Why Russia’s Facebook ad campaign wasn’t such a success

… Despite all the focus in the past week on ads, compared to friend-to-friend sharing, a relatively small share of the Russian campaign was driven by advertising. Just 10 million of the people reached came in through the advertising campaign, out of 29 million who directly read Russian posts in their news feeds, and up to 126 million who were exposed indirectly through their Facebook friends. The Russian effort depended on the willingness of some Americans to go along with it and share. The credulity of these social media users is a fact more troubling than the advertising itself, and one not as easily addressed by policy.

Broken English aside, if the Russian content struck some Facebook users as perfectly normal and even share-worthy, that’s because it mimicked the hallmarks of popular social media content. Social media often performs best when it speaks emotionally to deep-seated cultural identity. That’s why debates about race, gender and religion can rage in social media in a way that discussions of economic policy don’t. CONT.

Patrick Ruffini (Echelon Insights), Washington Post