With the rough and tumble Republican primary just winding down and the general election campaigning already in full swing between President Obama and Governor Romney, even before he has been officially selected by the GOP delegates, many voters are already showing signs of dueling ad war battle fatigue.
And, if the Wisconsin recall election of Governor Walker is any indication of what the next five months are going to be like on a national level, we are in for a lot of loud noise.
The Wisconsin election on June 5 was just that – loud – robocalls, TV commercials, radio commercials, direct mail pieces, more robocalls, and more TV commercials. Each election year candidates and political groups spend more and more on getting their message out. Each election year voters hear more.
Years ago candidate campaigns were doing the ads. Today we have the campaigns, unions, political action committees (PACs), Super PACs, and various special interest groups doing ads and get out the vote (GOTV) campaigns.
What if the electorate is on overload and has tuned out? All but the political junkies in Wisconsin stopped reading newspapers, unplugged their phones, fast forwarded through TV ads, turned off their TVs, turned off their radios, and looked away from social media networking sites and online media.
At what point is enough enough? At what point does it all turn into white noise – or just noise?
The money being spent is astronomical. It is estimated that $66 Million was spent on the June 5 Wisconsin election alone. It is estimated $6 Billion will be spent on the 2012 presidential race. It is expensive. There is little way to gage the actual return on investment (ROI) in real terms.
Is it worth it? Does any of it change the mind of voters or get a lot of potential voters that do not normally vote to the polls? Is the messaging personal enough to be a call to action? Is it in a format that voters want to hear it?
Times have changed. Not all political campaigns have, but they should. Approximately 35%, or one-third, of Americans no longer have landline phones and 35% do not watch live TV anymore. Time –shifting is changing the way consumers accept information.
Politicians must now become more creative and in-touch with how voters consume campaign messaging. The challenge for today’s digital campaign strategist is how to leverage technology to gain an advantage. The early adopters will gain a decided advantage.
Political advertising, whether by the candidate or groups outside the actual campaign, must understand the consumer, the voter, has changed. They no longer will put up with being yelled at in advertising.
Voters want to be engaged. Those wanting to engage them hopefully message them with a more targeted approach than in the past and with something that is important and interesting to them – something that will engage them to support the candidate, talk about the candidate, perhaps donate, and certainly vote for them.
Technology is anything but stagnant, and the newest social media tool momentum is the mobile application. Just like Facebook and Twitter in the 2008 political campaigns, mobile apps are the latest “must have” in reaching out and “touching and engaging” potential voters and supporters.
A June 2 article in Mobile Marketer, the news leader in mobile marketing, media, and commerce, detailed why mobile marketing is a good tool for engagement and value. It provides, “By creating mobile-only search campaigns, advertisers benefit in several areas such as control, messaging, targeting and reporting.”
It explains, “Geotargeting has become an important part of the mobile search experience. It is a great added value for consumers and a big opportunity for advertisers.”
“Mobile advertisers can geotarget in the same way they target their desktop campaigns: by country, state, metro, city or custom ranges.”
Political campaigns are catching on to the benefits of spending their money more wisely. Geotargeting by district, state, and issue help combat voter ad fatigue and meets the need to engage voters with something they is meaningful to them.
Campaign Touch CEO, Cami Zimmer works with political candidate clients in this environment every day. She began her career working at The White House in Washington, D.C. For over a decade, Ms. Zimmer worked on public policy issues, managed campaigns, and ran non-profit organisations.
Campaign Touch was founded on the idea of helping create powerful campaigns through the use of technology. They have partnered with the nation’s best mobile companies for app development and SMS (text) campaigns and surveys. Zimmer brings her knowledge of digital and mobile communications to assist political consultants and candidates, PACs, non-profit organisations, ad agencies and businesses.
She explains, “Tradition media, while necessary on most levels, has the strategy of ‘Spray and Pray’ – throw a bunch of ads out there and hope and pray they hit the right audience. It is expensive. There is little way to gage the ROI.”
Zimmer shakes her head when noting, “Many Minneapolis/St. Paul people were flooded with TV commercials and radio commercials during the Wisconsin election – and they can’t vote there! What a waste of money.”
Campaign Touch ran mobile ads for a client during the Wisconsin election. Zimmer details, “Mobile ads were strategically targeted in a Senate district in Wisconsin. In a five day mobile campaign, we were able to hit voters 4-8 times with an ad for the candidate. We had 471,105 views, 2,914 clicks, and a .62% click through rate.”
Many large companies are using mobile advertising to strategically zone in on their advertising. With Campaign Touch’s campaign and elections specialty, they are showing their clients how to successfully use mobile to reach voters. Zimmer adds, “We are showing clients an option at extremely less money than traditional marketing and providing a ROI.
She summarizes, “Mobile is great for the GOTV as 98% of Americans carry a mobile phone. It is perfect for GOTV. And keep in mind that 50% of mobile traffic comes after 5pm – as people are driving home from work. Campaign Touch is happy that campaigns are finally starting to see how mobile can work in campaigns. Our clients engage voters!”
Are you among those that have not tuned out and cannot get enough? Do you find who is buying ads and what the main issues are in the ads interesting? Track ad spending during the primaries and general election here.
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