Marketing and advertising can be a difficult and dangerous beast. There are a lot of pitfalls that one can fall into, especially during the digital age we live in. This is something that Facebook has been experiencing lately as officials start looking into ads for various political individuals. Some of the politicians that are being investigated include Sen. Bernie Sanders, President Donald Trump, and Jill Stein (the Green Party Candidate).
The reason for these investigations, which are more like probes from curious individuals, is to find out how much advertisement these individuals got from Russian backed Facebook Ads. The probes are coming from GOP Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, who leads the Republicans on the House Science Committee.
The advertisements criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, for instance. They continued to hold political messages well after the campaigns of certain individuals — such as Bernie Sanders — had ended.
Facebook itself declined to comment on the nature of the advertisements at present, though a previous statement had been made concerning the ads in the past. The company allowed the ads because they did not appear to be completely political.
“The vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn’t specifically reference the U.S. presidential election or voting for a particular candidate. Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”
The U.S. officials involved in the investigation are looking to see if the 3,000 ads purchased by the Kremlin-affiliated Internet Research Agency might have been part of a larger Russian plot, specifically to meddle in the 2016 Presidential Election. The number of Russian-backed ads on the site accounts for less than 1% of the spending during election season. It is also unsure how many people even saw the ads to begin with.
Unlike with direct-mail marketing yield, which can have a 13-to-1 return on investment, digital ads have a lot less return value. That’s why they’re geared to target as many people as possible. If the ads weren’t seen by a large population, then the estimated $150,000 spent would have been for nothing.
So far, of the 3,000 Russian-backed advertisements Facebook has disclosed, most were full of bad grammar and spelling. They also contained very outlandish assertions.