If It's Not The Snapchat Election, What Is It?

Going back to the presidential election in 2000, digital media have been steadily ingrained into political marketing strategies.

We had the email election in 2000, the blogging election in 2004, the Facebook contest in 2008 and the Twitter election in 2012, as eMarketer described it in their “US Election 2016 - Spotlight on Digital Advertising, Data and Targeting” Webinar last week.

So what will we call the 2016 iteration? The Snapchat election? The TV is here to stay election?

It is turning out to be neither — and in some ways maybe both.

While TV is largely dominating the political marketing landscape in 2016, and SnapChat is proving a perfect medium for our quickly waning attention spans, the ubiquitous development across the board has been a focus on big data and targeting.



Not only are data integrations and targeting capabilities quickly improving, they are also becoming significantly cheaper.

Drew Brighton, co-founder of TargetSmart, the Democratic-leaning political data and technology firm, described the transition to Red, White & Blog:

In 2008, the Obama campaign was the only organization that could afford the sophistication needed for the type of data targeting we are seeing today across the board.

In 2012, a number of statewide campaigns came into the fold. “Now in 2016, campaigns as far down the ballot as city council can afford targeting technologies with basic plans costing as little as $2,500.”

These data integrations and targeting abilities are well established on social-media outlets and publishing sites. They are also making their mark in the sphere of television.

David Seawright, director of analytics and product innovation at GOP-leaning firm Deep Root, spoke with RW&B about the improvements in targeting on TV. “We continue to see new observed TV data entering the marketplace. More information on what people are viewing and data on their consumption habits. There is a political data revolution happening on TV.”

Thus, 2016 will most likely be the “Big Data Election.”

As far as Snapchat's CEO Evan Spiegel is concerned, he told Stephen Colbert back in September 2015, his app will not be a deciding factor in the 2016 election: “It’s definitely not the Snapchat election.”

The app does, however, have this uncannily appropriate place in our modern society. Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times puts it: “[Snapchat’s] very existence represents a shift in the way news and information course through our over-served body politic.”

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