The Ad Council has launched a nationwide initiative to get more people registered to vote using Facebook’s messenger platform. The non-profit Public Service Announcement initiative is hoping to simplify and personalize the way Americans register to vote.
Named GoVoteBot, the Ad Councils automated service provides users with a list of questions and depending upon their answers, the bot will provide resourceful solutions on how and where to vote including polling locations and registration options. GoVoteBot is powered by Google Civic and the U.S. Vote Foundation. To start messaging with “GoVoteBot,” users only need to visit the R/GA Facebook page and click “Messenger” link on the homepage. However, it is important to note that users will have to share private information such as their state and address.
Facebook is donating free ad space in order to promote the GoVoteBot. The Ad Council also plans on marketing across several media platforms including online commercials and digital billboards. The government and nonprofit organizations are working to boost the number of voters who turn up to their polling stations on Election Day. It is important to point out that data from the U.S. Vote Foundation that found 43% of all eligible U.S. Voters did not cast ballots in the 2012 general election. In addition, a 2014 General Social Survey found that millennials in 2016 are significantly less likely to vote or try to influence others vote than previous generations. However, millennials are approximately just as interested in politics as youth in prior generations, and equally as politically active outside elections.
The AdCouncil’s investment into the Facebook Messenger service illustrates a shift in customer service and trust in the Facebook platform. Launched two years ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has added several unique features including the ability to send money and have video conference calls. During the Facebook F8 conference on March 25, 2015, Facebook announced the Messenger platform can now be used to automate services for people and businesses to interact. Since that 2015 announcement, Facebook has partnered with weather services, CNN news, and 1-800-Flowers allowing for businesses to interact personally with their audience members.
Despite being an easy way to connect with Millennials, using Facebook Messenger does come with challenges. Last March, Marriott invested into the Facebook Messenger platform and provided potential customers with misinformation and unsolicited advertisements. Customers who recently visited the Marriott website were then sent customers private unsolicited messages asking if they wanted to book a room.