140 Proof debuts social ad service for politicians

The service turns politicians' latest tweets into top-of-the-feed ads

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
March 15, 2012
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It's no secret that if you have something to sell, social media is your ticket.  That goes for everything, whether it's a hand-crafted dining room set, a new app, or a political message.  Obama proved this point in the 2008 elections, so it comes as no surprise that the Republican presidential candidates are taking to Facebook and Twitter to get their messages out (even though Rick Santorum really needs to step up his Twitter game.  The man only has 166,000 followers and is following exactly 164 people.  But I wouldn't be so Internet-friendly either if I googled my name and found out that it's been turned into a filthy neologism.).

To help the political hopefuls catch the eyes of prospective voters, social media advertising startup 140 Proof is launching a new social ad service exclusively for political campaigns.  The service will take a candidate's tweets and turn them into real-time, top-of-the-feed ads.

Of course, you don't just want to throw your political message around all willy-nilly.  Like any ad campaign, there are certain people you want to target--people who will be more receptive to your message.  So to make a candidate's message most effective, 140 Proof allows them to customize their target audience, or utilize one of 140 Proof's pre-built voter "clusters"--i.e. Swing Voters, Tea-Partiers, Soccer Moms, NASCAR Dads, and more (I didn't make those up, by the way.  Those are a sampling of the clusters 140 Proof offers.).

“Twitter and Facebook have become the de facto political platforms that decide elections, and experts are projecting that the ad spend in social media in this year’s election will be  15 times greater than in 2008," said 140 Proof CEO Jon Elvekrog, in a statement.

To be specific, political ad spending in social media is expected to reach $142 million this year, compared to $9.5 million in 2008.

Barack Obama rode the social media wave to the White House back in 2008, spending $500,000 on social media advertising, while Republican contender John McCain joked about his inability to email or use the Web.  This time around, the new Republican presidential candidates are taking that flub to heart.  Oddly enough, Newt Gingrich leads the pack with the most followers and the most tweets--1.4 million and some 3,400, respectively.  He's followed by Mitt Romney with 377,000 followers, Ron Paul with 263,000 followers, and Rick Santorum with 166,000.

Founded in 2009, 140 Proof raised a $2.5 million round of funding from BlueRun Ventures, SV Angel, and Founders Fund, and Mark Kingdon.


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