With a little over a year to go until the 2016 presidential election in the United States, the identity of the 45th president is up in the air, but in terms of political advertising, predicting that Facebook will be a winner is a bet that's a whole lot safer to make. The New York Times recently reported that Facebook's government and politics team has doubled in size since 2012. As 2016 approaches, Facebook is primed to take full advantage of the lucrative online political advertising industry, which is estimated have a value of approximately $1 billion, according to the news source. An indisputably powerful weapon Facebook's recently released Q2 results show just how great of an influence the social network has. It attracted 968 million daily active users last month (a 17 percent increase year over year), 844 million of whom accessed the site via mobile device. With approximately 17 percent of these daily active users hailing from North America, Facebook is an indisputably powerful weapon in politicians' campaign arsenals. According to the Times, some of the abilities offered by the platform include: Directly uploading voter files to enhance user targeting Hosting real-time Q&A sessions with candidates Showing content to potential voters that ties in with their behavioral preferences Demographic targeting based on the interests of users and their friends The power of Facebook targeting "We are guaranteeing you will reach the right person at the right time and eliminate the waste that you might find in email marketing, certainly in TV advertising," said Facebook's Eric Laurence, who oversees political advertising on the site, as quoted by the National Journal. "That's really the power of Facebook targeting." The news source went on to cite Wesley Donehue, a digital strategist working for Marco Rubio, who said Facebook is the Rubio campaign's most-used targeting and outreach tool. Meanwhile, Vincent Harris, chief digital strategist for the Rand Paul campaign, pointed to the low cost of video advertising on the platform and cited a rate of just one cent per view. The Times noted that this is the first election cycle to take advantage of the enhanced video capacities announced by Facebook last September. The new and improved video offering has already proven itself to be an enormous success, generating a fourfold increase of the 1 billion daily video views recorded before the launch. Millennials are notorious for the amount of time they spend using their smartphones and engaging in social networking. Facebook is primed to pique the interest of these users in a way television advertising, traditional media coverage and other means of outreach simply can't. In fact, according to the National Journal, more than six in 10 (61 percent) of millennials in the U.S. use Facebook to follow politics. Is Facebook going too far by leveraging users' personal information as part of voter segmentation? Could there ever be a time when campaigns channel more of their funds into social media-based outreach than anything else? Let us know below or start your own thread on the BHW facebook forum.