Romney expands sponsored searches on Facebook

Whether or not you agree with Mitt Romney’s politics, you have to give the former Massachusetts governor credit for never giving up on Facebook. The race against President Barack Obama on the popular social media site is one Romney was never going to win, unless he comes up with 20 million new fans overnight. But as the Daily Dot reported last week, Romney is getting crafty, paying for sponsored search results that pop up when someone searches for “Barack Obama” or “President.” And it’s a effort that was expanded this week.

Now Romney’s page comes up as a suggested result when searching for a variety of prominent Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. And Romney isn’t the only one getting into the mix: Paul Ryan pops up as a sponsored search whenever you type in “Nancy Pelosi.”

The sneaky sponsored search was first discovered on Reddit last week and got mixed reviews. Some said it was a smart tactic, but others disagreed.

“Yeah there’s nothing ‘clever’ about this. No different than buying a sponsored search result from Google – though probably not as insanely expensive. ‘Clever’ would be rigging the system so it wasn’t clearly marked as a Sponsored result,” wrote redmongrel.

But the real question is if the targeted searches are working. At first glance, no. Romney is continuing to falter on Facebook. In the last week he has gained about 300,000 fans, a fraction of his fan increases right after the GOP convention in Tampa. The stalled-out gains in Romney’s likes would appear mostly due to recent gaffes and his falling in the polls. It is probably not helped by these searches, since more often than not, the type of person who will be seeking out a candidate like Pelosi or Clinton, is already someone who leans left. In fact, Romney may be more likely to alienate someone who is annoyed by his sponsored link getting in the way.

Of course, maybe the Romney camp is looking at different data; after all, they did expand the efforts.

Image via Mitt Romney/Facebook

Justin Franz

Justin Franz

Justin Franz is a Montana-based reporter and photographer who wrote about web culture for the Daily Dot. His work has more recently appeared in Flathead Living Magazine, Trains Magazine, and Travel + Leisure.