I had an amazing experience tonight on Facebook that I thought I would share.
Barack Obama is coming to Wake Forest tomorrow. Limited tickets were available for free on a first come, first serve basis to the student body. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough, and didn’t get a ticket, and neither did my two roommates. After four years at Wake, I’ve missed the chance to see a number of big name political speakers, and I wanted to make sure I got to see at least one before graduation.
I tried emailing my fraternity’s listserv to see if anyone had any extra tickets they weren’t using – no luck. I emailed the president of the campus College Democrats – no tickets left, the event is sold out. However, I was determined to get a ticket, so I turned to the best medium I knew to contact as many college students as possible – Facebook.
At 11pm tonight, approximately 10 hours before the doors were scheduled to open for Obama’s speech, I created a Facebook ad offering $25 to anyone with extra tickets. I was easily able to target it to all students at Wake Forest (though I could have customized it further – by interests, class year, major, and many other criteria). I chose to pay per click, and set a maximum budget of $5. After I pressed “Create my ad”, it was a matter of minutes before Facebook had shown my ad over 6,000 times. Within the hour, I received messages from 4 separate people offering to sell me their tickets. The entire thing cost me $4.97 – that’s only about 8/100ths of a cent per impression. (As a side note – this is incredibly low as far as online advertising goes – a problem for Facebook that has been mentioned before as one of their biggest weaknesses)
Tomorrow morning both of my roommates and I will see Barack Obama speak in a sold out coliseum that I didn’t even have tickets to until less than 10 hours before the event.
Now that’s the power of the internet and social networks – and it’s those kinds of results and precise targeting that make Facebook worth $15 billion (though I do think that’s a bit high, considering their monetization difficulties).