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.
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?
The power of video is undeniable. There are countless examples of politicians, celebrities, and organizations are using video to educate, share information, entertain, and move others to take action. It’s fast and cheap.
A year ago, most people viewed videos on their computers. And many still do. However, we are seeing a huge trend towards mobile. That is, the number of people watching videos on their mobile device is growing by leaps and bounds. And it makes perfect sense. We are a society on the move. We value and crave instantaneous information. Our smart phones allow us to get information on the fly.
Just the other day, I was waiting for a friend to arrive for a breakfast meeting. Someone sent me a video clip, and I downloaded it on my phone, watched it, shared on Facebook and Twitter, and showed it my friend when he arrived. It was easy, fast and clear as a bell.
The numbers tell the true story. Look at what the Nielsen recently reported about video and mobile devices:
“The number of U.S. mobile subscribers watching video on their mobile devices rose more than 40 percent year-over-year in both the third and fourth quarters of 2010, ending the year at nearly 25 million people. These mobile video users watched an average of four hours and 20 minutes of mobile video per month in both the third and fourth quarter of 2010---a 33 percent and 20 percent year-over-year increase in each quarter respectively.” (State of the Media Report)
No doubt, video is critical to your sharing your content---and building a base of brand activists, supporters, customers or voters. Reaching people where they are---on the move---is important.
What ways are you using video now---and what are your thoughts about how to integrate video for mobile and smart phone use?
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?
According to Hubspot, an inbound marketing company, there were 90 trillion emails sent in 2009. When you think about that number, it’s mind-boggling. Yet, in practical terms, we all live and die (pretty much) by email. Whether sending email for your company, your issue, or campaign, it is the de facto way to communicate.
So, we thought we would offer up some practical tips for maximizing your next email campaign---whether it’s for a grassroots or corporate communications initiative. While it’s not rocket science to craft and send out an email, there are several simple ways to increase the response rates and clickthroughs.
We recently participated in a webinar, hosted by Hubspot, entitled “The Science of Email Marketing.” According to this presentation there several simple strategies for getting the most out of your email campaign.
- Morning is the best time to send out emails. This is when most folks check their email, and the clickthrough rates are higher.
- Optimize for mobile. Over 80% of emails are read on a mobile device. Enough said. So make sure folks can read your email on their mobile phone, smart phone or Ipad.
- Links matter. The more links you have in your email, the better. The clickthrough rates are higher for emails with more links.
- You can never send enough email. We know; this seems counterintuitive—right? But think about it: If you send only a few emails, most people are inclined to unsubscribe. But if you send emails consistently---with good content and calls to action---your audience will respond favorably (and maybe even look forward to receiving your emails).
In short, email marketing is both art and science. You need to experiment, test and measure your emails for maximum impact. We spend a lot of time testing and retesting different tactics for increasing open and response rates. You should too.
We are always interested in hearing about new ways to improve email marketing. What are some to the tricks of the trade, so to speak, that have worked for you email marketing efforts?
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?
Ever given much thought to how you communicate with Millennials? This is the group of people commonly referred to as “Generation Y” (those between the ages of 15-30, with the average age of 28).
If you are like most people your answer is: Why should I even care about engaging this generation? As voters, Millennials traditionally participate in low numbers. And their participation in grassroots advocacy and the political decision-making process is even lower.
But this is changing. And how you communicate with this generation is important because one day they will be in charge, they will be active voters, and they will dominate the discussion about brands, products, politicians, and issues.
We recently ran across a fascinating study by Eldeman Public Relations and Strategy One, a research firm. In their groundbreaking research, “The 8095 Exchange: Millennials, Their Action, Surrounding Brands, and the Dynamics of Reverberation” Eldeman concluded:
“The fact is, as a group, Millennials are now in charge, spending more
than any other generation and spending it in ways that a generation
ago or even a few years ago was unimaginable. To understand
Millennials is to begin to understand how to connect and interact
with this extraordinary population. Marketers cannot afford to ignore
Millennials. More importantly, none of us will succeed without them.”
While the study targets businesses who want to understand this population segment, and how to market products and services to them, we here at Cornerstone Solutions would submit that organizations, opinion leaders and politicians must begin to engage Millennials---or at least begin to understand how they think and operate---especially in the political process.
After all, we saw what this generation did in the 2008 presidential elections. Will 2012 be any different? We highly recommend downloading the Eldeman study, and also getting and reading a copy of Millennial Makeover, by Winograd and Hais. After all, will any of us---whether in the brand world, or brand advocacy world---be able to, as Eldeman suggests, “succeed without them?”
So what’s your plan or ideas for reaching this omnipresent population?