and games.

What do you think of the new changes? Do you think there are other benefits for political campaigns/organizations or is it going to hurt them in the long run?

 

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