Tuesday, August 25, 2015

'Mobile' Electorate Is 2016 Game-Changer

The growth of mobile phone ownership is a definite game-changer for 2016 election campaigns, advises a recent Politico blog post by Dylan Byers. With 64% of Americans owning a smartphone and 68% of smartphone users following breaking news events, campaigns have both unprecedented messaging opportunities and tougher challenges. How different this election will be from 2012 is clear when Byers points out that only four years ago, during the 2012 election primaries, just 35% of Americans owned a smartphone! Per a quote from Chris Lehane, Democratic strategist and Clinton White House alum: "Mobile is going to be the big thing in 2016. It is what any sophisticated campaign will be trying to figure out and then maximize in 2016--and all the campaigns from both parties will be in a race to see who can figure out the tools to best lever the power of mobile." However, mobile clearly will be a double-edged sword in 2016 politics. On the one hand, big data targeting will be even more powerful when applied to mobile ads, donations and campaign organizing. Campaigns can use mobile to deliver quick, direct, highly targeted messages and videos to voters. On the other hand, campaigns and causes also face the risk of live streaming video gaffes, uncontrolled access by "citizen reporters," and more fast and furious partisan attacks. To that point, Byers first cites remarks by former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer that mobile will create greater engagement opportunities with millennials. He then quotes Henry Blodget, editor and CEO of Business Insider, as he warns: "Gaffes will blow up even faster. Partisan rooting will be even quicker and more intense. Anonymous trolls will swarm Twitter and brand any news story that is not highly flattering to their team as 'bias.'" For good or ill, political observers agreed, mobile has fundamentally changed 2016 political strategy. See the complete post: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/04/the-mobile-election-how-smartphones-will-change-the-204855.html

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Made-for-Digital Content Courts Young Voters

In their efforts to corral younger, millennial voters, 2016 election campaigns are investing in made-for-digital content, with a focus on social media and mobile, at record rates, according to a recent CNBC.com article. Reuters estimates that candidates will spend $1 billion on digital media advertising, close to four times the amount spent in 2012, CNBC reports. Almost six months before the primary elections, 80% of declared presidential hopefuls have created made-for-digital YouTube videos, and eight candidates have used live streaming for their candidacy announcements. Democratic contender Sen. Bernie Sanders even worked with a virtual reality production company to film a fundraising speech so viewers could have a 3-D, 360-degree experience. Candidates clearly want to tap into the 18- to 36-year-old crowd that, per the Crowdtap marketing platform, spends 17.8 hours a day consuming media content, especially through social sites. It is also a voter group that is so mobile-phone-addicted that YouTube on mobile now reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds than any single cable network. When it comes to content delivery, Facebook is aggressively courting politicians with updated ad products that allow matching of voter files with Facebook profile data, and Snapchat is curating live candidate events and offering candidates their own Snapchat channels. However, in embracing made-for-digital video, candidates are taking a new approach from the slick TV-style productions of the past. Campaigns are trying to connect to a new generation of voters with raw, live and hopefully viral content (Sen. Ted Cruz frying bacon on the barrel of a gun). A quote from Sen. Rand Paul's chief digital strategist, Vincent Harris, sums up: "2016 is potentially the first cycle that, by Election Day, voters will be consuming more content from the Internet than on television. This is especially true for first-time voters, younger voters and college voters..." For more, read http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/05/how-pols-are-targeting-the-youth-vote-go-360-and-snapchat-like-mad.html

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Campaigns Seek Edge With Data-Driven TV Buys

Data-driven programmatic TV buying will dominate the 2016 political races as never before, suggests a recent Adweek article. With a projected $4.4 billion in TV ad spending for all 2016 elections (compared with $3.8 billion in 2012) and a crowded primary field of 17 Republican candidates, presidential hopefuls are already vying to optimize TV ad targeting. Adweek notes the advent of Deep Root Analytics, a media analytics company formed in response to the Republicans' 2012 presidential loss, as one of a handful of media analytics companies coming to the aid of presidential contenders, including Jeb Bush. Deep Root Analytics partners with data-blending and advanced-analytics company Alteryx to merge voter file information, set-top box data and commercial data to optimize audience targeting and TV ad-space buying. "Depending upon where the campaign is running, there could be anywhere from eight to 10 different data sources that we need to match against those voter files in order to better enhance that targeting and be able to create custom ratings about where you should be placing your buy," Brent McGoldrick, CEO of Deep Root Analytics, tells Adweek. With overlapping presidential and Senate races in key states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, traditional TV ad space is going to be clogged, and candidates will need help finding the best alternative space, notes David Seawright, Deep Root's director of analytics and product innovation. "The campaigns that have the technology behind them to target and say, 'Here are other places we can go where our opponents are or that aren't being purchased or that are cheaper,' will be a great strategic advantage," Seawright tells Adweek. For the complete article, read http://www.adweek.com/news/television/how-data-and-programmatic-tv-will-dominate-2016-presidential-campaign-166191

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In Targeted Donor Race, E-mail Still Beats Social

With political campaigns and causes expected to spend up to $1 billion on digital efforts for the 2016 races, npr.org's James Doubek recently discussed the impact on the political marketing landscape. Thanks to social networks, campaigns are now able to enhance static data--voter lists and consumer behavior--with personal "engagement" data. To explain the advantage, Doubek quotes Will Conway, lead organizer at NationalBuilder, a political digital platform provider: "If this person subscribes to Field & Stream and he drives a Ford F-150, there's a high percentage chance that he's a veteran. Well, if in his Twitter bio he says he's a veteran, you know he's a veteran." So it's no wonder 2016 campaigns are spending on hyper-targeted Facebook and Twitter promotion (plus Snapchat, YouTube and more) to influence voters. But when it comes to raising money, e-mail is still the "king." "Nothing comes close" to an e-mail list, Michael Beach, co-founder of Targeted Victory, a Republican digital campaign firm, explains to Doubek, adding, "Our campaigns will do 70%-plus of their fundraising through e-mail." Back in 2012, Obama gathered 90% of his online donations from e-mails. And this time around, the e-mail list targeting is likely to be more refined and efficient. For example, Hillary Clinton's team has a 5 million-person e-mail list, but the average e-mail blast only goes to 780,000, because e-mail messages are tailored by factors such as interests and likelihood of donating. Read the complete news story: http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/07/28/426022093/as-political-campaigns-go-digital-and-social-email-is-still-king

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