Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Political Campaigns Fail on Facebook

Political campaigns and causes may know they need a social media presence today, but do they know how to properly and effectively leverage social visibility? Maybe it's a good time to revisit a 2012 post by Tyler Pearson of New Media Campaigns, a web design and development agency, on the 10 most common mistakes that political campaigns make on Facebook. Here's a no brainer: If you build it, they aren't going to just come. A Facebook page needs to be promoted to voters and supporters. Put links everywhere possible online and add a Facebook url to direct mail, TV ads, campaign literature and speeches. Here's a seemingly obvious but common mistake: An icon is an attractive way to wave a social flag, but it makes no sense offline (you can't click a postcard), so put the Facebook url on non-digital material. And while you're at it, make it a vanity url that is easier to remember than the numbered default. Vanity urls are available as soon as the page reaches a minimum number of Facebook "likes." By the way, we have been talking about Facebook pages here, not profiles. As Pearson points out, campaigns should use all the space and promotional options of a page not a personal profile of a candidate or cause leader. Campaigns can avoid confusion if both a page and profile exist by temporarily hiding the profile, Pearson suggests. Then what do you do with that Facebook page? Don't leave visitors staring at the Wall and reading dull press releases, use custom landing tabs for donation calls to action, e-mail sign-ups, etc. For more advice, go to http://www.newmediacampaigns.com/blog/10-common-mistakes-political-campaigns-make-with-facebook-pages

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Data Advances Transform TV Ad Targeting, Costs

Improved data technology is revolutionizing political TV ad targeting and spending, stresses a recent report by The Wall Street Journal. Borrowing from traditional direct-mail targeting methods, data analysts now can mine information about where a person lives, how he or she has voted and what products have been purchased to predict future political behavior -- and then match those voters to TV viewer data about what shows individuals watch and when they watch them. This allows TV ad targeting to drill down to a much deeper level than blanket TV ad buys using traditional audience stats. For example, DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp., the country's two biggest satellite-TV providers, now offer direct access to chosen households, so one person might see a campaign ad during a show that his next-door neighbor won't see even if watching the same show. Cablevision Systems Corp. and Comcast Spotlight, a division of Comcast Corp., also have started providing campaigns with detailed, real-time information about what people are watching. Sensitive to possible privacy concerns, ad buyers and sellers stressed to WSJ that individual privacy is being protected by encryption, removal of names and identifiers, and third-party matching of anonymous voter and TV viewer data. But the bottom line is that these new data tools are allowing campaigns to reach pivotal voters at lower TV-ad costs. Advocates of the new TV targeting for both Republicans and Democrats told WSJ that they can help a campaign stretch its ad budget by as much as 30%. That's certainly good news when political campaigns will spend about 57% of their overall advertising budgets on broadcast TV, and another 15% on cable, according to projections by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group! For examples of how real campaigns have used the new TV targeting, read the WSJ story: http://online.wsj.com/articles/political-ads-take-targeting-to-the-next-level-1405381606

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Even Social Sites Divide Along Party Lines

Social media is a must for political campaigning today, but it turns out that most social platforms are not unbiased forums, according to a recent survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics as reported in a New York Times post. According to the Harvard survey, Democrats prefer to share on Google Plus and Twitter, while Republicans are Pinterest fans. Facebook is both the most popular and most politically neutral social media environment, with 87% of Republicans and 87% of Democrats saying they use the site. Snapchat also appeals equally to smaller portions of both parties (24% Democrats and 23% of Republicans). But most of the rest of the social media world is dominated by Democrats, with Google Plus (52% of Dems; 36% of GOP), Twitter (46% of Dems; 38% of GOP), Instagram, WhatsApp and Tumblr all more popular with the left side of aisle. Only Pinterest garners more interest from Republicans (40%) than Democrats (32%), and social observers theorized that this may be because 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife often used it during their campaign. Bottom line: Candidates and causes seeking to corral supporters should consider the political bent of social media options when committing resources. See the full post at http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/the-political-preferences-of-social-media-sites/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Study: Parties Face Polarized, Disaffected Voters

Partisan polarization, combined with growth of unpredictable, disaffected voter blocs, will challenge both Republican and Democratic candidates this year and in 2016, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. Pew's "voter typology" divides voters into cohesive groups based on attitudes and values to provide a "field guide" to the changing political landscape. The latest study describes eight voter types, including three groups that are strongly ideological, highly politically engaged and overwhelmingly partisan. Two of those three partisan voter types form the Republican base: Steadfast Conservatives (anti-government and socially conservative) and Business Conservatives (pro-business, limited government types but social moderates). Meanwhile, voters categorized as Solid Liberals provide loyal Democratic Party support. However, these three partisan voter types make up just 36% of the public and 43% of registered voters, which means victory for either party will depend on problematic wooing of votes from groups that are less predictable, less engaged and have "little in common with each other or the groups at either end of the political spectrum." Those five, less-partisan voter types are Young Outsiders (Republican-leaning but socially liberal), Hard-Pressed Skeptics (financially soured, former Obama backers), Next Generation Left (young, affluent, socially liberal but fiscally cautious), Faith and Family Left (Democrat-leaning but religious/socially traditional), and Bystanders (10% of the public and not registered to vote). Republican campaigns are likely to be further challenged by growing schisms between Steadfast Conservatives and Business Conservatives over social issues, big-business power and foreign policy, Pew researchers add. For details of the Pew study, go to http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/26/the-political-typology-beyond-red-vs-blue/

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Rapid Growth Forecast for Political Online Ads

"Explosive" growth in online political ad spending is being projected by ad forecasting firm Borrell Associates. A political advertising outlay of $8.3 billion is forecast to flood all media markets for the midterm elections, up from the $7.2 billion spent in 2010, the previous midterm election year, according to the Borrell 2014 forecasts reported by Deadline Hollywood. But the shares of the pie going to broadcast TV, cable TV, online and newspapers are shifting. While broadcasters are expected to reap $4.6 billion this year, or 55.4% of the ad spend for all races and ballot issues, that take is actually down from its 57.5% share in 2010, and broadcast's share is expected to shrink further to 52.6% in 2016. Where's the money going? Cable and online are "the only media choices projected to gain share" this year, per the Borrell report. In fact, online’s projected $271.2 million is up 1,825.2% from its $14.1 million in 2010. Although online ads are expected to account for just three cents of every ad dollar spent on all 2014 political contests, "current forecasts call for explosive growth to continue, nearing the billion-dollar level by 2016′s Presidential election," according to another quote from the report. By 2016, online will account for 7.7% of ad spending, ahead of newspapers' 7.1%. Display ads and video will make up three quarters of this year’s online spending. Forecasters attribute political campaigners' new "fascination" with online to its targeting ability, quick response and relatively low cost as well at to generational shifts that see millennial voters "much more likely to turn to streaming video and social media" for political information. For a summary of the report, see http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/political-ad-spending-tv-online-borrell/