The 2016 presidential race is on and while some of the candidates may seem to be out of touch, their campaign tactics likely won’t be. This campaign season we’ll be seeing digital campaigns leveraged by political candidates to fine-tune target voter audiences and promote their campaigns. Republicans have realized that their use of big and self-declared data lags behind the Democrats, and both parties are looking to innovate on the digital front. This time it’s all about knowing more about consumers than whether they check “D” or “R” on a piece of paper.
Identifying the Right Audience
The 2016 presidential race is on. Polling has always been an essential part of politics and today’s technology has advanced this technique bringing a level of accuracy that has yet to be seen. In the coming election cycle we’ll see online polling technologies leveraged by political candidates to fine-tune their messaging to target voter audiences. Online polls allow voters and consumers to share, first-hand, what their opinions, likes and dislikes are, providing political advertisers with what is referred to as “self-declared” data. Sure, you can ask voters who they’ll vote for, but the real value comes from digging into their stances on important issues and their political activism past.
Self-declared data is particularly useful when it comes to advocacy issues. If you are a candidate whose platform is focused on a specific segment of the population, such as 18-35 single women, you’ll want to pinpoint those key audience segments with your campaign’s message. However, smart candidates and advertisers will go beyond basic demographics identifiers to reach audiences with personalized messaging.
The power of self-declared data is that you can find out how targeted voting segments feel on hot button issues, which enables you to focus your messaging on individuals in your key demos with whom the messaging might resonate even deeper.
Understanding the Right Audience
However, just because an audience is receptive to your messaging on a certain issue doesn’t mean that voter will respond positively to other elements of your campaign platform. For instance, just because a single mother supports universal healthcare, it doesn’t mean your campaign stance on charter schools is going to be impactful with that voter. A campaign approach that uses all available data on the voter in combination with advanced targeting algorithms is the first step to deliver the right message to the right audience that you’re targeting.
Reaching the Right Audience
How we use political campaigns digitally has come a long way in a short period of time. One way advertisers and candidates have made huge strides is geo-targeting, which allows advertisers to deliver different content to potential voters based on his or her location, such as region, state, city, zip code, or organization. By combining geo-targeting with dynamic creative elements, political digital advertisements can adjust the size of a campaign donation request depending on the income level of an audience segment or direct contributors to campaign events depending on their location.
Digital is going to be crucial this political season and intelligent campaigners will recognize the value that self-declared audiences, geo-targeting and dynamic creative bring to them, and take advantage of both. It is time to look beyond the Democrat and Republican political alignments and really get to know the voters. Candidates must align themselves with partners who know how to use data to the fullest, because it could provide the crucial difference in the race for the divided attention of the electorate.