That's pretty simple enough to answer. It works. This recent article outlines how the President is dominating with strategic online advertising campaigns and buys. He's far out pacing Romney. But what's interesting is HOW the Obama campaign is spending its online advertising.
In 2008 Obama changed the game with online ads. They used the Internet and targeted ads to raise money, and recruit supporters. While their 2012 online ads are geared towards acquisition, the bulk of their spend appears to target specific online audiences with targeted messages. The bulk of their spend is thus used to persuade, not acquire.
In contrast, the Romney campaign, flush with cash, is spending its money with online ads to recruit supporters and raise dollars. Time will tell if they make the shift to be more competitive online with their opponent, and if they move to the persuasion model more than the acquisition model.
We found a bunch of good articles about digital strategies and politics, issues and campaigns across the Internet this week. With that, we hope to share these and some quick thoughts about each article. So here you go. And by the way, the team at Cornerstone has been working and running online and digital campaigns since early 2006. We get it. So we want to share it...here you go!
Political Consultants Open to Inevitable Digital Future: by Kate Kaye over at Click-Z
A quick read about the changing dynamics and inevitable acceptance of digital as part of an overall campaign. Our favorite quote of the story:
"It's not a single tool. It's not just digital media. It's a combination of old school, new school, and what we don't know the next school will be."
We could not agree more.
Obama Camp On Pace to Spend $35 Million on Web Ads by Kate Kaye over at Click-Z
All we can say about this is: "gulp". When you have almost a billion to spend, you can do this. But in reality, all campaigns need to step up their efforts in online ads to educate, motivate and mobilize voters. It should be an integral part of your communications strategy.
Top Ten Signs a Social Media Expert Isn’t by Colin Delany over at e.politics.com
A little humor goes a long way in this world. This piece is funny, and true. Thanks Collin Delany for keeping it humorous, and real!
We’ve all heard about the fact that online will play a significant role in the upcoming elections. From websites, micro sites, social media and online applications, online is already playing out in a major way from the presidential level, down to the local level.
Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have strong online campaigns. This article tells the story how Gingrich has ramped up its spending online---since South Carolina. And of course, President Obama continues to build on its massive digital campaign---taking advantage of the moment to capitalize on the primary campaigns in key states.
Perhaps Karl Rove summed up the shift to online best in a WSJ piece last year:
“…in the year ahead, smart campaigns will devote a good deal less money to running 30-second TV ads and a good deal more to using the Internet to organize, persuade, motivate and raise funds.”
What online innovations are you seeing in campaigns across the country?
We often get calls from clients with limited budgets, or smaller campaigns who ask us this question: "Can I win running my campaign online only? And we always tell candidates that it's very hard to run a political campaign using one mode of communication. Some folks certainly try. And while there are massive numbers of voters getting information online, they also rely on other media to learn about a candidate.
Regardless of the budget, a smart candidate will run a fully integrated campaign: using the best components and strategies online, to compliment and garner suppport---and eventually votes---offline. At Cornerstone Solutions, we like to preach the "integration" of online strategies---social media, online advertising, and the use of video---to compliment campaign events, get out the vote efforts, fundraising and persuasive messaging. Knowing which tools online will help with your offline efforts is also good to know. Not every campaign will use the same tools.
In the end, however, successful campaigns must still have a good plan, a good message, and a solid strategy to get voters to the polls. Those fundamentals will not change---and relying solely on the Internet to win is difficult, if not impossible. Nothing ever replaces the handshake, the face-face-face interaction that voters still crave, and the public demands.
NC Free Enterprise Foundation published a piece on their website about the growing use of social media in NC politics, campaigns and issues. You can read about it on their site. We love the fact that organizations like this are spreading the word about social media and politics---as we have seen a growing trend over the last few years.
Their analysis focused on social media use by politicians and political candidates. What’s missing from the piece, and we don’t think intentionally, is the growing use of social media from associations, advocacy groups, and grassroots organizations.
On the association front, the NC Association of REALTORS® (NCAR) has been active in social media for several years. When the organization ran the statewide “Stop the Home Tax” issues campaign, NCAR used online components to engage citizens---throughout North Carolina--- in a conversation about the home tax, and how it would be bad for homeowners.
NCAR used YouTube to spread its message, and drive citizens to a website to register for email updates, and contact legislators. Thousands of North Carolinians viewed dozens of videos about the issue on YouTube, and then went to www.ItsABadIdea.org to send a message to legislators. NC Legislators received over 60,000 emails as a result, preventing the statewide adoption of the home tax. All of this occurred in 2007---when YouTube was not even on the minds of most North Carolinians, much less candidates and issues organizations.
Americans for Prosperity North Carolina has done an impressive job taking its offline grassroots power structure and combining it with a strong online presence. The organization has capitalized on the power of email to keep its members engaged and mobilized to take action. Their online website’s content strategy allows activists and others to learn about issues, engage others and take action.
At Cornerstone, we’ve seen not only the increased use of social media in candidate campaigns, but also with organizations, corporations and issues groups. Social media no longer serves as the shiny new tool everyone wants and uses. It is an integral part of an issue or candidate campaign. Most importantly, social media delivers measurable results for campaigns, organizations, and associations.
What organizations have you seen that are using social media as part of their campaigns?
It’s already started: Who’s going to have the best website in the next presidential race? Who’s going to try to “outdo” President Obama’s online and social media communities in 2012?
The blogs and social media experts around the country are already predicting that all campaigns---from the presidential level to the local level---will pour tons of time, money and resources into engaging voters, supporters, funders and opinion leaders, in the coming elections.
Today, we received an email from the folks running presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty’s online campaign. They have developed a new tool for their candidate to use in the social media ecosystem, and to stimulate conversations across multiple channels.
We expect to see many new “tools” like this one in the next year. But as we always tell our clients, using a tool, like Facebook or Twitter, or Vimeo or YouTube, is just that---a tool.
Every campaign needs a strategy that integrates online conversations and efforts, with offline traditional methods. Moreover, campaigns must connect with voters in authentic, creative and engaging ways. Don’t expect supporters and voters to flock to you just because you tweet something funny, or post your event and fundraiser on Facebook.
You need to be real, and need to think like a voter in order to convert him or her to do something offline in the campaign (like volunteer, or most importantly, vote for you).
Some of the tools that we will see develop in the next few months, and up to Election Day in 2012, will be helpful and useful. Some tools will be carried over into the corporate and social media branding world (much like after the 2008 presidential campaign). But it’s the integration---traditional and new communications, along with a good message and solid grassroots effort---that will carry the day for successful campaigns.
What do you think? What new and emerging uses of social media do you expect in the coming months?
We’ve talked a lot about the use of video---as a primary tool for social media--- in past posts. And we all know, by now, the power of video to reach followers, supporters, friends, and influentials.
In political campaigns, much like branding and corporate marketing campaigns, video is now the "go to" choice for making an announcement, sharing a story, or posting something funny. That’s why our friends over at Mashable are talking about video use in the next presidential race. Everyone’s making an announcement on YouTube (some are exciting and some are boring, quite frankly), and posting quick videos about their campaigns.
Mashable’s conclusion about 2012, video, and social media?
"Though it’s very early in the race, it’s clear that there will be more back and forth via social media this time around than in 2008, when Obama’s campaign pioneered the use of Facebook and Twitter to reach voters while John McCain’s campaign followed a more conventional path. Romney has more than 33,000 followers on Twitter and 840,000 fans on Facebook compared with 7.3 million and 19 million, respectively, for Obama"
What do you think? What about other campaigns? Will we see state and local campaigns use video and social media even more in 2012 than in 2008, or even 2010?
We wanted to say "thanks" to all the good people who signed up for the 'New' Digital Campaign webinar we hosted yesterday. We are sincerely humbled by the great response we received in terms of registration, participation, and follow up.
In case you were not able to attend, you are still in luck. We would gladly provide a copy of the presentation. If you want a copy, please click here, fill out the simple request form, and we'll get you a copy for your review.
Thanks again for all that attended, we hope you learned something, and look forward to a continued dialogue about online campaigns, with you and others.
If you have any questions about the topic or webinar, feel free to email me, or call! And if you want to register for future Cornerstone webinars, just sign up here.
Smartphone sales are set to outpace personal computer sales by 2012. That’s not hard to believe as everywhere you turn someone is downloading an app, updating a Facebook page, or tweeting his or her status---or a new link---from a mobile device. Moreover, it’s not hard to believe as Americans are on the move and obsessed with being constantly connected.
The numbers and statistics on mobile use, and its pervasive nature in our everyday lives, are staggering. Consider these few factoids (compliments of Mashable):
- Of the world’s over 4 billion mobile phones in use, 1.08 billion are smartphones
- By 2014 mobile Internet use may surpass PC desktop use
- One half of local searches are done on a smartphone
- Almost 90% of mobile users are surfing the Internet on their device, while watching TV
- On average, Americans spend almost 3 hours per day socializing on their smartphones
- 200 million YouTube views occur on mobile devices per day
- Women between the ages of 35-54 are the most active group in mobile socialization
The bottom line: If your campaign, brand, or organization is not optimized for mobile and smartphone devices---it should be.
Here are a few questions to ponder as you optimize for mobile: Is your website mobile friendly? Will your online ad campaign include a mobile element? What about including a text message component in your communications efforts?
Smart campaigns, organizations and brands will focus more resources on mobile---and those that don’t will be left behind
What are some of the tactics and strategies you are using to reach stakeholders, citizens, voters, or customers on their mobile devices?
It’s pretty common knowledge that Facebook is the mack daddy of social media platforms for personal, business and organizational use. With over 500 million worldwide users, not many will deny the sheer power and force of Facebook to spread a message. Some are even predicting its future dominance in e-commerce.
Whether attempting to increase brand awareness, issues awareness or launch a political campaign, Facebook is—in our view---the most effective social media platform out there. Here’s why.
Where People Go Online
The stats on Facebook are staggering. Simply put, it’s the place to be online, and the proof is in the numbers.
- More than 500 million active users
- 50% of their active users log on to Facebook on any given day
- Average user has 130 friends
- People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
The Perfect Online Communications Tool
Facebook is a great way to engage your customers, your advocates and supporters. Since people are already using Facebook so much in their daily lives, it makes sense to meet them in this space. While your supporters or customers are conversing with their friends, they can also share information about your brand, your issue, or your campaign---if running for office.
There are countless examples of how companies and organizations are using Facebook to promote their brand, new service or product. NBC recently launched a campaign to introduce a new show on their network, and teamed up with Chipotle restaurant on Facebook. We love their creative use of video and a coupon to engage thousands and raise awareness.
Applications and Customization
Facebook has gone out of its way to allow users to develop and execute unique, custom applications on a page. From coupons and contests, to action centers and polls, the interface is user-friendly enough that pretty much anyone with FBML (the Facebook equivalent of HTML) knowledge can use it and be creative.
For advocacy purposes, we think Facebook is a great platform to launch a mini-campaign or micro campaign around issues. And the beauty is you can really build an effective platform to educate potential supporters and allow them to take action.
For these reasons---and many others---our team here at Cornerstone Solutions thinks Facebook is a powerful, effective tool to engage others to promote issues, campaigns and brands.
So what do you think? What are some of the creative ways you might have seen others use Facebook to promote an issue, brand or campaign?