In the MobileActive.org Strategy Guide for Using Mobile Phones in Advocacy Campaigns, we were introduced to a number of examples and a case study of countries around the world incorporating mobile phone usage to engage and gather support; allowing people to easily take action and join a cause. Through this guide, we were able to apply the tools and guidelines for using and monitoring a campaign strategy to upcoming 2012 election campaigns that will definitely be integrating mobile applications and SMS text messaging to track, reach, update and mobilize voters. In the article, Trend to Watch in 2012 – The Rise of Mobile by Katie Harbath, published on techPresident, Harbath describes why the use of mobile devices were not incorporated as heavily in past elections, because they simply rose to popularity after campaign strategies were implemented and it was much more difficult to understand, create, implement and measure a mobile campaign halfway into an election.
MobileActive.org outlined a number of helpful guidelines for creating a mobile strategy after outlining how these guidelines were used in past campaigns such as with “Oxfam UK in April 2006 who provided additional data. The organization contacted 2,000 supporters via SMS text message to recruit volunteers to help write content about local events for their website. 10% responded back, providing their email address for follow-up”. We can only expect results to be much more aggressive with campaigns in the United States for the election year. Harbath gives similar examples stating, “For us at the National Republican Senatorial Committee our first ventures into mobile were the launch of an iPhone app in May 2010, the first of any of the party committees to do so, and the building of a very simple mobile version of NRSC.org. With very little statistics out there on what the political online mobile community looks like I wanted to start gathering some data so we were making intelligent decisions on using mobile and not just flying blind. While our iPhone app didn’t get used as much for uploading and sharing user content as I hoped it would, it was accessed over 26,000 times in five months by people watching our videos or looking for information on the candidates. I think a candidate using an iPhone app would see even more use by its visitors, especially presidential candidates”. These results are not surprising.
In the guide published by MobileActive.org, some of the steps for a successful mobile advocacy campaign are:
- Set goals and plan your mobile advocacy campaign
- Identify a vendor to run the campaign
- Develop a marketing plan to reach your mobile constituents
- Craft the mechanics of your campaign and your mobile messaging steps
- Set up your system to get your mobile data into your in-house database
- Decide on your campaign closure and evaluation activites
These are all great steps to follow with any type of marketing campaign; the simply break down into set goals, identify methods of monitoring, develop marketing plan, create marketing material, methods of storing data and set the timeline/sequence of events. Determining a timeline and sequence of events for constituent outreach is definitely a great tool in allowing the implementor to determine where they are in the progression of the campaign. Both articles gave great outlines for campaign strategizing and development.
The upcoming election year will no doubt have the most engagement of any campaigns past. In the most recent presidential elections, we saw the mobilization physically of more people and the activity online, however, we had not yet adopted the mobile application use that we will definitely see next year. The engagement was there, but the ease of contact and engagement was less progressive than it will be next year. Live tweeting sessions, facebook groups/events and mobile applications will most likely lead the way for campaign strategies during election year.
In 2009, Josh Kotler realized the power of the internet and online advertising for political campaigns when most others were still skeptical. He points out that it did indeed work for big name candidates like President Barack Obama and Howard Dean, but for lesser names like senate campaigns, it may be less powerful in the eyes of the less “online media educated”. In his series of articles on nanotargeting, Kotler dives into online marketing/advertising by identifying specific niche demographics by interest and virtual location. In his first article Long-Tail Nanotargeting, he states, “So, instead of identifying the most universally persuasive messages and broadcasting them to a wide audience, in the long-tail model you take the most persuasive messages and nanotarget each one to the right niche”. By identifying enouch niches and altering the message to tailor it specifically to that group, you have a much more responsive campaign, with lower costs due to the lack of wasted impressions, he discovers.
In his second article Nanotargeted Pressure, written exactly one year later, Kotler discusses how nanotargeting can be used to pressure news groups to act a certain way, he uses online advertising to direct messages at individuals by utilizing information they have made available through social networks, their place of employment. He shows how effective the power of nanotargeting is with his example involving CNN and Lou Dobbs with his position on immigration, which spurred this movement. Inexpensively and in an extremely effective manner, he targeted advertisments to CNN employees to deliver messages to Lou Dobbs through his colleagues. This was a genius plan and he shows how he came to this conclusion and the positive end result.
Peter Greenfield, wrote an article titled, The Digital Playbook: Can online ads move poll numbers?, discussing the powerful use of targeted online advertising, which is exactly what Kotler has described fourteen months prior to Greenfield’s article. The Digital Playbook shows how effective nanotargeted advertising can be through popular media outlets to reach out to families with infertility obstacles through “A recent study conducted by Russell Research on behalf of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, measured the effectiveness of an online campaign in the Washington, D.C. area to raise awareness of an important issue for them. RESOLVE is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the millions of Americans suffering from infertility find solutions to starting a family, and they focused their campaign on embryo donation. A baseline poll was taken before the digital campaign began and a follow up survey was conducted upon its conclusion. No traditional media was used – the only messaging was delivered via online advertising.” The end result was astonishing in its support of both Greenfield and Kotler’s predictions of targeting online advertising. Stastically, people are becoming more responsive to online advertising than tradition televised statements where single messages are picked out from a 60 second commercial.
Both authors are clearly on the same page with online advertising, this seems to be a trend now, more so than it was one and two years ago, in 2009 and 2010. As we approach a new election and the year 2012, nanotargeting seems to be much more of a normative action within online advertising with Facebook and Google. With Google+, we might almost expect an even greater targeted advertisement initiative.