The Role of Digital Marketing in Political Campaigns

When Donald J Trump won the US Presidential election in 2016, one of his first statements was, ‘social media helped me win!’ Even Google said Trump “won the election in the search.” Although Trump was always ‘a darling’ of social media due to his controversial lifestyle, quotes and his popular TV show ‘The Apprentice’,  nobody even thought that his digital marketing media presence could be so compelling that it can win him the presidency!

Now that’s the power of digital marketing. Nowadays, a simple post on Facebook, a beautiful picture on Instagram, some quirky Twitter post can do wonders for the candidates who are going to compete in an election. However, how can digital marketing influence voters in such a big way? Let’s dig a little deeper and find out the reasons behind that.

1. Micro-Targeting: According to Marian Garcia, professor, Kent Business School, digital marketing can help the political parties to reach fragmented audiences and elusive voters. This tool can also provide relevant messaging built around their ever-changing content consumption and sharing habits. By creating engaging, highly personalized policy announcements across multiple digital marketing platforms, political candidates can engage with crucial demographic groups, such as the millennial to boost conversion. To put this in a simple way, social media enables the candidates to build their brand in their own way and engage in direct communication with the voters. These conversations can be used to pass on tailored and relevant messages. Slowly and steadily, these relevant messages become resonant and later on, these actually turn into the opinions and views of the targeted voters!

2. Engaging The Youth: The most volatile section of the population, which is supposedly apolitical, are always glued to the digital marketing channels and perhaps the most ‘active’ and ‘opinionated’ section on social media. Political parties can target the youth in their preferable domain and mold them according to their agenda.

3. Analysing Data: This is the age of big data. We almost regularly create a huge amount of information online which can help the analyzers predict our behavior. Analysis of this data can be used to give insights about the demographics. Politicians can use these insights to sway constituents in their way.   If you want to learn digital marketing in-depth, check out our digital marketing programs from top universities.
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4. The Power of Polls: One of the many interesting features that digital marketing platforms offer is you can conduct polls on various platforms time-to-time. The results will be unbiased, not at all manipulated and will indicate the flaws of the policies put forward by the parties and the agenda with which they are going to the election. Unlike physical polls and exit polls conducted by market research organizations, polls on social media can really put forward almost accurate insights.

5. Authenticate Your Brand: In the present time of yellow journalism, fake news, misleading campaigns can really make or break the future of a political party facing the election. There may be many fake accounts circulating on the Internet, which may harm your political campaign. Therefore, a political party has to reach its audience before others. A well-documented website, a verified Facebook page/Instagram account/Twitter handle, in-depth blogs, etc can really put forward the ‘brand’.

6. Digital Advertising: This low-cost advertisement option can be utilized to engage the TG in a meaningful way. Though the word ‘sponsored’ is generally mentioned on these adverts, but in the world of scrolling, people generally overlook that. A party’s reach to its audience increases tremendously through these ads as the inbuilt algorithms of digital media help them to reach the exact target audience.

Social media was once a way to contact friends far and wide. Now, however, it’s used as a form of advertising, connecting us with brands, celebrities and, of course, politicians.

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Political parties launching digital marketing campaigns are not a new phenomenon, but the use of social media in their campaigns has undoubtedly increased. During the 2015 general election at Great Britain, the Conservatives spent £1.2 million on their digital marketing campaign. In comparison, the Labour Party spent less than £200,000. Some Labour party members believe that Facebook was the reason for their loss in that election.

On the other hand, US president Donald Trump’s presidential campaign spent most of its digital advertising budget on Facebook, testing more than 50,000 ad variations each day in an attempt to micro-target voters. All these indicate that for political organizations looking to reach potential voters digital targeting can’t be ignored!

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What is micro-targeting?

Micro-targeting is simply reaching out to people at hyper-local levels. Targeting can also be based on purchases, voting history, or 'likes.' At this level, messages can be broadcast to different subgroups of people.

Although micro-targeting was used to significant effect in the 2016 US Presidential elections, it was not the first time. In fact, micro-targeting has been used in elections for decades. It is a social networking service (SNS) that is new. When used as intended, these tools can dramatically help any business or social cause.

What is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is similar in some ways to traditional advertising. Like traditional advertising, the goals of digital advertising can be to promote your products and services, generate brand awareness or increase sales.

Digital advertising is an excellent addition to any marketing strategy. So many businesses have adopted it. Around the world today, companies spend over $250 Billion on digital advertising.

Digital advertising can have a massive return of investment (ROI) for your businesses, so it is great to take advantage of its benefits.

What do you need to run a digital marketing strategy for political campaigns?

Here are the things that you need when you are running a digital-first modern political campaign.

The first thing is a clear message. Voters are educated nowadays, and they have access to lots of information through the internet. So, it is crucial to be as transparent as possible. Secondly, an eye-catching logo is needed to grab the attention of the voters. It is essential to ensure that this logo looks good online.

It is also good to have an informative website. Websites are essential for almost any personal brand. But if you are running for office, you need a home base to house all of your statements on important issues, campaign logos, and much more.

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