Fifteen months before the 2016 elections, campaigns of presidential hopefuls are in full swing. More candidates are spending money on digital advertising, which allows for better targeting capability, as well as collecting data to find volunteers, donors, and votes. This week, we explore the various ways candidates are using technology to reach voters, and what we expect to see in the year ahead. *
Welcome to the Social Media Election – The Hill
Following the trend of the last few presidential elections, candidates on both sides of the aisle are using social media to connect with voters. A recent Pew survey found that 71 percent of online adults use Facebook, 26 percent use Instagram, and 23 percent use Twitter, helping to confirm that these online platforms hold promise for presidential hopefuls trying to start a conversation with potential supporters.
At 73-years-old, Bernie Sanders might not be the most knowledgeable about today’s tech platforms, but he has brought on key digital strategists to help make his campaign one of the most effective online. With a low-budget campaign, free social media platforms might be the perfect channel for Sanders to reach the public. In fact, Sanders has recently overtaken Hillary Clinton in Google searches.
Donald Trump Winning Facebook by a Landslide – The Wall Street Journal
Donald Trump is crushing all other candidates when it comes to social media presence and buzz. With an active Twitter account and a Facebook account with the most interaction by far, Trump knows how to attract attention, and his social media posts frequently get picked up by larger media to leverage his social presence well beyond his initial audience.
Several candidates have experimented with using Snapchat in their 2016 campaigns, a platform that did not exist in a significant capacity during the last presidential election. For example, Jeb Bush announced his candidacy on the platform. However, these campaigns are having trouble finding the return on investment from using the app, and Snapchat is not useful for reaching targeted audiences or collecting viewer data.
Even as many audiences move to digital platforms, candidates continue to pour billions of dollars into TV ads. A more tested advertising platform, candidates can depend on a mass quantity of television ads to move the needle in their direction, even if only by a minute percentage.
How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election – Politico
Based on numerous experiments and extensive research, Politico concludes that Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) has a huge influence on political campaigns, swaying voters by as much as 60 percent in certain demographics. The findings: rankings of political candidates in Google searches matter. Voters correlate the legitimacy of Google rankings with the political value of candidates. This has dangerous implications for future elections, as SEME is virtually undetectable by Internet users.
* IDEA is not affiliated with any political party and promotes no particular political ideology.