First we were like WHOA, and then we were like OH WAIT WHOAAAAA, then like, OH DAMN!
Ok, so remember waaaaay back to 2016. There was a presidential election. This woman named Hillary Clinton was running against Donald Trump. I know, it’s weird, right?
Remember me, lol?
Vivien Killilea / Getty Images
But buying Facebook ads isn’t like buying a TV ad where there’s a flat rate. The ad rates, measured by CPM (cost per thousand ads), vary based on a complex algorithm.
This means, for example, Tide and Gain could both be trying to reach potential laundry detergent buyers, but based on the profile of their potential customers and the kind of ads they’re posting, Tide might end up paying more to reach each of its desired customers than Gain does.
Last week, Wired published a story by a former Facebook employee who worked on the ads algorithm. Basically, he said Trump played the Facebook system like a fiddle and was able to get much cheaper ad rates than Hillary.
Which means that Trump’s ad dollars stretched much further than Hillary’s on Facebook.
Basically, Trump’s 2016 social media campaign:
[Dramatic reenactment of Hillary Clinton reading Wired]:
Basically, people FREAKED out. Because like…isn’t it kinda nuts that Facebook can charge political campaigns different ad prices? And like…is that what ended up deciding the election?
But wait my friends. Wait. Because Facebook keeps receipts and does not like being blamed for the 2016 election.
Facebook to Wired right now:
But if you think the feud ends there, well, you’d be wrong.
So we still don’t know *exactly* what the campaigns’ money got them.
Facebook declined to comment on how far the candidates’ ads spread after they were purchased.
That’s all the drama for today, folks. But buckle up, because this may just be getting started.