Social media plays an important role in public perception and can provide a good measure of popularity that could reflect election outcomes. So how effective are Facebook ad campaigns used by some Israeli politicians in boosting their popularity?

Does Facebook activity reflect election outcomes?

Does Facebook activity reflect election outcomes? Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Facebook has become one of the main arenas for politicians. Although some have invested tens of thousands of NIS into promotion on the social media site, it doesn’t pay off for everyone. Channel 2 News checked which of Israel’s politicians lead in various indices and who’s page has the most followers.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu significantly leads the list with over 2 million followers, followed by: Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett with 434,000; MK Yair Lapid with 421,000 and Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev with 310,000 followers. Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi closed in with 271,000 followers ahead of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and MK Shelly Yachimovich.

MK Lapid

MK Lapid Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Another index of measure no less significant in examining Facebook activities’ effectiveness is an index of engagement. A “like” equals one point, a “comment” equals five points and a “share” equals ten points. Netanyahu leads in this index as well, after which follow Bennett, Lapid, Regev and Zahava Gal-On.

Minister Regev

Minister Regev Photo Credit: Hadas Parush, Flash90/Channel 2 News

Politicians not only rely on social media’s natural distribution and viral power, they also invest in promoting paid content. Some of them such as Netanyahu, Bennett and Lapid, use moneys from non-transparent budgets of the party or their respective governmental ministry. However, most of them find the money in a public relations budget, making it easier to examine the posting’s effectiveness. 

MK Avi Dichter (Likud) invested only 200 NIS in 2016 though he received higher than average exposure. On the other hand, MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp), simply wasted money; though he spent about 42,000 NIS, his performance over Facebook was barely affected.