Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Campaigns Must Arm to Win the 2016 Digital Race

Campaigns and causes will be competing on a digital battlefield as never before in the 2016 elections. A recent MediaPost.com article by Mike Werch, marketing manager of SocialCode, offered eight key digital strategies to boost message impact, expand voter base and capture donations. Werch advises: 1) target unaffiliated voters by serving digital ads to lookalikes, people with the same interests and behaviors as those in the voter, donor or e-mail subscriber files; 2) recapture donors with digital remarketing (use of Website Custom Audiences) to target people who visit a donation page but fail to donate; 3) apply digital insights across channels, using the creative test results of digital video to hone TV or print ads, for example; 4) improve primary audience response with digital geo-targeting, testing geo-targeted digital video to perfect expensive local TV ads, for example; 5) segment audiences for more digital leverage, using Facebook's rich user data, for example, to deploy ads relevant to targets' demographics, behaviors and interests; 6) do a local-interest digital campaign in an area before hitting the pavement, and follow up with conversion-focused ads to build mailing lists; 7) do digital "get out the vote" campaigning, messaging politically inactive Facebook users who also match political affinity targeting as an example; 8) test 2016's new and improved ad options for political campaigning, such as Facebook's lead ads for mobile sign-ups and conversions with pre-filled forms. For more detail, read http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/264971/how-2016-presidential-candidates-can-win-the-digit.html

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Avoid Pitfalls That Sap Digital Ads' Political Impact

Campaigns and causes are going to be pouring money into digital advertising in the 2016 races, with online political advertising expected to reach nearly $1 billion, over six times that of the previous presidential campaign cycle. But the power of digital advertising to reach the right person with the right message in the right environment can be undermined by a few common pitfalls, wasting precious dollars, warns a recent MediaPost article by Avi Goldwerger. For example, campaigns must realize that programmatic advertising is automated, so problems can occur when a programmatic platform is too centered on targeting user demographics and not enough on where the ad is actually placed. For example, a wholesome family-values candidate's ad focused on reaching males aged 25-54 could show up on a porn site! Campaigns need to use available tools to target the right environments on programmatic platforms and to block wrong placements across any media partner. Digital fraud and viewability are two other factors that can undermine ad effectiveness and waste dollars. Fraudulent traffic, according a recent industry report, makes up 10.9% of all traffic, warns Goldwerger. Most of the fraud is due to bot traffic (computer programs acting like humans and filling out voter forms or clicking ads) and phony Web sites. Lack of viewability, on the other hand, occurs when an ad is served to a real audience but is placed so that it remains unseen, say at the the bottom of a page where users fail to scroll down to see it. To target the 43% of digital media that will be viewed and free of fraud, Goldwerger advises campaigns to choose media sellers and programmatic platforms that operate with viewability as targeting criteria and that have media quality safeguards in place. For more, read http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/264708/digital-politics-seizing-the-right-ad-opportuni.html

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Marketing Pro Ranks GOP Hopefuls' Social Efforts

Social media branding is a must-have for today's presidential hopefuls, so how are the leading GOP contenders doing from a purely marketing standpoint? A recent MarketingProfs article by Jeremy Page, a network marketing blogger, provides one political outsider's ranking of the top six Republican presidential candidates based just on social media marketing performance. You may not agree with the rankings, but there are lessons worth gleaning. For example, Page puts Jeb Bush at the tail end of GOP contenders based on a lackluster social media presence (just 363,000 Twitter followers) and policy-oriented posts that create a persona without emotional resonance. Social media, especially Twitter, "isn't the place to be overly sensible and pragmatic," warns Page. Marco Rubio comes in fifth place with his strategy of keeping an uncontentious, low profile while building a social following (over 1 million Twitter followers). Page urges Rubio to do more to reinforce his brand as a "candidate of the people" with retweets and posts that leverage "your community for your social media content." Fourth place is awarded to long-shot Carly Fiorina for using social media to push a persona of openness, showcasing her willingness to answer questions via Q&As on niche, real-time streaming platforms like Periscope, for example. Ted Cruz gets a No. 3 position for an innovative digital strategy that stresses crowdfunding and gamification. Via Cruz Crowd, followers can recruit friends to join a personal Cruz Crowd donation page and then monitor money raised via Facebook and Twitter, plus earn game badges. With the competitive Cruz Crew app, players earn points based on actions to spread the word. Ben Carson is No. 2 thanks to his use of Facebook to leverage 4.6 million fans (compared with Hillary Clinton's 1.5 million and Trump's 3.8 million Facebook followers) via heartfelt long-form letters, plus polls and petitions to collect e-mail addresses. At the top of the heap is (no surprise) Donald Trump, who presents his tax plan on Periscope, hosts #AskTrump Q&As, and rallies fans on Facebook and Twitter with unfiltered "real" posts that keep him constantly in the media spotlight (for free). Page's takeaway: "Use social media to be controversial and troll the media." For more, see http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/29033/ranking-gop-presidential-candidates-according-to-digital-strategy

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Social Media Still Lacks Political Fundraising Power

Political and nonprofit causes eager to leap into social media fundraising are likely headed for disappointment, according to NPR's All Tech Considered report on digital fundraising. The article cites a new Adobe study showing that, of 43 million visits to about two dozen nonprofit websites, three-quarters of visitors arrived via web search or by directly typing the url. Only 3% followed a social media link. A Red Cross 2014 survey delivered similar bad news for social fundraising: While online solicitation and engagement helped to influence giving, donors said they were more motivated by in-person requests, e-mails and direct mail. Social media is "useful because people are seeing your issue," Michael Ward, a principal at strategy firm M+R that publishes the Benchmark Study, a nonprofit industry guide to online fundraising and advocacy, explained in the NPR story. "But then to actually get them to divert that knowledge into a donation, it really takes other channels, such as e-mail marketing or even direct marketing, to close that loop." One reason social lags in gathering dollars is that when users are scrolling through a social site like Facebook, they are unlikely to click to an outside website, especially one asking for credit card info. However, digital fundraising experts see crowdfunding, based on financial appeals for small sums from friends instead of organizations, as a social approach with promise. In fact, Facebook recently facilitated crowdfunding donations with the rollout of new fundraiser pages, which allow a nonprofit to describe a specific campaign and collect donations directly through Facebook, and to promote the pages via ads and shared posts with donate buttons. Available to select nonprofits for the holidays, fundraiser page signups are set to expand in 2016. For more: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/12/02/458008461/a-click-too-far-why-social-media-isnt-that-great-for-fundraising

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In 2016 Race, Public Snubs Media Fact-Checkers

This election cycle has seen more than its share of candidate flubs, exaggerations and falsehoods, but it's the mainstream media fact-checkers who are getting bad ratings from the voting public, not political prevaricators. GOP front-runner Donald Trump also may lead in untruths, for example. A recent NBC News report notes that fact-checking project Politifact rates 41% of Trump's statements as "false" to date, and 21% as "pants on fire" false. Ben Carson has 43% of his assertions labeled false by Politifact, with 13% at the worst pants-on-fire level. The Democrats' lead candidate Hillary Clinton is not seen as 100% truthful either; Politifact rates 11% of her statements as false and 1% as pants-on-fire wrong, per NBC. Why aren't media call-outs of such political dishonesty affecting poll numbers? The NBC story supplies one explanation: According to a new Pew Research Center study, the American public has more distrust for the news media than ever before, with a whopping 65% saying the news media has a negative impact on the country, up from 57% in 2010. That's a worse rating than respondents give for popular villains like banks and large corporations, and close to the disfavor allotted Congress. The more conservative the respondent, the more likely they are to be down on the media. Pew found that 82% of surveyed conservatives thought of the media as a negative force, which may explain why media challenges bounce off Trump among his Republican fans. For more, read the NBC report at http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/booing-fact-checkers-how-low-trust-media-shaping-2016-n468986