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Fifty Bucks Worth of Facebook Ads Help Turn College Junior into County Treasurer

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, November 13 2008

There's a fascinating story out of New Hampshire today about what some savvy targeting of Facebook ads can accomplish in a local political race. A Dartmouth junior dropped just $51 -- less than the cost of a text book -- on Facebook ads. Through Facebook's ad targeting program, the ads only popped up for her Dartmouth classmates and students at Plymouth State University. Vanessa Sievers, class of 2010, ended by winning her race for Grafton County Treasurer by a 600 vote margin.

Sievers told the Dartmouth, her campus newspaper, that her Facebook ad strategy was a key to her surprising victory. "I never did anything else in Plymouth," she told the paper, "and I got a 400-vote edge there." The record turnout we saw on New Hampshire's campuses this election were certainly a boon to her campaign. Sievers explained her win over her 68 year-old opponent to the New York Times' Katie Zezima by saying "I took advantage of new media, and she did not."

Impressive stuff, but Sievers' opponent wasn't particularly chuffed about Sievers dirt-cheap microtargeted social-networking ad strategy, complaining that "college students are not involved in local things at all." Well, at least one of them is now.