Campaigns Utilize Targeted Data In New Ways To Reach Key Voters

Political marketing this cycle is not unlike the marketing one sees in the commercial space. The techniques may be similar; the outcome is far more consequential.

Particularly in primary season, the finite number of relevant consumers/voters is significantly smaller than what one experiences in the commercial space.

With Borrell Associates predicting a $1 billion spend on digital advertising in the 2016 election cycle, targeting and segmentation techniques have become increasingly successful at reaching only those voters a campaign targets.

Voter files will always be a great place to start. They help to know who previously voted for whom, which party leanings are more common in which district and other basic data collected by the state authorities.

However, to minimize waste and improve the efficacy of everything from emails to creative on mobile, political marketers look to harness additional volumes of third-party data, matching those with the information campaigns have been gathering for months on their Web sites.



Data and marketing firms have rolled out novel technologies that vastly improve targeting capabilities. Using data provided by clients and adding a mountainous sum of behavioral and other third-party information, targeting has become more accurate than previously imagined.

Alexander Nix, CEO of data firm Cambridge Analytica, told Red, White & Blog that his firm can compile up to 5,000 data points per voter, creating an incredibly detailed personality and character profile. “The algorithms we develop can help define those voters most likely to donate or support the campaign, as well as honing in on subtle ideological leanings and religious preferences,” Nix added.

As reported by The Guardian earlier this month, Cambridge Analytica was embedded with Sen. Ted Cruz’s head office in Houston and was highly involved in his success in Iowa. Nix also noted an engagement with the campaign of Dr. Ben Carson in 2015.

Despite the potential exemplified by Cruz’s success, Nix cautions that “data science is not a panacea. Without a candidate with clearly articulated policies, we are unable to use data to target audiences with the messages that are most likely to resonate with them.”

2 comments about "Campaigns Utilize Targeted Data In New Ways To Reach Key Voters ".
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  1. Mark Langgin from GPS IMPACT, February 18, 2016 at 12:39 p.m.

    An even bigger question (besides targeting) is what firms are doing to prevent fraud/bots, enhance viewability and develop creative that voters actually want to consume online.  The experience of viewing a 15/30s video on your phone is far more personal than when that spot is on your TV screen.  Do you really want to be hearing vicious attack ads on your phone? Will you even have the sound turned on?

    Technology & data are commodities -  message and creative is a precondition to winning elections.

  2. Phil Rist from Prosper Insights & Analytics, February 19, 2016 at 11:24 a.m.

    To assist campaign marketers, as well as the jounalists covering the political arena, we've curated a collection of voter emotional and issue data.  Enjoy... it's Complimentary at

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