Microtargeting has growing influence in political campaigns

A recent article written by Haley Tsukayama on political microtargeting recently showed up in The Washington Post.

The article essentially states that political advertising during the 2012 U.S. elections was heavily affected by new microtargeting strategies and technologies. 

President Obama takes a phone call
from Romney conceding the election
following election day. Photo credit:
Wikimedia Commons.

Savvy politicians — including Barack Obama — microtargeted their messages in this recent campaign through the use of web video, social media, and analysis on how likely each citizen was going vote. Spending on microtargeted ads added up to between $130 million and $200 million during the 2012 election period according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). 

One telling excerpt from Tsukayama’s article (from a research paper IAB published on the subject) illustrates the value proposition microtargeting makes: 

“Both parties, the paper said, used microtargeting more than ever during the 2012 campaign, and that it helped the campaigns find and excite voters who would have been ignored or inefficiently targeted using older methods. That data and the ability to analyze it, the paper said, sometimes gave the campaigns a crucial edge in a particularly district or on a particular issue.”

It’s clear politicians are making efforts to be more efficient at targeting real voters. But where does the rubber meet the road on this growing trend. One way we’ve begun helping politicians in their microtargeting efforts is through the identification of real voters on social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We call this socializing a list. Here’s how it works:

  1. A politician will give us a voter list of her or his constituents. 
  2. We will run it through our software and identify all those on the voting list who are also on social media outlets. 
  3. We then use an algorithm that will estimate whether a voter is a strong Democrat, soft Democrat, Independent, soft Republican, or strong Republican. This data is added to the list.
  4. We then deliver the updated voter list to the politician. This list includes added columns of data with links to each Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile we are able to match with each voter; it also includes along a projection of that individual’s political affiliation.
  5. The politician then begins to connect with those voters on social networks. 
Using many of these new social media technology tools allows politicians to reach population segments that are challenging to reach through traditional advertising techniques such as television commercials, phone calls, and print ads. 

To view the full Washington Post article, click here.

To get your voter list socialized, send us a request to Sterling@PoliticIt.com.

Sterling Morris, Co-Founder of PoliticIt, wrote this ranking
Sterling Morris

PoliticIt provides It Scores on political races. An It Score measures a politician’s digital influence. It Scores have correctly predicted more than 700 election outcomes in 2012 with 91% accuracy indicating that digital influence seems to correlate with election results. PoliticIt will release Politicit Campaign in early 2013 — software that will enable politicians to access their daily It Score and monitor their digital influence. Contact Sterling at Sterling@PoliticIt.com to become a beta tester of PoliticIt Campaign.

Sterling Morris is a co-founder at PoliticIt. Connect with PoliticIt on Twitter and Facebook.


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