Tuesday, April 28, 2015

As Social Costs Rise, Will Campaigns Boost Search?

Social media gets lots of political buzz, but cost realities could soon see social ads fighting paid search engine marketing for a share of 2016 campaign budgets, suggests a recent article for MediaPost's Data and Targeting Insider. The cost-per-click price of social ads on Facebook, for example, rose 180% in the first quarter of 2015, which makes those ads more expensive on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis than many search keyword buys, especially on Yahoo and Bing. So how are presidential hopefuls juggling the online channels so far? Per SimilarWeb analysis reported by Laurie Sullivan's Data Insider article, some candidates like Republican Ted Cruz have opted to put more into paid search, yet, so far, those increased search dollars aren't necessarily paying off in site traffic. For example, Cruz, who spent more on paid search than other presidential bidders, reaped the second lowest percentage of search traffic to his website, only 11.28%, behind Democrat Hillary Clinton's 26.95% or even Republican Rand Paul's 19%. Fellow Republican Marco Rubio does get less from search than Cruz, with a mere 7.43% of traffic and most of that (92.87%) organic rather than paid, but Rubio claims the majority of his website traffic from social media, about 25.98%. Meanwhile, Democratic candidates and causes may be interested to learn that 22.72% of Hillary Clinton's website visits come from referrals, mainly from Politics1.com and Mashable.com. And if your campaign is curious to know where to troll for supporters on the web, note that visitors to hillaryclinton.com tend to visit sites in the interest categories of auto buying, computer and electronics, business and industry, and law and government, while marcorubio.com fans distinguish themselves by also frequenting sites in categories such as people and society, and religion and spirituality. For more, go to http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/248182/political-campaigns-and-the-race-between-social-s.html

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hillary's Campaign Logo: Follow the Arrow to Action

Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid with a new campaign logo: two blue pillars with a rightward-pointing red arrow between to form a capital H. Social media wits, graphic design critics and political pundits may scoff, but a recent Target Marketing magazine article points out why Hillary's logo and its arrow could hit the political marketing bull's-eye. The article cites research from Bounce Exchange, for example, which has found that adding an arrow to online call-to-action improves conversion by 22%. So Hillary's campaign is placing her logo in crucial spots to aim eyes toward her comments and CTA requests to volunteer and donate now, and presumably to vote down the road. It's too soon to say that it's working, but the logo isn't hurting Clinton's drive to stay ahead of other candidates in converting followers and inspiring social engagement. Read more at http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/hillary-clinton-demonstrates-cta-know-how/1

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lobbying Pro Shares Advice on Wooing Washington

Getting and keeping the attention of Washington, D.C., decision-makers is a perennial challenge for business lobbies, special interest groups and nonprofit causes, especially as election year distractions increase. Here's some timely advice courtesy of a recent Direct Marketing News magazine article by Senior Editor Al Urbanski, who sought out longtime lobbyist Alex Vogel, former chief counsel to past Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the current head of political analytics firm VogelHood Research. Vogel laid out some handy rules for winning Capital influence: 1) first know the "ask," the specifics of what you want from political power brokers, right down to the title of a bill and its underlying issues; 2) then know the elected officials you want to court and interface with them early and often via e-mails, phone calls, donations, town hall participation, etc., all the way to campaigning help; 3) don't snub the 22-year-old assistant along the way, advises Vogel, because "that's the person who makes the decision on your issue" in a city run by underpaid assistants who investigate and vet issues and sit by the politician's side in the committee hearing to provide advice; 4) build coalitions with those who are also affected by an issue or legislation to maximize clout; 5) let the national representative or senator take credit in the local community if things go your way, because what elected official doesn't love a photo op with constituents smiling about jobs/health/renewal/community, etc.; 6) don't be shy about sharing your political views along with donations or campaign support because business and politics, and charity and politics, definitely do mix at election time; 7) have an ongoing dialog with Washington decision-makers and influencers because, as Vogel counsels, "If you just think to call when you need something, it's too late." For the complete article, read http://www.dmnews.com/how-to-get-your-way-in-washington/article/408390/

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reaching Ethnic Voters Demands Custom Data

Custom data is emerging as a vital tool for 2016 candidates and causes facing a dramatic shift in voter demographics, with proportions of Hispanic, Asian and African-American voters growing relative to white voters in many key states. For example, in Nevada, non-Hispanic whites will fall to 60% of the voting population in 2016 (from 65% in 2012), while Hispanics will grow to 19% (up from 16%), African-Americans will rise to 10% (from 9%), and potential Asian voters will go to 8% (from 7%), per a Washington Post evaluation of U.S. Census data. Besides Nevada, states most affected by demographic shifts include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolia, Ohio and Virginia. A recent Ad Age article interviewed Republican and Democratic strategists to highlight 2016 plans for winning ethnic political allegiance--and custom data was one of the key strategies. "I think the status quo has been somewhat subpar in terms of our ability to find minority voters, especially in areas that are more diverse," Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic data consultancy TargetSmart, admitted to Ad Age. Since raw commercial data on race and ethnicity doesn't always provide enough accuracy for the data crunchers, TargetSmart and other political agencies are building data models internally--especially Democrats and progressives, who see winning African-American and Hispanic voters as key to 2016 victory. One of the important custom tweaks that data analysts are making is coding the appropriate language for campaign messaging. A Hispanic surname alone does not indicate whether the preferred communication language is English or Spanish, for example. For other strategic implications of ethnic voter shifts, such as increased mobile communications, see the complete article: http://adage.com/article/datadriven-marketing/politicians-custom-data-key-reaching-ethnic-vote/297912/

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will Meerkat Be a 2016 Campaign Game-Changer?

Social media is abuzz over Meerkat, a new service that allows users to stream live video directly from their smartphones to Twitter followers. Now Twitter has come up with  Periscope, its own rival, video streaming app.  So broadcasting an event doesn't require a satellite truck and expensive satellite time anymore; a mobile phone user can do it, as easily as texting, tweeting and Instagram posting. If the 2008 presidential election "was about Facebook, and 2012 was about Twitter, 2016 is going to be about Meerkat (or something like it)," declares Dan Pfeiffer, former senior adviser to President Obama, in a Backchannel post on medium.com. He foresees four potential impacts on 2016 political campaigns: 1) political coverage moves into the hands of Everyman, as any campaign moment at any time, such as Romney's "47%" faux pas, can be captured live and aired unfiltered for anyone to see, anywhere; 2) the line between TV and print coverage blurs further, as print reporters use Meerkat's live video to supplement their posts and tweets; 3) political engagement of millennials, who are inseparable from their mobile devices, increases as media and campaigns stream content directly to their mobile phones; and 4) the value of Twitter followers goes way up. If even 10% of Twitter users join Meerkat (or Periscope), Pfeiffer points out, that's a live video audience of almost 6 million for campaigns to reach without the filter of broadcast and cable. For the full post: https://twitter.com/medium/status/578526586674118656

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If Tweets & Soundbites Rule, Do Speeches Matter?

When voters follow candidates and causes via media soundbites, a few lines of tweeted text or a mobile phone headline, does the old-fashioned stump speech even matter anymore? It's a question recently posed in an article in The National Journal, which noted that leading Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush didn't even give a speech at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. Bush also has been notably "uninspired" in delivering big addresses so far this year, the article points out. Yet Jeb Bush is still confident he can meet an ambitious fundraising goal of $100 million in the first three months of the year. So why bother with scripted oratory? The National Journal asked pundits what purpose rousing campaign rhetoric still serves, and the experts cited four reasons to speechify. First, campaign speeches help gain donors. Traditionally, if donors see that a candidate can galvanize a crowd, they are more likely to offer support. Second, the discipline of creating cohesive arguments with advisors and staff is crucial to the internal campaign process, helping create a harmonious platform--and team. Third, speeches let a campaign set the public narrative, as President Obama did in 2008 with his rhetoric of hope and "change we can believe in." Finally, a great speech can simply win votes. Jon Lovett, a former Obama speechwriter, summed up, "A great speech can make you remember something about what you believe, about who you are, about who you want to be. It's rare when that kind of thing happens. But it is important, and it is real." For the whole article, go to http://www.nationaljournal.com/twenty-sixteen/the-decreasing-relevance-of-the-campaign-speech-20150304

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Data Mining Seen Spurring TV Political Ad Spending

Thanks to innovations in "addressability" and data targeting, TV political ad spending in 2016 is forecast to climb to $3 billion, according to Comcast projections recently provided during "Advanced Advertising: Profiting From a Targeted Audience," an event hosted by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News publishing. Demand for spot cable is expected to see especially strong growth because it can offer targeted inventory late in political races. About 75% of ad buys come after July 4, with most post-Labor Day, when cable set-top box data and other data insights let campaigns reach a more precise cross-section of voting viewers. However, though addressability is practical on a regional or system basis, scaling up to a wider campaign is challenging. Michael Bologna, president of MODI Media, pointed out in a Broadcasting & Cable report that once a TV ad buy requires more than 30% of the U.S. audience, or CPMs over $5, broadcast "one-to-many makes more sense" than spot cable's addressability. Read the Broadcast & Cable story at http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/bc-events/data-mining-spurs-political-ad-buying-advancedad/138701