Marketing momentum

Andy Ball, managing director of Balls2 Marketing, talks about marketing momentum.

During the 2015 General Election, political parties started spending money on Facebook advertising as part of their campaigns. It was the first time we had seen anything like it in UK politics and its success led to a bigger spend in the recent election.

It’s safe to say that the Labour campaign got a better grip on social media messaging and targeting than the Tories. Labour started early, with a huge push on getting people to register to vote on June 8. The first step of getting noticed, and encouraging voters to take action. It worked. Almost three million people registered to vote online between the general election announcement and the registration deadline.

During the campaign, Conservatives spent £1 million on negative Facebook adverts about Corbyn and his shadow cabinet – content that would simply be seen or looked at by voters – while Labour sent out content that they knew would get engagement. Likes and shares are free so it meant they would reach more people for less spend.

Labour didn’t rely on Facebook. Knowing that the youth vote was already onside, the party used other platforms. On election day, Momentum, the left-wing campaigning network, sent texts to its supporters which nudged them to vote, with a link to find their local polling station. There was also a link to an automated message to send to selected WhatsApp contacts, which could be shared by recipients too. Momentum estimates that 400,000 voters were reached with their WhatsApp message.

Audience targeting proved to be another downfall for May’s digital campaign. Who Targets Me? – a project that monitored Facebook advertising from political parties during the election campaign – found that Labour’s Facebook ads reached voters in 464 constituencies. The Conservative ads only featured in 205.

Whatever your political views, there’s no denying that social media is transforming the political campaigning sphere. In the 2010 election, there was no money spent on Facebook. Now, massive chunks of campaign budgets are being spent on targeting voters in key constituencies.

The general election has proven that clever digital campaigns can have real influence on decisions. In the glazing industry, Facebook is proving to be the best platform for installers and there are some really smart and cost-effective ways for businesses to use it their advantage.