Elections and campaigns are embracing technology more and more by the day as relevant parties understand the value of technology and especially data. The campaigns that take advantage of technology and data in the best way are more likely to come out as winners. This has been true for some time, and in this article, we will explore some technologies being used in modern election campaigns.
Data Collection Points
Political parties around the world have been collecting data on voters since these capabilities were unearthed and became commonplace. The average political party has 500 to 2500 data points on all relevant voters which is a mind-boggling amount of data to have.
Where does this data come from? It comes from various sources including online and offline sources. We know various social media platforms have massive amounts of data on most people. Researchers have also found apps that lean in a certain political direction collect data on those who install them.
Facebook is the biggest microtargeting platform in the world. It is followed closely by sites like Twitter and Instagram. Microtargeting allows campaigns to target individuals based on their characteristics. Facebook has a “custom audience” feature that is scary in its precision.
To add to this, they also have “lookalike” functionalities that help organizations target individuals similar to their primary target groups. This level of targeting makes for very effective campaigns. Do note there is some restriction on microtargeting, with Google leading the pack by banning political microtargeting.
Donation and Volunteer Management Platforms
Political technology is a niche that is growing very fast as campaigns seek to leverage technology to make donations and volunteer management easier. The ability to raise money and mobilize people is becoming increasingly important in a very competitive political environment.
There are several options available, including tools that help campaigns liaise with their volunteers to know how mobilization is going. These also help with relational organization, targeted messaging and communication between volunteers and constituents.
Digital organization and online fundraising platforms have also grown in popularity. Digital organization platforms allow campaigns to send text messages, distribute broadcast messages and send peer-to-peer texts to large numbers of people.
These platforms are often being combined with fundraising platforms to help with the raising of funds. A fundraising platform like ActBlue can be combined with an SMS solution like Tatango to make both very effective. The integration of ActBlue fundraising with Tatango has already proven to be a potent combination for democrats and there are similar solutions for republicans too.
Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics
Where there is a lot of data to be understood, there is always data analytics and artificial intelligence. With all the data political parties have, they need a way to make use of it. Data analytics helps them understand this data while artificial intelligence helps them create models out of this data.
These models help organizers understand how people think and how they are likely to vote. They also help organizers know how to target different types of people.
There is no doubt that technology will keep playing a huge role in politics and how campaigns are run. This is especially true when you consider political parties are always looking for new data on and insights into voters and constituents.
— Featured photo by Flickr user fredisonfire, Creative Commons