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Government Agencies Using Facebook Ads?

Was checking out Facebook today when I noticed an ad on the side for the Facebook page for USAID careers.

Have others seen gov’t agencies use FB ads? Have govies tried using the ads? Effectiveness?

Personally I think it’s a good idea especially around recruiting the best and brightest in government.

Makes me wonder how often government agencies use Google Adwords as well to help get their information out there. Anyone seen anything on that?

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Michael Rupert

We have been running Adwords campaign for about 18 months. Inexpensive for localgov because of limited competition and very good results. Helps us rise above third party interests with bad, dated or purposefully inaccurate information.


Makes sense. The government goal is to get the right information in the public hands and doing that online and in search is key.

Nancy Heltman

We did a Facebook ad for our Virginia State Parks fan page. I know we are kind of strange government as we compete with the private sector for tourism. Our goal was to increase fans for our fan page. This was very successful and we found the new fans seem to contribute more to the page. We now have more than 10,000 fans. We ran the campaign and paid by clicks. We will likely do it again.

Kristy Dalton

@Nancy – I agree with paying per clicks, much better bang for your buck than paying for impressions. We tried both ways and per click is the way to go.

Michael Sponhour

We used Facebook ads for our S.C. Census campaign and were very pleased with the results. While we got a big boost in fans for our census Facebook site, part of what we wanted to do was simply raise awareness that the census was coming so impressions were important for us too. Probably the biggest takeaway is that you get detailed performance data good or bad – something you don’t get with most traditional advertising. So even if something doesn’t work that well, you can tweak it or drop it.

Michael O'Dell

I actually work with USAID Careers and manage their Facebook ads for them. We also have run CPM homepage campaigns for Customs & Border Protection, 2010 Census, and a handful of other federal civilian agencies. These campaigns get better CTRs than almost any other campaigns I’ve seen.

Colin Walker

I’m likely going to test a variety of online advertising in the coming year for recreation programs. The ability to target such a specific segment of our population is appealing — Facebook keeps very good demographics on its members, including affinities. When trying to advertise directly to parents of potential day camp participants, for example, I can hit only those who are within a certain age range and who indicate they have kids.

The key is to do it smartly — advertising for the sake of advertising is never a good idea. Have specific, measurable goals in mind before spending the money and you can at least track success. The comment below about the DOE advertising for a CIO on Second Life is an example of frivolous spending… are they *really* going to find a quality candidate to run a complex government IT infrastructure through virtual world advertising? I’d argue “no.”

In terms of adwords, we haven’t gone there yet, but may need to as we shift advertising dollars from print to more innovative means. The main problem with Adwords is that you have to hope people search for you. I’d rather be proactive, letting people understand who we are and what we do before they need our services.

Roberto Angulo (AfterCollege)

Driving fans to a Facebook page is a good way to keep people engaged even where there may not be current job openings. It’s the new ATS in a way.

Curious, on average, how much are you all spending on these FB campaigns?

What is a typically good cost per click?

Do you advertise on other media to drive fans to your FB pages?