The 2016 presidential election has garnered its fair share of publicity over the last few months. Though this may be credited more to the candidates themselves, political advertising has become more prevalent and important than ever during this election season.
According to a Borrell Associates study, political ad spending is projected to reach a record $11.4 billion this year, with $1 billion (roughly 9.5%) of that on digital media.
At a baseline, digital channels and best practices evolve extremely quickly. These moments of heavy digital advertising investment do much to fuel brand marketers with insights and best practices, which drives their planning in the coming months.
Brand marketers and candidates alike are working toward the same fundamental goal. They want to understand what motivates people to take an action, then take that information and use it to achieve a specific purpose.
This points to why actionable data is so important in brand and marketing politics.
If used correctly, data and insights can not only help sway an audience on the fence, a campaign can reach a relevant audience while it’s actively in the decision-making process.
How do marketers, political or otherwise, truly discern the type of insights that will help them exceed their goals?
With the variety of digital channels necessary to reach audiences expanding exponentially, clearly marketers cannot simply put all their eggs in any one basket to guide campaigns.
In 2012, the United States saw the rise and success of the social-media-driven political campaign. In fact, Barack Obama has been called “our first social-media president,” spending $47 million campaigning on digital media. Although social data is interesting and important, it is only one component in understanding the complete consumer, or in the case of politics, the voter.
Looking beyond those who speak the loudest is critically important to understanding the true sentiment of all voters.
Social data represents a vocal minority, creating a platform for consumers and voters who elect to share (often extreme) opinions. Most people are reluctant to share what means something to them on social media, relating to sensitive political issues. According to Global Web Index, only 42% of users who visit social-media sites each month make active contributions, displaying this vocal minority in full effect.
In order for brands and candidates to understand what matters to consumers and voters, they must look more broadly at the type of content that engages them – beyond their social sentiments – across the Web, mobile, display and video.
A broader look at the content that engages specific target audiences, helps marketers gain a host of advantages in their attempt to understand audiences and anticipate their needs.
A marketer with actionable, real-time insights connected to brand associations, offers a more accurate, in-the-moment, snapshot of audience sentiment and interests.
We’ve seen the power of this approach in Ted Cruz’s political campaign, which has been open about how it used advanced data modeling during the Iowa caucuses to “invent positions for the candidate that would resonate with Iowa voters.”
Cruz was able to identify key sentiment among voters and align his candidacy around the issues they cared about most.
By understanding voters on a more personal level, Cruz was able to activate that data, take a stand on important local issues, win the Iowa Caucus and most recently, his home state of Texas, among a few others.
We may only see political advertising’s prevalence every two or four years, but the lessons brand advertisers can learn from the presidential campaigns reaches far beyond debates and elections.
By developing strategies rooted in understanding and activating on comprehensive digital content engagement data and consumer sentiment, advertisers can serve effective and meaningful campaigns to influence audiences.