Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Presidential Hopefuls Score on Social Media

Social media has been making political news in 2016, from Donald Trump's controversial tweets to Bernie Sanders' millennial "like"-ability. So how do all the presidential hopefuls compare in terms of their social media ground game? In a recent Fortune magazine article, the analytics team of Hootsuite social media management rated the candidates on five key categories of social performance: impact, engagement, reach. sentiment, and authenticity. It should be no surprise that GOP front-runner Donald Trump comes out on top, using social media as part of a three-pronged strategy of interdependent, mutually reinforcing use of rallies, media coverage and social buzz. On the theory that any type of attention is better than no attention, Trump wins with impact, reach and authenticity, even though he is weaker than other candidates on engagement and sentiment (more negative social mentions). Close on Trump's heels is Democrat challenger Bernie Sanders, who succeeds with strong engagement, impact and authenticity, despite lack of a planned strategy. Bernie's young followers have created a collective social energy for him that his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton can envy. Nevertheless, Democratic leader Clinton comes in third overall thanks to her huge reach (second only to Trump); she has 3.1 million Twitter followers, 3.1 million Facebook likes, successful use of Instagram and early embrace of Snapchat. She also scores higher on positive sentiment. Meanwhile, Republican Ted Cruz trails in fourth place with weak reach and tepid sentiment inspiration; Cruz counts just 3.2 million followers on Twitter and Facebook compared with Trump’s 14.5 million, for example. And John Kasich is dead last, in delegates and social power, with just 292,000 followers on Twitter and 286,000 likes on Facebook. For the detailed analysis, read http://fortune.com/2016/04/18/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-social-media/

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Political Digital: Why Google, Facebook, Twitter Rule

Political campaigns are forecast to spend over $1 billion on digital advertising this election cycle, and they have more online, social and mobile options than ever before. But so far, just three platforms are set to claim most of the political digital ad spend--Google, Facebook and Twitter--reports AdExchanger, a digital marketing trade publication. Political campaigns tend to end up with Google or Facebook even if they buy via a political ad network or independent media/technology seller, the report notes. One reason is that political ad buying involves long-term planning and reserved buys of short duration, which is very different from the iterative testing and optimization that independent agencies are used to handling for brand advertisers. The leading digital platforms also have benefited this election from the disruptive impact of "earned media," the free coverage that GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump used in trouncing the Rubio and Bush campaigns despite their big paid-media spends. Paid-media effectiveness doubts have sent political operatives looking for safe bets--and that benefits proven digital media incumbents. The Digital Big 3 have further honed their edge by aggressively hiring political insiders with Democratic or Republican connections in building their account teams. The AdExchanger article cites recent VP of policy hires such as a GOP congresswoman for Google, a George W. Bush aide for Facebook, and a senior Democratic aide for Twitter. Plus, Facebook and Google have developed new tools specifically tailored to politicos. Facebook offers targeting of "political influencers" who actively consume and share political news on the platform, and, new for 2016, voter file matching. Meanwhile, Google has introduced a beta tool just for presidential candidates, Posts, which gives them some control over which content is displayed in a search of their name. For more, read http://adexchanger.com/politics/three-big-web-companies-are-dominating-political-ad-budgets/

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Programmatic Ads Need Emotional Power to Win

Programmatic advertising--using data and automation to reach the right audiences in real time--is a key innovation of this political cycle. But anyone who thinks robotic ad technology allows robotic creative is going to lose, warns a recent Adweek magazine post by C. Sean McCullough, regional director of sales at AOL Advertising. Political campaigns and causes caught of up in mastering the technology would do well to make sure they are not neglecting the message. The voter is still the ultimate target of the technology, and "voters, much more so than consumers, are motivated to action by having formed emotional connections," McCullough argues. Programmatic ad campaigns use precise targeting analytics, intelligent algorithms, frequency modeling, creative customizing, feedback and retargeting to cut inefficiencies and costs while avoiding target saturation and ad fatigue across a range of devices, including mobile. But the creative launched must still connect the viewer with the candidate and elicit an emotional response to motivate action. Campaigns wondering how to infuse emotional connection via music, images and words can turn to political science studies that have shown fear is a powerful negative persuader, especially for change, while feel-good "enthusiasm" is a positive mobilizer, especially to reinforce existing beliefs. For an overview of research on the use of emotional motivators in political ads, check out http://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/ads-public-opinion/negative-political-ads-effects-voters-research-roundup. For McCullough's passionate post, read: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/when-it-comes-political-programmatic-advertising-creative-has-be-emotionally-charged-170559

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Digital, Radio Push Up Political Ad Spend Prediction

The 2016 election is going to be even more expensive than expected for campaigns and causes, according to the latest update by ad spending monitor Borrell Associates. Borrell boosted its political ad spending estimates by 3.1% in March, raising spending for the year by $357 million, to a projected total of $11.7 billion before Americans go to the polls on November 8. Surprisingly, the upward revision in expected ad spending is not coming from the presidential race, where spending projections were actually lowered by 1.7% thanks to GOP candidate Donald Trump's unprecedented use of "earned media." The report notes that for every dollar the Trump campaign has spent, it has received $189.80 in free media coverage, way above Hillary Clinton's $26.60 in free coverage for every dollar spent. The presidential race still leads ad spending, but state assemblies, local offices and local ballot issues are a close second, expected to contribute just over $1.7 billion each. The media distribution of ad budget growth is shifting, however. With broadcast TV inventory clogged by campaigns and PACs, half of the increased political ad spending will go to digital and radio, and local media in general, per the report. Meanwhile, direct mail and telemarketing spending are also seen grow as part of the "ground game" to recruit new voters. Based on current trends, Borrell foresees a very different political ad landscape by 2020, with a decline in broadcast TV spending and growth in digital outreach. To download the "2016 U.S. Political Ad Spending Update" with state-by-state estimates and breakouts of spending by races for President, Senate, House, Governor, Attorney General, State Assemblies, county/local elections and ballot issues, go to https://www.borrellassociates.com/industry-papers/papers/2016-u-s-political-ad-spending-update-march-16-detail