There’s certainly money in politics, and Facebook knows it. The company, now under pressure to to justify its enormous $104 billion IPO, is trying to hire someone to maximize political advertising sales during the 2012 election season in the U.S.
“The Client Partner will establish and strengthen key relationships with national political campaigns and organizations with a focus on driving revenue, platform adoption, advertiser education, and advertiser satisfaction,” the posting on Facebook’s website says.
How much money is in politics for Facebook? That’s hard to say. But with the rise of the Super PAC, campaign spending on advertising will likely reach record-breaking levels this year. A growing percentage of that is moving online, in part because fewer people are watching live TV than during previous election years, according to the global ad agency WPP. The Hill reports that the Obama campaign alone is on track to spend $35 million on total online advertising this year, up from $16 million in 2008.
Unlike other advertisers that have questioned the value of Facebook this week, both the Romney and Obama presidential campaigns are likely to appreciate Facebook’s importance. It had 40 million U.S. users in 2008 compared with 160 million today—almost the entire American voting public, according to The Guardian.
So, yes, we’ll be seeing a lot more politics in and next to our News Feeds over the next few months, targeted based on our activity and our friends’ activity on the network. Whether the lifting of corporate spending limits on political campaigns, a result of a Supreme Court decision in 2010, will actually be a meaningful boost Facebook’s bottom line this year is unknown. The company’s total advertising revenue worldwide was about $3 billion in 2011.