Facebook ads drawing high interest

Melissa Dilley

Social networking site seen as marketing tool

Undergraduate Student Government did not use half of the $5,500 that was allotted to promote the Nick Swardson comedy show it hosted last week.

Programming Director Mike Szabo said USG used a better form of advertising to make the comedy show the organization’s biggest event of the school year, with 3,500 in attendance. The method USG used was completely free: Facebook.

Although the advertising bills won’t be in for a few more months, Szabo guessed that the projected costs would be lower than typical, in part because of a Facebook event posting sent out by USG members. In just a few weeks, more than 3,770 students had been invited to the concert.

Szabo contributed much of the success and savings to word-of-mouth created before the semester even began because of the event posting.

“Facebook is our No. 1 way to advertise campus events because every student has one, and some people check it two or three times a day,” Szabo said. “I could send out messages straight to everyone who was in the group, and although some people got annoyed, others said to add them to a group so they could get invites every time.”

According to statistics on Facebook, there are 37,683 people in the Kent State network.

Other Innovative Groups

Other groups have also turned to the Web for assistance, especially when funding for on-campus activities has been cut back.

Doug Hite, member of the All Campus Programming Board, said the group has had a Facebook page for the last year. Hite said the group learned how powerful the cheap advertising could be when he posted ads and made a group for the Bob Saget comedy show in Fall 2006.

“There were only a few weeks left before the show and tickets weren’t selling very well, so I saw a link of Facebook for its ads, and I figured why not,” Hite said. “After that we ended up having a really big turnout.”

ACPB now creates Facebook invites for many of its events, and Hite said a larger turnout is definitely noticeable.

“Making a group is more effective than an ad because you can hang a poster somewhere, but when you can put a face or name with it, an individual directly inviting you – that is about as close as you can get to personal,” Hite said.

Kent Student Center Programming also has a Facebook page from which its members create events. KSCP Marketing Associate Jennifer Gunnoe said Facebook draws crowds to its larger and annual events.

“We have recognized (Facebook’s) importance as a marketing tool,” Gunnoe said. “We’re hoping to gather a broader audience, and with Facebook we can reach out to more of the university.”

Senior computer technology major Scott Middleton said he creates events and R.S.V.P.s to campus postings because of the convenient process.

“It is convenient because it took the place of mailing out party invitations,” Middleton said. “I can message 80 people instead of calling or mailing invitations, which is pretty much obsolete.”

Middleton said Facebook events are also important when he wants to know what is happening and when, especially because he lives off campus.


Being able to reach out to thousands of people simultaneously is just another perk to creating a Facebook group or event, but paid ads are also available. Facebook ad prices vary, but when compared to typical news, TV and radio advertising spots, the cost is significantly lower.

USG and many other groups take advantage of advertising through campus media outlets such as the Daily Kent Stater, Black Squirrel Radio, TV-2 and student-run magazines. These ads can range from $45 to $1400 depending on the popularity of the publication, the size or length of the ad and the number of times it’s broadcasted.

Facebook ads range in price depending on how much the advertiser is willing to spend per day. Once a budget is set, the advertiser can place a bid which will be reviewed by the Web site and negotiated.

Hite said ACPB bought ads for the Bob Saget show two years ago, and although he can’t remember the cost, he said it was around $15 for the ad to appear 1,000 times.

In addition to being able to decide price, ad creators can also gear the posting to a specific audience. For example a particular ad can be chosen to show only on Facebook pages used by single females at Kent Sate between the ages of 18 and 21.

However, if the advertiser chooses to post to a larger audience such as the entire Kent State network, Facebook will keep track of who is clicking on the ad. At the end of each day, the advertiser can check the stats and see the sex and age of those students clicking on the link.


Because Facebook ads are fairly cheap, and there are ways to monitor who is clicking on the links, Szabo, Hite and Middleton all agreed that invites are the way of the future. But even then, nothing is certain.

Although Szabo said he believed Facebook was integral to the success of the Nick Swardson show, he also said he thought good entertainment was the real money-making factor.

“This show definitely sold itself because everyone can enjoy comedians,” Szabo said. “We talked about buying an ad on Facebook, but the event posting was doing so well, we decided not to.”

Hite also advised that although Facebook ads and groups have played a large part of ACPB’s success, solely relying on free advertising is not the way to go.

USG still uses traditional advertising though. The group spent $6,700 to promote The Crocs Next Step Campus Tour and almost $7,800 to advertise for the Lupe Fiasco concert last semester in addition to creating Facebook groups.

Contact student politics reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].