Cost Effectiveness Test: Mailers v. Facebook Views

News and opinion from a retired, pool-playing libertarian conservative

Cost Effectiveness Test: Mailers v. Facebook Views

PLEASE READ AND VOTE FOR ONE (in the comment section on Facebook)



If you were trying to get people to vote “yes” or “no” on an issue, or vote for a candidate, which would be more effective: 10,000 views of a Facebook video or 10,000 postcards in mailboxes?
To compare the cost-effectiveness of political mailers v. Facebook video views, one does the obvious: compare (1) cost and (2) effectiveness.
But, one is easy to measure – the other not.
While many politicians might not care much about cost (it’s not their money) and are more than willing to lie about effectiveness, both are important if you’re trying to avoid wasting money and produce a positive outcome.
But, while effectiveness is critical to the equation, it’s impossible to measure with confidence in advance.
So, I’ll just ask your opinion.
We know that both the numbers of Facebook views of a video and the numbers of postcards mailed can be misleading. Not all people counted as a “view” actually watch the video. We don’t know how much of the video anyone sees or whether the message effects them in a positive or negative way. Likewise, postcards can easily be thrown away without the receiver even looking at it.
The question is very subjective, so I’m only collecting subjective opinions, but I’m still interested.

Which is the the most effective – 10,000 Facebook video views or 10,000 postcard mailers.

The cost is easier to measure.
It would cost you at least 30 to 50 cents each to print and mail postcards, so 10,000 mailers would cost $3,000 to $5,000.
I recently produced two Facebook videos, urging voters to vote NO on the Nashville “transit” tax, most of which would be used to construct five lines of light rail between now and 2032.
The videos cost me nothing to produce and display because I already had all the equipment I needed: a smartphone, a microphone, cords, a tripod, and a friend to help me with some of the shots. I did buy a smart phone holder for my car for $7.95 and I did spend a little gas money getting around for the shoot. Each project took me about a half a day to shoot and edit, but since I don’t charge myself for labor – and I’m retired – that’s wasn’t a factor.
If I were charging someone else to produce a video for them, and I charged them $1,000, or even $500, my profit margin would be huge.
In the first six days, I got 22,000 views with the first video. The second video had 3,000 after the first 16 hours, so the two of them had 25,000 in less than a week.

If the effectiveness of 10,000 views and 10,000 postcards were about the same, I would have to spend $7,500 to $12,500 to get the same effect with postcards. So, the survey question could be quite important to a campaign that needs, or wants, to avoid wasting a lot of money.

My personal view is that a Facebook view is slightly more effective than a postcard. Videos play to all of the senses, if they are watched, and if people actually take the time to share, or react, or comment on a video, they are much more likely to remember it, and want others to do the same. Mailers rarely create a “buzz.” Videos sometimes do. The first “vote NO” video I made has more than 500 shares and about the same number of positive reactions – in less than a week.
I plan to produce at least two or three more videos asking voters to oppose the big tax increase to fund Nashville’s proposed light rail folly. Based on the first week’s experience, I can expect all of them, collectively, to get more than 100,000 views.
It’s my volunteer contribution to the “No Tax 4 Tracks” campaign, valued – I estimate – at somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000.