It seems that people living in the United States are against tailored political ads, which is a specific market that has grown in the last few months. The trend will continue this year as the U.S. gets closer to the 2012 election. Some of the Americans are saying that they hate tailored political advertising so much that they consider not voting anymore for the candidate that they once supported.
These results were obtained by the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania after they have conducted a 20-minute questionnaire. In this survey 1,503 respondents were included and 85% responded that they would be very angry if Facebook were to send ads for political candidates based on the profile info. 70% of the people surveyed responded that their support for a candidate may decrease if that candidate would use the social networking website to send ads.
One of the questions of the survey referred to asking the respondents if any of the candidates have used Facebook info in this way. 70% of the people that responded said yes, 20% said that they were unsure, while the remaining 10% said no. Although Facebook is using targeted advertising and people say that they don’t like this, the number of Facebook users is still rising. The website has implemented ZIP-code specific advertising which could turn out to be useful for those politicians that are targeting advertisers in certain districts.
These microtargeting methods are used frequently by political campaigns for obtaining info regarding individuals that are using social networking websites such as Facebook. They want to find out information like employment, interests, language, ethnicity and age. Once they do, they send highly targeted advertisements to those deemed beneficial for the campaign.
Aside from this, lots of the candidates in the United States have their own Facebook pages where the voters are invited to Like them. Those that do subscribe to these pages will get information about the campaign. Obviously, the subscribers do not know that from now on they may receive tailored, targeted ads. If that political candidate decides to pay Facebook, he/she will then send advertisements that are known as sponsored stories to the friends on Facebook of the candidate’s fans. In most of these tailored ads there is a Facebook photo of the fan. The recipients of the message are told that their friend is supporting the candidate.
Such features are appreciated by advertisers and hated by users. This isn’t a problem strictly on Facebook because all types of consumers pretty much hate excessive advertising. Facebook is now innovating this social advertising space, which at least for now comes at the expense of the user, who sometimes feels that his privacy is being violated.