We take a look at some of the ways digital marketing was used during the recent UK General Election, including campaigns on Facebook, Google advertising and YouTube.
The power of Facebook was harnessed more in this general election than ever before giving each party direct access to the voters. We reported last week that Labour was the most popular party on social media in the run-up to the election and Facebook was their most used channel. Their positive campaign seemed to resonate with followers who engaged with content to spread the message organically. This was in stark contrast to the Conservative party who used targeted attack ads to spread their election message. In particular, one attack video has reached over 8-million views on Facebook, making it one of the most-watched political campaign ads in British political history. Although Facebook’s impact on the outcome of the election is difficult to accurately gauge, its use in this election is being discussed more than ever before.
This election saw the parties coming to blows and attacking each other on a number of key issues. This is nothing new, but the way in which the parties attempted to control the message using Google was particularly interesting. When the Conservative Party launched their manifesto, Labour quickly jumped on one of their social care policies, labelling it a ‘Dementia Tax’. The term gathered momentum and was widely being reported in the media. The Conservatives response was to run a Google Adwords campaign on the terms ‘Dementia Tax’, linking through to a page with their facts on the policy. Labour’s response was to do the exact same and run its own ad linking through to the Labour website with their attack on the policy. At the height of the debate, both ads could be seen running alongside each other. Google alone received 246,000 searches on the term ‘Dementia Tax’ in May. A divisive way to try and control the flow of information or a clever move by both parties to put their message across?
The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all had to pull adverts from YouTube just days before the election because they were reportedly being shown alongside videos promoting extremism. Google have since apologised and have reassured advertisers that they are doing all they can to improve the system, giving companies more control over where their adverts are placed. A number of top brands and major advertisers pulled their ads from YouTube earlier this year for similar reasons.
Snapchat and Politics, not two things that are often discussed in the same breath. However, in this election, no social media platform was safe with the Conservatives taking to the flourishing, youth orientated channel to pay for adverts to appear in users feeds. Snapchat was also used by the UK Electoral Commission who created a geo filter to get people to register to vote.
In the build-up to the General Election, there was a push to encourage people to register to vote before the deadline. The push was definitely noticeable on social networking sites, with various media outlets, celebrities and political parties promoting voter registration. Facebook even built a reminder into its app to encourage users to get registered by the deadline. This message appeared to resonate with the younger generation as a quarter of a million young voters (aged 18-24) registered to vote on the cut off date. It is not yet known how many of these voters turned up to vote but early estimates indicate a surge in young voters, a demographic renowned for low voter turnout.
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