Nonprofits may find it difficult to navigate political advertising on social media. Nonprofits need to stay abreast of the ever-evolving policies of social media giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter in order to effectively communicate their missions. In this piece, we’ll delve into the difficulties nonprofits face when it comes to political advertising on social media and investigate some novel ways to overcome these issues.
Each social network has its own guidelines for nonprofits
Regarding political advertising, each social network has its own guidelines and prohibitions. 2019, for instance, Twitter (now X) initially prohibited political advertisements before reversing course.
Larger social media sites like Facebook and Google currently permit political ads, though only under certain conditions. Direct marketing agency MissionWired’s vice president and director of strategy and acquisition, Patrick Burton, says the restrictions change depending on the platform.
Political advertisers are restricted from using Google Search or YouTube ads.
Political ads on Google cannot upload and target a custom file of donors like most other Google ads can. While Meta (formerly Facebook) offers more than 20 distinct ad placement options, only a select few are open to advertisers focusing on political and social issues. Political and social issue advertisements are prohibited on all Meta platforms, including Messenger, WhatsApp, the Right Hand Column, the Marketplace, Search, Facebook Stories, and Suggested Videos.
To ensure compliance and precise targeting of their campaigns, nonprofits need to be aware of these rules and restrictions. Organizations working to reduce gun violence should exercise caution when promoting political content, such as petitions calling on Congress to pass gun control laws. Advertisements that include references to firearms can also be problematic because many websites do not allow them.
Even with all the obstacles, nonprofits can build strong partnerships with the ad networks they use. MissionWired’s Patrick Burton says that the organization enjoys mostly positive interactions with the platforms it supports.
When the system flags an advertisement for review, they can collaborate to figure out why. MissionWired can show the true intent behind its creative content by requesting a human review in such a case.
The best way for nonprofits to overcome challenges and ensure their campaigns reach their target audience is to keep lines of communication open and build relationships with the platforms.
Apple’s 2021 privacy changes on iOS
Since companies like Apple have increased their focus on user privacy, nonprofits now face new obstacles in political advertising. Because of Apple’s 2021 privacy changes on iOS, nonprofits had to adjust their ad targeting and conversion tracking approaches. Before these modifications, Facebook was the go-to platform for non-profit marketing campaigns. But like many other ad buyers, MissionWired had to shift gears and investigate other options.
Since the privacy regulations have been altered, MissionWired has increased its spending on programmatic display and connected TV (CTV) advertisements. They are also trying out in-app mobile games that make donating to charity more fun. These creative methods provide organizations with additional ways to reach their donors.
MissionWired has also increased its use of Facebook’s segmentation tools because of privacy settings
Because of the new privacy settings, MissionWired has also increased its use of Facebook’s segmentation tools. Due to declining signal strength and fewer available niche market segments, the agency must now make more Facebook ad purchases against broader demographic categories. MissionWired typically takes response rates, propensity to donate, and geographic targeting for local political campaigns and organizations into account when developing segments.
MissionWired’s in-house tools improve advertising campaigns for nonprofits by means of better targeting, measurement, and testing. The Digital Co-Op is a service that helps businesses locate the people who are most likely to give them money. This targeting method helps maximize the effectiveness of advertising budgets by focusing on the most likely donors based on billions of rows of data.
Advertising campaigns for charitable organizations can be effectively tested, measured, and managed with the help of Sign for Good, another in-house tool. Thanks to this tool, each person who engages with a client’s campaign will receive a unique user experience with tailored calls to action. A/B tests are also set up to optimize user flows according to the options chosen.
About four years ago, MissionWired began developing its in-house machine-learning models. These models allow the government organization to more effectively allocate its resources through targeted and retargeted efforts. MissionWired can save its clients money by targeting only the most likely donors rather than sending out mass mailings to a large file of potential donors.
MissionWired uses generative AI for ideation but hasn’t yet tried it out for actual content creation. However, the agency keeps working on its content creation and extensive creative testing. MissionWired’s ability to reach a large audience has increased the importance of rigorously testing all content and carefully analyzing user journeys.
Political advertising on social media presents new and complex challenges for nonprofits
For precise campaign targeting, familiarity with the rules and limitations imposed by various platforms is essential. Creating connections with the platforms and using bespoke tools for targeting, measurement and testing can aid charities in overcoming these obstacles.
Because of the heightened privacy regulations, non-profits must find new ways to connect with donors and expand their audiences. Nonprofits can expand their donor reach by investing in programmatic display, cable television advertisements, and gamified user experiences.
The effectiveness and efficiency of advertising budgets for nonprofits can be significantly improved with the help of machine-learning models and specialized tools. Although generative AI shows promise, it is currently only used for ideation rather than actual content production.
Nonprofits must maintain a high degree of flexibility
To successfully navigate the ever-changing political advertising landscape on social platforms, nonprofits must maintain a high degree of flexibility and embrace new strategies and technologies. Nonprofit organizations can spread their message further and make a real difference in the world if they keep up with the latest developments and use creative strategies.
First reported on AdExchanger
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What challenges do nonprofits face in navigating the political advertising landscape on social media?
Nonprofits encounter various challenges when engaging in political advertising on social media platforms. These challenges include understanding and adhering to different platform-specific guidelines and restrictions, dealing with changes in privacy regulations (such as Apple’s iOS privacy changes), and effectively targeting and communicating their missions to their intended audiences.
2. How do social media platforms differ in their approach to political advertising?
Each social media platform has its own set of guidelines and prohibitions regarding political advertising. For instance, Twitter initially banned political ads before reversing its decision, while larger platforms like Facebook and Google permit political ads under specific conditions. These conditions and restrictions may vary over time and between platforms, making it crucial for nonprofits to stay updated.
3. What are some restrictions on political advertising placement?
Google prohibits political ads on its Search and YouTube platforms. Facebook (Meta) offers various ad placement options, but only a select few are available for political and social issue advertisers. Advertisements related to political and social issues are prohibited on multiple Meta platforms, including Messenger, WhatsApp, Right Hand Column, Marketplace, Search, Facebook Stories, and Suggested Videos.
4. How can nonprofits ensure compliance and effective targeting of their campaigns?
Nonprofits must familiarize themselves with the specific rules and restrictions of each platform to ensure compliance. This is particularly important for organizations focusing on sensitive topics like reducing gun violence, as references to firearms can be problematic. Precise targeting and compliance can be achieved through building strong partnerships with ad networks and requesting human reviews for flagged content.
5. How have privacy changes, such as Apple’s iOS changes, affected nonprofit advertising strategies?
Privacy changes like Apple’s iOS modifications have compelled nonprofits to adjust their ad targeting and conversion tracking approaches. Facebook, once a go-to platform, has seen nonprofits exploring alternative options. Nonprofits have turned to programmatic display, connected TV ads, and even gamified experiences to connect with donors and broaden their reach.
6. How does MissionWired adapt to privacy changes and optimize ad campaigns?
MissionWired has increased its use of Facebook’s segmentation tools to work within the new privacy settings. They now make broader demographic purchases due to declining signal strength, employing data-driven methods to maximize response rates, propensity to donate, and local campaign targeting.
7. How do in-house tools like Digital Co-Op and Sign for Good benefit nonprofits?
MissionWired employs in-house tools like Digital Co-Op for better targeting, measurement, and testing. This service helps organizations identify potential donors based on extensive data, improving advertising effectiveness. Sign for Good offers unique user experiences and A/B testing to optimize engagement with tailored calls to action.
8. How has MissionWired incorporated machine learning into its strategies?
MissionWired utilizes in-house machine learning models to allocate resources more effectively, targeting likely donors rather than a mass mailing. Generative AI is used for ideation, and although not currently used for content creation, the agency actively explores content creation and creative testing.
9. How can nonprofits overcome challenges in political advertising on social media?
To navigate the evolving landscape successfully, nonprofits must maintain flexibility, embrace new strategies, and keep abreast of developments. Building strong relationships with platforms, leveraging specialized tools, and experimenting with innovative approaches such as gamified user experiences can help overcome obstacles.
10. What is the key to effective political advertising for nonprofits on social media?
Effective political advertising for nonprofits involves staying informed about platform-specific guidelines, adapting to privacy changes, utilizing specialized tools, and continuously testing and refining strategies. By remaining adaptable and creative, nonprofits can expand their reach, engage with donors, and make a meaningful impact in the digital world.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Katt Yukawa; Unsplash; Thank you!