Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TV Political Ads Head Toward Record 2016 Spend

Campaigns and causes planning to include TV ads in their election-cycle budgets can expect especially stiff, expensive competition for the airwaves: Political ads on television are forecast to increase by 16% and reach a record $4.4 billion in spending for the 2016 presidential race, reports The Washington Post, citing the latest Kantar Media research. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has already reserved $8 million in TV ads that could begin as early as November, according to The Post story. There are several reasons that TV ad space is in such demand, despite the growth in digital politicking and social platforms, and the decline in traditional television viewing. For one thing, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has opened the way for unlimited spending by corporations, unions and outside groups, and primary and battleground states are seeing the impact on TV ad spending, analysts tell The Washington Post. Also, while TV viewing by 18- to 34-year-olds is down, the most reliable, older voters still turn to television for news and entertainment, according to research. As a result of the rush to TV, some primary state TV stations are rejecting ad reservations until closer to the primaries to maximize pricing, according to political analysts interviewed. Read the complete article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/07/20/why-political-ads-are-going-to-reach-a-record-in-2016/

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

For Media Clout, Rand Twitter Ads Target Reporters

Twitter may not be the political heavyweight in social media, with 300 million users compared to Facebook's 1.4 billion, but Republican Sen. Rand Paul, one of the crowd of GOP 2016 presidential hopefuls, is hoping to enlarge his media footprint with the Twitter ad platform. How? He's directly targeting messages to certain journalists, using a list "uploaded into Twitter's ad platform of journalists," according to a story in The Hill, an influential Washington-based political website. Reporter David McCabe quotes Paul's Chief Digital Strategist Vincent Harris: "We have even created lists of journalists in early primary states, working with the communications team. And it's a really good cheap, effective, targeted way to get a piece of content out there in front of people that you want to see it--journalists who are going to help with their megaphone push a piece of content out further." Rand Paul is following in the footsteps of President Obama's reelection campaign in this respect; Obama digital strategists also used Twitter to try to influence political junkies and journalists. For more, read http://thehill.com/policy/technology/247839-rand-pauls-campaign-directly-targets-reporters-with-ads-on-twitter

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Facebook Emerging As 2016 Digital Ad Heavyweight

Facebook is being declared "the single most important tool of the digital campaign" in 2016 by a recent National Journal magazine article. The National Journal reports that 2016 presidential contenders as disparate as Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders are already investing in the social network. And the reasons for Facebook's expanded clout, beyond its 190 million American users, are new features unveiled since the 2012 presidential campaign, including more customized and sophisticated splicing of the American electorate and the ability to serve video to those thinly targeted sets of people. That means "the emotional impact of television delivered at an almost atomized, individual level," as the article points out. Facebook not only has a wealth of information about its members--identity, age, gender, location, passions--its new partnerships with big data firms, like Acxiom, allow it to layer on behavioral information, such as shopping habits. Political operatives are already modeling the universes of likely Iowa caucus-goers and potential New Hampshire primary voters and uploading those models into Facebook to match them with Facebook profiles of actual voters in those states, per the article. "We are guaranteeing you will reach the right person at the right time and eliminate the waste that you might find in e-mail marketing, certainly in TV advertising," Eric Laurence, who is in charge of political advertising on Facebook told the National Journal. Cost factors are definitely driving Facebook interest. Vincent Harris, Paul's chief digital strategist, is quoted: "It's so cheap. I am getting Facebook video views for one cent a view—one cent a view! ... It's a fundraising tool, it's a persuasion tool, and it's a [get-out-the-vote] tool. It's a way to organize, too." And there's an attractive ROI potential, too. Facebook likes to point out that the 2013 campaign of Terry McAuliffe for Virginia governor recovered 58% of its Facebook acquisition costs by linking new e-mail subscribers to online contribution forms. For more, read http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/facebook-the-vote-20150612

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Brain Science Finds Mail Bests Digital Marketing

The latest brain science explains why political campaigns will continue to rely on direct mail to win donors and voters, even as digital and social political marketing grab headlines. In fact, direct mail beats or ties digital advertising in almost all the ways political marketers seek to woo support, per a recent Temple University neuromarketing study sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General's office. As reported by Direct Marketing News, the study, which showed a mix of 40 e-mail ads and postcards to laboratory subjects, found that a digital approach bested snail mail in only one area: grabbing attention. However, postcards outperformed e-mail in five other areas: holding engagement longer, generating a greater emotional reaction, generating speedier recall, and creating subconscious desire and perceived value. And the two methods tied in three categories: engagement in terms of the amount of information absorbed, memory accuracy, and willingness to spend. The Office of Inspector General, with 31% of USPS revenues tied to advertising mail, clearly is hoping the findings will inspire commercial marketers to make greater use of mail's power. But the findings apply to political marketers as well. Among the OIG suggestions are increased marketer testing of mail creative, sequencing, and digital print technology, such as augmented reality and QR codes. For more details, read http://www.dmnews.com/postal/direct-mail-has-a-greater-effect-on-purchase-than-digital-ads/article/423292/

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marketing Pro to 2016 Hopefuls: Sell Pithy Specifics

Political campaigns spend big dollars on voter-targeted direct and digital marketing campaigns, so the opinions of direct marketing pros, like well-known and outspoken consultant and author Denny Hatch, are worth noting. Hatch recently wrote an article for Target Marketing magazine, advising the crowded field of 2016 presidential candidates on how they can ease the decision-making nightmare for voters. First, he urges them to avoid BOMFOG, a term gleaned from a former candidate-client's own speech content description: Brotherhood of Man Under the Fatherhood of God. Hatch cites BOMFOG as an illustration of the general political tendency to "bloviate, equivocate, pontificate, obviate and flat-out lie" while avoiding specifics. But when you have over 20 primary candidates, Republican and Democrat, that kind of tactic will leave voters either grabbing at televised one-liners and gaffes, or confused and turned-off. Instead, Hatch suggests that, as in the business world, each candidate should create a pithy, personal resume for voters. That political resume would consist of a CV (99 words maximum about family, net worth, education and career); a Preamble about basic philosophy of governance (249 words maximum); and a series of Issue Stances (99 words each). Hatch provides his own examples of issue opinions, which readers won't necessarily accept, but the idea is to offer a manifesto that is specific, punchy and printed (no BOMFOG evaporating at the end of the speech or media sound bite). Issues include hot topics such as energy, foreign policy, climate change, health care, immigration, jobs, national security, taxes, and more. Hatch taps into marketing basics with his ideas. "Specifics sell. Generalities do not," he notes, quoting marketing freelancer Andrew J. Byrne. By creating a punchy resume, each candidate can focus on his or her USP (Unique Selling Proposition), Hatch suggests. See: http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/selling-president-2016-bomfog/

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why the Fad for One-Letter Logos in 2016 Race?

Barack Obama rode his hip, single-letter "O" logo into the White House, and some 2016 presidential hopefuls may hope that emulating the one-letter logo idea will lead to the same political brand success. For example, as a recent Washington Post newspaper story reports, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's campaign committee is playing with a "J" logo, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has launched an active, rightward-pointing "H," former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is using "O'M" instead of spelling his name out on signs, and Republican Rick Perry has unveiled a "P" logo. Why the popularity of single-letter logos? Blame the rise of digital politicking, suggests the Post. Single letters are optimized for smartphones, whether for a call-to-action button or a social media avatar. Single letters just fit better into the square icons of social media compared with long names. It's no accident that Facebook's logo is a lowercase "f," Pinterest uses a "P," and Tumblr has a lowercase "t." But the fad for bold letter logos also may reflect the pressure to stand out in a crowded field of presidential hopefuls, adds the Post story. A strong campaign logo, like a strong corporate brand logo, can set a candidate apart from the competition and quickly help voters recall a candidate's message and brand attributes. For logo examples, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/04/the-rise-of-the-single-letter-political-logos/

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Want to Tap Millennial Politics? Go to Facebook

If they want to get on the Millennial generation's political radar, campaigns need to go to Facebook. A recent Mashable article cites the evidence of social media's grip on Millennial politics with the latest Pew Research Center study, which found that 61% of Millennials, those born between 1981 to 1996, said they get political news from Facebook at least once a week. That social media preference easily outpaced the 37% of political input from local TV, the preferred medium of Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 to 1964. In fact, Millennials and Baby Boomers are mirror opposites in terms of preferred political news sources, with Boomers getting 60% of their political news from local TV and only 39% from Facebook. The study, in which Pew surveyed 3,000 people, also found that the Millennial age cohort tends to recognize fewer news outlets, with less awareness of half of the 36 sources that Pew asked about when compared to the Boomers and Generation X group (those born between 1965 and 1980). The report also polled Millennials on how much they trust different news outlets. Among the most recognized and trusted, CNN led (trusted by 60%, distrusted by 16%, with 19% in the middle). Next in trust were the news divisions of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Lowest trust went to digital sources like BuzzFeed and conservative media like the Rush Limbaugh Show. Among the top social media players, Facebook outdistanced Twitter, with just 14% of Millennials saying they got political news via tweets. For more, read http://mashable.com/2015/06/01/millennials-facebook-politics-pew/